The United States and the overthrow of Kwame NkrumahThe United States and the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah
February 24, 1966 is regarded by many Ghanaians as the Waterloo in the history of Ghana, and Ghanaians would not like it to be mentioned so as to rekindle old wounds considering the hardships the country went through from that period until accepting democratic rule in the early 1990s. On that fateful day the first Republic of Ghana was overthrown in a military coup d’état when the first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was on a peacemaking mission in Vietnam. Most Ghanaians and Africans continue to point accusing fingers at the United States for this unfortunate incident that brought not only the newly born nation to the brink of collapse but also brought the dream of a united Africa into jeopardy. Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence, and the two super powers that emerged after the Second World War—the United States and the Soviet Union—and later the People’s Republic of China endeavored to have positive relations with Ghana in order to implant their ideologies not only in Ghana but in the African continent at large. Ghana after independence soon became a Cold War battle ground in the propaganda warfare between the East and the West. In order to stand aside from the Cold War, the government of Ghana from the first days of independence took a non-aligned stand and promised to establish good relations with all countries of the world, irrespective of the political systems of their governments. Some of the policies and actions taken later by the Ghanaian government were translated by the United States to mean that Ghana had moved from its entrenched non-aligned stand to the Soviet Bloc. The perceived defection created a gulf between Ghana and the United States. The tension between the two nations and unrest at home became more tense and fraught with grave complications and was culminated in a coup d’état that eventually toppled Nkrumah’s administration.