For many reasons, Ghana is among the first rank of countries in Africa most favored by African Americans. For us, Ghana is still the most popular choice for our first ‘return to the motherland’ and to our roots. This is not throwing shade on any other popular African destinations, e.g., Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania or South Africa, for example. But Ghana does reign supreme in that regard.
Thinking of going back to Africa and being enstooled as a “chief,” and being able to purchase land there for some imagined future have been spinning thoughts in a lot of Black heads for quite a while, raised to great heights a few years ago as various emails incorrectly spread the news that both activities were widely available. With the recent announcement of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo that 2019 is the “Year of Return” for Africans in the Diaspora, in commemoration of the 1619-2019, 400-year period of the forced takeaway of her children to possibilities of successful reunitings with Africa, the heat is being turned up again.
Ghana is hot for African Americans. Somebody seems to really want us!! That’s important and inspirational. Besides that, Ghana has thus far been the most successful African country at granting dual citizenship status to members of the Diaspora willing to make their homes and to bring their skills to reside in Ghana. Thus far 34 such dual citizenship grants have been made, with 255 more pending for this spring.
Activist members of the 5,000-7,000 strong African Diaspora community in Ghana, particularly one known as Dr. Hamid Maulana, have worked steadfastly to get the dual citizenship arrangements approved in Ghana, and they should be applauded for their work. Ghana is on the move.
With all that, however, comes a caution. President Nana Akufo-Addo has also recently approved a joint military agreement with the United States that, according to several experts, makes Ghana a virtual military garrison of the United States on the African continent. This is definitely not a Pan African move.
Apparently, the U.S., under the Trump administration, sees Ghana as the ideal land base in Africa to become its geostrategic hub for military operations (which is what the despised AFRICOM is aimed at accomplishing) because of its reputation as a relatively peaceful region surrounded by other African areas besieged by terrorist attacks and violent insurgencies.
Ghana has a dual mainland-maritime quality and a long shoreline along the Gulf of Guinea which puts it near Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous state. These all make Ghana a perfect staging point for West African military operations that can go straight through the heart of the continent. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president in 1957, and a major opponent of imperialism and neo-colonialism in Africa, is probably turning over in his grave at this development.
Make no mistake about it, Ghana has great assets worth looking into by African Americans and other members of the African Diaspora. However, this new arrangement with the American military, the first African country besides Djibouti on the east coast of Africa to agree to something like this, is truly troubling and regretful.
We must step lightly here.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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