Saturday, 6 December 2014

Some Of The Reasons Why Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Is Still Relevant In 21st Century Ghana

Yesterday, I was asked by a young acquaintance who wondered, "why  some Ghanaians feel that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is still relevant in 21st century Ghana - when he had been a dictator who wanted all economic activities to be in the hands of the state exclusively?"

I told him that many of President Nkrumah's political opponents - including some of those who still condemn his government today - had a deliberate policy of spreading half-truths and outright lies about his person and his legacy.

I asked him if he had read any of the anti-terrorism legislation passed by the US Congress and the British Parliament, in the wake of terrorist attacks against US and UK targets, by Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

Those US and UK anti-terrorism laws are even more draconian than those passed by Nkrumah's regime - yet were swiftly passed by the elected representatives of the citizens of the world's two leading democracies to deal with the scourge of terrorism.

President Nkrumah had to deal with political opponents who planted bombs that killed and maimed hundreds. They deliberately targeted his person to try and eliminate him physically - in order to overthrow his freely elected government.

Nkrumah's Convention People's Party (CPP) government simply adopted anti-terrorism laws used by the British colonial regime to deal with terrorism in India that were retained by the post-independence government of India - to fight those planting bombs across Ghana at the time.

No responsible government anywhere in the world at that time would have sat unconcerned and watched the nation it governed descend into chaos and violence instigated by its political opponents. And so it was with the CPP government of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

As to the falsehood that Nkrumah wanted all economic activities to be in the hands of  the state exclusively, the actual policy pursued by Nkrumah's CPP government was to have a mixed economy.

Both the public sector and the private sector played a part in what was a planned economy - the objective of which was improving the quality of life of all the Ghanaian people: by providing them with jobs and business opportunities that the private sector could exploit.

 As far as Nkrumah was concerned, we had to be masters in our own house - and run the national economy for the benefit of all the Ghanaian people. For that reason he wanted us to guard against neocolonialist exploiters manipulating the national economy from afar for their own benefit, using quislings in the system. That should be the attitude of today's leaders too.

Another reason why Nkrumah is still relevant today, is because he understood the importance of harnessing science and technology in developing Ghana. That still remains true today. For instance,  e-commerce and the internet of things will transform our economy and shape our future.

As a people, to advance, we must harness cutting-edge technologies including information and communications technology, and nano-technology, for example - and aim to benefit from the commercialisation of the results of other areas of ongoing scientific research, both in Ghana and elsewhere in the world.

Nkrumah  is still relevant today, because he was a leader who saw clearly that for Ghana to prosper, it had to be a united nation of diverse ethnicity in which no tribe was inferior or superior to another -  and the best qualified individuals could rise to the top in every field of human endeavour: regardless of their ethnic background. That still holds true.

Nkrumah is still relevant today, because he understood that education offered the quickest way out of poverty for the poor - and therefore made free education a cardinal policy of his government. We must have free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, for all those with the aptitude to study, but whose families cannot afford to pay for their education.

Above all, Nkrumah, who placed his faith in the younger generation to secure Ghana's future, understood that as a people we must be patriotic, disciplined, treasure honesty, work hard,  be self-reliant and have self-belief in abundance, to prosper. As Africans, we also had to take pride in our cultural heritage, in his view.

That was his reason for setting up the Ghana Young Pioneer Movement - which would help produce leaders who would be in the vanguard of a new generation which would replace the older generation responsible for eroding society's moral fabric.

Unfortunately, his political opponents spread the falsehood  that the Ghana Young Pioneer Movement was set up to brainwash young people to spy on their parents.

No government consisting of honest and patriotic individuals endowed with abundant self-belief, will ever sign any agreement with a foreign or local investor, other than a 50-50 win-win type  of agreement - such as that which Botswana has with De Beers to exploit Botswana's diamonds.

If all our oil agreements with foreign oil companies were 50-50 win-win agreements, Ghana would earn far more from the oil deposits it sits atop of, than is presently the case. Today's Ghanaian leaders, must seek inspiration from the Nkrumah-era, in their dealings with foreign oil companies. They would do well to read the speech Nkrumah gave at the official opening of the Tema Oil Refinery in 1963.

There are many more reasons why Nkrumah's ideas are still relevant today. The above are just the few ones I enumerated to my young acquaintance who wanted to know why some feel Nkrumah is still relevant in 21st century Ghana - in the short time-frame one could accommodate in a mobile telephone conversation, without breaking the bank.

An incorruptible African leader,  whose regime provided:  free healthcare in modern hospitals and clinics;  built many new schools to provide free education for the young generation; built new housing estates to provide affordable accommodation for families; as well as expanded and modernised our nation's infrastructure;  and whose regime stood up for Africans still under colonial bondage during his tenure, will be relevant in the affairs of our homeland Ghana till the very end of time - for Nkrumah's shinning example of selfless and honest leadership,  will continue to inspire other honest and selfless individuals seeking to serve their nation, for generations to come.

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