An article titled “President Nkrumah Despised Baffuor Akoto – But Never Hated Ashanti’s” was chanced upon by Kofi Thompson, Managing Editor of the National Review Newspaper.
Modern Ghana, an online news website, published the piece, which was also posted on their official Facebook page.
Following a thorough examination of the article, which aimed to clarify a statement made by Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the King of the Asante Kingdom, during his address to the first Asanteman Council Meeting of the year, the piece was discovered to be riddled with historical inaccuracies.
Even though Kwame Nkrumah did not like them [Asantes], Otumfuo Osei Tutu acknowledged during his address to the Asanteman Council Meeting that the Bono Ahafo region created out of the Western Ashanti at the time did not alter the existence of the traditional arrangement, and thus the creation of the Bono region cannot affect the traditional autonomy of the Asante Kingdom.
The author of the paper wanted to give the idea that Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP administration did not loathe Asantes, but rather Okyeame Baffuor Osei Akoto, the godfather of Otumfuo Osei Tutu, whom he despised because of his heinous acts of terrorism. This notion he developed is incorrect, and I’d want to take this chance to clarify it.
First and foremost, it is critical to note that the National Liberation Movement (NLM), the party that ushered in a political paradigm shift, altered the political landscape of Gold Coast, and provided Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP government with a formidable opponent, was founded by Okyeame Baffuor Akoto in September 1954, making it practically impossible for the NLM to participate in the 1951 and June 1954 general elections, as the author claims. As a result, the sense of fabrication and distortion intended to misinform the public is confirmed, casting doubt on the article’s motivation. Despite the fact that the NLM lost the 1956 general elections, which were held to determine the Gold Coast’s constitutional course before independence, the Party’s performance was outstanding. Note that it was the first opposition party to grab the CPP’s secured seats, as well as the largest number of popular votes since 1951. Okyeame Baffuor Akoto was able to construct a powerful political opposition force against Kwame Nkrumah by gathering together all of the then opposition political groups, prompting Kwame Nkrumah to abolish the opposition political organizations out of fear of being defeated at the polls.
Furthermore, as rightly stated by Otumfuo Osei Tutu, Kwame Nkrumah despised Asantes because, following the 1951 general elections, the first in Africa to be held under universal suffrage, Kwame Nkrumah pursued a number of agendas that tended to diminish Asante’s economic, political, and historical significance in the Gold Coast.
It’s worth noting that, with cocoa being the Gold Coast’s main export and Asante’s economic well-being dependent on it, Kwame Nkrumah was well aware that freezing the price of cocoa at a lower price than the world market price would weaken Asante’s economic clout. Nonetheless, he pushed a bill that froze the price of cocoa at 72 shillings per load instead of 150 shillings per load. Gold Coast was the world’s largest cocoa producer at the time.
In his desperate attempt to weaken Asanteman’s political and historical dominance, Kwame Nkrumah influenced and considered a petition from numerous Brong chiefs requesting that the government recognize a separate Brong-Kyempim Council. To further erode Asante’s political clout, during the 1953 Representational Reform, which was supposed to allocate seats to the 1954 legislative assembly, Asante was only given 21 seats instead of the 30 she deserved. The devious part is that her 20 percent share of seats in the 1951 Assembly was down from her earlier 25 percent share. Furthermore, despite the opposition of the local constituencies, Kwame Nkrumah chose his chosen CPP candidates for all 21 seats in Asante for the 1954 legislative assembly elections in order to gain a greater grasp on Asanteman under his management.
Again, the author’s claim that Okyeame Baffuor Osei Akoto was only a savage who committed heinous acts of terrorism is false. Kwame Nkrumah, rather than the Rule of Law, was a tyrant who believed in the suppression and intimidation of political opponents, one-man rule, and an autocratic type of administration. In actuality, Okyeame Baffuor Akoto’s activities were never barbaric; rather, they were actions that consistently stood up to tyranny and, as a result, inspired all of the nation’s constitutions and democracy.
In fact, Kwame Nkrumah instigated all of the violence through his undemocratic activities, and the many acts of violence that erupted in Asante and elsewhere between 1954 and 1957 were simply defensive retaliations by the NLM in response to Kwame Nkrumah’s numerous attempts to intimidate and suppress the activities and development of opposition parties in Gold Coast.
It is sufficient to note that, shortly after the NLM was formed in September 1954, Twumasi-Ankrah, CPP Asante regional propaganda secretary, suspected of acting on Kwame Nkrumah’s orders, started a commotion in the NLM central party office, which eventually led to the stabbing and death of E.Y Baffoe, the NLM Propaganda Secretary, in October 1954. Similar attempts by Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP-led government to repress opposition resulted in the deaths of two NLM members in January and May 1955, respectively, in Kumasi Zongo and Kwasi Ampofo, a Prince of the Akyem Abuakwa stool and a committed NLM member. Furthermore, two prominent leaders of the Muslim Association Party in Kumase, Alhaji Amadu Baba, Serikin Zongo, and Mallam Alhaji Alfa Lardan, head of the Zongo Volunteers, were deported under the Deportation Act of August, 1957, ostensibly because they were not Ghanaian nationals.
Due to Kwame Nkrumah’s dictatorial tendencies, he regularly pushed through Bills and Constitutional modifications between 1951 and 1966 with the sole purpose of intimidating political opponents and suppressing the existence of opposition parties and the rule of law. Among them were the Avoidance of Discrimination Act of 1957, the Prevention Detention Act (PDA) of 1958, the Deportation Act of 1957, the Elimination of Chieftaincy Powers Act of 1957, and the Declaration of Ghana as a One-Party State.
The aforementioned facts, as well as numerous more, support the widely believed belief that Kwame Nkrumah was an authoritarian who despised Asantes. And that all of Okyeame Baffuor Akoto’s sacrifices and activities during his political career were simply to resist and fight against violations of human rights and authoritarian rule, and so to promote the deepening of democracy and the rule of law in the country.