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Nkrumah and the Chiefs: The Politics of Chieftaincy in Ghana 1951-60

Summary of Book by Richard Rathbone, 2000
Published by F. Reimmer (Accra, Ghana), Ohio Univeristy Press (Athens, United States), James Currey (Oxford, United Kingdom)

Rathbone uses the press, cabinet papers, local archives, published speeches of politicians, and depositions of witnesses at commissions of enquiry to unveil a fascinating picture of the confrontations between the chiefs and the politicians in Ghana during the period of self-government and the subsequent attainment of independence. He argues that attempts by rulers of several Akan states to preserve their regional and aristocratic power by appealing to Britain to curb nationalist radicalism and break the burgeoning nation-state into federated fragments failed. Focusing more on the embitterment of politics in the kingdom of Akyem Abuakwa, Rathbone maintains that the new central government took strong measures to deprive many of the spirited chiefs their stools. The book helps us understand the culminating confrontation between Nkrumah the chiefs, and whether to consider Nkrumah as a saint and hero or a ruthless politician.