We refer to 24th February as “Ghana’s Day of Shame” because it was a day on which one of the most vicious attacks on African independence was launched and launched from our country. This attack was designed by the Intelligence services of Western Imperialism and executed by a handful of traitors in our uniformed services conspiring with the leadership of the Danquah-Busia political tradition. However, it succeeded due to weaknesses inherent in the CPP and the progressive movement of the day.
The 1966 coup was destructive in every sense of the word and on every scale. For generations, coup apologists have peddled the big lie, (befitting the ‘day of shame’), that the 1966 coup was “bloodless”; that it was “popular” and that it served only to “liberate” Ghana from “dictatorship”. The truth of course is that 24th February was a bloody event which heralded weeks of arrests, detention, looting, rape, and killing, and years of pillage, of state
and private property to enrich leaders and leading supporters of the Danquah-Busia political
On the day of the coup many people were killed in cold blood. These included not only soldiers and police officers but innocent unarmed civilians. Following the coup, hundreds of leaders of the CPP, Trade Unionists, leaders of the Farmers Council, Cooperatives, Civil and Public servants, security personnel were arrested, incarcerated, and tortured by the new regime.
Books were burnt, schools were shut (in some cases for good), historical artefacts were destroyed. The neo-colonial counter revolution closed hundreds of ongoing integrated economic development projects. Again, the coup makers peddled the deceit that these developments were “prestige projects”.
These “prestige projects” included the Tema motorway, the Cocoa and food crop silos in Accra, Tema, Ho, and elsewhere, the State House, the Atomic Energy complex in Kwabenya, the pre-fabricated construction factory in Tema, the Bui Dam, Volta River Project and hundreds of other related economic facilities and infrastructure. Agricultural Mechanization centres and Workers Brigade farms were simply shut.
With these closures, of course, came the massive retrenchment of the thousands of young Ghanaians who had been educated and trained to operate these new industries and infrastructure. Many state factories were subsequently “sold” to leading members and sympathizers of the Danquah-Busia tradition who are today paraded as “entrepreneurs” and “industrialists”.
The coup makers abandoned planning as a tool for national development and abandoned Ghana’s 7-year Development plan designed to get us to “first world” development status by 1970 (even before Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea). The 1966 coup set Ghana’s economic development back by at least a generation.
And that is not all. Critical areas of social progress were rolled back to affirm “traditional” privilege and re-legitimise an ethnocentric identify politics that the Nkrumah SOCIALIST FORUM OF GHANA (SFG)
www.socialistforumofghana.org P.O. Box NT 272, Accra – Newtown Accra leadership had almost eradicated from national politics.
The National Liberation Council(NLC) systematically attacked women’s rights, cooperative farmers’ rights, trade union and workers’ rights. It curtailed political and civil rights of citizens and subsequently tried to entrench this in Article 71 of the constitution which it foisted on Ghana in 1969. This provision arbitrarily disqualified thousands of innocent citizens from holding public and political office
in their homeland.
The damage of the NLC’s ethnic hegemony agenda lasted far more than a generation. Of course, the coup makers and their backers did not restrict their attack to Ghanaian politics, and productive infrastructure and social relations. They launched a wholesale onslaught on the African liberation movement and all its expressions in Ghana. Solidarity was, of course, a hallmark of the Ghanaian independence revolution. The counter-revolution shut down the Bureau of African Affairs.
It closed the International Students Hostel. It “scattered” Liberation refugee camps in Obenimase, in Konongo, and elsewhere in Ghana. It silenced the external service of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation – GBC 3 – which had become an important voice for African liberation and Unification. It carried out mass arrests and deportations of pan-Africanist activists from the United States’ civil rights movement, from South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, and the liberation movements of Mozambique, Angola, Congo, and Guinea Bissau.
It also deported democratic activists from Nigeria, Togo, la Cote d’Ivoire, and Niger.
It also expelled socialists from Western Europe and the USA who had come to participate in a promising African process of post-colonial reconstruction and dignity. All of this was done in flagrant disregard for Ghana’s obligations as a State at the United Nations and under the Geneva conventions, and conventions on political refugees and asylum seekers. The coup makers puppet masters in the USA, Britain, Germany, etc. demanded and got a cessation of sovereign relations with Cuba, the GDR, the Eastern Bloc, and the Peoples Republic of China.
The coup-makers halted the training of young Ghanaians in Socialist countries. Ghana and Africa (through Ghana) lost the scientific, engineering, and practical expertise and the transfer of technologies that these relationships enabled.
It set back the defeat of colonialism and proxy racist regimes in Africa by as much as a decade and resulted in tens of thousands of needless deaths. The radical restructuring of Ghana’s Foreign policy was expressed most
clearly in the willingness of the Busia government, to break ranks with other Organisation of African Unity (OAU) members, and to open diplomatic relations with the racist Government in South Africa.
The 1966 coup damaged not only the direct fortunes of Ghana but of the entire African Liberation Movement and damaged it severely. Sixty-one (61) years after this Day of Shame, Africa has not achieved economic and
political independence. Most African governments, like Ghana’s, pursue it only rhetorically while overseeing the systematic rape of their peoples’ resources and labour-power for the benefit of their Western masters and for the freedom to accumulate wealth through staggering corruption.
Illustrative of how far we have fallen is the fact that 55 years after the sabotage of the 1 st Republic by the Danquah-Busia tradition, Ghana is at the weakest point in its independent history. Today Ghana lacks the capacity to run an effective public health programme.
We lack the capacity to mount pervasive or even random testing in communities or to effectively trace
people who have come into contact with COVID-19 infected persons so we can isolate them
and contain the spread of virus.
We lack the capacity to organise a 3-week lock-down and provide food, water and basic hygiene products to underprivileged citizens in our capital city. We find ourselves completely dependent upon hand outs and imports of basic personal protective equipment despite once having an integrated publicly owned industrial sector.
Today we have leaders who see a life-threatening pandemic as an opportunity to extort money from already-stressed Ghanaians returning home to face the uncertainties of the pandemic with their loved ones. Today, a country like Ghana, which once designed, built, equipped, and manned impressive pharmaceutical industries like the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) Pharmaceuticals Ltd to proactively address our peoples’ medical needs is dependent upon vaccine handouts from abroad to protect our people from infection and
And our plight is the plight of most African countries because our malaise is the same from Cape Town to Cairo – the subordination of every aspect of our economic and social lives to the single-minded transnational corporate drive to accumulate profits for their multi-billionaire owners.
We mark this day of Shame every year to remind us of our need to close ranks, build solidarity and always remain vigilant against those who would put their greed before our development needs. We must commit to eradicating the imperialist epidemic that is destroying our lives and the lives of our children and undermining Africa’s place in the world.
Long live the African Revolution,
Long live the Nkrumaist Vision.