Friday, September 21, 2012
Thoughts on Nkrumah
As a general rule I think Nkrumah did more good for Ghana than any other leader. He may have been the most successful African leader of the 20th century. Only a few other African leaders had the charisma and vision of Nkrumah. These men include Mandela, Sankara, and Lumumba. But, in terms of laying the foundations of economic development none of these men can really be compared to Nkrumah. Mandela came to power in a country already heavily industrialized by African standards. In contrast both Sankara and Lumumba died violently before they really had a chance to accomplish anything near the scale that Nkrumah did. Even more so than Lumumba, Nkrumah as leader of Ghana from 1957 to 1966 sought to successfully champion Pan-African ideas. One important long term result of Nkrumah's rule is that there is a much stronger sense of unity among Ghanaians than exists in many African countries. Ghana has not suffered from civil war like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria just to name those states in the West African region. In large part this has been a result of Nkrumah's successful construction of a Ghanaian national identity unifying all the ethnic groups in the country. This legacy alone is worth honoring.