Today In History: April 27, 1972, Kwame Nkrumah Dies In Bucharest, Romania

Kwame Nkrumah (image via

Exactly 48 years ago, on April 27, 1972, Kwame Nkrumah, In distant Bucharest (Romania), far from his green and lovely native land and from his own people, Kwame Nkrumah died of an unspecified but apparently cancer.

His was a lonely death, without ceremony and without drama for a man who had been surrounded by both throughout his political career as President of Ghana and one of Africa’s most famous men.

A man with a price on his head, he was unable to return to the country he had led to independence in 1957 and which he had ruled for nearly 13 years. The former Ghanaian leader, who had virtually disappeared from the active political scene since his overthrow by a military coup d’état in February 1966, had since that time been living quietly in the Guinean capital of Conakry.

Kwame Nkrumah when he heard the news of his overthrow was in Peking (today’s Beijing) en route to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, with plans to end the American war in Vietnam

Press reports shortly after Nkrumah’s death announced that President of Guinea Touré had attached four conditions to the return of the ex-President’s body to Ghana:

1.      Nkrumah’s complete rehabilitation in the eyes of the Ghanaian people (lifting all charges that had been pending against him)

2.     Liberation of all of Nkrumah’s partisans still held in Ghanaian jails

3.     Removal of the threat of arrest which hung over all of Nkrumah’s followers who had chosen to remain with him in exile

4.     An official welcome by the Ghanaian government of Nkrumah’s remains, with all the honors due a deceased chief of state.

President Kwame Nkrumah was unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military coup. The Coup was launched by the National Liberation council (NLC) with the code name “Operation Cold Chop,” on February 24, 1966 whiles he was in Peking (today’s Beijing) en route to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, with plans to end the American war in Vietnam.

6th March 1966: Children around a fallen statue of the self-appointed president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah during the coup that overthrew his dictatorship. (Photo by Harry Dempster/Express/Getty Images

Kwame Nkrumah arrived in Conakry, Guinea after being invited by Sekou Toure just after the Military Coup that unconstitutionally ousted his Government from Power.


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