Sunday, February 19, 2012

Samiah Nkrumah and the Current Struggle for Pan-Africanism

Kilaika Anayejali kwa Baruti
By the end of the sixteenth century Ghana with is overwhelming wealth was known as one of the most organized state in its region.  It was vastly known for its gold.  Another major export in Ghana is the Cacao tree, along with timber, and other mineral exports.  The Cacao tree itself exported over 20,000 tons in the 1920s.  The people were also a very skilled people, very well organized warriors and their hunting skills were unmatched.  Ghana carried a very heavy Muslim tradition in the northern sector; the northern sector was ruled by Mossi and Gonja rulers.  These rulers engaged in trade with Muslims which in turn led to the penetration of Islam into the native culture of the people.  Under the leadership of Chief Oti Akenten the Akan and the Ashanti merge into what is now known as Kumasi, through this emergence it brought forth the ritual of the Golden Stool, which Ghana is so popularly known for.  The symbol of the Golden Stool characterizes the chieftainship of the society and is a national symbol.

Even though this emergence came about because of the conquering of the Ashanti over the Akan, the Akan people were still allowed to carry their traditional beliefs and systems.  In this mergence they were not oppressed.  The Ashanti people were highly recognized well into the 18th century.  The Gold Coast at this time was bordered with European merchants.  The first arrival of Europeans was by the Portuguese in the late fourteenth century.  In 1482 the Portuguese built the very first trading coast on the borders of the Gold Coast.  About a century later came the arrival of the Dutch and through constant battle with the Portuguese the Dutch seized El Camino castle, the slave post of many Africans in 1637 along with Axim, another post in 1642.  By the mid-17th century Ghana become more that a trade post for merchants, the importation of slaves became its highest commodity.  Despite the great loss of slave’s lives through despair and disease the profits were increasingly overwhelming.

As reported by Eric Williams the author of Capitalism and Slavery, the only reason slavery was abolished was because of the rise of the Industrial revolution, although some historians would have you believe it was for a sympathetic one.  The rise of the Industrial revolution created a need for more raw materials and created competition in the market for finished goods.  The rise in machinery and industry advancing itself brought about the end of trade with human cargo. The Ashanti, in their quest for independence had many wars with the British known as the Anglo-Ashanti wars or also called the wars of the Golden Stool.  After several determined battles the Ashanti people were colonized in 1902 by the British.  Through the colonization, the British dominated the areas of education, teaching the Ghanaian people as all colonized nation have been taught, the oppressor’s way of life.  This process produced the colonized mind and from it sprang the Ghanaian elite.

During the Post-world war II era national consciousness begin to ensue.  As a result of ex-servicemen coming home from the war and conditions being unpleasant they decided no more.  They joined forces with the farmers and common people who were displeased with the colonized states.  Here the quest of independence began.  Out of the elite sprang the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC); these individuals were also known as the big six.  This was the very first movement to opposed colonial government; however they did not seek revolutionary action.  Kwame Nkrumah himself was a member of the Big Six and because the UGCC was not radical enough and Nkrumah felt that more qualitative action was needed, he formed The Conventional Peoples’ Party (CPP) in June of 1949.  His motto was, “Self-government now.”  The CPP was to carry the banner of the working people versus the intelligentsia which the UGCC carried.  The CPP would carry the torch for the workers, the farmers, youth, and people such as the market women.

Because of the need for self-government now, riots took place out of frustrations and as a result Nkrumah was imprisoned for sedition.  While Nkrumah was imprisoned he won a seat in 1951 in the legislative Assembly.  It is said that the seat was won through the efforts of the Positive Action Campaign that took place in the early 1950s. Once having a seat on the Legislative Assembly Nkrumah was declared Prime Minister and Nkrumah developed a Parliamentary system.  He and the CPP declared a government of political centralization becoming a Single-party state.  Through constant struggle the British finally granted on August 3, 1956 Ghana’s independence and on September 18, 1956 the British Commonwealth declared that March 6, 1957 would be the day that Ghana would be an absolute independent state.  The CPP put in place first the Deportation Act, which means any persons whose presence in the country did not serve the interest of the public good would be expelled.  

On July 1960 Dr’ Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was declared president for life.  Not only was he president of the country, but he was a driving force to unite Africans throughout the world to work towards Pan-Africanism, for this was the next phase.  He made it clear that Ghana’s independence meant nothing unless Africans throughout the world had the same collective reality, in order to do so unity among the tribes is essential.  He authored such works as Africa Must Unite in 1963 Consciencism, Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare and many others writings that Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist use as mandatory reading today.  He was a revolutionary visionary whose ideology was a socialist ideology; anti-colonialism, anti-neo-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and anti-exploitation the result of capitalist enterprise. Kwame Nkrumah made it clear that the present reality of today in relation to the advancement of the west, which was clear then, is a direct result of colonial adventures.  Kwame Nkrumah knew that the call for nationalism would be a struggle against the elites as they would compromise with western imperialist for their own self-interest.

So Nkrumah created the Youth Pioneer Movement, their minds were not yet tainted and were ripe for ideological training and would serve the interest of the people. Also out of the work of the CPP came the creation of the Akosombo Hydro Electric project; Tema Harbour, and the University of the Cape Coast. This resulted in Ghana becoming well respected around the world as a Single- party state under the CPP. This was not done without opposition to his revolutionary ideology. A few years later, the party was overthrown by a military coup in 1966 on February 24 while Nkrumah was away in China.  He then took up the rest of his life in Guinea where he later died in 1972.

The coup was led by the National Liberation Council (NLC).  The coup reasons, to justify their action, were saying that the CPP was corrupt and that Nkrumah was a dictator and the Single-party state lacked democracy because of all the laws that were in place to protect them against foreign interest and power.  This coup, many believe, was infiltrated and succeeded because of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The NLC called itself the new democracy and was heavily influence by a western style of government. Many of the members were actually members of the UGCC, which Kwame Nkrumah separated from before forming the CPP.  They stated that Nkrumah and his ideas put Ghana into debt that they had to overturn.  This debt which was supposedly Nkrumah’s fault was a huge conflict in Ghanaian politics in 1971.Cacao still the biggest import fell dramatically with the rise of competition from neighbouring countries such as Cote D’Ivoire, it is also said that with the rise in free market and competition, Ghana’s lack of knowledge of free market, was a cause as well to this decline.

The second republic after CPP being the first was formed the years of 1972-1979.  It held more military control than democracy most would argue. In 1974 there were major accusations of corruption that begin to surface and a s a result of it the Supreme Military Council was put into place in 1975.  In July 1978 inflation was very hard hitting to the economy with an estimated high of 300 percent.  The SMC was overthrown by a group of young army men in June of 1979 under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings, who was a flight lieutenant, and they formed the AFRC, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.  This created the third republic; under the administration led by Hilla Limman, the Limman People National Party (LPNP), which fell on December 31, 1981 due to another Rawlings, led coup and as a result established the Provisional Defence Council who suspended the 1979 constitution.  Ghana then moved from Single-party state to a Multi-party elections state.  Rawlings took leadership of the fourth republic which came into existence January 7th 1993. The current president of Ghana is John Evans Atta Mills, who took office as the third president of this fourth republic on January 7th 2009.  This term is expected to end 2009.  This now brings us to the current state of affairs and CPP’s relationship to Ghana.

Samiah Nkrumah, not only is the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, but she is also a woman.  The odds have and are being stacked against her.  However, she is making leaps being elected Leader and Chairperson of the CPP. The CPP under the leadership of Samiah wants to serve the interest of the people but first they must raise the party’s profile.  They must spark a fire in the people that create unity.  Samiah has travelled abroad with the launching of the book Africa Must Unite and awakening people to these ideas proving that these ideas are still alive, but also more necessary today as they were yesterday.  Samiah is also reaching out to Africans abroad and creating solidarity with grassroots parties.  Many initiatives and programs have been launched to show solidarity around Ghana and to win the peoples trust in what can be.

Samiah is constantly battling negative propaganda, pessimistic view on the attack of the ideas of Pan-Africanism, yet she is consistent and sincere.  The CPP goal is to organize the party on the polling station level.  She wants to present to the Ghanaian people that with a credible and trustworthy candidate for 2012, a politician of integrity and sincerity that the initial party was built on, a party of selflessness and self-determination and for freedom from oppression and exploitation they can have a Ghana that serves the people.  They can again stand at the forefront of a Pan-African reality.

On January 8, 2010 the CPP marked Positive Action Day.  Samiah gave a speech in Jomoro.  She called for prayers in courage to be an honest politician a politician of integrity and a politician who can sacrifice and also tell the truth.  She spoke on the necessity for the people to be a people of self-reliance and confidence, a people who can depend on themselves.  She said it is so necessary even more today for people to retire the colonized ways.  Samiah has made it very clear that foreign advisors are not needed and that the women and men of Ghana can create their own solutions.  Samiah has pointed out the fact that many years ago Ghana under the leadership of her father obtained their political freedom and now today Ghana must gain control of their own resources so they can solve the problems of today.  She knows that this is a fight for economic freedom and to achieve it, moral courage is a necessity so that Ghana will not be a country lead by corruption.

Samiah mentioned that as everyone knows she grew up in a home where the word unity was used commonly.  She had a very clear idea of what the CPP was about and today she feels that she has a direct responsibility and allegiance to revive it based off of its principles alone. Samiah has made it clear that because they owe no one anything they can be more radical and that revolutionary change is needed, the people are needed.  She continues to call on the people to not be afraid.  She wants the people to break barriers. In a speech given on September 11th, 2011 she said that everything done in the political arena in Ghana must be linked to the total liberation and unification of Africa.  She told the people that they assembled on that day to honour her father Dr. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah by continuing the work that he laid out.  This work can be thoroughly examined in Africa Must Unite.

Samiah Nkrumah and the CPP objectives are to revive the party, to broaden its name, to make it name that the people recognize and respect and have unity with.  “The CPP also plans to hold fast to its core principles of Pan-Africanism”, Samiah says.  One of its major missions is to link education and industrialization together in Ghana itself. They plan on gaining trust in the people and create a reality where not only hard work pays along with organization, but it also serves the interest of the people.  Samiah wants the people of Ghana to be armed with the vision of Pan-Africanism and what it required is complete sincerity, she understands.  Reviving core principles of tradition would be a guiding force in how the people relate to each other.

The CPP has started to focus on doing ground work on the grassroots level.  They want to satisfy or eradicate contradictions on the smallest level immediately, things such as poor housing conditions.  They are garnishing support throughout the world with the message of Pan-Africanism.  Samiah says that they have recently received one million dollars from India for a technical training center in Ghana.  Samiah knows that the CPP has to have a strong political party.  She says they have to create a strong core.  “We need Nkrumahist”, she says.  Samiah wants to be a source of inspiration as she said on a recent radio show, “and if I can, then why not?”

On another end of the spectrum Samiah and the CPP receives a lot of negative anti-CPP criticisms, even from her own brother Sekou, who says that it is the same old people in the party with old ideas.  He also said that Samiah stayed away from the ideas for far too long and what was needed then is not what’s needed today.  Her opposition normally comes in the form of pessimistic views to the ideas of Pan-Africanism.  As Samiah says and knows, “Everything is possible with hard work and sacrifice.”  She also stated that, “Yes the CPP is impatient to see change the youth in the women of Ghana know this and collective they have to believe in themselves to carry forth the work that needs to be done.”  Samiah says that there are too many things that cannot be tolerated and in politics are not credible.

The split that occurred in the CPP, was a result of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom quitting the CPP and saying he will create his own political party came about because Nduom did not unite with the idea of the CPP focusing on just increasing its numbers in Parliament he felt that the mission should solely be focused on creating a Presidential Candidate for 2012.  Despite all the objectives and criticism the CPP is on the move and the importance remains that they still have a wide support system.

In our quest for Pan-African Internationalism, the Pan-African International Coordinating Committee (PICC) believes that we must support the positive endeavours that exist on behalf of the CPP while struggle for ideological clarification and exposing the current contradictions that may exist in the current work that is being established. We realize that positive alliances must be built throughout the world, based on principal unity to overturn the economical exploitation of the mineral resources and the labour of African working class as well as ending the political oppression.

We in the PICC believe that this can best be accomplished the formation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Africa (PDRA) which would remove the colonialist-capitalist artificially created boarders which keep us divided and allow Neo-colonialism to rain supreme. This physical change in Africa would created an important psychological change among the African working class and propel us into the 21st century. This accomplishment would allow the African working class to control the destiny of Africa for the first time in many years. Ghana must join the struggle to help achieve a unity Africa under Socialism, an Africa under the leadership of the African working class, an Africa knows as the People’s Democratic Republic of Africa.

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