I remember the day Mandela was released from jail. I was a little boy growing up in Sunyani and I couldn’t understand what the big fuss was all about. I don’t remember if anyone tried to explain to me but for the longest time I couldn’t understand. Perhaps it was my bias towards Kwame Nkrumah. For years, I felt the two men were in competition for hearts and the greatest African ever lived. Not anymore.
Shamefully, I haven’t read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk To Freedom even though I have had it in iBooks for a long time but I have seen a lot of movies about Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle.
As I tweeted last night upon hearing of the passing of Nelson Mandela, I hope I live to be as selfless as Nelson Mandela. His selflessness is worth emulating. He lived his life well and we can all look to a life well lived and emulating at least one of his virtues.
Rest in Peace, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela!
It’s a sad day in Ghana. We still haven’t recovered from yesterday’s shocking new of the demise of the President. I haven’t and I decided to stay home today and mourn the President.
Last night, I was out with the Ghana Decides Team trying to gather people’s reactions to the President’s death. It was encouraging seeing Nigerians opting to say a few words about President Mills. Throughout the interactions, people kept stressing how they were in deep sorrow upon hearing of his demise. Almost everyone, I spoke to alluded that indeed, the President would be remember as a religious, calm, gentle, hardworking, peace-loving and jovial man. I was particularly moved by the interview with Florence [link to interview soon]. She spoke with so much passion, I was almost moved into tear.
I remember in 2008, the discussions that ensued with my friends after the Electoral Commissioner, Kwadwo Afari Gyan had announced that Candidate John Atta Mills was in the lead with Tain to go. One friend remarked that the youth of Ghana should learn from the perseverance of Candidate Mills; haven lost two elections, he hadn’t given up like most of us would have. President Mills fought on to become the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and President of the Republic of Ghana.
President John Mills was a fighter! Although he hasn’t been well, he fought it and continued working to make Ghana a better country.
And once again, I congratulate the Government and People of Ghana for passing yet another test of our democracy. In sorrow & grief, we have remained strong and steadfast as one nation.
God bless our homeland Ghana!!!
Have you ever heard of the President’s Forum for Young African Leaders? In August 2010, President Obama convened a three-day conference with more than 100 young leaders from a cross section of African life to examine how they see Africa’s future over the next half century, and to help craft innovative solutions to regional challenges. This programme has continued since the meeting in 2010 and has produced some alumni like Fred Swaniker and Shamima Muslim.
Secretary Clinton Addressing #YAL
On June 13, 2012, 60 Young African Leaders (including Dorinda and Tonyi from Ghana) from over 40 African Countries convened in Washington DC for a 3-week tour. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in addressing the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership with Young African Leaders from Africa said with Africa’s population under 25 years forming 60% of the entire population, it could be daunting statistic or a cause for celebration. Daunting if they have no access to education, healthcare, voices are not heard and respected, etc. It could be a cause of celebration when young people can have their voices heard, help chart a new beginning, etc.
Secretary Clinton in her remarks said, having benefited from African migrants, America’s interest in Africa is a genuine one. Citing the example of the midwife who assisted her doctor when she had her daughter and has recently returned home to Ghana, Secretary Clinton said the USA wants to see a lot more Africans stay or return to the continent for Africa to benefit from them.
Initiatives like this are good for the continent and its youth. I posted on Instagram & Twitter this morning the lovely logo of the Young African Leaders and someone asked “What’s the deal with the star?”.
Young African Leaders logo
I bet he didn’t know or expected it to be an initiative from African within Africa but does it really matter? We live in a global world. As Barack Obama said during his visit to Ghana and Hillary Clinton reiterated yesterday, Africa is not a world apart but it is a fundamental part of our interconnected world. We keep talking about youth empowerment since we believe the youth of our countries hold the key to our development.
The two Ghanaian Youth Leaders this year; Dorinda and Tonyi are doing really cool things. Dorinda has established an NGO, Dream Environment in Kumasi with a team of young scrap and second-hand car dealers to help protect the environment. Tonyi, who was Mensah Sarbah JCR President 2006/2007 has established a shoe factory in Kumasi. I believe there are hundreds of many more young people doing wonderful things in Ghana. It’s important programmes like this bring them to the fore and give them a boost.
African nations have had independence for so so many years: Why aren’t our nations better off? That is the question Nadia Zeine asked on twitter a couple of days ago. It is question I have often tried to answer. Off the top of my head, I can think of these five reasons; Leadership, Followership, Aid, Corruption, Neocolonialism and Religion.
We haven’t been too lucky with the leaders we have had in the past 3 decades or so. We have had very ignorant, selfish and greedy leaders who have done nothing but robbed our nations of their wealth and signed contracts primary school children wouldn’t even sign. Development can come when we have strong development-oriented leaders who are interested in the welfare and development performance rather than vague policies, nepotism and ethnic divisions.
I have maintained that ‘in as much as we have a leadership crises in Africa, I believe we have a followership crises as well.’ We have followers who don’t analyse or pay attention to the real issues and vote accordingly; we have sycophants who only seek their well-being and not that of the state. Followers have failed to criticise leaders constructively and vote the right people into power. Followers have been more interested in what they get rather than what nation.
Aid, Aid and more Aid. I am just one chapter deep in Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid but I share her views on aid; Aid has been and continues to be, an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster for most parts of the developing world. Aid has done nothing but led to the underdevelopment of our continent. Aid has been seen as a end rather than a means to an end. Governments have become lazy because of aid. We have become too dependant on aid that we have failed to generate the money we need for development. This is one area we can learn from China. China in its economic transformation sought foreign aid as a supplement to national resources and as a means to acquire know-how and management skills. The opposite is true with Africa. Governments after governments boast how much aid they were able to secure. This has to change!
Corruption continues to be one of the reasons for our underdevelopment. Although we have some good examples in Botswana, Cape Verde, Seychelles and Mauritius, African countries continues to be in most corrupt nations. I have always said we don’t punish corruption enough in Africa. We live in countries where corrupt public servants are ‘asked to proceed on leave.’ How do you deal with corruption in a state like that? The only way to deal with corruption is not true fruitless education drives we have seen around the continent but to give out stiffer punishments.
Before the end of the cold war, Africa was the ground for the proxy wars; Mozambique, Angola which have caused tremendous damage to their economies. Neocolonialism continues to be a problem for the continent. Today, it has taken economic dimensions through unfair trade practices.
It is my view that every society which is over-religious or over superstitious will always remain underdevelopment. Our being over-religion and over-superstitious has affected the development of our continent. We take religion too seriously. We would do whatever the pastor, imam or priestess says even if it’s wrong. We rely too much on religion to solve our problems. Religion won’t! I believe in religion but I think religion comes in where science can’t provide an explanation.
Africa’s future is up to Africans. The earlier we take our destiny into our hands and correct these wrongs, the better.
From the 10th of January to the 31st of January 2010, Angola will host the 27th edition of the African Cup of Nations. In all, 15 countries plus host Angola have qualified for the tournament. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set the draw date for Friday November 20, 2009 in Luanda, Angola.
The following are the countries, which have qualified for the 2010 African Cup, Angola 2010:
*Angola (Host Nation) *Ghana *Cote D’Ivoire *Nigeria *Cameroon *Algeria *Egypt *Mozambique *Mali *Benin *Gabon *Tunisia *Togo *Malawi *Burkina Faso *Zambia
If CAF uses it’s ranking system, this how the pots will look like:
Pot 1: Angola, Egypt, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire
Pot 2: Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mali
Pot 3: Togo, Algeria, Zambia, Benin
Pot 4: Malawi, Mozambique, Gabon, Burkina Faso
"At long last, the battle has ended! And thus Ghana, your beloved country is free forever."
And yet again I want to take the opportunity to thank the chiefs and people of this country, the youth, the farmers, the women who have so nobly fought and won this battle.
Also I want to thank the valiant ex-service men who have so co-operated with me in this mighty task of freeing our country from foreign rule and imperialism.
And as I pointed out… I made it quite clear that from now on – today – we must change our attitudes, our minds, we must realise that from now on, we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people.
But also, as I pointed out, that also entails hard work.
Reshaping Ghana’s destiny
I am depending upon the millions of the country, and the chiefs and people, to help me to reshape the destiny of this country.
We are prepared to pick it up and make it a nation that will be respected by every nation in the world.
We know we are going to have difficult beginnings, but again, I’m relying upon your support, I’m relying upon your hard work.
Seeing you in this… it doesn’t matter how far my eye goes, I can see that you are here in your millions and my last warning to you is that you are to stand firm behind us so that we can prove to the world that when the African is given a chance he can show the world that he is somebody!
We have awakened. We will not sleep anymore. Today, from now on, there is a new African in the world!
That new African is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.
We are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, that we are prepared to lay our own foundation.
Our own African identity
As I said in the assembly just minutes ago, I made a point that we are going to create our own African personality and identity. It’s the only way that we can show the world that we are ready for own own battles.
But today, may I call upon you all - that on this great day, let us all remember that nothing in the world can be done unless it’s had the purport and support of God.
We have won the battle and we again re-dedicate ourselves … Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.
Let us now fellow Ghanaians, let us now ask for God’s blessing and for only two seconds in your thousands and millions, I want to ask you to pause only for one minute and give thanks to almighty God for having led us through our difficulties, imprisonments, hardships and suffering to have brought us to the end of our trouble today.
National anthem One minute silence.
Ghana is free forever and here I will ask the band to play the Ghana national anthem.”
“We face neither East nor West; we face Forward”
September is here!!!
What’s so special about this month? Well, it isn’t my birthday but that of the man the BBC named the greatest African of the millennium. For me, he’s the greatest African yet.
This month we celebrate the centenary birthday of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana, Pan-Africanist, and Freedom Fighter.
Kwame Nkrumah was born Francis Kwame Nwia Kofie Nkrumah to Kofi Nkrumah and Madam Elizabeth Nyaniba on September 21, 1909 in Nkroful in the Western Region of Ghana. Dr. Nkrumah attended Achimota School and a Roman Catholic Seminary in Axim before moving on to Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees respectively. Kwame Nkrumah moved to the United Kingdom in 1945 to pursue further studies at the London School of Economics. It was in the UK where he met George Padmore with whom he became very good friends. In the UK, Nkrumah helped George Padmore to organize the 5th Pan-African Congress and also served as the secretary of the West African Students’ Union (WASU).
In1947, upon the recommendation of Ako Adjei, Kwame Nkrumah was invited by the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) to return the Gold Coast (Ghana) to serve as their general secretary. Nkrumah arrived in the Gold Coast in November that year and accepted the position of general secretary.
On June 12, 1949, Kwame Nkrumah inaugurated his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) at a rally in Saltpond. The CPP unlike other movements in the Gold Coast embraced all classes of people and had the objective of winning independence immediately.
In February 1951, whilst in prison Nkrumah won elections and became prime minister. Nkrumah and the CPP went on to win the 1954 elections. He later introduced the Ghana Independence Bill, which was approved and given royal assent on February 7th, 1957. On the 6th of March 1957, 113 years after the signing of the Bond of 1844, which gave away the sovereignty of the Gold Coast, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared the Gold Coast a sovereign independent nation. The new nation adopted the name ‘Ghana’ after the first glorious empire in the Western Sudan in early days. In the words of Nkrumah, ‘as an inspiration for the future’ (F.K Buah 1980)
Declaration of Independence
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah served as prime minister till 1960 when he became president. On February 24,1966, while on a state visit to China and North Vietnam, Nkrumah was overthrown in a CIA backed coup d’état.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah never returned to Ghana. He lived in exile in Guinea and was made honorary co-president of Guinea by Sekou Toure. In exile, Nkrumah spent most his time writing. Some of the books he authored during this period were ‘Class Struggle In Africa’ and ‘The Struggle Continues’
Kwame Nkrumah died on 27th April 1972 in Bucharest, Romania where he was receiving treatment for skin cancer, which was a result of an assassination attempt on him on 1st August 1962 at Kulungugu. Nkrumah was buried in his town of Nkroful. His remains were later moved to the newly constructed Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra.
Kwame Nkrumah received honorary doctorate degrees from the Moscow State University, Humboldt University, Lincoln University, Jagiellonian University and the University of Cairo.
Nkrumah like every leader had his shortcomings but was indeed a great leader and is without doubt Ghana’s greatest yet. A visionary and selfless leader, he was.
*Leading the struggling for independence
*Construction of the Akosombo Hydro Dam and the Volta Lake
*Construction of the Tema Harbour and the City of Tema
*Promoted African unity and placed a role in the independence of Guinea
*Founding member of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union)
*Construction of roads and rails
*Construction of the Adomi Bridge and the Tema Motorway
* A whole lot more
So this month of September, we the people of Ghana invite everybody to join us to celebrate this illustrious son of Africa. 21st September every year will now be celebrated as founder’s day in Ghana. This year, the rest of Africa will join us to in the celebration by honouring it as a national holiday across the continent
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARDS NEVER!
GOD BLESS NKRUMAH
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA
GOD BLESS AFRICA!!!