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Kwame Nkrumah. Vision and Tragedy

David Rooney

Publication Year: 2007

"The yearlong celebration of Ghana's Golden Jubilee provides a fitting context for the republication of the book Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy. In the lead-up to the celebration and over the course of the year, the life and times of Kwame Nkrumah will receive unprecedented public attention, official and unofficial. Kwame Nkrumah's very wide name-recognition is, paradoxically, accompanied by sketchy, often oversimplified knowledge about the events and processes of his life and times. For most of those born after independence in 1957, such knowledge does not extend much beyond who Kwame Nkrumah was and vague notions about he won us Independence"". This book presents new material and new analysis, which helps to clarify aspects of the record, while advancing new perspectives. What comes across clearly throughout the book is the significant contribution of Nkrumah's vision and personality at a critical moment in the history of Africa and the Third World. He, perhaps more than any other, was able to identify, focus and catalyse the major factors and players driving the struggle for political independence in Ghana and liberation in other parts of Africa. In the process, he committed his life and work totally to a wide variety of activities and processes in Ghana, the continent and in the global Non-Aligned Movement."" - Akilagpa Sawyerr Association of African Universities Accra, Ghana 10 March 2007 ""This is an objective study which should be read by all concerned with the history of post-colonial Africa."" - Conor Cruise O'Brien Former Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, Legon. David Rooney is a specialist on Ghana from Cambridge. His research for this book unearthed unpublished material in Ghana, UK, and the United States, where he had access to CIA papers. He has written extensively on the Commonwealth and modern Africa, and is the author of a biography of Sir Charles Noble Arden Clarke."

Published by: African Books Collective


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pp. c-2

Title Page

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p. 3-3

Copyright Page

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p. 4-4


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p. 5-5

Map of Ghana in the 1960s

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p. 6-6

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pp. 7-8

DURING THE RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK I have been very conscious of the debt I owe to people I have interviewed, to librarians and archivists, and to those authors and scholars upon whose work I have drawn. I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who has helped in these different ways, and, firstly, to Lady Arden-Clarke...

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pp. 9-12

AT THE TIME WHEN KWAME NKRUMAH and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) secured Ghana’s independence, Ghana enjoyed the goodwill and support of countries all over the world. Nine years later, in February 1996, Nkrumah was ousted in a military coup, the CPP disintegrated overnight, and there followed a...

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Foreword to 2nd Edition

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pp. 13-16

THE YEARLONG CELEBRATION OF GHANA’S GOLDEN JUBILEE provides a fitting context for the republication of the book Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy. In the lead-up to the celebration and over the course of the year, the life and times of Kwame Nkrumah will receive unprecedented public attention, official and unofficial....

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1. Early Life

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pp. 17-38

IN ACCRA, ON 6 MARCH 1957, over six hundred reporters and photographers from the world’s press corps were assembled to record the independence celebrations of Ghana – the first of Britain’s African colonies to win its independence. Never before had so much of the world’s attention focused on a single event in...

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2. London Interlude

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pp. 39-50

THE MAIN SOURCE OF INFORMATION about Nkrumah’s stay in London is his autobiography, and it must be remembered that this was not a carefully researched work of scholarship but was dictated in odd moments when he was already Prime Minister and leading his country towards independence. Consequently,...

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3. Secretary of The UGCC

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pp. 51-72

Nkrumah had been inspired by the teachings of Gandhi and by the newly won independence of the Asian Dominions, but in Whitehall in the late 1940s, few saw this as having any relevance to Africa. The Labour Government was more preoccupied with the disastrous financial situation in which the Second World War...

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4. BIrth of The CPP

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pp. 73-90

THE SHOWDOWN BETWEEN NKRUMAH AND DANQUAH, between the old guard and the radical masses, was not long delayed. The UGCC realized the danger that the formation of the CPP posed, and they quickly sent an offer to reinstate Nkrumah as secretary. He tentatively accepted the proposal, and a UGCC...

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5. Leader of Government Business

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pp. 91-102

THE ELECTION – as important in the history of Africa as the 1948 election in South Africa in which the diehard Nationalist Dr Daniel Malan defeated Field Mashal Jan Christiaan Smuts – took place on Thursday 8 February 1951. By the early hours of Friday 9 February, it was known that Nkrumah had been elected with...

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6. Constitutional Changes

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pp. 103-118

As soon as he returned to Accra, Nkrumah plunged into the complicated negotiations on a new constitution. His visit to America had brought him favourable publicity, and his homecoming had shown how strongly the people as a whole supported him, but already some of the euphoria of the election...

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7. The Economy and the World Stage

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pp. 119-130

When the CPP came to power in 1951, detailed studies had already been made for a ten-year plan to deal with the country’s outstanding economy problems. This plan had been drawn up with the help and advice of the economists Seers and Ross, whose report on ‘The Financial and Physical Development of the Gold...

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8. Ashanti and the NLM

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pp. 131-160

The 1954 election which was expected to usher in a period of calm in the final progress towards independence, instead brought a period of such bitterness, crisis and division that the colony was in danger of breaking up. The crisis centred on the key factor in so much of Ghana’s life - cocoa. In their earliest struggles, Nkrumah...

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9. The 1956 Election - The Struggle Continues

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pp. 161-180

After the violence and the venom of the exchanges during the NLM crisis, Nkrumah felt almost a sense of anti-climax as he made the final moves towards the election of 1956. With Arden-Clarke he had worked out a detailed timetable. Lennox-Boyd had agreed to make a statement in Parliament on 10 May 1956, and then,...

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10. Independence

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pp. 181-190

In September 1956, Busia had put forward the idea that Lennox- Boyd should come to the Gold Coast again in order to settle the constitutional dispute before independence. Initially, Nkrumah and Arden-Clarke opposed this because it would clearly detract from the CPP Government if Britain once again had to intervene,...

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11. Prime Minister 1957-60

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pp. 191-214

With the independence celebrations behind him, Nkrumah immediately swung into action to stake his claim as a world statesman and put Ghana on the map. The first item of his speech in an independent Ghana was a promise to call a conference as soon as possible of the eight independent African countries -...

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12. The Volta River Project

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pp. 215-234

THE BRITISH COLONIAL GOVERNMENT of the Gold Coast initiated the first inquiries into the possibility of a major hydro-electric scheme based on the River Volta, the aim of which was to provide electricity for the whole country, irrigation in the dry Accra plain, and large-scale fisheries from a huge man-made lake. The scheme...

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13. Lurch to the Left

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pp. 235-250

A CLEAR AND COHERENT OUTLINE of Nkrumah’s socialist policies is difficult to achieve because, although his overall aim remained fairly constant, his views and attitudes often appear contradictory, paradoxical and almost schizophrenic. The contradictions are more apparent because of the weakness already noted by...

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14. The Socialist State

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pp. 251-278

Nkrumah returned from his visit to the Soviet Union and China, and from his conversations with Khrushchev, Tito, Chou en Lai and Mao Tse-tung, determined to achieve a rapid socialist revolution in Ghana. Full of confidence and buoyed up by their encouragement, he went on to address the UN General Assembly...

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15. Foreign Policy

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pp. 279-320

WHEN GHANA BECAME A REPUBLIC ON 1ST JULY, 1960, Nkrumah was already a well-known figure in the diplomatic field. He had already achieved the country’s independence and its union with Guinea; he had addressed the UN General Assembly; he had attended the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference; as...

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16. Denouement

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pp. 321-348

The assassination attempt at Kulungugu in August 1962 affected almost every aspect of Nkrumah’s policy and outlook. Ultimately it produced a situation which damaged him still further. Adamafio, Crabbe and Ako Adjei, the three major suspects in the plot, were tried under the Chief Justice, Sir Arku Korsah, and Justices Van...

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17. Retrospect

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pp. 349-365

IN GHANA TODAY, A GENERATION after Nkrumah’s overthrow, his weaknesses have been largely forgotten and the jubilation at the news of the 1966 coup has also been forgotten. Now he is seen as the charismatic Ghanaian leader who was wooed by East and West, the man with an inspiring, confident and comprehensive...


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pp. 366-374


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pp. 375-379


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pp. 380-392

Back Cover

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p. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9789988647810
Print-ISBN-13: 9789988647605

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2007