Forty – One years ago today, in Bucharest, Romania… Africa’s greatest son Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah left this human plane and Ghana as well as Africa became a much diminished place. We are consoled by words of the great man himself – “AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, I AM IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT DEATH CAN NEVER EXTINGUISH THE TORCH THAT I HAVE LIT IN GHANA AND AFRICA, LONG AFTER I AM DEAD AND GONE THE LIGHT WILL CONTINUE TO BURN AND BE BORNE ALOFT PROVIDING LIGHT AND GUIDANCE TO ALL PEOPLE”
Kwame Nkrumah was the founder of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and thus the Party remembers him on this day, recalling that the party he founded served as the vanguard for the
liberation and emancipation of Ghana and Africa.
“I have never regarded the struggles for the independence of the Gold Coast, as an isolated objective, but always as a part of a general world historical pattern. Africans of all the territories of this vast continent shall wake up and nothing shall stand in the way of their fight for freedom.
It is our duty, since we constitute the vanguard, to give all possible assistance to those currently waging battles that we have put on the right track; our task is not done and our safety is not secured until the last vestiges of colonialism are eliminated from the African continent” Nkrumah said.
We recall also that this was a humble man from humble beginnings who rose to become one of the greatest Africans – He had worked as a labourer in a soap factory and as a ship waiter, as a retail salesperson, and many other things to keep body and soul together.
We recall his great and exceptional talent and ability to organize and to unite.
It was Kwame Nkrumah who drafted the historic declaration of the 5th Pan-African Congress of Manchester, addressed to “The Colonial Peoples of the World”.
The 5th Pan African Congress calls on all workers and peasants of the colonies to organize themselves.
The 5th Pan African Congress also called on all the intellectuals and the professionals of the colonies to take on their responsibilities.
The workers rose to the challenge but many wonder if the intellectuals and professionals have yet taken on their responsibility on the continent.
In a decade of struggle from 1947 to 1957 Nkrumah was able to put the first plank in place on his life’s mission – firstly independence for Ghana, to be followed by liberation from colonialism as well as the unity of all nations of the Continent.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah not only contributed to the liberation of the continent but globally in the struggle against imperialism.
In his book Towards Colonial Freedom, he noted “The Way Forward” thus:
A) The intensification of the crisis within the colonial powers in their colonies.
B) The intensification of the crisis in the colonies and the growth of liberation movements against local colonial governments on the colonial front.
C) Under conditions of imperialism, it may not be possible to plot a war, but collaboration between proletarian movements in capitalist countries and liberation movements in the colonies against the imperialist front of the world is inevitable.
Nkrumah demonstrates that he is not just a theoretician on the colonial problem, but a man of action who shows the way, who mobilizes the masses, and who advances the cause of liberation.
His mission was clear – the attainment of a complete and unconditional independence, and the building of states in which true development of each person is a condition for the development of all.
This great man becomes a great African because he was fully committed to the struggle for the unity of the newly liberated nations and gave assistance to countries that were still fighting for independence – when Guinea, under Sekou Toure, untangled itself from French colonial bondage, and France responded with economic reprisals. Nkrumah provided financial assistance to meet Guinea’s most pressing needs. He acted similarly when in 1960, Modibo Keita’s Mali, grappled with serious economic crisis on attaining independence.
In 1961, under Nkrumah’s Leadership a Conference between Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Libya, United Arab Republic and the provisional government of the Algerian Republic took the decision to support the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Lumumba forces in the Congo, in addition to the adoption of the African Charter condemning colonialism.
In March of the same year, he forces Apartheid South Africa to withdraw application for readmission to the Commonwealth when he threatened to withdraw if apartheid South Africa’s membership was allowed to continue.
Nkrumah was one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity; he took the first steps towards creating OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity of African, Asian, and Latin American People) and he was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
It was Nkrumah who proposed the creation of a seat for Africa in the United Nations Security Council.
The list of achievements is endless but we wish to summarise a few thus:
o He represented a symbol of hope and emancipation for Africans globally and all oppressed peoples everywhere in the world.
o Nkrumah believed that it was only through industrialization that Ghana and the rest of independent Africa could catch up with the developed nations of the world.
o He built factories and industries in Ghana, the Tema Harbour, new roads, and expanded the Civil Service.
o He constructed the Akosombo Dam to provide electricity both for Ghana and the neighboring states.
o He broke the monopoly of the multinational corporations in the Ghanaian economy, through nationalization policies. He created more jobs in the economy and increased wages.
o He built new hospitals and pipe-borne water
o He encouraged and financed sports to introduce Ghana to the world.
o Nkrumah ensured that AAfricans took charge of their own affairs and reclaimed their dignity in the world
o He introduced free basic education for all children in Ghana by abolishing school fees at this level.
o He expanded education by building more schools to increase enrollments.
o He built teacher colleges to train teachers for the schools.
o He built several secondary schools (high schools).
o He built three universities: The University of Ghana, Cape Coast University, and the University of Science & Technology.
We note this day that successive governments since his overthrow and subsequent death have singularly and spectacularly failed to provide the same vision and programme directed towards improving the living standards and cultural and spiritual needs of Ghanaians.
Since his death a privileged few have benefitted, billions of cedis of Ghana’s money is spent anyhow without accountability, billions of cedis is acquired corruptly through questionable procurement practices, billions more go to waste and financial irregularity, free privileges such as ex-gratia payments continue whilst the majority of Ghanaians are asked to be patient and to hope and wait for their share in a better Ghana.
Public disenchantment with corruption, economic mismanagement, and political misrule has reached its peak.
Kwame Nkrumah’s light continues to burn and provide guidance to a new generation who will today turn up in their thousands at a rally in Kumbungu, Northern Region to remember him.
Many Mosques and Churches have prayed for his soul and everlasting peace, on Friday and over the coming days at the request of the CPP Leadership
Honour and glory to Dr Kwame Nkrumah – Founder of the Convention People’s Party.
Young men and women across the African continent will forever raise high a banner in your honour – Rest in Peace Osagyefo
Nii Armah Akomfrah
CPP Director of Communication