British Empire
The end of the British empire - Ghana
British Empire logo
  full transcript - source5  
Extract from a report on democracy in Ghana in 1959
(Catalogue ref: CAB 21/4571)
Source 5a


13. Two years of independence have witnessed what seems to be a marked departure from democratic rule towards an authoritarian one-party State. Much of Dr. Nkrumah's behaviour can be explained by his anxiety to destroy or at least to render harmless the divisive forces of tribalism as represented through the Chiefs and Regional Assemblies and to create both a sense of nationhood and its reality. To some extent he has been helped in his ambitions both by the sometimes ill-judged activities of the opposition which, based primarily on tribal and geographical

Source 5b

differences, has unrealistically sought federal safeguards to protect its interests; and again by certain entrenched clauses in the constitution bequeathed to him, which, however laudable their object of safeguarding the rights of minorities, have appeared to be an obstacle to the unitary state and thus expendable. Dr. Nkrumah is passionately anxious to build himself up as the voice of Africa before he is overshadowed by a newly independent Nigeria. By turning Ghanaian eyes outwards towards the goal of Pan-Africanism, he has been anxious to enhance his reputation as a father-figure; the curtailment of the personal liberties of those opposing him, seems a small price to pay for putting Ghana on the map. It is indeed doubtful whether any future election would be allowed to go against Dr. Nkrumah. This does not necessarily mean that the cause of democracy in Ghana is lost for good: or indeed that it was the best type of government for Ghana in its early years of independence.
Top of page | Close