It was hardly a crowd that could be compared with the gathering that saw Dr. Nkrumah declared the independence of Ghana some 54 years ago, but the glamour of the founders day parade witnessed by His Excellency Thabo Mbeki and The ex-president of the Republic of Germany, Horst Kohler leaves a great impression on the past the present and the future of Ghana and for that matter the African Continent.
Amidst pops and pageantry, the 102 birthday of the first Ghana President was done was devoid of party colouration which usually characterise such national events in recent past.
The presence of known members of all the existing political parties in Ghana at the function buried the unbridled tension and political division that has blown out of proportion since the famous exposure by the nation’s partisan media of the infamous wikileaks diplomatic cable leakages.
Perhaps most intriguing was the clarion call on all major speakers, Vice President John Mahama, President Thabo Mbeki, and Samia Nkrumah, daughter of the great Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and chairman of the vibrant once functioning Convention People’s Party, (CPP) for a united Ghana and Africa.
The speakers espoused the vision of the Dr. Nkrumah and exulted him for being the icon of Africa’s hopes.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama was worried that the dream of Africa’s freedom fighters to see a united Africa is being hindered by artificial boundaries.
He observed that free movement of nations across borders remains only a dream.
Speaking at this year’s Founder’s Day celebration at the Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra, the Vice-President stressed, rather regrettably, that by this bottleneck, the vision of a united Africa “is very far from realization”.
The Founder’s Day, instituted two years ago, is marked on 21st September to commemorate the birthday of Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The event was graced by former presidents John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana; Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Horst Koehler of Germany, as well as children and family of Dr Nkrumah and hundreds of Pan Africanists.
Mr John Mahama said although Dr Nkrumah’s popular catchphrase, that Ghana’s independence would be meaningless until it is linked to the total liberation of African states, has been realized with about 54 sovereign states on the continent, free movement is important to facilitate the development of the continent.
“It is time to give life to the dream of a united Africa. If we could even make the regional and economic committees at the sub regional levels work, we will see a much faster progress than we are seeing today. Let Africa not deceive herself, nobody is going to move out of the front of the world queue and create space for us to take a place… We have to work together to move up the front of that queue.”
He was personally not impressed that the distance between Ghana and Nigeria that could be covered in a matter of four hours, takes about 12 hours to do due to the numerous checkpoints and barriers.
Vice President Mahama also acknowledged the fact that the African Union, like many other bodies on the continent, have passed many “beautiful protocols” but little has been done to implement them.
He therefore concurred with the likes of Thabo Mbeki are pushing the African Union to stop passing anymore protocols until the existing ones are put into practice.
Thabo Mbeki, the former President of South Africa, who spoke on behalf of the continent’s freedom fighters, eulogized Dr Kwame Nkrumah saying he was “not only a leader of the people of Ghana, but a leader of the whole people of Africa”.
He said Nkrumah’s vision to see a liberated Africa portrayed Ghana as a “real base for the total liberation of our continent”.
He said it was time the continent rewarded Nkrumah’s commitment to see among other things, a united Africa liberated from poverty, noting that African leaders must back their words with action to ensure the realization of Nkrumah’s dreams for Africa.
Mr. Thabo Mbeki presented a gift on behalf of freedom fighters of Africa to Ghana to be kept in Nkrumah’s museum.
Samia Yaba Nkrumah, daughter of Dr Nkrumah, who spoke on behalf of the family, enumerated some of the policies of her late father including free, compulsory education.
She was happy that the seed planted by her father decades ago is “finding better ground to germinate and grow”, and was hopeful Africa will have its freedom from limitations, eliminations, dependency-fear and disunity among others.
Vice President John Mahama laid a wreath on behalf of the government and people of Ghana. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of former presidents, family of Dr Nkrumah, the people of Germany and past leaders freedom fighter of Africa respectively by former President Kufuor, Dr Francis Nkrumah, Horst Koehler and Thabo Mbeki.