September 21: How Africa Should Celebrate Nkrumah?s Birthday

Friday 21st September 2012 will mark the 103rd birthday of Kwame Nkrumah. This day is also a continental holiday: a day all Africans are expected to observe in honour of the Great Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. On this day it is expected that many African leaders, will as usual deliver political speeches that seek to highlight the significance of Kwame Nkrumah in Africa?s political history though many of them are not willing to follow his examples.
Ideally, instead of making political speeches and celebrations that usually lead to no physical results, the African people, especially the leaders should use this opportunity and reflect upon the challenges we still face as a people despite the fact that Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Marcus Garvey, Julius Nyerere, and many others have already demonstrated the way out many years ago. For me, the good news is that all these ideas are well-documented in Nkrumah?s speeches and many of his books though these books have been deliberately hidden from the African youth for decades.
Nkrumah is not just an international figure but a historic person who made lasting contributions to all Africans and the Black race everywhere. Undoubtedly, without Kwame Nkrumah, there would be no Nelson Mandela and even Kofi Annan, a former Secretary General of the United Nations. To many of us the youth, the greatest honour we yearn for Nkrumah, would be the day when the African people will unite as one people and strive for their common destiny, instead of leaders fighting among themselves and sabotaging one another from behind the scenes.
In fact, Nkrumah?s focus on a united, free and economically viable Africa was probably more paramount to him than his vision for Ghana his beloved country.
Therefore during his Independence Day Speech on March 6 1957 (in Ghana), Nkrumah proclaimed:
?The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the entire African continent?.
It was his dream that Africans all over the world will unite, work together and to address the challenges of the ordinary African together. ?
Therefore instead of celebrating his birthday merely as a public holiday by wining and dining, the greatest honour which the African leaders can give to Nkrumah would be to take the bold steps to implement his ideas for a unified Africa. This must begin with a real political unity between north, south, east, west and central Africa.
Nkrumah also had a serious worry regarding the attitude of the African leaders in their loyalty to their foreign masters as against their respective citizenry. He bemoaned the danger of Neo-colonialism which has become very common in modern Africa as ?multi-party democracy?.
?In neo-colonialism, the people are divided from their leaders and, instead of providing true leadership and guidance which is informed at very point by the ideal of the general welfare, leaders come to neglect the very people who put them into power and incautiously become instruments of suppression on behalf of the neo-colonialists. (Kwame Nkrumah, Consciencism, pg 102).
Today?s African politicians, though many of them usually have no money for political campaigns, they are too desperate to win political elections at all cost. As a result, these desperate politicians are willing to sign any bogus ?agreements? with their foreign sponsors to enable them secure enough funds for their campaigns. They travel to the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, to solicit for funds from abroad. When these politicians finally win elections, they?re forced to implement policies which they know will never be in the interest of the African people. Those who promised to build industries end up selling off state-owned institutions to these foreign capitalists who funded their campaigns under the guise of ?privatization?. As I speak, almost all major African resources have been sold to foreign companies. They own our copper, our gold, our dimond, our oil, our uranium, and many more. This is gradually making the African people, a slave in their own land while foreign capitalist take all the profits, usually without paying any tax.
Instead of investing enough resources into indigenous agriculture, African leaders rather take glory in borrowing from the IMF. They then use these funds to import rice from America and Europe while local rice farmers beg for government support. Why would any African leader take glory in importing food from America when the whole African land is fertile for the cultivation of food? Why must famine be a problem in Africa if our leaders truly have conscience?
Local Experts Abandoned for Foreign Advisers
Another serious challange we face in Africa is not because our leaders do not know the way forward. The problem however is that we currently have too many leaders whom because of “Aid”?are always ready to obey instructions from the IMF and the World Bank.?Meanwhile it has already been demonstrated by many?African expercts? that the IMF is Africa’s major problem but never the solution. In her book “Dead Aid:??Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa”,?Dr Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economic expert?warns?that??No nation has ever attained economic development by aid.” Yet, African leaders continue to embrace aid whild they follow directives that hinders our development.
?It is far easier for the proverbial camel to pass through the needle?s eye, than for an erstwhile colonial administration to give sound and honest counsel of a political nature to its liberated territory. Therefore to allow a foreign country, especially one which is loaded with economic interests in our continent, to tell us what political courses to follow, is indeed for us to hand back our independence to the oppressor on a silver platter?. ?Kwame Nkrumah, (Consciencism, pg 102).

To?prove the above point, Professor Akosa, in?his letter to Presidnet Obama upon his arrival in Ghana (2009) hilighted what Nkrumah had been warining (above)?regarding these economic advisers:

?Evidence also shows how the World Bank and International Monetary Fund provided the advice and Technical Aid that halted and reversed work by the Nkrumah Government that was to bring relief and benefit to ordinary Ghanaians. Many have died through the resulting poverty and Ghana has not progressed much since that time?.
Indeed, Nkrumah demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own Affairs. Unfortunately, today, the same thing cannot be said of our current crop of African leaders, many of whom continue to abandon their local expertise for the foreign “advisers”.
In recent years, Ghana,?a country that ought to be the torch-bearer of Pan-Africanism and a strong advocate of Nkrumah?s ideologies, Ghanaian?leaders?have rather been paying lip service to the local experts. Almost any major infrastructural development in the country has been awarded to a Chinese firm, a Korean company, an American firm or their European allies, while the African professionals are left with no jobs.
A few days ago, the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) expressed disappointment with the introduction of some Chinese contractors who have been tasked to reconstruct a market complex in Cape Coast which is the home town of the late president Jonh Mills.

President John Mahama who was recently sworn into office after the sudden death of John Mills, has over the weekend introduced the Chinese contractors to the people of Cape Coast at the ?Fetu Afayhe? (a festival in Ghana) as those who are expected to start construction works on the market.
When the country recently discovered oil in large commercial quantities, many were those who thought the local contractors were to benefit from the black gold. Shockingly, the oil is now in full control of Western firms while African firms wonder about?with no jobs.

Why will African leader honour our great heroes by mere political speeches when they ought to demonstrate this gesture? Of course I am not suggesting that Africa must not do business with the East nor the West. However, for the African leaders to serve the interest of?their foreign masters and to completely neglect the very people who put them into power is my worry.

I therefore suggest that, as we celebrate our founding fathers and acknowledge their contributions to our society, it is also very important that we take the opportunity to examine the vision which the founding fathers expected us to fulfil for the benefit of our people. For there is no point for the current African leaders to honour Kwame Nkrumah, whose vision they?re not ready to implement. The African people are tired of the speeches. We now want to see action. For it is said that Action speaks louder than words.
Some Recommendations:
  • Legislations must be introduced across Africa that will ban all politicians from receiving funds (donations) from abroad for their political campaigns. By so doing, the sovereignty of these countries can remain intact without our leaders having to succumb to political interferances from the outside world.
  • The current African leaders must also lead by following the examples of our forefathers. By merely paying lips service to the dream of African unity is not good enough. Yes, the founding fathers did their best. What are we also doing to ensure that the dreams of our founding fathers will become a reality?
  • African leaders must join hands and supply copies of all books written by Nkrumah especially ?Neo-colonialism? to?the schools so that?students can read and understand for themselves exactly what Nkrumah expects from them. This is one of the ways by which we can celebrate Nkrumah, by giving the youth the chance to learn for themselves what Nkrumah has written.

Long live Africa!
Long live the African Union that must be!
Source: Honourable Saka
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