By A. R. Gomda
Some of us recall the days when so many escort policemen converged on structures within the Greater Accra Education Ministry offices at Tudu.
They were brought from all over the country to come and beef up security in Accra. That should have been in 1961 or 1962 following the Kulungugu bombing which turned out to be an assassination attempt on President Kwame Nkrumah.
Many suspects were rounded up and sent to the Nsawam Prison where they remained until the coup of 1966.
President Kwame Nkrumah was regarded by some Ghanaians as dictatorial whose style of governance coupled with his socialist orientation was opposed to such persons.
The opposition party was very active in those days and were said to be responsible for the distribution of anti-government leaflets across the country their base being Lome, Togo.
Nkrumah’s government linked up with Sylvanus Olympio in Togo so he could stop the opposition elements who were thought to be engaging in subversive activities against the CPP government.
Olympio did not go beyond the normal announcement asking non-citizens not to engage in such activities within Togolese territory. That did not end the matter as opposition elements continued their activities which shook Kwame Nkrumah to his marrow; his clampdown on suspects saying it all about his frustration and readiness to deal ruthlessly with such persons.
The United Party (UP) the formidable opposition party at the time was accused of being behind the subversive activities against Kwame Nkrumah. The intelligence community was placed on high alert as many arrests were made and with no credible trial at the time many found out that they could not resort to the law courts to have their stories heard and the necessary adjudication undertaken.
In his book about the Nkrumah days, By Nkrumah’s Side- The Labour and the Wounds-Tawia Adamafio said of the period “It was known to us that members of the UP in Ghana were going to and from Lome all the while in a feverish attempt to organize an uprising against us. Some boys from the North were recruited and taken to Lome for training in guerilla warfare and sabotage and the Intelligence Service was kept very busy indeed.”
These were restive days in the newly independent Ghana, between 1961 and 1966, but this notwithstanding, Kwame Nkrumah visited Tenkudugo, Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, to hold discussions over a common interest with his host Maurice Yameogo, then President.
Another meeting was over the furtherance of an African Unity policy to remove customs barriers between the two countries. That was June 1961.
And the two countries discussed the removal of customs barriers between them in furtherance of the African Unity policy which Kwame Nkrumah was in a hurry to implement.
Tawa Adamafio continues “accordingly during the month of June, the Presidents of the two countries, Kwame Nkrumah and Yameogo met at the frontier post of Paga and carried out in grand style, the ceremony of ‘Breaking the barrier’ by demolishing a symbolic wall between the two countries.”
The foregone was followed in July 1961 of the setting up of a joint commission to study the implications of the action.
The commission according to Tawia Adamafio made recommendations among which was that Upper Volta could import goods through Ghana upon which there were to be no customs duties paid.
“Duty was payable on all goods leaving Ghana and records kept of the amount collected which should be refunded to Upper Volta. It was agreed that to ease Voltarian difficulties, Ghana should advance Upper Volta an amount of two million pounds. At the time of the agreement, landlocked Upper Volta was in strained relations with Ivory Coast and Yameogo was seeking an alternative port to Abidjan.”
It was agreed for a meeting to be held in a small town near Bawku, Tenkudugo a frontier post to finalise the deal. The date was August 1962.
Tawia Adamafio said of the event that followed: “the Party Congress was scheduled for August at Kumasi, so he President and I agreed that we would attend the Congress at Kumasi on Sunday 30 July 1962 and proceed to the North the following day.”
On the following day many party persons joined the President’s team for the Northward trip.
Tawia Adamafio advised that since their hosts would have made arrangements for only thirty persons, the excess number be turned away but Kwame Nkrumah opposed saying since the trip was to an African country, verandahs and others places could serve as sleeping places adding that food should not be a problem.
Kwame Nkrumah and his team encountered accommodation challenge in the town; a fear expressed already by civil servants.
According to Tawia Adamafio “there were not enough rooms for even the members of the delegation themselves and we were packed several men to a room.
The ministers and senior officials were asked to wait in a certain hall in the building allocated to the President and it was midnight that Mr. K.B. Asante of the African Affairs Secretariat brought one of the Voltarian protocol officers who took Ako Adjei, Cofie Crabbe and me to a small two-roomed house and gave us places to sleep.