Kwame Nkrumah after leaving prison in February of 1951 in the Gold Coast. He then became 'Leader of Government Business' in the transition to national independence on March 6, 1957., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
10th Anniversary of The C.P.P.
Accra, January 8, 1960
As we enter the threshold of another decade, I take this opportunity to salute you-members of the Convention People’s Party. Ten years ago today, l stood at this West End Arena and declared Positive Action against imperialism and Colonialism and against their agents who would not see reason to abandon their political and economic oppression against our people and continued to refuse our Party’s demand for immediate self-government.
At my call, the people of the country rallied as one man behind our party for the emancipation of the country by putting a decision brake on the wheels of imperialist industry and bringing the agents of monopoly capital into confusion and into a state of great consternation. What happened then is now history, and we need not waste time recounting the inhuman acts which were perpetuated, not only against our Party leadership but also against the rank and file of this dynamic Convention People’s Party.
It is a matter of great pride to me personally, and to my colleagues of the Central Committee and of the National Executive that the party stood unshaken through very severe persecution unleashed by the imperialists in the form of brutal beatings, court prosecutions, imprisonment, dismissals from employment and other forms of victimisation calculated to break the back of our determined effort to oust the usurpers from our dear country.
Our great party emerged victorious, and out of that historic and glorious position has resulted in the dignity of independence, which now characterises our national life as a sovereign people.
My philosophy, based on two axioms, has been clear from the very beginning, and it is quite simple: "Seek ye first the political kingdom and all things shall be added unto it." And secondly, we believe that "the independence of Ghana is meaningless, unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African Continent."
We have won the political battle, and have now plunged ourselves into the fight for economic and social reconstruction of our country. And I wish to make it quite clear that this fight is tougher and far more difficult than many of us do realise. This is so not only because the enemy is intangible, invisible and impersonal, but also and mainly because we must fight on several fronts. Imperialism and colonialism die hard, and what they fail to achieve in one form they try in another. We must therefore, be on our constant and vigilant guard against any form of subtle domination by whosoever and from wheresoever.
Furthermore, we must remember that even many of our comrades, dedicated patriots who are devoted to the Party cause, would hesitate to fight on our side in this battle for economic freedom and reconstruction, because they do not understand the nature of our struggle. Some of them in their ignorance may even join forces with our opponents against us. You could see, therefore, that the new revolution is far more difficult, for it is deeply involved and exceedingly complicated. In order to achieve victory, the Party will need all the strength and dynamic support which it can muster from the masses of our people and from all sections of our national community. I am confident that we shall win.
But, comrades, each and everyone of us must realise one cardinal and most important fact, namely, that the Party is supreme, and its discipline must be all-embracing. That is to say, every member of the Convention People’s Party is subject to the authority and discipline of the party. The party is greater, far greater, than any single member or group of members. Hence the principle of democratic centralism, which governs all our party decisions.
For this reason, I must strongly warn those who, when the party has placed them in a position or office of recognition and influence, tend to forget themselves and to think that they are more important than the party itself and those who join the party because they think they can use it for their personal gain and self-glorification at the expense of the party and of the nation. We must be vigilant not to allow greed, vanity and selfishness to motivate our actions.
The task ahead of us is greater than any one of us can manage single handed. No one should think that he or she can take our dynamic party for a ride. And no one should think that by intrigue, subversion and violence, he can destroy or weaken our great party. Those who may make the attempt will be faced with a force mightier than theirs.
The great task before us is education — intensive ideological education both of the masses and of ourselves, to enable us to understand our purpose and our objectives. For this reason, I again stress, that our Nassoists and Vanguard Activists from now on will have a heavy assignment. They must equip themselves with the requisite knowledge to be able to form study circles among the youth, and to guide their political education and understanding of our party’s objectives.
In consideration of the phenomenal growth of our numbers and the nature of the problems we are called upon to solve, the Party will assume a new structure befitting its dignity and personality. Apart from the existing branch and Constituency Executive Committees, there will be Regional and District Committees in all areas to co-ordinate Party activity, and these will be responsible to me and to the Central Committee, through the General Secretary of the Party whose status, I am happy to say, has now been raised to the equivalent of the status of a Minister.
The new National Headquarters, which will soon be opened, is a magnificent building which will house the various new bureaux to be created by the Party. The Headquarters must be the pride of all of us and the great shrine of the revolutionary spirit of our Party, where we must go every now and again to draw inspiration and strength for the task ahead.
I repeat what I stated early on that, without the Convention People’s Party, there would have been no Ghana today. And without political independence, there can be no hope of economic salvation. We members of the Convention People’s Party must rightly and proudly congratulate ourselves for the opportunity of service to our country.
The death of George Padmore
This is the first time I have had the opportunity of speaking to you as party comrades since the death of our beloved George Padmore. May we all stand in two minutes silence in honour of the memory of this worthy comrade. May his soul rest in peace.
Ghana in World Affairs
Coming to the international scene, I must emphasise that our Party’s foreign policy continues to be based upon positive neutralism and non-alignment. We are convinced that by our policy of non-alignment, we are able to speak our minds frankly and without fear and favour on issues as they arise. Our policy is not a negative one. Positive neutralism and non-alignment does not mean keeping aloof of burning international issues. On the contrary, it means a positive stand based on our own convictions completely uninfluenced by any of the power blocs. We believe that we could help to bridge the unfortunate and undesirable gap between the so-called East and West blocs by not aligning ourselves to either side. We hold the view that as to the issues between them, neither bloc can claim to be permanently right or permanently wrong. As such, it will not be in the interest of international understanding and unity for us and the other independent states of Africa to involve ourselves in the disputes of the power blocs by taking sides. We should be free to take our stand without previously committing ourselves to any bloc on any matters which affect the peace, progress and, indeed, the destiny of Africa. We believe that it would be suicidal to involve ourselves in the disputes of the great powers by taking sides. We will continue to cultivate and maintain friendly relations with all countries, and to be enemy to none.
Concerning Africa, the Convention People’s Party has shown the light and the people will surely find the way. We are proud of our achievements in this regard, and we make no apologies whatsoever to anyone for the role the Party has played, and continues to play, in pursuing the cause of independence and unity of Africa. We shall continue to give encouragement, comfort and support to the nationalist movements for independence, which are now developing in many parts of the African continent.
One of the cardinal tenets of our policy is to see all Africa free from foreign rule, for we believe that freedom for Africans on their native continent of Africa is essential for world peace. The great wave of nationalism at present sweeping Africa is a fact which should be recognised; it is a force that no one can hold in check.
To meet the challenge of nationalism and to prepare colonial territories on a planned basis for independence based on the principle of "one man, one vote," it is important that target dates acceptable to the countries concerned should be agreed upon as soon as possible. Ghana believes that the peoples of the territories will measure up to the responsibilities demanded by the prospects of self-rule and that they themselves will propose a realistic timetable.
Whether the protagonists of colonialism like it or not, and whatever will be their machinations, African nationalism will not budge an inch until the whole of Africa is free from foreign domination. Africa is in rebellion against oppression and discrimination and is now a continent to be reckoned with. It will be even, more than so in the next decade before us.
Last December, just before Parliament rose for the Christmas recess, I tabled a motion in the National Assembly asking for approval of the foreign policy of the Government. The debate which followed the motion demonstrated to the world, in a clear and unmistakable manner, that all sections of opinion in Ghana agree with the policy of the Government in the conduct of our relations with, foreign countries, and especially in our relations with other African countries.
The objectives of our policy in Africa are two, namely, independence and unity. By this we mean that, we have dedicated ourselves to the cause of African redemption and emancipation. When the peoples of Africa have gained their freedom and independence, it is essential, in the interest of our common security and prosperity, that we should all work together to establish a union of African states.
In pursuing our policy of independence and unity of the African continent, I wish to sound a note of warning that the enemies of African freedom, namely, the colonial powers and their imperialist collaborators, are also wide awake and are planning hard to sabotage the efforts of the African people to achieve unity.
The Convention People’s Party, l am proud to say, has achieved tremendous success in the struggle for African freedom. Since the 8th of January, 1950, when l took the courage to declare Positive Action at this same Arena, the nationalist movement throughout Africa has gained momentum with ever- increasing speed. All over the continent of Africa, the Africans are beginning to assert their right to govern themselves, and everywhere in Africa today there is a determined demand for complete independence and unity.
The colonial powers have now been compelled to recognise the force of African nationalism and they have now realised that it is absolutely impossible and, in fact, unrealistic on their part to resist the rising tide of nationalism in Africa.
The imperialists faced with this new situation in Africa are now talking about the granting of independence to "our overseas territories."
But we must be sure that the independence which they now promise is the real one - for any independence which makes the territory still economically dependent on the colonial power is not real.
We must be vigilant, for colonialism and imperialism may come to Africa in different guises. We must therefore alert ourselves to be able to recognise this whenever and wherever it rears its head, and prepare ourselves to fight against it, for it is only with the complete interment of imperialism and colonialism that Africa will be free from menace and able to live and breathe in full liberty where not only men of colour everywhere but also men of all races shall walk with their heads high in human dignity.
As I have said, the colonial powers and their imperialist allies are beginning to advance a new subtle theory — and a disguised one, at that —to safeguard their position in Africa add to beguile and bamboozle the Africans.
They are prepared to grant political independence but, at the same time, they are also planning to continue to dominate the African territories in the economic field by establishing control over the economic life of the newly independent African countries.
There is no difference between political imperialism and economic imperialism.
By these methods, the enemies of African freedom hope to be able to use the new African States as puppets to continue to dominate Africa, while, at the same time, making the Africans to believe that they are, in fact, free and independent.
This new type or concept of independence has been described as "international independence" and it is now the new slogan which is being preached in many colonial territories in Africa.
Under certain conditions, the colonial powers are prepared even now to grant independence to many of their territories. As independent states, these territories are supposed to acquire international personality and establish diplomatic relations with other states and also have representation in the various international organisations, including the United Nations.
Once this stage has been reached, the devil of colonialism will put all its energies into establishing control over the foreign relations and policies of the new African States, and thus make it difficult or even impossible for the African people to work together to establish a Union of African States.
Balkanization of Africa
The new policy or concept of "conditional independence", which the colonial powers are now planning to adopt, is a policy which is intended to create several weak independent states in Africa. These States are designed to be so weak and unstable in the organisation of their national economies and administrations that they will be compelled by internal as well as external pressures to continue to depend upon the colonial powers who have ruled them for several years. The weaker and the less stable an African State is, the easier it is for the colonial power concerned to continue to dominate the affairs and fortunes of the new State, even though it is supposed to have gained independence.
This policy of creating several unstable and weak, but nonetheless independent states in Africa was the same policy adopted by the Great Powers at the Congress of Vienna which balkanised Eastern Europe. It is now an indisputable historical fact that the creation of the small independent States in Europe provided the fertile soil out of which developed the national jealousies, dissentions and disputes which culminated in the First and Second World Wars.
There is strength in the political unity of our Continent and that is why the Convention People’s Party, as the vanguard for African liberation, is always against any policy for the balkanization of Africa into small, weak and unstable States.
We believe that considerations of mutual security and prosperity of our people demand that all the independent States in Africa should work together to create a Union of African States. We are aware of the various plans of the colonial powers and the enemies of African freedom to check the movement for independence and unity of Africa. We are determined not to fall victims to these plans.
We ask all African nationalists, wherever they are throughout the continent, to be vigilant and to watch out for the new forces of colonial domination, which are now being released to stem the tide of African nationalism and to destroy the efforts of the African movements, for independence and unity.
Ghana is on the verge of industrial and economic revolution. The main directing force of this assault will be the Convention People’s Party. The Central Committee, as the principal directorate of this struggle, has given consideration to various aspects of Party re-organisation. As l announced earlier in my speech, the Party makes the Government. The Government is only an agent of the Central Committee of the Party which is dedicated to the service of the nation. The Central Committee gives political driving force and cohesion which is the guarantee of our success.
In view of this, l have been invited by the Central Committee to assume Executive direction of its activities. It has been decided, therefore, that the chairmanship of the Central Committee be abolished, and that l should assume the office of the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party in addition to my duties as Life Chairman of the Party.
It is our hope that this will bring into public focus the importance of the Central Committee and of the Party in the affairs of Ghana and of Africa, and also provide a more effective channel of transmitting Central Committee decisions and directions expeditiously to the Cabinet and the Government as the servant of the Party and of the people.
The imperialists know that a union of independent states of Africa will be a force to be reckoned with in world politics. They are aware of the tremendous impact a free and united Africa can have on all aspects of world affairs.
They would prefer an Africa balkanised into small states which will dissipate their energies and efforts in fruitless rivalries among themselves. For they know that independence without unity can still give them room in our continent to perpetuate economic imperialism and racial discrimination. It is therefore plain common sense and in Africa’s own interest that the attainment of national independence by new African nations should be accompanied by the evolvement of an African personality within an African community.
We who are free and independent should be able to help one another along the road of social and economic reconstruction. It is only to the extent that we are able to raise the living standards of our people and give them a more abundant life, physically and spiritually, that we shall be able to justify our own political independence.
This fundamental objective call for discipline and hard work. The Central Committee is convinced that if our aim of helping all Africa to be free and; united is to succeed, then the energies — the mental and physical resources of; our youth must be harnessed and channelled in the right direction. We must inspire them with the spirit of service to our country and our Africa. In essaying the tasks before us, we must never lose hold of the spirit of adventure. As l said several times, we must explore every avenue and means of evolving new techniques, new methods of work, new forms of living, and channel them into the service of the new Africa which we all aspire to see arise from the ashes of the old Africa of imperialism and colonial rule.
These aims and objectives can only be realised, if we do not allow ourselves to be victims to the imperialist designs to divide us by magnifying our personal differences and by playing one leader against the other. We should be able to sink our personal differences, cast away vanity and strive to free our respective territories and collectively work to achieve the unity of the African continent. We should resist all attempts by the imperialists to balkanise our continent by several subtle constitutional and economic devices.
In this connection, l appeal to you, the people of Ghana — especially to the youth to play our dutiful part in this crusade to liberate and unite Africa. We must learn to love and serve Ghana and Africa. ‘We must be imbued with a deep sense of patriotism for our country and inspired by an equally deep sense of mission to work for Africa’s emancipation.
What must in the long run unite Africa is not only the ultimate, but certain victory over the common foreign domination of our continent. What should unite Africa is the deep love for our continent and our determination to serve it loyally. What must unite the continent of Africa is an ideology — our common Africanism.
Fortunately in Africa today, there is a healthy wave of nationalism, and leaders throughout Africa are preoccupied in their respective territories in the achievement of political independence, and the idea of the unity of the continent — the desirability of a Union of African States or Republics — is broadly acceptable to all leaders and movements in Africa. The threadbore argument, that some African territories should be denied independence because they are not economically viable, in fact underlines the necessity for, and the importance of creating a Union of African States.
The Central Committee, however, feels that the time has now come for all Africa to evolve a basic ideology based on our common Africanism which will serve as a strong basis of the unity of Africa.
Comrades, I am sure you will agree with me that positive steps must be taken by Africans themselves to prevent the intended balkanization of Africa by the colonial powers. The Central Committee of the Convention People’s Party has therefore decided that arrangements should be undertaken to bring all freedom fighters in Africa together and to provide a forum for the discussion and formulation of a common policy, a common method of approach and a common understanding of the gigantic struggle facing the continent. This is a historic duty imposed on our great party by the fact that the ideology of the Convention People’s Party is now a continental force and the party must take the initiative.
Accordingly, the Central Committee of our party has decided to convene a conference of all political parties in Africa and consultation will begirt at once. This conference, unlike its predecessors, will consist solely of African political parties dedicated to and engaged in the struggle for African emancipation. Its main tasks will be to forge an ideology chain consistent with the present day African political thinking, aspiration and way of life, and strong enough to bind our various parties together in the unity and oneness of purpose required for creating a formidable continental and force. Which will ensure complete victory over colonialism and make it possible for creation of a Union of African States.
Comrades, as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the historic positive action-let us re-dedicate ourselves to the struggle for the economic emancipation and social progress of our country. Let us by hard work ensure that such legacies of colonialism as poverty in the midst of plenty, hunger, squalor, illiteracy and dishonesty disappear from the social fabric of our society. The government’s Five-Year Development Plan is aimed at achieving a stable economy and to ensure a high standard of living for our people. If we must be able to play an increasingly important and effective role in African affairs, then we must ourselves put our house in perfect order — we must not only aim at making our country economically sound but also politically stable. In this regard, the security of our state is of paramount importance to us. I am happy to state that in accordance with your wishes, arrangements tire now in progress to turn Ghana into a republic.
We staged a positive action to achieve independence so that with independence, we could concentrate our efforts on economic and social development. Let us therefore on this memorable occasion of the tenth anniversary of Positive Action, reactivate our sense of nationalism and patriotism which made it possible for us to achieve independence.
Comrades: Let us all remember that the greatness, indeed, the strength of our party depends on discipline, loyalty, service and sacrifice.
Long live the Convention People’s Party!
Long live African unity and independence!