Today in History: How Dr. Kwame Nkrumah died in Bucharest in 1972.

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Exactly 52 years ago on April 27, 1972, Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who led the Big Six to gain independent status for the country died in Bucharest, Romania, after six years of exile in Guinea at the age of 62.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a dedicated Pan-Africanist played a pivotal role in the establishment of the African Union (A.U), previously the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U)

Dr. Nkrumah was unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military coup. A coup led by the National Liberation Council (NLC) with the teaser “Operation Cold Chop” on February 24, 1966, while he was in Beijing en route to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, with strategies to end the American war in Vietnam.

He arrived in Conakry, Guinea just after the military coup that unconstitutionally ousted his government out of power. This happened when he was invited by Sekou Toure, Guinea’s former President.

He was announced to have died of cancer by President Sekou Toure, Dr. Nkrumah’s closest friend. Dr. Nkrumah lived with him in Guinea after the military junta in 1966 before his sudden demise.

His funeral ceremony was held in Conakry, Guinea on May 13, 1972, where several African Heads of State and the representatives of 25 other countries paid their last tribute to him (Dr. Nkrumah).

Also at the funeral were representatives of Ghana’s new ruling military body, the National Redemption Council (NRC). In Accra, Ghana, there was no words of when Dr. Nkrumah’s body would be returned for burial as there were some misgivings that the body would not be returned to Ghana by the Guineans.

The return of his body to Ghana for a befitting burial followed lengthy negotiations between the military rulers and the government of Guinea. His body was finally returned to Ghana and was buried in his hometown Nkroful, Ellembelle District on July 9, 1972.

Later his remains were transferred from Nkroful to a large memorial tomb and park in Accra, Ghana. His original tomb still remains in his hometown, Nkroful.

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