Senior research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, Dr Kojo Opoku Aiddo, says Ghana’s past achievements and ongoing development cannot be attributed to any singular person or group.
He notes that one of the best ways to resolve the ongoing debate about Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s status as the founder of Ghana is to acknowledge that the country’s liberation efforts from the pre-colonial era to independence resulted from a myriad of collaborative efforts.
“The project to liberate Ghana from colonial rule started and was contributed to by many, many people; so many years even before Nkrumah arrived in his country.
“If we want to deal with the issues as objectivity demands, then it is quite unacceptable to say that just one person established Ghana,” he said on current affairs programme, PM Express, on the Joy News channel in MultiTV, Monday.
A decades-old controversy resumed recently when the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced plans to propose legislation to Parliament to designate August 4 as Founders Day, ditching September 21 as the commemorative day for Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President and a key figure in the fight for freedom from British colonial rule.
September 21, which is the birthday of Dr Nkrumah, however, has been renamed Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, and together with August 4, will be marked as a public holiday.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP), the party founded by Dr Nkrumah, says the proposal to make August 4, the country’s Founders Day is a deliberate ploy to protect the ancestry of the President. The party said it was not surprised by the announcement because President Akufo-Addo has demonstrated his readiness to alter Ghana’s history to favour his family.
August 4 is the date for the formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society by John Mensah Sarbah in 1897, and the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 by J.B. Danquah and George Alfred “Paa” Grant, on whose ideals the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) was founded.
Commenting on the matter on PM Express, Dr Aidoo said it was unfortunate that the country has not settled longstanding controversy 60 years after independence.
“Nkrumah played a huge, in fact, a disproportionate contribution to the struggle, and his place is quite undeniable,” he admits but adds that the collaborative efforts of J.B. Danquah and Paa Grant, for instance, cannot be ruled out.
“We are still in the process of building the nation, so everyone’s work needs to be recongnised,” he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it will be embarking on a solidarity march on Thursday, September 21, 2017, “to commemorate the Founder’s Day Celebration of the birthday of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the Founder and first President of the Republic of Ghana.”