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General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017


Celebrate August 4, but don't belittle my father - Samia Nkrumah warns

The announcement by the Ghana @60 Anniversary Planning Committee to commemorate August 4 as a significant day in Ghana’s history appears to have opened old ideological wounds.

Daughter of Ghana’s first president Dr Samia Nkrumah is convinced there is a deliberate ploy to belittle the efforts of her father in winning Ghana’s independence.

She said the Ghana@60 planning committee can go ahead and celebrate August 4 but must not in any way belittle Nkrumah’s role in Ghana’s independence struggle.

Tomorrow, the president Nana Akufo Addo and key members of his party, will converge at Saltpond in the Central Region to commemorate the anniversary of the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention, (UGCC) the first ever political party in Ghana which turned the independent struggle into a political movement.

Huge political bigwigs at the time led by JB Danquah described as the doyen of Ghana’s politics on August 4, 1947 announced the formation of the UGCC with the demand for “self-government within the shortest possible time.”

Even though Dr Kwame Nkrumah was not part of those who foundered the UGCC, he was invited later by Mr Danquah to serve as the General Secretary of the party.

Differences in ideologies and plan of action forced Dr Kwame Nkrumah to breakaway from the UGCC to form his own party- the Convention People’s Party which eventually won independence for Ghana in 1957 with a call for "self government now!"

Since then there have been deep ideological wedge between followers of the CPP and the UGCC.

The followers of the UGCC believe history has been distorted to favour Dr Kwame Nkrumah at the detriment of JB Danquah, leaders of the UGCC and other key figures who were prominent in the fight for independence.

Several decades have passed but political parties in the current democratic dispensation who owe allegiance to the UGCC and the CPP have always kept the flames of this deep political differences burning.

The governing New Patriotic Party is linked to the UGCC, with its leader and president Nana Akufo-Addo deeply inspired by JB Danquah.

The president before him, John Mahama led the NDC which was formed in 1992 but has many of its adherents from the CPP. They are all inspired by Dr Nkrumah.

The CPP itself, still remains a party in Ghana, albeit a shadow figure of what Dr Kwame Nkrumah led to independence in 1957.

In an interview with Joy FM, the Deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor who is also the deputy head of the Ghana @60 Committee announced the commemoration of the August 4, event as part of Ghana @60 celebrations.

He said August 4 is “momentous” and “worthy of note” in the history of Ghana.

“The Ghana of today was conceived on August 4 when the UGCC was founded,” he stated.

But the announcement has ruffled some CPP feathers.

Dr Samia Nkrumah believes there is no need engaging in this futile debate that is laced with hypocrisy.

“I have no problem with anyone celebrating any effort or contribution towards our independence. Kwame Nkrumah himself said that the struggle for independence began before him and the struggle for emancipation may continue after him. So we have no problem with that.

“What we do have with, is the attempt to denigrate Kwame Nkrumah’s contribution.

“Let no one belittle Nkrumah so that we do not lose focus about what needs to be done about the future of the country,” she said.

She believes history has been unfair to her father and the 1992 constitution of Ghana has not done her father any favours at all.

“Our 1992 constitution itself is deficient because it criminalizes Kwame Nkrumah,” she said.

Despite these challenges she believes the new government must focus on present day issues and the problems of today.

“I think there are much more important things we need to think about as a nation."

He cited the call for jobs, free education and other needs Ghanaian youth are craving for. That should be our focus.

The Deputy Chief of Staff who triggered the debate with his announcement of the August 4 event said the announcement was not meant to provoke a needless debate.

Abu Jinapor said Nkrumah’s place in Ghana’s history is well known and so is the events of August 4 1947 which signaled a political fight for independence.

"There is no need for a debate," he suggested.