Today in History, exactly 54 years ago, on March 2, 1966, Kwame Nkrumah arrived in Conakry, Guinea after being invited by Sekou Toure just after the Military Coup that unconstitutionally ousted his Government from Power.
When news of the coup reached him, Nkrumah was in Peking (today’s Beijing) en route to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, with plans to end the American war in Vietnam.
Leaders of four African countries sent Nkrumah immediate messages of support and invitations. They were the presidents of Egypt (Gamal Abdel Nasser), Mali (Modibo Keita), Guinea (Sekou Toure), and Tanzania (Julius Nyerere).
Nkrumah decided to accept Sekou Toure’s invitation. The government of Guinea shared Nkrumah’s Pan-African objectives, encompassing the liberation of the African people from all forms of social injustice and economic exploitation.
There also existed a strong brotherly bond between Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. In addition, Guinea was closest to Ghana, to where Nkrumah was determined to return to carry on his work.
Sekou Toure came to the rescue of Kwame Nkrumah, the deposed of Ghana and invited him to Guinea where he arrived on March 2, 1966, together with his bodyguards and a few civil servants who had remained with him.
Kwame Nkrumah was received by Toure as Head of state and given a 21-gun salute.
At the airport, Sekou Toure declared that Kwame Nkrumah would be with him as “the head of state of and secretary-general of the Guinean Democratic Party”, a title that permitted him to make a few ceremonial appearances around Conakry and to live in a comfortable villa.
The new Ghana government, the National Liberation Council, accused Guinea of “Harboring one of the most notorious tyrants and criminals in Africa, kwame nkrumah, who now styles himself chief of state of guinea and leader of the guinea democratic party.” They also announced the immediate closure of Ghana’s embassy in conakry and called on the Guinean government to allow the ambassador and staff to leave the country.