Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Aaron Mike Oquaye has wondered how a some persons believed to be Nkrumahnists are making everything possible for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to be the soul founder of the country, when many people started the struggle for independence before he was invited to come and join them.
Commemorating the Founders’ Day celebration at the ministry of information on August 4, 2020, the speaker believed the actions of such persons are attempts to twist Ghana’s history.
According to him, the first political organization to begin the struggle was United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), of which the first president of Ghana was not part, until he was recommended by Aku Adjei who latter sent Nkrumah an invite.
“When the UGCC met in 1947. If anyone tells you, that they did not reach Independence. That it was after a certain arrival independence fell on the agenda, it is palpable false. Because, from the constitution, and from the declaration, of that great day of 4th August, 1947, makes it clear, that we had men of gold, who were poised, to lead this country, and for that matter ready to lead as Africans. Latter with Nkrumah, that the UGCC worked collectively for the good of this country. That day, the UGCC was inaugurated. It is stated that Nkrumah was not in Ghana”, the speaker said.
Mr. Mike Oquaye agreed the role Dr. Nkrumah played in the struggle for independence can not be underestimated, insisting that those who begun the struggle should not be denied the recognition as founders too.
“But, I agree that when he came, he became a prominent part of it. That is true. But, with all respect, the invitee, can not become the founder. As if to say those who invited him to come and participate, you can not exclude them and say he came and founded it”, he concluded.
The concept of a Founder’s Day (note the placement of the apostrophe) had been introduced by the government of late President John Evans Atta Mills.
He declared our first president, Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of Ghana and designated his birthday – 21 September – as Founder’s Day.
But an argument has ensued over whether we had one single founder, namely Nkrumah, or founders in the plural – being the group of people who started and led the fight for independence.
President Atta Mills and his political supporters felt strongly that Nkrumah was the unchallenged, unquestioned founder of Ghana.
It was Nkrumah who led us to independence and defined our identity, our ideology and our place in the world – they reasoned – and so would not hear of him sharing the honour of founder with anybody else.
So, they instituted Founder’s Day in 2009 when Mr Atta Mills became president.
However there is the other political view in the country. This comes from a contingent that feels equally strongly that the state of Ghana was not founded by one person, but by a group of people, and so the honour should not be given to Nkrumah alone.
This group argues that other people had engaged in the struggle for independence before Nkrumah came along, and that they were in fact the ones who invited Nkrumah to leave his life in Britain to join the collective fight.
Nkrumah later broke away from that group in 1948 to form his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), which then led Ghana to independence. But that should not make him the sole founder, the thinking of this wing goes.
But these arguments for plural founders did not find favour, and 21 September – Nkrumah’s birthday – was duly introduced as Founder’s Day and has been celebrated for the past decade.
In 2017, the other wing of politics came into office, and earlier this year, the 21 September public holiday was re-named Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, and 4 August was declared Founders’ Day. Plural.
The date is significant for two reasons : Firstly, it was on 4 August 1897 that the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society (ARPS) was formed. It had successfully fought off a proposed law, the 1897 Crown Lands Bill, which sought to expropriate all our lands for the benefit of the British Crown.
Story : Fuseini Safianu / firstname.lastname@example.org