NKRUMAH — HIS FOREIGN
BY: Fiifi Mensah
FROM the beginning Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President, and Founder stated his vision and objectives succinctly at the Old Polo Grounds on March 6, 1957 that Ghana’s independence was meaningless unless it was linked with the total liberation of the African continent.
This epoch making statement by the great African, who has been honored the African of the millennium by a panel constituted by the BBC, formed the basis of his foreign policy from 1957 until the west orchestrated his overthrown in 1966.
It was a unique and unprecedented declaration that the independence of a state was not over in itself but a means to speed up the liberation of the African continent.
He took the proclamation to another height when he hosted a Conference of Independent African State and an All- African People’s Conference in 1958.
Ghana’s independence serviced stimulus for freedom fighters and other intellectuals who trooped to Accra for inspiration and support.
Until his overthrow, Nkrumah had become a spokesperson for Africa, opposing the west on their exploitative policies in Africa, in the Congo, Rhodesia now Zimbabwe, Guinea and Mali.
An example of this commitment was Nkrumah’s financial aid of 10 million pounds to Guinea after it had broken away from France in September 1958.
Additionally, he agreed to grant Mali a long — term after its split with Senegal. Ghana established a political association with the two countries in the hope of creating the United States of Africa. Nkrumah also stood behind Patrice Lumumba during the Congo crisis of 1960-61 and approached nine other
African states to create a joint High Command to provide assistance to any other state that was found in a similar position to the one that the Congo faced.
He had a unique understanding colonialism and the neo- colonialism and its evil effects, and he skewed Ghana’s foreign policy to promote continental unity in order to fight it. Ghana became a trailblazer in the fight against colonialism, and Accra became the Mecca for freedom fighters, and within 10 years of Ghana’s independence, 31 other African countries had gained their independence largely through the enhanced support from Nkrumah.
He saw the solution to African problems of poverty, wars and over exploitation of its resources in the fight against colonialism and the unity of the Africa continent.
Ghana’s foreign policy under Nkrumah, apart from the diplomatic niceties of non- interference in other countries affairs, also included expanded bilateral trade with other African countries.
He explained that, “until the independent State of Africa were united in a single nation, the exploitation of Africa by Europe will never end. If Africa sixty states are united politically, they will find a way to their own economic emancipation and an African economic plan for the whole continent”.
Nkrumah envisioned united Africa with its resources could become a pivotal economic power in the world and could use resources for its development. He worked for the formation of a union government but his efforts were torpedoed by the West and some African leaders who were content with the status quo.
Kwame’s dream of a united Africa is best exemplified in his writings in "I Speak Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology”.
“Divided we weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance. Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth.
Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people.
Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our resources for the benefit of our people.
Kawme Nkrumah was the most prolific presidential writer in the post — colonial history of Africa. He wrote over a dozen of books, including Towards colonial freedom and the critical Neo — colonialism ,the last stage of Imperialism served as a blue- print for many of the freedom fighters, especially those in Southern Africa — Zimbabwe, Malawi and the Africa National Congress of South Africa.
Kwesi Armah who served as Ghana’s High Commissioner to London, and also as Minister of Foreign Trade, in his book’ Peace Without Power- Ghana’s Foreign Policy 1957- 1966, explained that Nkrumah’s foreign policy was based on the ideas of black pride, black identity, African emancipation and unity.
Nkrumah “realized that the factors militating against achievement of black pride, black identity, African emancipation and unity were colonialism and domination.” This indeed is the framework that defined much of the policy pursued by Nkrumah, according to Armah, and he fought it relentlessly.
DAILY GRAPHIC PAGE: 5 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009.