former National Chairperson and leader of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Madam Yaba Samia Nkrumah, has argued that the “Founders debate is a sterile debate.”
“I would imagine Kwame Nkrumah would not like to see the country divided over this matter. We should rather engage in Nkrumah’s revolutionary ideas and policies,” she told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra on Tuesday.
Sharing her position on the attempt by President Akufo-Addo to change the Founders Day from September 21 to August 4, Madam Nkrumah said it was most unfortunate that the founders debate which had already been settled was being used as a New Patriotic Party (NPP) versus National Democratic Congress (NDC) game to score cheap political points and divide the nation for their own parochial interests at a time when there was consensus about Kwame Nkrumah’s valuable contribution to nation-building.
President Akufo-Addo is set to propose legislation to Parliament to designate 4th August as Founders Day, and 21st September as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, both of which will be observed as public holidays.
A statement from the Presidency and signed by the Director of Communications at the presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin on Sunday said the President has to this end issued an Executive Instrument to commemorate this year’s celebration of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day as a public holiday.
She postulated: “Dr Nkrumah laid the foundation for industrialisation. Where are we today? He laid the foundation for economic emancipation. Where are we today? Under Nkrumah’s guidance in the sixties, we began controlling our economy, our resources, our national production, our gold and foreign currency reserves, today where are we? These are the issues we want our youth to be talking about.”
According to Madam Nkrumah, if truth be told, both parties – the NPP and the NDC – are not interested in Nkrumah’s policies but only in capturing votes.
In her view, no amount of legislation or decrees could change the facts of history, stressing that the debate had already been settled.
According to Madam Nkrumah, historical records by Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike had documented the long journey towards independence, the birth of the new nation Ghana as well as efforts at nation-building.
She said the three national elections in 1951, 1954, and 1956 the successful campaign to unify the four territories under one nation, including the 1956 plebiscite; and the Independence, Motion in our Nation’s Assembly all attested to Nkrumah’s towering role in founding the nation Ghana.
“As for nation-building we can’t begin to count: free education from primary to university and free textbooks; the 100 factories and industries established as part of economic planning, Black Star Shipping line (18 vessels in all), 29 trawlers, Akosombo Dam, Tema township and harbour, as well as all the institutions that made Ghana a strong and hopeful nation in the sixties,” she recalled.
Madam Nkrumah pointed out that since the country returned to multiparty dispensation under the Fourth Republic, the country had had NDC and NPP governments that oversaw the sale and privatisation of national assets – many to themselves and de-industrialisation and growing unemployment.
Under both NPP and the NDC, she said, Ghana had progressively lost control over her resources rather than nationalise them.
“Can we imagine Kwame Nkrumah pursuing these policies? Bringing our economy under the control of foreign interests? Nkrumah consistently spoke about economic independence as an objective and cautioned us against allowing ourselves to be exploited,” she asserted.
It is telling that our 1992 Constitution upholds all military decrees, including the one that renamed Accra International Airport after a coup leader, as well as other NLC decrees criminalising Nkrumah, she stated.
In effect, she said since 1966, the political elite had suppressed Nkrumah’s ideas and policies constitutionally to the detriment of the welfare of the people of Ghana.
So it was insincere to be initiating a debate on founder or founders when the real issue was suppressing Nkrumah’s policies that held the key to the country’s progress and development and to power going back to the people of Ghana, she underscored.
“Our focus today is on bringing Kwame Nkrumah’s policies to every Ghanaian and African. Our focus is on revisiting Nkrumah’s ideas and adapting them to the changing circumstances of today. Our focus is on educating ourselves, Ghanaians and Africans on Nkrumah’s empowering philosophy and ideology for decolonisation to produce that strong energy that will put a seriously nationalistic, Pan-Africanist government in place that will put the welfare of the people at the top of the list of priorities. That is the Nkrumah Revolution we want to see,” she declared.
On the way forward, Madam Nkrumah said she was very serious about making Nkrumah’s ideas available to the Youth of Ghana.
“That is why the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre (KNAC) of which I’m a founder is organising, together with a number of youth organisations, a programme on September 21 to launch the African Edition of Kwame Nkrumah’s books beginning with Dark Days in Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah Dialogue Series.”
“This week we are beginning with a Youth Dialogue on Nkrumah’s ideas and policies. And we will continue with the books and the dialogues,” she stated.