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Was J.B. Danquah A CIA Agent? All You Need To Know   
 
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26-Sep-2011  
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In his book, “By Nkrumah’s Side”, Tawiah Adamafio, a former confidante of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Information Minister of the Convention People’s Party administration, who was later on to be tried and convicted for the Kulungugu assassination attempt on the life of Ghana’s first President, wrote of the nature of the CPP at the time:

“I knew their intrigues and jealousies, the vicious whispering campaigns and the rumour mongering, the deliberate name-smearing and wicked mud-slinging, the character assassination, the interminable inner party struggle, the incompetence and greed, the bribery and corruption

IT IS REFRESHING THAT TODAY’S CPP HAS PICKED THE GOOD AND THE INSPIRING FROM NKRUMAH’S EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP OF GHANA, SUCH AS SOCIAL JUSTICE, INDUSTRIALISATION AND AFRICAN SOLIDARITY AND ABANDONED THE NEGATIVES, INCLUDING WHAT TAWIAH ADAMAFIO LISTED ABOVE.

Unfortunately, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), under the leadership of a man who considers himself an ‘Nkrumaist’, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, has focused on reviving, owning and implementing the very same ills described above by a former CPP chief propagandist. That description quoted above could be said to fit the NDC more today than perhaps even the CPP before February 1966.

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, during a serious discussion on the controversial decision by President Mills to make Nkrumah the only Founder of Ghana, I made the point that the dictionary defines founder as one who establishes something or forms the basis for something and that by December 28, 1947, when Nkrumah was brought back to Ghana to serve as the first General Secretary (and National Organiser, effectively) of the United Gold Coast Convention, the concept of the territorial entity called Ghana, including the Ashanti Confederacy, the Northern Territories, and South Togoland, as put forward by the home-based Gold Coast intelligentsia, led by Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah, had already been accepted in 1944 by Governor Burns, forming the basis of the Burns Constitution which came into effect in 1946. Thus, Nkrumah did not play the kind of role played by the Founding Fathers of America who brought together, first, the 13 states.

Though, Nkrumah gave the independence movement a prominent, decisive, necessary, stimulus and final push it was unfair to history and the sacrifices of many, particularly the tall list of nationalists since John Mensah Sarbah’s Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society of 1897, to say that one man was responsible for founding a territorial entity that was in place and a struggle that was joined even before his physical presence in Ghana.

I went on to point out that, one of Nkrumah’s European advisors during his time in the United Kingdom, Fenner Brockway (the Baron Brockway), an anti-colonial activist and Labour politician, who died in 1988, recalled that “Nkrumah was very disinclined to go” back to the Gold Coast on the invitation of the UGCC’s executive committee. “Both George [Padmore] and I urged him to go and change the organisation since it was the only organisation in Ghana. I don’t think I had much influence, but George Padmore certainly did.”

I also pointed out that, according to the autobiography of Nkrumah’s former close pal and neighbour at Primrose Hill Gardens, Hampstead, London, Joe Appiah, the only other route for returning home being considered after World War II by Nkrumah was the possibility of obtaining the editorship of the Ashanti Pioneer, “as a stepping stone to greater heights”.

Records of his letters, available at the University of Ghana, show that Nkrumah had also discussed a plan for establishing restaurants and bookshops with his cousin back home, Ackah Watson. The UGCC gave him the platform and that UGCC was created by others before him, and the symbol of the ‘Big Six’, at least attests to this collective effort towards self-rule in Ghana.

But, the Deputy Minister of Science & Technology, in his earlier contribution, had described Nkrumah as like Lionel Messi of Barcelona, who plays well with Barcelona, even if not with his national team, but he is the only one who gets the crown as Best Player. By his own logic, Nkrumah was the ‘Best Founder’ of Ghana just like Messi is not the only player of Barca. Omane went on to describe J B Danquah as a traitor, a “CIA Agent,” who even worked against the interest of Ghana’s cocoa farmers.

THIS WAS SAID WITH AN ABSOLUTE DE-INTELLECTUALISED APPRECIATION OF THE HISTORICAL FACT THAT EVEN THE CONCEPT OF A COCOA MARKETING BOARD WAS THAT OF DANQUAH AND THAT DATE MARCH 6 AND THE NAME GHANA WERE BOTH PROPOSED BY DANQUAH AND ACCEPTED BY NKRUMAH. I HAD EXPECTED THE HOST TO DEMAND A SUBSTANTIATION OF THE SERIOUS ALLEGATION AGAINST DANQUAH BUT THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. MY REPEATED CALLS FOR EVIDENCE WERE IGNORED BY BOTH OMANE AND THE SIT-IN NEWSFILE HOST.

I have had the opportunity to read the book by Richard Mahoney, whose father was US ambassador to Ghana between 1952-65, and nowhere in that book is Danquah described as a CIA agent. In fact, the younger Mahoney, who was not older than 10 years at the material time, refers to some financial support, stipends, that were allegedly offered to Danquah’s wife and 13 dependent children by an official at the embassy, who was the CIA local agent, when Danquah was first imprisoned by Nkrumah for 11 months between February 1961 and January 1962, without the prior knowledge of his father.

INSTRUCTIVELY, WILLIAM MAHONEY ONLY BECAME THE AMBASSADOR TO GHANA AFTER THE ALLEGED SUPPORT TO DANQUAH’S WIFE! IN NO DECLASSIFIED CIA CABLE OR FILE IS DANQUAH DESCRIBED AS A ‘PROTECTED’ SOURCE AND NOWHERE IS HE REFERRED TO AS GIVING INFORMATION TO THE US THAT CAN BE DESCRIBED AS TREASONABLE.

Indeed, how does the unsubstantiated allegation in Richard Mahoney’s book make Danquah a ‘CIA Agent’? Going by the logic readily deducted from the Mahoney episode, does that mean that some senior members of President Mills’ current Cabinet who have been accused of receiving occasional financial support from President Kufuor’s National Security Co-ordinator were also NPP Agents?

Does the fact that Alassane Outtara’s appeal to the international community earlier this year for support to overthrow the Laurent Gbagbo regime and help restore the democratic mandate of the people of Cote d’Ivoire make him an agent of the nations that responded, including France and the ECOWAS nations that signed up to the agreement to undertake military action, including Ghana? Can we describe Nelson Mandela, Oliver Thambo and others who got support from the KGB in their fight against Apartheid as KGB spies or agents? We must be fair to those who sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy today and not insult their memory and discourage future patriots.

It was no secret during the time of Ghana’s independence struggle and the post-independence ideological struggle on which future path for the young nation, that the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition preferred the American/Western model of a federalist state, multi-party democracy, rule of law, individual freedom and responsibility and free enterprise to the socialist state-capitalist, authoritarian option.

Indeed, the disclosure of confidential cables, through Wikileaks, has thought us that even those who describe themselves as socialists or social democrats and no friends of America are captured as disclosing information to the US. Thankfully for them the leaks have given them the humus opportunity to explain or deny what has been attributed to them. Should that not make some of their friends more cautious now when it comes to labelling others CIA agents?

I went on during Newsfile to make the point that there has been a deliberate attempt to describe the opposition in Ghana at the time as anti-independence. I went on to refer to the 1953 Legislative Assembly, where Nkrumah, in introducing a new constitution, moved what he described as the "Motion of Destiny". This motion called for the Assembly to authorise the CPP administration to: “Request the British Government to introduce legislation leading to Ghana's Independence Act as soon as the necessary constitutional and administrative arrangements are made”.

I went on to state the UGCC’s position at the time as articulated by the Leader of the Opposition, Danquah. Records of Hansard show that Danquah moved an amendment to Nkrumah's motion, calling instead for a “Declaration of Independence”.

Danquah said, “GIVEN THE DEMAND OF THE PEOPLE FOR INDEPENDENCE, THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON ITS OWN SHOULD DECLARE THE COUNTRY'S INDEPENDENCE ON 6TH MARCH 1954 AND THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE REQUESTED TO EXTEND RECOGNITION TO THE NEW STATE. INDEPENDENCE IS A GOD-GIVEN RIGHT AND NOT A GIFT OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT

This amendment was rejected by Nkrumah on the stated and recorded ground that the country would, by accepting the amendment, “FORFEIT OUR BRITISH GOODWILL.” The result was that Independence was achieved four years later in 1957 instead of 6th March 1954 as proposed by Danquah, which, symbolically, would have been 110 years after the Bond of March 6, 1844. The only notable concession to Danquah’s amendment was the Independence Day, 6th March.

This simple statement of fact, for some reason, did not sit down well with the NDC Deputy Minister who went on to describe Danquah as a man undeserving of being added to any list of founders, repeating the charge that Richard Mahoney and declassified CIA files have exposed Danquah as a CIA agent. I said this was not true and, indeed, found it as arguably stupid and deeply insulting to the memory of a patriot who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country by being left to die in a condemned cell as a prisoner of conscience.

While the host of the programme found my description of the tagging of the ‘Doyen of Ghana’ as a traitor or CIA agent as stupid, insulting and demanding a substantiation or withdrawal, to be a bad enough insult that demanded a retraction and an apology, his understanding of what constitutes an insult or offensive language could not be extended to what the deputy minister had said about that celebrated member of the Big Six.



I repeat below the “insulting” words I used as captured on the internet:

“This is stupidity…you consider a founder of Ghana as a CIA agent, what stupidity is this? ...this is pure stupidity
When I was asked to retract and apologise to Omane, my response, again as captured, was:
“When you want us to have an intellectual programme like this, you don’t bring people like this. I am not going to apologise, I can apologise to the viewers and listeners but not him. He insults J.B. Danquah and you want me to apologise to him? …I am not going to do that. Why should I do that? … If that is what you want I will walk out on your programme, I won’t do it

The host accepted the walk-out version. As I went to sit in my car, I was approached by the producers, Sedem Ofori and Kofi Ansah who pleaded with me to wait and that they were to resolve it. I agreed and they came back to me to say they would get Omane to retract, to which I would readily apologise to him. But, when I returned to the studio he said he would not retract. So, I also repeated my apology to both listeners and viewers and the discussion continued.
What is worrying for some of us is the deliberate propaganda scheme of the NDC, not only to distort our history but, also, to smear and sling mud at people of the opposition, both dead and alive.

It may be recalled that on Monday, 29th January 2007, the then NDC Presidential Candidate, Prof Mills, endorsed this falsehood strategy when, with no regard for the chronology of Ghana’s historical events and the contributions of the leaders at the time stated, “It is ironic that the NPP, being an offshoot of the Busia-Danquah [sic] tradition that opposed the ‘Motion of Destiny’ proposed by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1956 [sic] and which paved the way for independence, are today the political leaders of Ghana”.

These “intrigues and jealousies, the vicious whispering campaigns and the rumour mongering, the deliberate name-smearing and wicked mud-slinging, the character assassination, the interminable inner party struggle, the incompetence and greed, the bribery and corruption” facts and allegations marking and marring the leadership of President Mills must give way to the kind of politics that will offer quality education to every Ghanaian child, good skills for decent jobs for decent pay for the growing number of young Ghanaians, who are currently in search of jobs and inspiration.

It is ironic that the son of the same William Mahoney who repeatedly lied to Nkrumah that the US had “no conceivable activity on our part to subvert or overthrow him, is now being used to portray one of Ghana’s foremost nationalist as a CIA spy.

I have provided below two such declassified CIA files and at the time that Danquah had died in prison, ironically coinciding with the unpopularity and imminent overthrow of Nkrumah:

•US Ambassador to Ghana, William P. Mahoney was a participant or observer in the following events:

(3.00pm-3:30pm) March 11, 1965: US Ambassador to Ghana and CIA Director Discuss Upcoming Coup Attempt in Ghana

In Washington, D.C., US Ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney meets with CIA Director John A. McCone and the Deputy Chief of the CIA’s Africa division [name unknown] to discuss a “Coup d’etat Plot” in Ghana. According to a CIA document summarizing the meeting, Mahoney says that he is uncertain whether the coup, being planned by Acting Police Commissioner Harlley and Generals “Otu” and “Ankrah,” will ever come to pass.

Notwithstanding, he adds that he is confident that President Kwame Nkrumah will not make it another year, given his waning popularity and Ghana’s deteriorating economy. “In the interests of further weakening Nkrumah,” Mahoney recommends that the US deny Nkrumah’s forthcoming request for financial assistance, according to the CIA memo. He adds that by refusing the request it would make a “desirable impression on other countries in Africa,” the memo also says. In the event of a coup, Mahoney says a military junta would likely come to power. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 3/11/1965; SEEINGBLACK (.COM), 6/7/2002]
Entity Tags: John A. McCone, William P. Mahoney
Timeline Tags: US-Ghana (1952-1966)

(3.00pm-3:30pm) March 22, 1965: President of Ghana Suspects US Behind Assassination Attempts

In a telegraph to the US Department of State, US ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney recounts a meeting he had that morning with President Kwame Nkrumah. He says he told the president that the US government resented the anti-US statements he had made in his March 22 speech (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 22, 1965), in which he had laid blame on the US for many of Africa’s problems. “I said I would never have believed that [a] man of his sophistication and refinement would use language like that against my country, and it shock[ed] [me] to hear him do so.” Mahoney says that Nkrumah conceded that the rhetoric in his speech was “loaded and slanted throughout,” but insisted that “he had special purpose in mind.” After Mahoney further criticized Nkrumah’s speech, defending US policy in Africa, he saw that the president was crying. “I looked up and I saw he was crying. With difficulty he said I could not understand [the] ordeal he had been through during [the] last month. [He [r]ecalled that there had been seven attempts on his life…]” In comments listed at the end of his telegraph, Mahoney says that Nkrumah seems “convinced as ever [that the] US is out to get him” and “still suspects US involvement” in the recent assassination attempts. He explains that Nkrumah appears to be a “badly frightened man” whose “emotional resources seem [to] be running out” and predicts that there will be “more hysterical outbursts” from Nkrumah against the US. [US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 4/2/1965; SEEINGBLACK (.COM), 6/7/2002]
Entity Tags: William P. Mahoney, Kwame Nkrumah
Timeline Tags: US-Ghana (1952-1966)

The author is the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute.
[email protected]
 





J.B. Danquah
*AUTHORS’ NOTE: I HAVE PROVIDED BELOW A RESPONSE I GAVE IN FEBRUARY, 2011, TO A SIMILAR FALSE ALLEGATION AGAINST DR DANQUAH AS A ‘CIA SPY’ BY ANOTHER MILLS APPOINTEE.

Friday, February 11, during a current affairs programme on Peace FM, a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress repeated the posthumous smear campaign that Joseph Boakye Danquah, the ‘Doyen of Ghana’ and co-founder of Ghana’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), was a CIA spy.

To support this false allegation, the NDC man stated categorically that declassified CIA files of Ghana’s First Republic name Dr Danquah, then the leader of the United Party (UP), the main opposition party to Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP), as a CIA spy.

The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute called into the radio programme to correct the false information by saying that nowhere in any declassified CIA files of the period (or any other period) is it recorded that J B Danquah was a CIA spy.

The next day, Saturday, February 12, the NDC man was on another radio station, Citi FM, repeating the untruth but this time pointing to a different source, a book, he claimed was written by a former US ambassador to Ghana, Mr Mahoney. (We have chosen to leave the NDC man’s name out because the lie was not generated by him but one that has been told over and over again, especially by people on the so-called left side of Ghana’s politics, particularly the NDC.

This lie, which has been repeated over the years, has been competently dealt with in an article on our website (www.danquahinstitute.org).


WHAT STARTED THE LIE?
What was the basis of this serious allegation against one of the greatest nationalists of the 20th century who made the ultimate sacrifice by dying under political detention for defending liberty and democracy in Ghana? Opponents of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition in Ghana have in the last decade or so seized with glee and relish on a dubious information that came out of the book, “JFK: Ordeal in Africa”. This book, written by Richard Mahoney, son of the late William Mahoney, US Ambassador to Ghana (1962-65), in a paragraph mentions that Dr Danquah’s family, which at the time included 13 dependent children, allegedly received stipends from the American Embassy in 1961 during his first period in jail under the Preventive Detention Act. The issue was that this was done without the knowledge of the Ambassador. It is this third hand information that has been used to damnify Dr Danquah as a traitor.

The author claims that during one meeting with his father, the US Ambassador after Dr Danquah’s release from detention, Danquah, who presumably assumed that the Ambassador was aware of the arrangement, asked Ambassador Mahoney how come the stipends that the American Embassy opted to give to his wife to support the family was stopped after Dr Danquah’s release! It is rather a curious query in logic. Supposing the stipends were being given to his family because the Americans, touched by the circumstances of the family losing its breadwinner temporarily, decided to offer some support to a man who was pro-American in the dual global politics of the Cold War era, was it not just logical for that support to cease after his release from detention?

Also, spies, informants or double agents usually have their handlers. Why didn’t Danquah go to his ‘handler’ to complain but to the Ambassador who, as it turned out, knew nothing about the apparent arrangement? Or, are we not allowed to scrutinise the logicalities of claims made by so-called chroniclers of our history? Nowhere in that book or anywhere else, for that matter, has it been alleged that Danquah personally received money from any foreign power or agent.

On January 4, 1964 Dr Danquah was once again detained under preventive custody. He died on February, 4, 1965, a year before the CPP was overthrown. The 69-year-old asthmatic patient, afflicted with hypertension, liver complaint and heart attacks, was locked up in chains and leg irons and left to die in a cell for condemned prisoners of about six by nine feet.

It must be noted that the 1964 detention took place before the coup which was supported by the CIA. Yet, just months before his death at Nsawam prison, Dr Danquah wrote to President Nkrumah pleading to be released.

The letter of May 9, 1964 began: “Dear Dr Nkrumah, I am tired of being in prison on preventive detention with no opportunity to make an original or any contribution to the progress and development of the country, and I therefore respectfully write to beg, and appeal to you to make an order for my release and return home. I am anxious to resume my contru=ibution to the progress and development of Ghana in the field of Ghanaian literature (Twi and English), and in Ghana Research (History and Culture), and I am anxious also to establish my wife and children in a home, to develop the education of my children (ten of them) and to restore my parental home at Kibi (Yiadom House) to a respectable dignity, worthy of my late father’s own contribution to the progress of our country.”

The letter concluded, “I end as I began. I am tired of being kept in prison kicking my heels, and doing nothing worthwhile for the country of my birth and love., and for the great continent of Africa which was the first to give the entire world a real taste of civilisation. My plea and my prayer to you, Osagyefo, is that I be released to return home for the following specific purposes: (1) To pursue my vocation for creative work in Ghana literature; (2) To pursue my vocation for research into Ghana history and culture; (3) To promote a home for my wife and children and to promote the education of my children as befits their talents; (4) To restore my parental home at Kibi to a respectable dignity for use of the younger and older members of the family; (5) To pursue social and cultural life in Church and State; and (6) To practise my profession as a lawyer to obtain the wherewithal for the pursuit and promotion of the above interests.”

The question must be asked: as his family had at this time had to rely on his extended family to survive, had the Americans at the time stopped looking after Danquah’s family, as they allegedly did in 1961 during his first detention? Had he stopped being a spy, with the coup less than two years away? Or did the value the Americans put on Danquah not sufficient enough to sustain his family?

Really, what the book of the politician son of William Mahoney sought to portray was that the CIA used to do things without necessarily the knowledge of the political heads. The Ambassador, who was a member of the Irish circle of friends that President Kennedy appointed, according to his son, went to complain to the US President who then issued a directive which compelled CIA operatives in foreign nations to work directly under their various ambassadors.

THUS, IF DANQUAH WAS A SPY THE NEW ARRANGEMENTS FROM WASHINGTON OUGHT NOT TO HAVE FUNDAMENTALLY DISTURBED WHATEVER EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS HE HAD WITH THE CIA BEFORE 1962, IF INDEED IT WAS AN ESPIONAGE ENGAGEMENT.

If indeed, there was any such stipends to the detainee’s family it might have come from the ‘heart’ of a system that sympathised with the political cause of Dr Danquah. Danquah’s life was characterised by sacrifice. He was not rich and did not die leaving a legacy of material wealth. His was the ultimate self-sacrifice for country. And he paid the ultimate price for it -- with his life.

The reliability of the information in the younger Mahoney’s has certainly been interrogated. Since the author was at the material time barely 10 years old, we must assume that the information came to him much later from his father. This is because no declassified CIA records of the period contain any such reference. Indeed, we would still have defended him even if CIA files were to name Danquah as a collaborator in efforts to oppose the Nkrumah dictatorship of the First Republic. But, would it have been treacherous for Dr Danquah or any other opposition politician of that period of uncompromising dictatorship to collaborate with any sympathetic foreign power? Since when has that been unpatriotic in the history of liberation struggles across the world and, especially, during the Cold War era?


CHOOSING BETWEEN SOVIET-STYLE DICTATORSHIP AND WESTERN-STYLE DEMOCRACY
Dr Danquah made no secret about his preference for the Western-style democratic model and free market. Nkrumah’s sympathy and affinity for the Soviet system, right from his student days, was equally well known and documented. A turning point in the history of Nkrumah’s controversial rule was his celebrated trip of that same year, 1961, to the Communist states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Already highly sympathetic to all things Soviet – he tells us in his autobiography, titled with his usual modesty ‘Ghana’, that he was [sic] “a Hegelian-Marxist, non-Denominational Christian.” The visit impressed him highly with the efficiency of the Soviet model: state enterprises, state farms, central planning, the command economy, rule by the “vanguard party” – this was the wave of the future, the irresistible force of history, so he thought. Ghana, the first colonial nation in sub-Saharan Africa to escape the clutches of imperialism, was required to be in the forefront of that history.

So with considerable vigour, a systematic effort was made to transform the Ghanaian economy into a replica of the Soviet model. Between 1961 and 1966, the economic landscape became littered with a multiplicity of state enterprises and state farms. We even had our own equivalent of the ‘Gossplan’ - the Seven Year Development Plan. The state enterprises and farms of the Nkrumah era proved to be no more efficient in Ghana than they were in their country of origin. Far from being the wave of the future, they have become synonymous with economic failure and have been repudiated almost everywhere they have been tried. Even in China, where the vanguard party continues to hang on to power, the rulers have seen the wisdom in reviving private property rights and letting the market take an increasingly central role in the allocation of resources. The Chinese boom of the last two decades is the direct result. Deng Xiaoping – he of the “it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”– not Mao Tse-Tung, is the architect of this dramatic development, which has led China towards a market economy and the second largest economy in the world today.

Now, let us put Dr Danquah’s position during that heated period of defining which path the new nation should choose. It was no secret that Dr Danquah’s preference in the titanic twentieth century struggle of the Cold War was for the Western democracies, whose democratic systems of government and open societies appealed very much to his freedom-loving spirit. He was horrified by the violent, crude, anti-democratic methods of governance in the closed societies of the Soviet-style states.

For example, on April 30, 1962, Dr Danquah, in a letter to the Clerk of Parliament stated, what he called, the “inadequacy, fatuity and wastefulness” of the Soviet model. He condemned the Soviet model, “which rejects religion and any kind of idealism or humanism from its materialistic interpretation of man’s long history.”

He saw the Western model to, at least, evidently have the capacity to enhance the dignity of the majority of the people of the West because, in his words, “It is clear that Socialism” does not pay “any heed to man’s permanent motive forces or commitments – the commitment to his God, to his country, to his family and to the dignity of man as man.”

Beyond that, Dr Danquah saw in the American or Western model the path to Ghana’s prosperity. “For evidence,” he wrote, “there is to hand the incontestable fact that the three great nations which have achieved an industrial marvel after World War II, namely Western Germany, Italy and Japan, did so not on a Socialistic or State Capitalist economy, but on the basis of individual initiative and free enterprise, guided by the free and intelligent hand of their respective governments.”

Dr Danquah was firm in his belief in the principles of liberal democracy, democratic accountability, the rule of law, human rights, individual liberties, free enterprise and social justice. He criticised the Soviet Union, China and Cuba for showing great deficiencies in allowing their people to freely exercise the above values and virtues of human dignity. For the patriot that he was, he wanted Ghanaians to be freed to excel and be in charge of the country in its wholeness.

He wrote, “[I]n planning the libertation of Ghana what our wise men of the ages, from Prince Brew of Dunkwa in 1871 to George Alfred Grant in 1947, sought was not merely ‘the political freedom’ in the hope that ‘other things’ would be added freely, but the total kingdom of modern nationhood, including even culture, literature and sports!”

A HISTORY OF SMEAR CAMPAIGNS AGAINST DANQUAH
Dr Danquah suffered smear campaigns during and after the struggle for independence. In fact, what inspired the above quote is a story best told by himself (his letter of 30th January, 1962 to the Speaker of the National Assembly):
“In 1949 certain three men, wishing to climb to the top of Ghana politics over my dead body, spread a vile campaign against me that in asking Sir Sydney Abrahams at a tea party in Lancaster House, London, at the African Conference of 1948, to come back to the Gold Coast, as Ghana was then called, to reorganise our sports for us, a visit which led eventually to the first Gold Coast Sports Ordinance and the construction of the present Accra Sports Stadium, I did so upon a corrupt basis at the instance of the British Government for a bribe of £25,000 for me to abandon Gold Coast politics for Gold Coast sports!

“The men who set this vile rumour in motion against me pointed at Sir Sydney Abrahams, a former Attorney-General of the Gold Coast Athletics Association, as the man who brought me and my colleagues of the United Gold Coast Convention a bribe of £25,000 each to turn the people’s mind from politics to sports.”

Now to appreciate how effective this smear campaign was, continue to read Danquah’s own account: “At that time the evil campaign spread by the three men was made the plank upon which the new party, the Convention People’s Party, now the caesarian or imperialist party of Ghana, was founded, the original leaders of the UGCC being those thus sought to be discredited by the fabulous story of their having accepted British money to ease off from politics to sports.”

Another smear campaign was invented 69 days after his arrest to justify his detention of October 3, 1961 that foreign capitalist firms used him with £10,000 to bribe the workers to go on strike against the Government’s Budget.

His words from his condemned cell speak of how the system abused this great patriot. Danquah wrote: “It is perhaps my fate that, once again, even when I am behind prison bars, a similar evil campaign should be started against me in 1961, twelve years after the first!!! In this plight I can only call upon the Ghana nation and its august National Assembly to apply their capital mind to the facts, to let the truth prevail, and, as Milton said, ‘to justify the ways of God to man’... I cannot at this stage expect the nation to offer me any thanks for my 34 years of single-hearted devotion to the national cause, to have been able to give Ghana not only the clarion call to liberation ‘when the hour struck’, but also to have discovered, after 16 years of research, the glory of our ancient Ghana name... But although I do not expect any kind of thanks now for giving our country’s several tribes the basic foundation of a common nationhood – GHANA – of which the people first became fully conscious during the March 6, 1944 nationwide centenary celebrations of the Bond of 1844, I entertain the hope that my country men -- and the women – too, -- will leave me alone to enjoy quietly my poverty in my ripe age of six and sixty years, and not again seek to pile grief upon grief on to the glory of my greying hairs.”


DANQUAH TO CIA AS NKRUMAH TO KGB?
It has been argued that both Nkrumah and Danquah, the two great politicians of the time, made no secret about their preferred ideologies, in the competition of ideas between the East and West and yet they both rightly saw themselves as patriots, whose formula for Ghana was in the nation’s interest.

“Sir,” Danquah told the Clerk of Parliament, “I personally see nothing traditional in the idea that Ghana should with her eyes open, or her eyes half-closed, repeat this soul-searing experiment in Marxist-Socialism, by leaving Ghana’s big business in the hands of foreign privately owned firms, aided and abetted by a Ghana Capitalist Government in no way experienced in trade or business, whilst the Ghanaian himself... is to be restricted and confined to ‘small trade’ or ‘small business’ in a ‘small way’. Surely it ought to be evident that to confine or limit the energies of a people to ‘small business’ as a general economic policy is to sterilise instead of energise the people’s economic capacities. The purpose of a government is not to block or control but to liberate its people’s energies – economic, intellectual, moral and spiritual.”

But, Danquah was no stooge. “The wisest solution, to my mind, is for each country to build mostly upon its own foundations. Ghana’s foundations are to be found in what has always made Ghanaians what they are – Ghanaians to the backbone, that is to say, they are a people remarkable for their belief in God, their love of country, their devotion to family, their choice of personal freedom, and their faith in humanity.”

Indeed, most political figures of the day, especially in the so-called Third World, were required to make a choice between East and West. For instance, Caculama, the main training centre of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in the town of Malanje, Angola, was known to have been sustained by the KGB. MK soldiers were trained by the KGB. Joe Slovo the chief-of-staff of the ANC army and Chris Hani, the army commissar, were known as devout Communists, but could these gallant ANC heroes be described as KGB spies because of their ideological belief and their collaborations with the KGB?

Back home, Soviet security personnel were known to give critical support to Nkrumah’s security. What about the charge that the battle of Flagstaff House on February 24, 1966 involved Soviet security personnel fighting in defence of the Nkrumah government? Should we question Nkrumah’s patriotism merely because the KGB might have played a role in Ghana’s security arrangements? In those now distant days choices were the order of the day.

The KGB was for many people, especially those who valued the democratic way of life and individual freedom, a greater danger to life and liberty than the CIA. The shredding of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe and the emergence of multiparty democracy in Africa today is a vindication for Danquah and his choices. He has, thus, the merit of at least having been on the same side as the victorious forces in the Cold War. The KGB, like the rest of the Soviet system, has deservedly disappeared into history.


THE CIA AND THE 1966 COUP

Reducing Danquah to a traitor fits well with the people who bash the coup of 1966. The coup happened 12 months after Dr Danquah died under Nkrumah’s PDA. The biggest bone of contention is of the alleged involvement of the CIA in the event. It would have been very strange, when the Cold War was at its height in the 1960s, with Ghana very much in the forefront of African politics, if the intelligence agencies of the ‘Great Powers’ had not concerned themselves with the affairs of Ghana.

They were all concerned, the Soviet KGB equally with the American CIA.

The issue that is of greater interest is this: with a Life President of a One Party State, whose rule was backed by a preventive detention law that was in constant usage, and where elections had become non-existent, how could lawful, peaceful change have been effected in the Ghana of 1966? Regrettable as the intervention of soldiers in our politics became, especially because of subsequent events, the question still cannot be avoided. The Ghanaian people instinctively recognised that there was no other way.


Ghana may not be worth dying for if great nationalists like Danquah can be posthumously dismissed with the lie of being branded spies of a foreign country. Try as they might, Danquah’s detractors cannot run away from one crucial point. Even though he never occupied any executive position in independent Ghana, the party and tradition that he fathered with Paa Grant, which Dombo and Busia helped build, remains a formidable force in the Ghanaian polity.

Indeed, Dr Danquah’s legacy can be seen in the kind of political system -- multiparty democracy, rule of law, individual freedom and free enterprise – which the Fourth Republican Constitution re-introduced to Ghana in 1992. Again, the emergence of the New Patriotic Party over the last decade as, arguably, the largest political party in Ghana, is also a testament to his vision and greatness. Danquah’s set of ideas continues to be extremely relevant to the resolution of our nation’s problems.

In his own words, it was at the feet of the eminent nationalist, “Ekra Agyeman, otherwise known as Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford, that I was brought up, like St Paul under Gamaliel, and it was from Ekra Agyeman that I learned selfless politics as the sacrificing of one’s self totally for one’s own country. I sat under his feet from 1915 to his own death in 1930.”

DANQUAH AND NKRUMAH BOTH HAVE THEIR DETRACTORS BUT THE RESPECTIVE CONTRIBUTIONS THAT THE TWO CONTEMPORARIES MADE TO OUR HISTORY – DANQUAH IN PARTICULAR TO THE KIND OF DEMOCRATIC CULTURE GROWING IN AFRICA AND NKRUMAH TO THE PAN-AFRICAN DREAM OF A UNITED AFRICA WHICH STILL AGITATES THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO SEEK AFRICA’S WELLBEING -- CAN NEVER BE WASHED OFF BY FALSE PROPAGANDA. LET US HAIL OUR HEROES.


This article was published by the Danquah Institute, a think tank dedicated to the philosophy and works of Danquah.

*EDITORS’ NOTE:
THE VIEWS ABOVE ARE STRICTLY THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT REPRESENT THE POSITION OF THE NEW CRUSADING GUIDE.
 
Source: Culled From New Crusading Guide
 
 

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