Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has borne me out as not having twisted or skewed the history of Ghana’s independence struggle contrary to what the “young” critics are saying, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
In his speech during Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary on 6 March, Nana Akufo-Addo said the UGCC, forebears of his current party, NPP, “met to demand independence from the British and 70 years after that event, one still marvels at the clarity of thought and the passion that they displayed.”
“Some of the names of that momentous day have survived in our written history and folk memory. Five of them are on our Ghanaian currency: Joseph Boakye Danquah; Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey; William Ofori-Atta; Ebenezer Ako-Adjei; and Edward Akufo-Addo. Kwame Nkrumah, the sixth of the Big Six on the currency, was to join them later,” the President, who is the son of Edward Akufo-Addo and nephew to J.B Danquah, narrated.
According to him, the struggle for independence started in 1844 and was only capped by the efforts of several others in 1957.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP), founded by Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah, however, took offence at President Akufo-Addo’s account of events and accused him of distorting Ghana’s history to placate his father, uncle and the UP political tradition.
Speaking on the controversy, Kwame Nkrumah’s daughter, Samia, said: “Kwame Nkrumah himself said the independence struggle started before him,” but added that her father’s role was the most “significant”.
“We agree that there were so many other people [in the independence struggle] but his [Nkrumah’s] role was significant. Nobody can take that away from him.”
Ms Nkrumah said on Accra-based Citi FM on Wednesday that: “If I were giving that speech, I would have given Kwame Nkrumah more prominence. All the records show who the main catalyst was. Kwame Nkrumah had a vision… even though he came to collaborate with UGCC [United Gold Coast Convention], but we know from history he was going to come down anyway.”
“Kwame Nkrumah had a particular pan-African vision for our independence, so, he was bound to be the catalyst. So yes, thousands were instrumental, but he was the catalyst and let’s give him is due,” the former CPP Chairperson said.
In a response to his critics, President Akufo-Addo told an audience at the Ghana Unity Ball 2017 on Thursday, 9 March, that: “This has been a very strange week. On Monday, I made a speech to the country which I tried to speak about how we became Ghana. And like everything I say, it’s ended up in controversy. But that is how it should be. A politician who doesn’t generate controversy is a dull politician.”
“The amusing part of it is that the people who did not live through the independence era, young people who came much after, claim that I distorted the history of Ghana and belittled the role of Kwame Nkrumah. The one man there who actually lived through the era, [who] was here in Ghana at the time, embraced me as having enhanced the image of Kwame Nkrumah. And that tells you everything about Ghanaian politics. That is President Mugabe. He gave me a big hug,” he added.