By: Prof Lungu for ghanaweb.com
“……SECRET…KULUNGUGU…REKINDLED OPPOSITION AT HIS (NKRUMAH’S) CENTER OF POWER…..”!
Most people will agree that one of the hallmarks of a critical thinker is their ability to visualize linkages (valid ones, we must say), in things that happen around them, things and events that may seem distant and unrelated, but really are, when analyzed with objectivity and candor against a varied background of life experiences, with “doses” of authentic historical artifacts.
Accounts by coup plotters and narratives of subversives are rarely valid data one can hang one’s hat on!
Following the 1957 Howard Johnson restaurant orange juice incident in Delaware, USA, Vice President Nixon and his boss, President Eisenhower, met privately with Komla “Agbdli” Gbedemah in Washington D.C. As one report has it:
“….President Eisenhower was embarrassed to have to apologize to Ghanian Finance Minister Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, who, as a black man, had been refused service at a Howard Johnson restaurant in Dover, Delaware…”.
On the same day Komla Gbedemah met Eisenhower and Nixon, Gbedemah was supposed to be en route to London. In all fair reports about the Dover incident, including US State Department records reviewed, nowhere do we find that Eisenhower promised anything to Gbedemah, including approving any Akosombo Dam loan facility, which in fact he did not. At that time, among other US interests was the recognition that:
“… a refusal to aid the Volta Project or a withdrawal of the aluminum companies from the Valco smelter would have very undesirable effect on Western relations with Ghana….(that the US also)…attempt to create a situation under which it will be more advantageous for the Governments of Ghana (and Guinea), politically and economically, to permit these enterprises to continue their operations under Western control rather than to nationalize them…”.
In the 21st Century, one of the larger lessons on American political history, and of the world, if the reader will pardon the element of grandiosity, is to believe precious little of what Vice-President, then-President, then-successfully-impeached-President Richard Nixon, ever said. That is, unless it is on a tape or paper in the hands of a person other than Richard Nixon.
So, about three weeks ago, it was reported that in 1968 Republican Nixon actually committed treason against his own country, the United States. Papers discovered recently show that in that year, Nixon in fact ordered a “monkey wrench” be thrown into a peace agreement to halt the Vietnam war that was merely awaiting signature. As a result, thousands of additional human lives were lost and destroyed, and the Vietnam war continued on. Richard Nixon did that just so Richard Nixon could win an election to be President of America.
Several of our recent award winning essays discuss how, before Nixon’s Vietnam treachery, the impact of the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah most likely resulted in substantially more needless deaths and injuries in Vietnam, on all sides. We arrived at that conclusion because Nkrumah’s peace mission to help end the Vietnam carnage on all sides in February of 1966, a trip that was “blessed” by President Johnson with the assurance that Nkrumah’s aircraft would not be shot out of the sky above Hanoi, was actually a “pasty-horsey”, a sad, calculated, ruse. It was a strategy to get Nkrumah out of Ghana so Kotoka-Harlley-Afrifa-Deku-Ankrah could safely stage the Johnson CIA-sponsored coup d’état against Nkrumah. As a result, thousands of additional human lives were lost and destroyed, and the Vietnam war continued on.
The February 1966 coup was staged soon after the Akosombo Dam went online, to:
(1) “Payback” Kwame Nkrumah for his selfless drive for an independent Ghana
(2) To deprive Nkrumah the goodwill Ghanaians and other Africans would have showered on Nkrumah for the construction of Akosombo Dam
(3) To deprive Nkrumah of the stature that would have accrued to Nkrumah from the shiny Akosombo “Nkania” Power Dam in the eyes of other African leaders too scared to push their countries to greater political independence (e.g., Tubman of Liberia).
(4) To cause the deportation of all Eastern “Block” development, humanitarian and military assistants, and the sure cancellation of all agreements with the “Block”, and to allow the US to declare great success (victory, perhaps), in the Cold War, in Ghana, through the removal of independent-minded, non-aligned, Ghana, of Kwame Nkrumah.
In the case of Ghana, Gbedemah had an important part in all of those Eisenhower-Nixon subterfuges!
Following the passage of the US Civil Rights Acts of 1964 under President Johnson, long before Donald Trump, Richard Nixon invented and perfected the “southern strategy”. That political tactic divided Americans into White interests and Black interests in the south, effectively resulting in political hegemony by Whites and essentially, dis-enfranchisement of millions of non-White voters, for generations.
What would Richard Nixon, in Washington, DC, not have done or said to the still greedy, the then sharply-compromised Komla Gbedemah, against Nkrumah, so Richard Nixon could achieve US foreign policy goals that were not at odds with his own political interests?
From Accra to Basel, to Lome, to Takoradi, to London, to Geneva, to Kumasi, Washington, DC, to Frankfort, to Kulungugu, to Zurich, and all places in between, Gbedemah used his official position to subvert Kwame Nkrumah’s development agenda for Ghana, to make way for Gbedemah, and to personally profit. The essay below and other information now available show that Gbedemah used many “henchmen” to nurse his secret ambitions and activate his diabolical plans. Among the Gbedemah lackey’s were Victor de Grand Brempong (his personal assistant), Bishop Andrew van den Bronk of Kumasi, K. Dekon (Lome/Togo Police Commissar), and of course, Kofi Abrefa Busia, the rascal and rattler.
Unlike Gbedemah, Busia had little financial means, or opportunity to finance!
And so, practically on the eve of Ghana’s independence, Busia was reported to have been on a clandestine visit to the US Embassy in Accra begging for money to support his political activities, in Ghana.
Surely, the critical mind knows that receiving funds secretly from another Ghanaian would have been a lot safer than making trips in the dead of the night to foreign embassies in your nation’s capital. Predictably, when Busia finally became President of Ghana, Busia could not contain himself from seeking audiences with US and UK leaders to report on the activities of other African leaders, just like Tubman of Liberia was doing all his leadership-life, west of Ghana.
Still on the record!
By this historic and DEFINITIVE essay, significant gaps in the knowledge and political history of Ghana up to 1964 at bottom of the subversion of the CPP government of Kwame Nkrumah that eventually resulted in the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966, continue to be laid to eternal rest.
Still at the center of the essay today are Komla “Agbdli” Gbedemah and Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia.
Sure, Gbedemah, as Finance Minister, had the preparatory piece on the Akosombo/Volta Dam and the VALCO Smelter projects. They were international deals, after all.
Still, it is not the mark of a critical thinker who says that after the racist Howard Johnson event in 1957, Gbedemah was invited to meet personally, in private, with President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon, because Nixon and Eisenhower felt terrible for Gbedemah himself. Or that they felt bad about that American “custom and tradition” of racial discrimination on account it had been meted to an African official from Ghana who once hosted Nixon in his house in Accra, while millions of African Americans in their own country suffered the same fate, and much worse, all over Martin Luther King’s America.
As this paper argues, Gbedemah, at this point in Delaware, was not only a British mole. In addition, the US had some assignments for Komla Gbedemah. The tasks were against the strongly independent, super Ghana-Centered Kwame Nkrumah and Nkrumah’s foreign policy of neutrality between “Cold” West and “Cold” East.
That, their reader, has been our lead-in to Part 3 of our expose!
Again, as mentioned, the paper below was originally translated from French. That may explain some of the quirks you find. For instance, Busia’s United Party is “United Busia Party” in certain places in the paper. In addition, the type-written paper was converted to modern text electronically.
CONTINUED FROM PART 2…….
Re-post of “THE TRUTH ABOUT KOMLA GBEDEMAH BY A NON-GHANAIAN INTELLECTUAL”, 1964.
“A pamphlet first published in French and translated into English makes these and many more startling revelations. The name of the writer, a non-Ghanaian intellectual, has been kept secret for security reasons….
“THE NEW PATRON:
“In 1958 Gbedemah went to the U.S. where he negotiated with the American Government on some aspects of technical assistance to Ghana and a loan for the Volta River Project. It should be pointed out that by that time the Americans took very great interest in the young Republic and Gbedemah’s arrival, whose leanings towards the West were well known, proved quite an asset for Washington.
Negotiations ended successfully, not for Ghana naturally, but for the U.S. and Gbedemah. The latter understood that apart from the British, there were other generous supporters with their hand-outs. Besides, certain conditions of carrying through the Volta project spelled very great opportunities for Gbedemah’s personal enrich-ment. American businessmen, in turn, were very pleased with Gbedemah.
Ghana’s Finance Minister demonstrated a rare understanding of their interests, and agreed to defend in the Cabinet a number of terms favourable for American business circles, such as the joint construction project of an aluminum plant in the vicinity of the Volta river with subsequent transfer of the controlling interest to the Americans, granting the “” Star Kissed “” Co. a monopoly on catching the tuna-fish in Ghana’s territorial waters, the use of the local, in other words, cheap labour, etc.
In general, the Ghanaian Minister proved quite a tractable man who agreed to meet in Accra with Allan Dulles’s agent as a confirmation of his loyalty to the U.S. Great was the astonishment of Gbedemah when several days after his return from the U.S. his personal assistant, Victor de Grand Brempong, entered his study and gave him the first instructions on behalf of his overseas boss. Under these instruc- tions Gbedemah was to compromise Nkrumah and ensure conditions for his overthrow.
SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS:
The crisp dollar notes released a new wave of energy in Gbedemah. He remembered very well the words of farewell in Washington: “” We know how to show our appreciation of the people who are sympathetic towards U.S. interests “”. And Gbedemah spared no effort so as to prove to his new patron that it was he, Gbedemah, and no one else in Ghana, who could understand these interests.
Through Brempong and other people with whom he established connections, Gbedemah started hectic activities aimed at over-throwing Nkrumah and seizing power. These activities were carried out along several lines. Gbedemah’s agents tried to create an atmosphere in the Covention People’s Party completely intolerable for Dr. Nkrumah, by spreading slanderous rumours and artificially
created an atmosphere of squabbles, mutual suspicion and slander. Simultaneously Gbedemah’s henchmen started subversive activities among the population, trade unions and the army. Brempong established contacts with the opposition centre in Ashanti, in particular with Bishop Andrew van den Bronk.
Gbedemah himself preferred to remain in the shade as is becoming a real conspirator. He planned to use for launching a coup d’ etat Busia’s United Party, hoping to emerge on the scene at the decisive moment in the chief role.
All instruc-tions and recommendations of his patrons Gbedemah received through Brempong and only at the height of the preparations for the coup did Gbedemah meet personally several times with U.S. representatives, in particular with the labour attache of the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Mr. Dint. True, he had to see other people from time to time who reminded him that he was still “” the prison graduate “”. But here the instructions were of a different sort. Apparently by that time London no longer considered Gbedemah as the main trump card in Ghana and their assignments had smacked of plain espionage.
Apart from providing information, Gbedemah had to organise the smuggling of gold, diamonds, and foreign currency as well as arrange profitable deals for six British gold mining companies.
The tasks given to Gbedemah by the Americans were much more complicated. He had to cause economic and political chaos in the country using the support of the opposition, including the United Busia Party, and prepared an anti-government plot with the view of establishing a regime in Ghana that would pave the way for American business interests. Gbedemah realised that that was a very risky deal. He did not doubt that the coup would be a success counting on all-mighty Washington. He also took into consideration that after the victory over Nkrumah he would have to fight Busia who, naturally, would aspire to the role of Ghana’s dictator. That would certainly entail a clash with the British who could cause much trouble after finding out that their graduate managed to secretly graduate from another school and completely forget his first teachers.
To whip up Gbedemah Washington gave him to understand that in case the coup was successful Gbedemah would be given support to spread his power over the neighbouring Togo and Nigeria which eventually would secure him an outstanding position in the entire Pan-African movement.
From this it followed that he, Gbedemah, could become one of the principal creatures of the Americans in Africa and as such would make other African leaders count with his recommendations.
This prospect inflamed Gbedemah’s ambitions, especially because together with power it promised money too. The Americans hurried Gbedemah say-ing that any delay was dangerous since the moment for a coup might be lost.
In July, 1961 Gbedemah was asked to come to the U.S. Officially this trip was explained by the necessity of finishing negotiations on the American financing of the Volta project. However, the main subject of talks with Gbedemah in Washington was the thorough elaboration of all details of the coup, which was to take place during Nkrumah’s trip to Eastern Europe.
To implement that plan the United Busia Party as well as people recruited by the C.I.A. agents, who worked as clerks in American firms and representations in Ghana, had to be brought into play. It was assumed that the moment the agents instigate disorders in the country and start attacks against Nkrumah, Gbedemah would address the people with an appeal for law and order and would declare the creation of a new government, with opposition leaders in the key posts.
The political programme for the new regime drawn up in Washington included a number of demagogic promises to Ghana’s population, an amnesty to all prisoners, the unlimited freedom of private enterprise, etc. Gbedemah was given assurances that at least two of Ghana’s neighbours, Togo and Liberia, would immediately recognise the new government. Simultaneously, a campaign would start in the West in support of Gbedemah’s regime. The final touch: a report from Washington
announcing the signature of the agreement for financing the Volta project.
The September strikes in Ghana, the activisation of the opposition and the increasing differences between the leaders of the Convention People’s Party proved the first stage of this master plan. As P. member of the Presidential Commission which executed the functions of Ghana’s President when Nkrumah was away, Gbedemah was lying low in expectation of the United Party’s actions so as to
make short work of the principal supporters of Nkrumah and then declare himself head of the new government.
As everyone knows this has not come to pass.
‘PIE CONSPIRACY FAILS:
The main mistakes made by Gbedemah and his patrons which led to the fiasco of the planned coup d’etat were their underestimation of the influence and popularity of Dr. Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party among the Ghanaian population, and an overestimation of the possibi-lities and power of the opposition. Very often the nature of the cult of Nkrumah and “” Nkrumaism “” in Ghana are misinterpreted abroad.
Frequently this cult is pictured as the deification of the dictator forced up on the people.
In reality one has to spend but a few days in Ghana to become convinced that it is the people of that country, true to their national traditions, who put the Osagyefo on a pedestal and took an oath of allegiance and loyalty to him. Explanation must be sought not only in the personal qualities of Dr. Nkrumah as a man but mainly in the successes scored by Ghana under his leadership.
In 1961, Ghana demonstrated that she can develop independently and not only without guidance on the part of the Europeans but even in conditions of imperialist resistance. The “” Ghanaisation “” of the state apparatus and the army has been carried out in the country. Great changes were carried out in Ghana’s economy as a result of nationalising a number of large enterprises engaged in the mining of gold and diamonds, foreign trade, the purchasing of agricultural products, etc.
The living standards of the popula-tion showed a steep rise and proved the highest in tropical Africa. Measures taken by the government to create the state sector of the economy and restrictions put on foreign capital provided opportunities for starting planned development of the country. The country’s constitution introduced by the British was revised. Parliament began to play an active role. Of special interest in Ghana is the establishment of the Auditor-General’s Office.
The Auditor-General enjoys complete indepen-dence and controls the entire financial activities of governmental institutions. The reports of the Auditor-General, very often critical of ministers and government departments, are published regularly.
All these measures ensured popularity for Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People’s Party the latter doubling the number of members from one to two million people in 1960-1961. By that time opposition had no serious support of the masses to speak of. It was backed in Ghana solely by Nkrumah’s personal enemies who were striving for power and enrichment, as well as by heads of some tribes who sacrificed the general interests of the nation for clannish ones. The majority of the
opposition leaders enjoyed the notoriety of specu-lators, dishonest businessmen and intriguers.
The well-planned and thoroughly prepared campaign of strikes and riots in Ghana did not yield the desired results. The actions of the restricted group of plotters were not supported by the entire population of Ghana. Gbedemah saved his skin because he did not take the decisive step.
As a result the only thing he brought upon himself was Nkrumah’s admonitions and accusation of passivity and shilly-shallying during the height of disorders.
All this undermined Gbedemah’s position.
Besides, he had all grounds to believe that in the long run the Ghanaian security services would reach him too. He felt that he was losing ground and that the best move now would be to flee from Ghana.
Gbedemah’s friends in Washington also arrived at the conclusion that his further stay in Accra was not only dangerous but also quite inadvisable. The failure of the coup only served to strengthen Nkrumah’s regime and made conditions very difficult for the opposition and foreign agents.
It was, therefore, decided to make Gbedemah leader of the opposition in “” voluntary exile “” and entrust him with organising compaigns of slander so as to compromise Nkrumah, as well as with preparing another plot, aimed at assassinating Nkrumah and at changing the regime in Ghana.
The Americans recommended that Gbedemah act in close contact with Busia so as to use the United Party for the preparation of the coup, and that he try and rally all opposition forces. Special agents in U.S. higher educational establishments as well as in those of Europe started working on the Ghanaian students abroad with the view of winning them over to the side of the conspirators.
Certain African leaders who resented the popularity of Nkrumah in Africa were also to be used in the campaign of compromising Ghana’s President.
On September 29, 1961 in compliance with instructions, Gbedemah gave his consent to resignation, which Nkrumah suggested he should hand in, and declared that from then on he would continue his political activities as a private person.
THE HORNET’S NEST:
On an October day in 1961, after closing hours, several people came together in one of the shops near the railway station in Lome. When they came to the door of the shop they looked around them nervously. Everything went on as in a classical detective story. There was the special knock on the door, the password and even several masks.
However, no masks could conceal from the citizens of Lome the too familiar figures of Togo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Teophil Mally,, and the Commissar of Police of the city of Lome, C. Dekon.
It was more difficult to identify the man with typical Anglo-Saxon features.
But the name of Leonard Desimus meant absolutely nothing to anyone who did not know that it was an alias of George Davis, representative of one of the most powerful western intelligence services. It was this man who declared the meeting of the conspirators open.
Gbedemah briefed the participants on that clandestine meeting on the situation in Ghana.
He said among other things that in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and other cities, especially in the north of the country, there are persons dissatisfied with Nkrumah’s socialism and prepared to take very decisive steps against it. In this way the Americans thought to remove Gbedemah’s rival at the last moment.
Happy days had begun for Gbedemah. The British began to show more interest in their graduate “”, hatching plans similar to the American ones with the only difference that London was preparing Busia for the role of the future dictator, while Gbedemah was to be used for the cloak and dagger and then put on trial as an assassin.
Thus, American dollars and British pounds sterling started flowing with renewed force into Gbedemah’s pockets.
He opened personal accounts in several banks in Geneva, Zurich and Basel.
He bought a villa in Nice for one of his mistresses, Dossea Kissey, and occasionally visited her there.
The lust for money in Gbedemah took the upper hand over fear or qualms of conscience. Putting with one hand the pounds sterling and with the other the American dollars into his pockets to pay the services of the terrorists and buy weapons for them, he meted out spurious banknotes for various other services, leaving the hard currency in his own bank accounts.
By the summer of 1962 the conspirators managed to complete a big part of their work. It was reported from Accra that everything was ready for the assassination of Dr. Nkrumah. K. Dekon, Lome’s Police Commissar early that year shipped over the border a large consignment of leaflets, weapons and explosives. Several hundred plastic bombs were bought in Paris and shipped over to Lome.
Gbedemah’s cousin Adjavon had a real military depot in his house in Lome which could probably compete in size with the national arsenals of Togo.
While visiting Hamburg in June, 1962, Gbedemah received 20,000 Ghanaian pounds from an Ameri-can representative and another 50,000 from London. Later on the U.S. Ambassador in Lome gave him another 50,000 as well as a special “” manual “” on the organisation of coup d’état, as well as weapons. Out of the 120,000 pounds Gbedemah paid 5,000 to the Ghanaian exile Salifu Imoro, a participant of the plot. And that he did only because it was in the house of Imoro in Lome the address of which is B.P. 20, that the above- mentioned George Davis had lived and who was not supposed to have even the remotest suspicions that Gbedemah was pocketing the money given to him.
The attempt on Nkrumah’s life was fixed for August 1st, during his trip to the village of Kulun-gugu on the border with the Republic of Upper Volta. It is common knowledge that the assassins fired and missed. The arrests that followed dealt a heavy blow to Gbedemah’s organisation although at that time very few people knew that it was Gbedemah himself who was in the centre of the conspiracy….”
To be continued…..
1. Rhapsodyinbooks, October 10, 1957 – President Eisenhower Apologizes to Ghana’s Finance Minister, (https://legallegacy.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/october-10-1957-president-eisenhower-apologizes-to-ghanas-finance-minister/).
2. CHARLES P. PIERCE. This Was Treason. Nixon Did It. Don’t sweep it under the rug, (http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a52002/nixon-vietnam-peace-talks-1968/).
3. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ghana, Washington, October 9, 1957—6:21 p.m, (https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1955-57v18/d130).
VISIT WWW.GHANAHERO.COM/VISIONS, FOR MO’ INFORMATION:
FOIB – Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB/FOI/Ghana), Ask for it! (http://ghanahero.com/FOIB.html).
SUBJ: Greedy Komla Agbdli Gbedemah and his rascal side-kick Kofi Abrefa Busia!, Part 3, re-post of “THE TRUTH ABOUT KOMLA GBEDEMAH BY A NON-GHANAIAN INTELLECTUAL”, 1964, with commentary by Prof Lungu.
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