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3 controversial actions, pronouncements about Nkrumah under Akufo-Addo

Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah And Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and President Akufo-Addo

Mon, 8 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

For some critics of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government, there has been a deliberate attempt by his administration to undermine Ghana's first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

The likes of veteran journalist Kwasi Pratt Junior have been critical of the president, accusing him of not only working to belittle Kwame Nkrumah's role in Ghana's independence struggle but also attempting to elevate Dr Nkrumah's contemporaries above him in the narrative of the independence struggle.

Critics of the president have relied on some events that have occurred since President Akufo-Addo took office, to back their allegations.

Founders’ and not a Founder’s Day

Somewhere in 2009, the then-National Democratic Congress government led by late President John Evans Atta Mills declared September 21, the birthday of Kwame Nkrumah, to be Founder's Day. The government went ahead to pass a law that made the day a public holiday.

Thus from 2009, September 21 of each year was marked as a holiday in remembrance of the 'Founder of Ghana,' Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Fast forward to the first year of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's presidency, August 4, which marks the founding of the United Gold Coast Convention, was proposed by the government as the day to be celebrated as Founders Day.

Along with this decision came a debate about changing the holiday from Dr Kwame Nkrumah's birthday to August 4.

The decision to unmake Dr Kwame Nkrumah's birthday a national holiday is cited by Akufo-Addo's critics as one of the many attempts to deny a man his rightful place in Ghana's history.

The debate about Nkrumah's role in Ghana's independence

Amidst criticisms over the change of Founder's Day to Founders' Day, the presidency, under Akufo-Addo, sought to justify the new arrangement.

The presidency, tagging the criticisms as largely fuelled by partisanship, said it was rather unfortunate that the history of Ghana's independence some 60 years on was "embroiled in unnecessary controversy."

"It is clear that successive generations of Ghanaians made vital contributions to the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism. It is, therefore, fitting that we honour them as those who contributed to the founding of our nation," the presidency said.

Tagging August 4 as signifying two important events leading to the independence of Ghana, the government said the most appropriate way to honour the role-players was to mark the day as a holiday.

"On that day in 1897, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) was formed in Cape Coast. The society did a great job to mobilise the chiefs and people to ward off the greedy hands of British imperialism to ensure that control of Ghanaian lands remained in Ghanaian hands.

"It represented the first monumental step towards the making of modern Ghana, enabling us to avoid the quagmire of land inheritance that our brothers and sisters in southern and eastern Africa continue to suffer from the seizures of their lands by White minorities.

" In a deliberate act in the continuum of Ghanaian history, exactly 50 years later, on August 4, 1947, at Saltpond, the great nationalists of the time gathered to inaugurate the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first truly nationalist party of the Gold Coast, to demand the independence of our nation from British rule at a gathering which included 'paramount chiefs, clergymen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, traders and men and women from all walks of life in the Gold Coast," the presidency said in a statement.

The government added that the two events set the ball rolling for Ghana's independence by providing the grounds for the formation of Dr Kwame Nkrumah's Convention Peoples Party, which ushered Ghana into freedom.

"That day, August 4, is thus, obviously the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana."

Despite the government tagging Dr Nkrumah's role in the independence struggle as outstanding, critics maintain that there is a deliberate attempt to draw down his contribution while elevating others.

Poster with Nkrumah’s half-face?

While the government has always attempted to dispel allegations of undermining the Nkrumah legacy, a recent development at a public event seems to have fuelled the Akufo-Addo critics.

In the latest development, photos have emerged online showing what could be described as politically-incorrect images of the Big Six from the government's perspective.

The photos from a Founders' Day luncheon in honour of senior citizens on August 4, 2022, showed the president speaking to a gathering in front of a mounted banner platform that showed a photo of the Big Six.

In the photo, what was expected to be a fully-printed banner showing all the photos of the members of the Big Six, conspicuously had half of the image of Kwame Nkrumah cropped out to the left.

Many online users have wondered why the board on which the banner was mounted was not big enough to capture the faces of all the members of the Big Six.

This has further spurred critics of the Akufo-Addo government into action, with many reiterating an attempt to undermine Nkrumah.

On the part of the government, however, it has done nothing less than correct a distortion in the history of Ghana's independence struggle.

In June 2022, the government of President Akufo-Addo allocated some $10 million for the refurbishment of the Kwame Nkrumah museum.

According to the government, this will give the museum which houses the mortal remains of the first president a look befitting of his status.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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