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The Ghanaian Academic, Politician, and Pioneer of African Democracy – Kofi Abrefa Busia

The Ghanaian Academic, Politician, and Pioneer of African Democracy - Kofi Abrefa Busia

Kofi Abrefa Busia (July 11, 1913 – August 28, 1978) was a prominent Ghanaian academic, politician, and statesman who served as the Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972. He is widely regarded as one of Ghana’s most influential political figures and a pioneer of African democracy.

Born in Wenchi, in the British Gold Coast, Busia grew up in a family of educated elites. His father was a well-known chief, and his mother was a successful trader. Busia received his primary education in Wenchi and later attended Achimota School, one of the most prestigious schools in the Gold Coast at the time. He then won a scholarship to attend the University of London, where he studied history and philosophy.

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After completing his studies in the UK, Busia returned to Ghana and embarked on an academic career. He taught at the University of Ghana, Legon, where he became the first African to hold the position of Professor of Sociology. He also authored several books, including “The Challenge of Africa” and “Africa in Search of Democracy.”

In 1954, Busia joined the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a political party that advocated for independence from British colonial rule. He was elected to Parliament in 1954, and in 1959, he became the leader of the opposition party, the Northern People’s Party (NPP). In 1960, Busia was jailed by the government of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, on charges of being part of a plot to overthrow the government.

After being released from prison in 1962, Busia went into exile in the UK, where he continued to agitate for democracy in Ghana. He returned to Ghana in 1969, following the overthrow of Nkrumah’s government, and was elected Prime Minister in national elections held in August of that year. Busia’s government was committed to promoting democracy, decentralization, and economic growth, but it was short-lived. In 1972, Busia was overthrown in a military coup led by Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, and he was forced to flee the country once again.

Busia spent the remainder of his life in exile, primarily in the UK and the United States, where he continued to advocate for democracy and human rights in Africa. He died of cancer in London in 1978, at the age of 65.

Kofi Abrefa Busia was a prominent Ghanaian academic, politician, and statesman who played a significant role in the struggle for independence and democracy in Ghana. His commitment to democratic ideals and principles earned him a place in Ghana’s political history, and his legacy continues to inspire many in Africa and beyond.

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