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Preserving Kwame Nkrumah’s legacy

Nkrumah Ghana's First President Dr Kwame Nkrumah 50 years on 
Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

By Bala Ali, Information Services Department, Accra

“A nation that does not honour her citizens and for that matter, her heroes, is not worth dying for,” the popular axiom preaches. It may seem or sound like a cliché, but the truth remains that this is absolutely true.

The truthfulness of this axiom makes the country’s decision to honour Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah by observing his birthday as a national holiday laudable.

It is, however, important to note that the best way to honour the first President of the country is to preserve his legacy and emulate his good example, which is evidenced and still evident in his unmatched commitment, zeal, fortitude, and resilience to Ghana’s development and willingness to die for it. 

Indeed, the selflessness and commitment of Dr Kwame Nkrumah to the progress of Ghana is incomparable, thereby making him an example worthy of emulation by all Ghanaians. Through his commitment to the socio-economic development of the nation, Dr. Nkrumah laid a solid foundation for Ghana’s development and continuous progress. 

As the nation celebrates his birthday on September 21, as a holiday in memory or remembrance of him, it will be prudent for the current government and the citizens to resolve to protect and preserve the legacies, developmental projects, or, so to say, the properties Dr. Kwame Nkrumah created or acquired for the nation. It is refreshing to state that the country’s main source of electricity, the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam, was constructed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Sadly, however, forty-one years after his death, the purpose for which Dr. Nkrumah built this hydroelectric dam has not yet been realised. The visionary Kwame Nkrumah built the Akosombo Dam with the primary objective of using it to industrialise the nation.

This explains why he quickly initiated the building of the Volta Aluminium Company, popularly known as the VALCO plant, in 1964 to produce aluminium in commercial quantities before the dam was even opened in 1965. Shamefully, however, the nation has not only failed to industrialise but has also failed to preserve the VALCO that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built for it. A company that had original production capacity of 200,000 tonnes per annum when it was commissioned in 1967 is now struggling to produce 40,000 tonnes per annum in 2023. Is it not sad? Really sad and heartbreaking, the many things we have left to go bad under our watch.

Ghana today imports almost everything, including toothpicks and matches, a situation that has largely contributed to the instability of the country’s currency and the general economy. How does it feel to disclose, that under Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana had a matches factory, that catered for its domestic needs of the product and imported the same to other neighbouring countries?

As of 1966, when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown, this matches factory was not only exporting matches to over ten countries on the continent, but it was also the leading producer of the product in the world. 

This is not the only factory that has been collapsed by Nkrumah’s successors. Several other factories, like Anomabo Citrus Factory, Ellembelle Vegetable Oil Factory, Eveready Batteries at Huni Valley, a fish processing factory, Akwatia Diamonds Company Limited, Pomadze Poultry Farms and Abattoirs, and affordable housing, have all been abandoned to rot by successive governments, and only God knows what happened to them. 

As part of his effort to completely wean Ghana from her colonial masters, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built the Tema Harbour to generate revenue for the country’s development. Thankfully, the Tema Harbour has become one of the major economic hubs of the nation, fetching the nation the needed revenue and providing income for millions of Ghanaians. Unfortunately, though, a greater chunk of these taxes leak into the pockets of corrupt public officers, who have chosen to milk the nation for their selfish gains rather than serving it the Nkrumah way.

Surely Ghanaians have not forgotten Anas’ expose on the corrupt dealings of Custom Officers at the Tema Port a few years ago? What is the state of the Tema Motorway that Dr. Nkrumah constructed? He constructed this concrete motorway to ensure that the Tema Port and Harbour is appropriately milked for the good of Ghana and Ghanaians. Several years after his overthrow and death, the best road in the country has become a death trap, killing the very citizens Dr. Nkrumah wanted to protect. 

The nation cannot claim to be honouring Dr. Nkrumah with mere celebrations of his birthdays when we allow his vision of building a prosperous nation for the progress of the citizens to die and rot. Let the truth be told, Nkrumah would never feel celebrated if he had been alive to see the current state of Ghana, which he so much sacrificed for and built to be the beacon of not only Africa but the entire world. It is against this backdrop that it is necessary to urge the citizens and the government to resolve to preserve the legacy of Dr. Nkrumah, as we celebrate his birthday as a nation. In fact, judging from how he served Ghana as its first President, Nkrumah has proven to be a nationalist and a patriot, whose commitment to Ghana’s course remains unmatched. So, let us encourage the youth to emulate his good example as they gear up to take over the administration of the country.

The media can also champion this course by fairly propagating the great things the first President did for Ghana to encourage the youth to learn from him. This is not a day we should be talking about the Preventive Detention Act and other charges his political opponents hold against him. His positives far outweigh the negatives, so let us sincerely celebrate him by talking about the positives. Love him or hate him, he has done exceedingly more for this nation, and his works are there to show for it. Nkrumah never dies, and he will never die. Long live Ghana! Long live the spirit of Nkrumah!

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