K A. Busia: His Politics of Demagoguery, National Disintegration and Autocracy (Part I).
K A. Busia: His Politics of Demagoguery, National Disintegration and Autocracy (Part I).
Dedicated to Boye Moses, the Deputy State Security Officer, who was put in a cage and dragged through the streets of Accra in the aftermath of the CIA inspired Coup in 1966.
Dr. K.A. Busia has often been projected as the champion of democracy in Africa by the Danquah-Busia acolytes in Ghana, Eurocentric Ghanaian intellectuals and pro-apartheid forces of the world. However, Busia’s pre-independence actions and his government’s policies between September 1969 and January 1972 clearly expose him as the most demagogic and undemocratic politician and political ruler in Ghana’s political history. This is confirmed by his ethnic politics and/or politics of demagoguery, his national disintegration schemes, his arrogant repeated refusal to accept and recognize Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP victories, and his violent campaign to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nkrumah.
Additionally, Busia’s despotic rule is evident by his ethnocentric polices such as his summary dismissal of selected top public administrators (mostly Ewes), popularly known as “Apollo 568.” His cruel deportation of the so-called aliens (mostly Yorubas) from Ghana in 1970 and his total contempt for the rule of law (Sallah’s case) also attest to his iniquitous and dictatorial rule. His call for detente in opposition to the armed struggle against the apartheid system in South Africa, at a time when the unlawful apartheid government had repeatedly defied all the UN resolutions for a peaceful dissolution of the racist system, was a disgrace to Ghana.
Busia was, perhaps, the most regimented apostle of Edmund Burke’s political philosophy and ideology among Ghanaian politicians. As pointed out in my third article on Dr. J. B. Danquah, Burke’s political ideology was rooted in Plato’s ideal democracy. Accordingly, a perfect democratic society is where the citizens are divided into three rigidly defined classes, each with different obligations and thus a different education. At the apex of the social structure are the few pre-ordained rulers, a highly educated elite who must occupy the top positions in government to direct the affairs of the society. Beneath them are the university dons and the executive class (comprising the top echelons of the military and police forces, and the civil service). At the bottom of the pyramid are the working class, food producers, artisans, craftsmen and technicians who, according to Aristotle, should all have been slaves. Eventually, Plato’s form of “democracy’ was ideally fashioned into the philosophic theory of the British colonial rule.
This explains why the members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) were composed of lawyers and merchants; it also explains why Busia quit his teaching position at the University of the Gold Coast to form his own political party, the Ghana Congress Party, to replace the UGCC, which collapsed after the CPP victory in the 1951 election.
Nkrumah, in his bid to form a national government in 1951, invited many of his bitter enemies and Dr. Busia to become members of Nkrumah’s cabinet. Though Busia had been defeated in the municipal election in Wenchi, he was the only invitee who turned down the invitation (Timothy). Dr. Busia’s brother was then the king of Wenchi.
Dr. Busia’s Attempts at Sabotaging Ghana’s Independence.
1. Immediately after the CPP won a decisive victory (72 out of 104 seats) in the 1954 general election, the Opposition led by Busia went into the offensive by agitating for a federal form of government.
- Four members of the Legislative Assembly, two of whom represented Kumase constituencies, invited Busia and other leaders of the NLM to discuss the federation matter at a roundtable conference. But they turned down the invitation saying that it did not come from the government. Nkrumah then sent two separate official (government) invitations to them, and they turned down both invites.
- Amidst the firing of muskets and the singing of Asante war songs, Bafour Osei Akoto, the Okyeame of Asantehene, ritually slaughtered a sheep to signify the birth of the National Liberation Movement (NLM), of which Busia became its political leader (Bing). The anticipated Ghana’s independence in 1956 as promised by the constitution was thus halted by the birth of the NLM in the Asante Region.
- The backing of the Asantehene of Busia’s NLM was accompanied by the swearing of the Asante oath. Henceforth, the “chiefs and elders would arrive and take their seats on the platform, to be followed by a succession of local speakers who proclaimed their readiness to die for the Golden Stool” (Austin). Dr. Busia was a Bono from Wenchi.
- On April 5, 1955, the Opposition led by Busia and Modesto Apaloo walked out of the Assembly, just after a Motion on a Select Committee to examine the whole question of the federal system of government had been seconded. In their opinion, the Select Committee, comprising some CPP parliamentarians or the “homeless tramp and jackals” (Liberator, March 1956), was incompetent to deal with national matters.
- To justify its violent campaign, Busia’s NLM referred to the CPP supporters in Asante as “those who belong to no family or clan, those who are strangers, not properly trained to appreciate the value of the true and noble Akan” (Liberator, December 20, 1955).
- On November 10, 1955, Kwame Nkrumah’s residence was bombed. This was Danquah-Busia-Obetsebi Lamptey’s style of democracy!!!
- On the day that the CPP reopened its regional office in Kumase after fourteen months of closure, Prof. Busia’s NLM drove a jeep past the crowd and fired shots into it and wounded several people; it also killed a pregnant woman (Adamafio; Botwe-Asamoah).
- The Opposition led by Dr. Busia, refused to meet with Sir Frederick Bourne in Kumase; Bourne was a constitutional expert sent by the British government to resolve the impasse between the government and Opposition.
- Dr. Busia and his NLM refused to attend an all-parties conference at Achimota on February 16 1956 to discuss Bourne’s report and to avert another general election, two years after the 1954 general election (Awoonor; Nkrumah). What’s more, Prof. Busia and the Opposition rejected the regional assemblies contained in the Bourne report (Bing; Awoonor; Nkrumah).
- The government issued its constitutional proposal in the April White Paper of 1956; as usual, the opposition boycotted its proceedings.
- Because of the absence of Prof. Busia and the Opposition at the Achimota meeting, the British Secretary of State found Bourne’s report unacceptable. Hence, the British government decided to hold another general election for the people to decide whether they wanted a “unitary government” or a “federal form of government.” The CPP again won another decisive victory in the July 1956 election. Busia only won by eleven votes in his constituency; once again, he lost the votes in his hometown, Wenchi.
- Before the election, Dr. Busia had written to inform the Governor that, “in accordance with the constitutional practice in the United Kingdom, the National Liberation Movement and its allies will expect Your Excellency to call upon Doctor K. A. Busia, their Parliamentary Leader, to form a Government should they win more than 52 seats at the election” (Ninsin).
- Yet after Nkrumah’s CPP won the 1956 general election, Prof. Busia produced another theory saying that no constitution would be acceptable unless it was “favored by a majority of the people of every region into which the Gold Coast” was divided.” In fact, Busia’s action staggered some of his closest allies. Dr. Busia’s model of democracy!!!
- Back in August 1955, the NLM warned the British government of grisly after-effects if the country should attain independence under the CPP. Thus, “AS FAR AS WE CAN SEE [THIS WOULD LEAD TO A ROAD THAT] MAKES FOR THE COUNTRY (ONE) OF RIOT, REBELLION, REVOLUTION; THE ROAD LONG AGO TAKEN BY THOSE UNHAPPY COUNTRIES WHERE ONE CAN CHANGE ONLY THE HEAD Of STATE OR THE PEOPLE WHO GOVERN BY ARMED INSURRECTION AFTER UNDERGRAOUND CANSPIRACY AND SABOTAGE.” The Opposition’s boycott of the constitutional debate tabled by Nkrumah on August 3, 1956, must, therefore, be understood in the context of Prof. Busia’s declared oath to overthrow Kwame Nkrumah’s democratically elected government by any means possible. A champion of democracy in Africa indeed!!!
- Dr. Busia traveled to London and made his plea to the British Government to deny granting independence to Ghana since, in his view, the country was not ready for parliamentary democracy. “WE STILL NEED YOU IN THE GOLD COAST…YOUR EXPERIMENT THERE IS NOT COMPLETE. SOMETIMES I WONDER WHY YOU SEEM SUCH IN A HURRY TO WASH YOUR HANDS OFF US” (Botwe-Asamoah). Such was the undemocratic tactic employed by Dr. Busia to undermine the voice of the people in the country. What a Betrayer!!!
- Earlier, Dr. Busia had told Richard Wright in an interview that he was British, “A WESTERNER …AND WAS EDUCATED IN THE WEST” (Right). He also told the London Times that “OXFORD HAD MADE ME WHAT I AM TODAY. I HAD ELEVEN YEARS CONTACT WITH IT AND CONSIDER IT MY SECOND HOME. MOST OF MY FRIENDS ARE HERE.”
- When finally the British Colonial Government conceded to Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957, Nkrumah’s government chose for Ghana’s flag, red for the blood of the martyrs, gold for wealth, green for the rich land and the black star in the center representing the freedom of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. As expected, Prof. Busia and the NLM opposed it.
- Yes, it is true that Dr. Danquah first suggested “Ghana” as the name for the country. Dr. Busia also formed a political party and called it Ghana Congress Party. But when Nkrumah formally proposed “Ghana” as the name for the independent and sovereign country, the Danquah-Busia camp opposed it. What a hypocrisy!!!
- When the Parliament formally opened after the 1956 election, Dr. Busia and his NLM elected parliamentarians were absent. Champions of democracy indeed!!!
- When the British Governor, in his opening speech, introduced a Bill declaring that the Gold Coast would be a sovereign and independent State within the Commonwealth, Prof. Busia and the Opposition criticized the proposal saying that it was premature. Traitors!!!
- On November 20, 1956, Dr. Busia’s NLM and the Northern People’s Party sent a secessionist resolution to the British Colonial office in London for separate independence for the Asante province and the Northern Territories. What a demagogue !!!
If these are/were not acts of sabotage, then we need a Danquah-Busia dictionary of the English language.
Indeed, it is disquieting that President Kufuor and his government is spending $20 million USD to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence, which their political ancestors, Danquah and Busia sought uncultured and undemocratic means to SABOTAGE.
In fact, the 50th Anniversary should seek to honor the true national heroes like NANA EKUMFI AMEYAW of Takyiman and the BONO KYEMPEM for saving the country from a bloody civil war, represented by Busia’s NLM declaration of secessionism from the new Ghana. If this is not done on March 6, 2007, the leaders of tomorrow will honor them amid African sacred drumming and dancing across Ghana.
YES INDEED, KWAME NKRUMAH NEVER DIES!!!!!!!!
About the writer
Kwame Botwe-Asamoah, Ph.D
Professor of African/African American History
University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260