Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a known Pan Africanist. While he was alive, he dreamed to see a United Africa, one that would exist and operate as a sovereign state with one currency, anthem and colours. Despite fighting tirelessly to achieve that dream, it never materialized.
In 2010, when the late President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills declared Dr Nkrumah’s birthday as Founders day, it became a topic for discussion. Political concerns arose as the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) opposed the idea, saying Dr Nkrumah was not the only one who worked towards achieving Ghana’s independence. It therefore wasn’t surprising when the debates and arguments cropped up again after NPP took office in 2017. This time, President Akufo- Addo is seeking to acknowledge the remaining five of the big six namely Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo, J. B. Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey and William Ofori Atta on the 4th of August yearly as the founders of Ghana’s independence as well.
Based on the little I know about history, every milestone attained by a sitting president is credited to him as what he achieved during his tenure. Should Nana Addo finish serving his term, he will be credited with introducing free SHS and not the minister of education or other key persons who oversaw its implementation and possible sustainability. Same way I believe since Dr Nkrumah was the then Prime Minister when Ghana gained its independence so it should be recorded as such.
Nevertheless, if the day was not just declared a holiday with a public lecture that many find unattractive but rather something more significant, I believe it would have been impossible for anyone to oppose such an initiative.
Majority of Ghanaians see the day as another opportunity to make merry, travel, go to the beach and many others. Who even cares about that day and what it stands for? How many people will even remember Dr Nkrumah on the day? It won’t surprise me to know if some Ghanaians don’t even know why we are having a holiday on the 21st of September. We are quick to implement things but not putting things in place to create impact. This has made the holiday very ordinary and if some people do not see the importance of it, they are right about it. To many, it is just another holiday to stay away from work.
Are we really marking the 21st September well? What are the lessons to be learnt on founders day? Is there any positive impact within the Ghanaian setting and context? Why can’t we do something that will make it more significant and essential to the development of the nation?
Dr Nkrumah loved Africa as a whole. He had Africa at heart. He was made Co-president in Guinea Conakry, after the coup in Ghana which overthrew him on 24 February 1966. Even though he had a special relationship with the then president of Guinea, Ahmed Sekou Toure, he serving as Co-president after we forced him into exile says a lot about how far he went for some African countries. It is not surprising that he has been honored with street names in some parts of Africa; Nigeria(Abuja), Tanzania(Dar as-Salaam), Zimbabwe(Harare), South Africa (Gauteng) just to mention a few.
Remembering him by just taking a holiday from work and reading lectures that many youth don’t attend as they don’t find it interesting is not the way forward.
We have loads of Africans in Ghana. If we coordinate with the various embassies to bring their representatives from each country to partake in something that will bind us more as Africans, the unfinished dream will be making progress. It could be games, debate, enacting what happened on the day of independence, display by various countries (carnival) etc. This would have even attracted tourist to attend our carnival knowing that we are not remembering a great man of the land, but we have interesting programmes they can cool off with as we end summer. Tourism in some parts of the world is the highest revenue generator for the country. God has blessed us with a beautiful country and as a result, we have great tourist sites and rich culture but little is done to promote our tourism. Imagine the revenue we will generate from the event that day if it is well celebrated? Students who did not have the privilege to read government or history in school will learn something from it that day. Even the illiterates will benefit. We will preserve this history and our generation yet unborn will come and continue.
ECOWAS and the African Union have a way of bringing we as Africans together. But if we have regard for the 21st September as a day of remembering Dr. Nkrumah, then we would have had a reflection on his ideologies and come up with things that drive his dream. Did he die with his dreams? How many Ghanaians have on their own visited the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum for the tour guards to take them through the history yet we are in a hurry to mark his birthday. What are we marking?
If we claim we care about Nkrumah and are marking his birthday, how come for years, the road to his hometown has been left in a deplorable state? Various media houses have done several reports on the state of the Nkroful road. In 2017, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle in the Western Region, Kwasi Bonzoh, stated that government will give a face-lift to Nkroful, the capital of the district and hometown of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, but work done on that road is yet to be seen.
Let us learn to protect each other’s dream. The leaders now are not making the dream of their predecessors come to pass. They shouldn’t forget, if they are also unable to finish theirs before they leave earth, the same thing will be done to them by the younger generation.
It is scary, the way things are carelessly done in this country and the way politics make others hate on one another. When one dies, that is when we hear all the good things about the person, unfortunately for the late Dr. Nkrumah, he is still pointed fingers at for reasons only known to those who do not want him to be celebrated.
Long live Ghana, Long live Africa!
One Ghana, one Africa, one love!
By Tina Muulikaa