Strife Journal, Issue 5 (May/ June 2015)
Republished from Strife
By Clement Sefa-Nyarko
Clement Sefa-Nyarko has an article: History Production after Undemocratic Regime Change: The Impact of Ghana’s Competing Independence Narratives after the First Coup d’État on Peace and Political Stability published on Strife Journal
This article explores one of the “secrets” of Ghana’s political stability since the 1990s from the perspectives of history, memory and remembrance. Undemocratic regime changes have characterized post independence sub-Saharan Africa, both during and after the Cold War. Coup d’etats especially characterized the immediate post-Cold War era. Just like the mechanisms of the victor’s narrative in all post-conflict societies, coup makers manipulate history to sustain their agenda. Military and police elements staged the first coup d’etat in Ghana in 1966 to topple Kwame Nkrumah’s regime. Despite Nkrumah’s dominance in Ghanaian post-independence nation-building and his immense global appeal, the 1966 coup makers and subsequent regimes made efforts to erase his memory in Ghana until the 1980s. This was a period of aggravated culture of silence imposed against Nkrumah’s memory and legacies. The transition that led to his remembrance helped Ghanaians to purify the memory of violence and atrocities during his regime. In contemporary Ghana, Nkrumah has become a source of conflict and consensus, fostering national conversation (controversies) that ironically promotes social cohesion and political stability. The political conversation highlights the disagreement and consensus around Nkrumah, overshadowing sectarian, ethnic and religious tensions to a large extent; which has had positive impact on political stability. This article explores some of the contours of agreement and disagreement about Ghana’s past, and discusses their impact on its nascent democratic regime.
Download the article here.