Mugabe laments the death of ‘Nkrumahism’
By Lloyd Gumbo
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has bemoaned the death of Nkrumahism among the majority of African leaders who are given to foreign capitals, particularly from the West, a development that is incongruous with Ghana’ founding President Kwame Nkrumah who advocated pan-Africanism.
Pan-Africanism or African-centred thought is an ideology inspired by Nkrumah who advocated for the unity of all Africans to use their resources to meet their needs so that they could realise their aspirations.
Mugabe, who joined other Heads of State and Government and representatives from several African countries in Accra, Ghana, for the continent’s first independent country’ s 60th independence anniversary last week, told Ghanaian and Zimbabwean media after the celebrations that it was unfortunate that most African leaders had moved away from Nkrumah’s principles of self-determination.
“I don’t know whether Nkrumah’s revolutionary politics is still amongst any of our leaders here, the CPP (Convention People’s Party), which was an example to many other organisations especially in Southern Africa, is about to suffer its extinction” said the Zimbabwean leader, himself a Pan-Africanist in his own right.
“It appears, there hasn’t been a kind of real succession trend to Nkrumahism. Nkrumah might have written books. But when I think of that, I tend to get tears in my eyes – Nkrumah did not deserve that. The most cruel and brutal to Kwame Nkrumah, that coup de tat of 1966.
“He had not done much. He had wonderful ideas, a Union of Africa. His view was that Africa must not wait until each African country has consolidated itself. If we do that, we will get countries that have entrenched themselves in nationalistic power, which we do not want to get out of, the environment of nationalism. Let’s just do it once and establish the Union of African States, the American away.”
Mugabe said while Nkrumah differed with Tanzanian founding President Julius Nyerere on the timing and implementation strategy of the Union of African States, they agreed on the objective of establishing a Union of African States.
“But ooh alas, today we are truly entrenched in our own nationalisms. Each and every African country, alas, some of us are back to the yoke of colonialism. We call it neo-colonialism.
“We can’t do much by way of our individual actions unless we report to capitals in France, United States etc. I don’t know whether Ghana is as free as Nkrumah wanted us to be.
“But I say, down with imperialism and neo-colonialism. The natural resources whether it’s gold, diamond, oil they belong to Africa. In some (African) countries, it’s written that all oil underground belongs to France. Shall we have another Nkrumah? Will Ghana give us another Nkrumah?” said Mugabe.
He said he was impressed by Ghana’s incumbent President, Nana Akufo-Addo, whose main speech at the celebrations acknowledged the role and tribulations that Nkrumah went through even during his studies in America and London in making sure the then Gold Coast gained independence from British colonialism.
“I wondered and said to myself, ‘aah do the Ghanaians still remember all this? Do the Ghanaians still love Nkrumah? Why did they send him into exile?’
“Anyway, at the point of his death, they wanted a body bag at least. They wanted him back so that he could finally rest in the country which he had helped to create initially,” said Mugabe.
Nkrumah, who was Ghana’s first leader at Independence in 1957, was overthrown through a military coup in 1966 while visiting China.
US Central Intelligence Agency files declassified in 1999 reveal that the United States had been trying to influence Dr Nkrumah’s overthrow since 1964 because of his pan-African views.
Nkrumah then lived in Guinea before succumbing to throat cancer in 1972 in Romania.
His remains were returned to Ghana for burial in his hometown.
Leading member of the CPP and veteran journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has written about Pan-Africanism, which he said was founded on the 5th Pan African Congress, which defined and clarified the ideology of Pan-Africanism.
“It defined Pan Africanism as an anti-imperialist concept and saw its prime movers as workers and the underprivileged. Pan Africanism was also seen as an enterprise at building socialism,” wrote Pratt.
He said the 1945 congress that was organised by Nkrumah and then Trinidad Prime Minister George Padmore in Manchester, the United Kingdom, adopted a resolution by Nkrumah, which promoted Pan-Africanism.
The resolution read: “We believe in the rights of all peoples to govern themselves. We affirm the rights of all colonial peoples to control their own destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether political or economic. The peoples of the colonies must have the right to elect their own government; a government without restrictions from a foreign power. We say to the peoples of the colonies that they must strive for these goals by all means at their disposal.
“The object of imperialist powers is to exploit. By granting the right to the colonial peoples to govern themselves, they are defeating that objective. Therefore, the struggle for political power by the colonial and subject peoples is a first step towards, and the necessary pre-requisite to complete social, economic and political emancipation. “The fifth Pan-African Congress, therefore, calls on the workers and farmers of the colonies to organize effectively, Colonial workers must be in the frontlines of the battle against imperialism…”
Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanist views are well captured by his most quoted statement on the eve of Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957 when he declared: “The independence of Ghana is meaningless until it is linked to the total liberation of the African continent.”
Mugabe said these are the views that saw Nkrumah take a leading role in ensuring that the Organisation of African Unity was established.