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Tuesday, 29 September 2009 11:10

Nkrumah’s Resounding Propaganda Theme For Self-Government

MOSCOW, Sept 28 (Buziness Africa) – Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana and a well-known pan-Africanist, used many propaganda techniques to manipulate christian psychology, manipulated the messiah symbol, adapted many christian myths to create a martyr cult, and sigificantly adapted christian liturgy for modeling his party’s youth organizations, Dr Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, President of the Union of African Diplomats in the Russia told Buziness Africa magazine in an interview during the week marking the 100th birthday of Nkrumah in Moscow.


He said that Nkrumah’s most remarkable slogan that appealed to cheap sentiments has been that adapted from the Kingdom of God.  For instance, in his January 1953 speech in Liberia, Nkrumah said: “I hear beyond the parapet, mortals resounding the rejoinder:  Seek ye first the kingdom of freedom and liberty and all other things will be added into you.”


For a longtime, Nkrumah’s resounding propaganda theme for self-government in Ghana and in most African countries was “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things will be added unto thee” adapted from Mathew 6:33, Dr Ewumbue-Monono said.


He further explained that while it is interesting to know that while the CPP propagandists were riding on the Catholic liturgy for political indoctrination and glorified the CPP Central Committee as “the Holy of Holies”, they also demonized and vilified the colonial Catholic authorities like Bishop Roseveares who was variously described by the Ghanaian Times and Evening News as “the neo-Colonialist Lucifer,” who “communes with the devil.”


Another effective strategy of the use of Christian liturgy and worship in propagandizing Nkrumah’s status as a messiah, the way, the truth and the light was through the adoption of popular Christian procession songs to announce his entry during special public occasions, he added.


In another connection, Dr Ewumbue-Monono said, the CPP propagandists adopted the famous church hymn, “Lead Kindly Light” as the CPP procession song, played or sang whenever Nkrumah made public appearances: an allusion that like Jesus Christ, he was the light and the way.


The aesthetics of Nkrumahist propaganda also exploited Christian psychology by modeling the CPP institutions after Christian mass movements. In June 1960 for instance, Nkrumah founded the Ghana Young Pioneer Movement and modeled it after the Christian Boy’s Brigade established between 1911 and 1952 as a non-denominational Movement. 


The objective of the Brigade was “the advancement of Christ’s kingdom among boys, and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tend towards a true Christian manliness.” 


In the same way, Dr Ewumbue-Monono reminded in his comments, the objective of the Young Pioneers was to “inculcate in the children of Ghana a feeling of pride for the country, the Movement would also seek to foster physical fitness respect for manual work, self-discipline, sense of duty and of responsibility and above all love for a strong desire to serve the coutnry.”


This helped Nlrumah to mobilize the youth, he pointed out. By April 1962, there were 5000 branches of the Young Pioneers all over the country with a total membership of 500,000 of which 190,000 were girls divided into three groups: the Nkrumah Group aged 16-25 years, the Young Pioneers, aged between 9 and 16, and the African Personality Group, aged between four and eight.


Nkrumahist propaganda was able to build on this Christian institution to promote the CPP party indoctrination and implantation. Like the Boys Brigade, the Young Pioneers also had a Pioneer Code and Pledge.


“Nkrumah’s ability to manipulate Christian mythology, symbols, and language for political propaganda could be attributed to a number of factors, but on the whole the timing was most appropriate,” he pointed out and added that “at the height of the Ghanaian nationalism the language of liberation theology was most effective.”


He further noted in his interview with Buziness Africa magazine that the Christian Council had outlined its policy on involvement politics by stressing neutrality with the “right to consider matters of public concern, from the point of the Christian mind and conscience, and to express them or seek to moved and lead Christian opinion on them.”


He concluded that the significance of Nkrumahist propaganda in modern African studies of politics is that it was effective, thus between 1948 and 1951, it helped Nkrumah accede to political power which he consolidated in 1954 as Leader of Government Business, in 1957 as Prime Minister and in 1960 as President, and thanks to the Nkrumahist propaganda that made Ghana to become the first country in black Africa to obtain independence and enjoyed considerable prestige not only in Africa but the world over.

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