GHANA: History, Nkrumah-ism, Political Journey, December 2020 Elections; All You Need To Know About This Iconic African Country.

Colonial History

  • 1821-Modern Day Territory of Ghana was annexed by British Colonialists and made a Gold Coast Crown Colony of the larger British Gold Coast Protectorate referred to as the “Gold Coast” due to its rich Gold Deposits and Gold Trade.
  • United Gold Coast Convention”-UGCC founded by J.B Danquah on August 1947 becomes the first Nationalist Party in advocating for the Independence of the Gold Coast. J.B Danquah was joined by other Nationalists;Ako Adjei,George Paa Grant,Ofori Atta or Paa Willie,Edward Akuffo,Emmanuel Obetsedi and later Kwame Nkrumah to establish the Party. Paa Grant became the fisrt President of the UGCC Party.
  • Dr.Kwame Nkrumah;a Ghana,US and UK trained Teacher,Economist,Theologist,Sociologist,Philosopher and later a Distinguished Pan-African Icon was called in to join the UGCC by Ako Adjei who had met and known him at the Lincoln University where Nkrumah was a Black Nationalism/Pan-Africanism Student Activist and Leader.The Party through its President Paa Grant agreed to pay for his Return from Britain where he still was a Pan-African Activist and Student.Upon his return on December 16,1947;J.B Danquah proposed him to take the Position of General Secretary and Party endorsed him for that Position.
  • Inspired by the Pan-African and Black Nationalism Ideals of W.E.B Dubois,Marcus Garvey,George Padmore et al;Nkrumah had become a Staunch Pan-African Activist to a Point of being a main Organizer of One of the most important Pan-African Congress in the Journey of Africa’s Decolonization;the 5th Pan-African Congress on October 1945 at Manchester-Britain.
  • As UGCC’s General Secretary;Nkrumah became a strong National Activist for Gold Coast’s Independence;a Style that did not sit well with the Party’s Moderate Approach.A large Protest by World War 2 Ex-ServiceMen from Gold Coast who were demanding their Dues for having been part of British Fighters in the War broke out in Accra on February 1948.British Authorities accused the UGCC of inciting the Protest and arrested its 6 Leaders.The 6 were detained and later released on April 1948. J.B Danquah and other UGCC Leaders blamed their Arrest to Nkrumah’s strong Activism for Independence marking the start of their Fallout with him.
  • Under Pressure from the Masses who were for strong Activism in demand for Gold Coast’s Independence;Nkrumah quit the UGCC and formed his own Party-Convention People’s Party-CPP on June 1949 with a sole Mission of demanding Gold Coast’s Freedom.
  • Nkrumah and CCP Activism gained Momentum.On January 1950 he was again arrested after leading an Independence Protest and detained for 3 Years leaving his Assistant Komla Gbedemah to sit in for him at the CPP.
  • Legislative Elections towards Gold Coast’s Self-Rule were held on February 1951 and the CPP beat UGCC Winning 34/38 Seats.Nkrumah was elected for the Accra Seat while still in Prison. His election prompted his Release later the same Month.British Governor General asked him to form an interim internal Government.Nkrumah became Leader of Government Business and later the first Gold Coast Prime Minister in the Run-up to Independence.

Independence-Kwame Nkrumah’s Administration And Activism for Africa’s Independence and Unity

  • March 6,1957-Gold Coast Regained its Independence as GHANA under the Leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.It became the first Country in Sub-Saharan Africa to Regain its Independence from European Colonialists in a Colorful Ceremony acknowledged by the then World Leaders.
  • “At long last the Battle has ended and thus Ghana your beloved Country is free forever.We are going to create our own African Personality and Identity.It’s the only way we can show the World that we are ready for our own Battles.Let us remember that Nothing in the World can be done without the Support of God.We have won the Battle and we again Re-dedicate Ourselves;Our Independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total Liberation of Africa.”-part of Kwame Nkrumah’s impassioned Independence Day Speech that saw him hailed and named as “Osagyefo” meaning “Redeemer” in Akan Dialect. Later on April 1960;a Plebiscite and Presidential Elections were organized .Nkrumah Won the Presidential Election with a Landslide against J.B Danquah and Ghana became a Republic on July 1,1960.
  • Nkrumah often regarded as “Africa’s Founding Father” began a Mission of assisting the rest of Africa to Regain their Independence.At Accra-Ghana;Nkrumah organized Conferences at that were Key in Mobilizing Africans towards the Decolonization of Africa.These were the first “Conference of Independent African States” on April 1958, “All-African People’s Conference” on December 1958-(a Significant Conference that was attended by over 62 African Pro-Independence Nationalist Organizations), “All-African Trade Union Federation” Conference on November 1959, “Positive Action and Security in Africa” Conference on April 1960 and the July 1960 “Conference of African Women”.Later in 1960-(the Year of Africa)-he led the formation of “Union of African States” and Women of the Union of African States” Organizations.
  • Nkrumah also led the Casblanca Group of African Leaders from-(Guinea,Algeria,Libya,Mali,Egypt and Morocco)-in the 1961 Conference at Casblanca-Morocco. The 7 Leaders had a shared Vision of a United States Africa under One Union Government. Their Vision for Africa was well articulated in their Speeches at the historic first Summit of 32 Leaders of Independent African States later on May 1963 at Addis Ababa-Ethiopia. Nkrumah’s Speech was particularly striking in “United States of Africa” Vision. “Our objective is African Union Now. There is no Time to waste. We Must Unite now or Perish. I am Confident that by our concerted Effort and Determination, we shall lay here the Foundations for a Continental Union of African States. No sporadic Act nor pious Resolution can resolve our present Problems. Nothing will be of avail, except the United Act of a United Africa”-Part of Sir Kwame Nkrumah’s Speech at the Historic Summit. Their Great Vision for a United Africa however did not prevail; another Group of 25 African Leaders-Monrovia Group– who had met at Monrovia-Liberia prior to the Addis Summit wanted a gradual,staggered Approach towards African Unity unlike their Casablanca Counterparts who wanted to have a Union Government of Africa there and then. The Monrovia Group prevailed since they were the Majority in the Summit.This led to the formation of a Weak Organization as a Compromise between the 2 Groups-the “Organization of African Unity-OAU” on May 25,1963-(Today known as the African Union Commission). Nkrumah did not lose Hope;he continued championing for the Unity of African Countries and always cautioning Africans and African Leaders on the Dangers of a Disunited Africa in the face of growing Imperialism and Neocolonialism.
  • Kwame Nkrumah; a Committed and Visionary Leader led Ghana with strategic Policies of Development making it a Model Country in Africa at the Time. He established Schools and Hospitals and made basic Education and Healthcare Free during his Administration. He began by building the great Akosombo HEP Dam and VALCO Industry in his Industrialization Plan to earn his Country Economic Independence. His 1959 10-Years Industrial Development Plan outlined Strategy to establish 600 Industries for 100 different Varieties of Products.Under his GIHOC-Industrial Plan;his Government had managed to establish 86 Industries across all Sectors of the Economy by the Time he was Overthrown from Power on February 1966.
  • While on a State Visit to Hanoi-Vietnam and China;Nkrumah was Overthrown from Power in a US-CIA and other European Imperial Actors-assisted Military Coup according to several Accounts including his “Dark Days in Ghana” Memoir.Military Generals Kwasi Kotoka,Arthur Ankrah,Akwasi Afrifa  and Police Inspector General Willie Kofi were the Coup Leaders. Nkrumah’s hard-line stance against Imperialism and Neocolonialism in Africa by West and European Powers and Call for the Unity of African Countries is said to be the main Cause of their Plot in his Ouster.
  • Nkrumah did not return to Ghana;his Comrade and Ally President Ahmed Sekou Toure welcomed him to Guinea and made him his Ceremonial Co-President. The 2 continued with their Campaign against Imperialism and Neocolonialism in Africa until late 1971 when Nkrumah’s Health started declining.Nkrumah flew to Bucharest-Romania for Treatment where he was reportedly diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.On April 27,1972 Nkrumah succumbed while undergoing Treatment at the Age of 62.He was flown back to his Home Village in Nkroful-Ellembelle for Burial.

Ghana Under Military Coups and Autocracy

  • Lt.Gen Arthur Ankrah took over Power after Nkrumah’s Ouster and ruled via a Miliatry Council-NLC until April 1969 when he was forced to Resign.He was succeeded by Lt.Gen Akwasi Afrifa who ruled until Agust 1970 when the then Speaker of Parliament Nii Ollennu took over as Interim President during a Transition. Kofi Busia and his Busia Government led by Veteran UGCC Leader Edward Akuffo took over after Legislative Elections.The Busia-Akuffo Government ruled until January 1972 when it was Overthrown by General Kutu Acheampong. Gen.Acheampong ruled until July 1978 when he was Overthrown by Lt.General F.W.Kwasi Akuffo. Gen.F.W Akuffo ruled until June 1979 when another Military Officer Flt.Lt Jerry Rawlings Overthrew him through his Armed Forces Revolutionary Council-AFRC.
  • Flt.Lt Jerry Rawlings began by trying former Military Government Officers and Heads of States in what his AFRC Junta called a “House cleaning Exercise to Reset the Country’s Direction and Moral Values”. Three former Military Heads of State-Kutu Acheampong,FW.Akuffo and Akwasi Afrifa- and 5 other Senior Military Officers were Court-martialled and Sentenced to Death by Firing Squad;they were all Killed by a Firing Squad between June 16-June 26 1979. Jerry Rawlings had himself earlier led an Unsuccessful Coup against the Government of Gen.F.W.Akuffo  on May 1979 where he and 6 other Soldiers were arrested and Sentenced to Death. He was later Freed from Jail while awaiting Execution by Mutineering Soldiers who joined him in Overthrowing F.W.Akuffo on June 1979.
  • Jerry Rawlings and ARFC Junta ruled until September 1979 when they organized an Election in order to hand over Power to a Civilian Government.On September 24,1979 Jerry Rawlings ARFC Junta handed over Power to an elected Civilian Government of President Hilla Limann. Jerry Rawlings started criticizing Limann’s Government accusing it of Corruption and failed Governance. After 2 Years of Limann’s Government;Jerry Rawlings Overthrew it in another Coup of December 1981.

Jerry Rawlings Military Rule-Ghana’s Transition to Constitutionalism And Multi-party Democracy

  • After 11 Years as PNDC Military Ruler; Jerry Rawlings PNDC Government formed a National Commission on Democracy and later a Constitutional Committee during Africa’s Years of Multi-Party Revolution in a bid to restore Constitutional Order and Multi-Party Democracy in Ghana. A new Multi-Party Democracy Constitution was adopted in a Referendum May 1992.General Elections were held later on November 1992;Jerry Rawlings and his newly formed National Democratic CongressNDC Party was elected for the first Time in a Multi-Party Democracy Elections with 58.4% against 4 other Candidates.
  • Jerry Rawlings was Re-elected on December 1996 Elections with 57.4% against 2 other Candidates led by then ‘New Patriotic Party-NPP’ Challenger John Kufour. Jerry Rawlings peacefully left Office after the End of his 2 Constitutional Terms on January 2001. John Atta Mills;his Vice President and NDC Candidate in the December 2000 Elections lost to NPP Candidate John Kufour who Won with 56.9% followed by John Atta Mills with 43.1%. “Democracy is not realized merely by having a Machinery for registering Voters and getting them to Vote every Four Years but also by there being a Machinery for Identifying the Needs of those Voters in between the Election Periods and monitoring the Realization of those Needs”-President Jerry Rawlings Quote on Matters Democracy and Elections.
  • Jerry Rawlings-Ghana’s longest serving President-1981-2001- is remembered for bringing the Country back to Democracy and Constitutional Order through the 1992 Constitution that is still in Use Today. The Execution of 3 former Military Heads of State,Some Supreme Court Judges and other Senior Military Officers by a Firing Squad during his AFRC-PNDC Junta Rule has however remained a Controversial Matter in his Legacy. A Charismatic Hands-on Leader;Jerry Rawlings held Ghana together after the sluggish and tumultuous Years that followed the Ouster of Ghana’s Founding President Kwame Nkrumah. In 1991 his Government built a National Mausoleum in Honour of Sir Nkrumah-Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra where Nkrumah declared Ghana’s Independence on March 1957. Until his Death on November 12,2020-(Reportedly from COVID-19 Complications–.Official Government Communique from President Nana Akufo Addo said the former President Died while receiving Treatment after a ‘Short Illness’).; Jerry Rawlings-an Outspoken Pan-African was serving as African Union’s Envoy to Somalia.

Ghana Under the- “Gentle Giant” -President John Kufuor

  • President John Kufuor successfully led Ghana for 2 Terms-January 2001-January 2009. His sound Economic Policies saw Ghana’s steady Economic growth rising from a Low income Country to a Low Middle Income Country in 2007. Cocoa Production doubled under his Government
  • John Kufuor is mostly  remembered for his School Feeding Program, Free Maternal Care, Construction of Tamale and Sekondi Stadiums and the Renovation of other Stadiums,Reforms in Banking and expansion of Road Network. His LEAP Program lifted Millions of Ghanaians out of Hunger and Poverty;an Initiative that saw him Win the ‘World Food Prize’.

Ghana Under President John Atta Mills

  • Kufour was succeeded by his former NDC Challenger and former Vice President to Jerry Rawlings John Atta Mills who managed to NPP’s Candidate now Incumbent Nana Akuffo in a tight Election of December 2008 that ended in 50.2% to 49.8%.
  • President Atta Mills ruled for 3 and a Half Years until July 24,2012 when he reportedly succumbed to Cancer while undergoing Treatment at the Age of 68.
  • Under Mills; Ghana was in 2011 named the fastest growing Economy in the World. It’s under his Government that Ghana began and became a successful Oil Producer.

Transition to President John Dramani Mahama

  • Atta Mills’ Vice President John D.Mahama was sworn in on the same Day President Mills’ Died in accordance to the Constitution.
  • John Mahama was confirmed as President after Winning the December 2012 Elections.He won the Election with 50.7% via NDC beating the now Incumbent President Nana Akuffo of the NPP who came Second with 47.7%.
  • President Mahama ruled until December 2016 when he lost his Bid for a Second Term to his main Challenger Nana Akuffo who got 53.7% against his 44.5% .
  • Mahama had started several Big Infrastructure Development Projects like the University of Ghana Medical Center-UGMC, Roads among other Infrastructure that were still ongoing when he lost his Bid for a Second Term. Several Corruption Scandals saw his Government fall out of Favour with Ghanaian Electorate. His Government however had managed to complete the Bui Dam 400MW HEP Project President Kufour had began late in his last Term in Office.
  • John Mahama is once again the main Challenger to Incumbent President Nana Akufo Addo in the December 7,2020 Presidential Election. He has promised to create 1 Million sustainable Jobs within his first Term in Office if elected saying Youth Unemployment is rife in the Country. He has also promised to complete Major Development Projects he had started in his first Term which he says were Abandoned when President Nana took Office on January 2017.

President Nana Akufo Addo 4 Years In Government

  • President Nana Akufo’s Government is being credited with Free ‘Senior High school’-Free SHS Education for all Ghanaian Children in Public Senior High Schools, the National Builders Corps-NABCO Graduate Training and Employment Program, Several ongoing Roads and Road Interchanges in his ‘2020 Year of Roads’ Program and his ambitious ‘One District-One Factory’-1D1F and ‘One Village-One Dam’-1V1D Projects that are ongoing. NPP Campaign Communicators claim that Nana’s Government has established 28 New Factories and 375 Small Earth Dams between January 2017 when he took Office To-date. President Nana’s Critics say the complete and ongoing Big-Budget Roads and other Infrastructure, 1D1F and 1V1D Projects are being done through borrowed Funds that are rapidly increasing Ghana’s Debt Burden. His Administration has also been accused of Corruption Scandals and Nepotism.
  • President Nana Akufo’s April 2020 Pledge to build 88 New District Hospitals in 88 Districts that he said don’t have Hospitals within a Year and some 6 New Regional Hospitals continues to draw Criticism from his Rivals and a section of the Population who have asked him why he had to wait until the last Year of his first Term to build such essential Public Infrastructure.
  • His Government’s April 2020 Move to Pay Water and Electricity Bills for all Ghanaians for 3 Months during the difficult Period of Corona Virus Pandemic Lockdown earned him Accolades in Ghana and across the World. His July Commitment to extend the Relief for another 3 Months has been acclaimed as the most Compassionate Government Decision to relieve its People in the wake of Hardships brought by COVID-19 Pandemic. Electricity Bills Relief for Ghanaians who use less than 50KWH per Month has been extended to 2021.

Ghana December 7,2020 Presidential Elections

  • There are 12 Presidential Candidates in this Election led by Incumbent who is the Oldest Candidate; 76-Years old President Nana Akufo Addo seeking his second and last 4-Years Term via the NPP Party followed by his Arch-rival in 2012 and 2016; 62-Years old immediate former President John Dramani Mahama via the NDC Party. President Nana is a Lawyer/Economist by Profession while Mahama is a Media Communicator by Profession. The 2 will be facing off against each other for the Third Time in yet another Tight Race between them.
  • There are 3 Women in this Race led by former first Lady 72-Years old Konadu Rawlings,51-Years old former Miss Ghana Brigitte Akosua and 65-Years old Akua Donkor.The Youngest Candidates are 48-Years old Accountant Hassan Ayagira and another 49-Years old Accountant Kofi Akpaloo. Another notable Candidate is Reverend Christian Kwabena Andrews;a 55-Years old Priest,Teacher and Politician via his ‘GUM-Ghana Union Movemen’ Party.He says he is campaigning to bring back the Leadership,Dream,Spirit and Policies of Ghana’s Founding President Sir Kwame Nkrumah which he says have been abandoned.
  • There are slightly over 17 Million Registered Voters expected to Cast their Votes across some 33,367 Polling Stations across Ghana’s 216 Districts. A total of 27 Political Parties will be contesting in this Election that will also involve the Election of 275 Members of Parliament according to the Electoral Commission of Ghana led by its Chair Mrs.Jean Mensah.

GHANA-Quick Fact-File

  • Ghana is a Country along the Coast of Atlantic in West Africa Home to 31.3 Million People.It shares Border with Ivory Coast,Burkina Faso and Togo.
  • The Country is Named after the King of Wagadu Empire/Kingdom who was known as Ghana meaning ‘Warrior King’. The Empire/Kingdom existed between 8th-13th Century. Its Capital was situated in Modern Day Town of Koumbi Saleh in Mauritania.
  • With a GDP of $68.3 Billion;Ghana is the 9th Largest Economy in Africa and Second Largest in West Africa after Nigeria.
  • Ghana is a lower Middle-income Country with a GDP Per Capita of $2,202-(highest in West Africa)-and a Global Rank of Position 142/189 on the Human Development Index; The Country is relatively well-off with just about 20% of its Population below the International Poverty Line of $1.90 per Person-per Day.
  • Ghana is Africa’s largest producer of Gold and 7th largest producer in the World. It’s also the second largest producer of Cocoa in Africa and the World just after its Neighbour Ivory Coast. The Country is also a Significant producer of Crude Oil since 2011.
  • With Stable Democracy; Ghana is a Peaceful Country that attracts Tourists from all over the World. Its Coastline’s BeachesCape Coast Castle,Labadi,Busua,Kokrobite and Aborigines are some Top Tourist Destinations. Mole and Kakum National Parks and Aburi botanical Gardens are also Top Tourist Destinations. The Country has 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Ghana’s official Language is English-inherited from its former Colonial Master. Pidgin English, Akan, Ewe and Dagbani are some widely spoken local Languages/Dialects.
  • About 71% of Ghanaians are Christians with about 18% being Muslims. The rest observe indigenous Beliefs or have no Religious Beliefs at all.
  • Ghanaian Cedi is the Country’s Currency; It’s the Third most Valuable/Strong Currency in Africa.
  • On November 21,2020-Ghana became the first Country in Africa to launch Universal Quick Response Code Payment System on a National Level where Ghanaians can now use the (GHQR) to make all types of Payments from Multiple Sources including Mobile Bank and Mobile Money either through Smartphone Scanning or a USSD Code. The Government and Central Bank of Ghana said this is in a Plan of expanding Financial Inclusion and making Ghana a Cash-lite Society.
  • Accra is the Country’s Capital,largest and most populous City. The other big and populous Cities are Kumasi and Tamale.

(IMAGES COURTESY)

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