Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Coup of 24 February 1966

Tomorrow marks the 47th anniversary of the military coup that overthrew Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah. The coup led to a period of malaise and darkness in Ghanaian history that only decisively ended under the leadership of Rawlings many years later in the 1980s. There can be little doubt that during the nine years he was in power that Nkrumah accomplished more good for Ghana and Africa as a whole than almost any other leader. He built the dam, the harbor, and much of the other infrastructure that Ghana still relies upon today. He successfully asserted Ghana's independence as a non-aligned leader in Africa. He put Ghana on the map as a modern state. Even today most people outside of Ghana know of only three Ghanaians: Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan, and Azumah Nelson.

So given the positive contributions of Kwame Nkrumah to both Ghana and to Africa as a whole why was he overthrown? It appears that the military junta that toppled Nkrumah from power while he was in China on his way to North Vietnam did so with the backing and at the behest of the UK and especially the US governments. The documentation released from the LBJ Presidential Library so far seems to be pretty conclusive that the liberal administration of Johnson helped orchestrate the coup. An African leader capable of advocating for real independence is the last thing any US liberal wants.

Source: Socialist Forum of Ghana, The Great Deception: The Role of the CIA in the Overthrow of Nkrumah (Accra, 2005).

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