Correspondence: Democracy in Ghana
Reflecting in this letter on a chance acquaintance with Ghana which is now “independent” as members of the British Labour Party would describe it.
The Scandinavian Express speeded towards France. Seated next to me in the compartment was a Swedish psychoanalyst who had decided to exchange “Socialism” for an Italian monastery. A tourist pamphlet was sticking out of his pocket and began: “When the plane lands you are standing on the threshold of a great adventure—Great Britain.”
The boat shrugged lazily out of Marseilles harbour into the Mediterranean towards West Africa. For every one African on the boat there were two nuns all crossing themselves at the same time. My berth companion was a young French missionary (sent out to soften up the natives) who was later to read me pieces from the Old Testament and tell me that because I was an African my soul needed saving.
My seat at the dining table was next to an American woman tourist of 65 years, dressed and behaving like a girl of sixteen. Facing her sat a coloured Ghanaian woman married to a wealthy Swiss business man. She told us that because everyone in Switzerland were “equal,” she had left her child there to be educated in one of the “best” schools. It was much nicer to have it grow up with ex-Kings and retired millionaires rather than just Africans.
A young Ghanaian girl journalist sat on my left who had been imprisoned with her “idol,” Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, when capitalism was being run by the Labour Party. It was, however, interesting to see that she was beginning to understand that Africans were just as capable to administer capitalism as the white man. The poisonous black capitalist boiling pot of intrigue had disappointed one more. Yet she still insisted that the white Africans were interlopers and should be removed, which seemed like race prejudice in reverse.
The journalist had invited me to stay with her friend on reaching Takoradi. The next morning the boat arrived at Takoradi harbour. The police stood around looking like mixtures of male nurses and museum attendants.
After a confiscated passport and the refusal to accept the invitation of accommodation, together with a fantastic questioning. I was quickly deported to Nigeria, which was my destination. This ended my brief visit to the “model democracy.”
Speaking on “democracy” in Ghana, Mr. Gaitskell, that great “socialist,” said: “It is not possible for us in Britain to determine how you will develop your democracy. It is your affair, but I think in every new country emerging into nationhood certain principles must be observed. They are national unity, a high degree of personal leadership, and thirdly, and the most important, the preservation of individual liberty at all costs.”
How easy these words slip off the tongue of a leader committed to try and reform capitalism. The detentions, deportations and imprisonments by Mr. Nkrumah’s government are politely called developing “democracy,” supported by the Communists and the shifty Liberal, not to mention the Conservatives, who might have made the same speech themselves. One wonders just how much “individual liberty” the British worker enjoys under his “democracy.” What a garnish to hide the stench of British capitalism!
But there is still hope whilst Pacifist Fenner Brockway looks to God and black nationalism to “liberate” the African workers:
“God speed to the new leaders of Africa in the vast arena of constructive tasks which spreads before them! “
Yes, constructive tasks of maintaining the capitalist system in Africa.