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Politics Sat, 27 Feb 2010

Nkrumah sets her agenda for Women and Youth in Ghana

The vast inequality in income, assets (including education and health status) and in access to essential services such as water, sanitation and electricity across the country is not only worrying but disturbing. Despite the best efforts of past governments and the present government, these dimensions of poverty and deprivation are worsening in many parts of the country.

Not surprisingly the elimination of poverty, especially among the youth and women has become one of the key issues of Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah’s agenda. Samia said a major acceleration of growth is unlikely without dramatic improvement in the lives of the poor, particularly the youth and women. She stated that, “reducing poverty and improving social conditions of the poor are essential components of my agenda. I will be a guard of the youth and women”. She further stated that vigorous action against HIV/AIDS (a subject that is close to her heart) especially among the youth, is an essential component of that agenda she has set.

Samia’s zeal for the upliftment of the poor in Ghana can be traced back to her late father’s government of 1957 to 1966. Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s education policy targeted both the young and the old.

Samia said due to bad policies of previous governments, many of the poor cannot escape from poverty. She said poverty does not need only a social solution but a political solution as well and stated that, “failing to address growing poverty risks violence and crime and would imperil peaceful development of the country”. Samia Yaba Christina said almost everywhere she goes the story is the same, “because we are poor, we are excluded and are treated like nobodies by all the politicians”, a statement that she find troubling. She said gender relations in all the stories are traumatic. Samia said in many communities, government services rarely work, and even when they do, government servants are corrupt and rude, with many poor people encountering corruption on daily basis for basic services.

Samia said her major concern is that over 70% of Ghanaians (majority women and the youth), those considered poor, are largely excluded from acquiring the capabilities they need to partake in and contribute to the growth of the country.

She said improving the capabilities of the poor (trade, decent education, better health care, access to loans for women, loans for farmers and fishermen etc) is crucial to reduce poverty and to improve people’s lives. The actions she listed to help the poor to escape from poverty, in addition to higher job creation and incomes, include increased food consumption, cleaner water, good sanitation, more female education and more widespread basic clinical services.

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She therefore wants to re-establish a Committee for Youth Organisation to spearhead the employment of the youth in every district of the country and Ghana Women’s League to empower women in entrepreneurial skills across the country. By reviving the Committee of Youth Organisation and Ghana Women’s League, Yaba Christina is sending a powerful message to the Ghanaian people that the work started by her father, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is still on course. She said Ghana’s poverty crisis can be solved in one generation by focusing on education, health, nutrition and protection against increased vulnerability (creating jobs for the vast unemployed). She said investing in people is crucial to Ghana’s development when she states, “growth in the current economic climate depends on a flexible, educated and healthy workforce to take advantage of the economic openness. I answered the call of duty to ensure we adequately invest in the Ghanaian people in order to promote their development and give them the ability to share in the economic success of this country”. Like her father, the late President Nkrumah, Yaba Christina sees access to good education, health care as well as some measure of income security as the way forward.

Yaba Nkrumah said for Ghana to become a middle income country by 2020, no Ghanaian child must be left behind, and this includes numerous boys and girls selling “dog chains” on our roads in the major metropolis, the jobless graduates, the poor market women, fishermen and farmers. Samia said what find disturbing is the inability of the poor to cope with increased vulnerability as the recent floods in northern Ghana typifies and the increased attraction of education programs that includes meals (school feeding program) attests to this vulnerability.

Yaba Christina Nkrumah said the difficulty to address poverty is compounded by the political nature of the reforms, which involve overcoming vested interests and thus requires political will. She cited corruption as the bedrock for Ghana lagging behind. She said not only must vested interests be overcome, but programs must simultaneously focus on the needs of the poor.

Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, the youngest daughter of the late President has given meaning to the slogan “Nkrumah Never Dies”. Samia’s work in focusing on the masses and betterment of her compatriots in Ghana shows that the selfless sacrifice her father made is still alive! Samia has become the embodiment of the late President.

Those alive during Nkrumah’s time see “Nkrumah” in his youngest daughter. Those who were not born when he died, voted him “Africa’s man of the millennium – The Greatest African of the 20th Century and Africa’s first Patriot”, and have come to realise the true meaning of why many refers to him as “Nkrumah Never Dies”!

Today, his only daughter, Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, and heir to the crown, is continuing with that legacy, to ensure every Ghanaian child is given the same opportunity her father, the late President, gave to millions of Ghanaians and continental Africans. Nkrumah was in power for only 10 years and yet all the other forty-three years combined have not equalled his record.

Source: Jeffrey, Peter
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