Nkrumah not Ghana’s Founder: What Speaker Oquaye Says About ‘Distorted’ Ghana History

The debate on ‘Nkrumah not Ghana’s founder’ has continued to remain in the media’s agenda for discussion… 

Like a few other politicians, Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye has attempted to debunk claims that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah championed Ghana’s independence struggle. According to him, there are other significant personalities, who should also be accorded the same respect given the legend, regarding the country’s struggle for independence.

Prof. Mike Oquaye said this while speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs’ (IEA) showing of a documentary of Ghana’s political history between 1844 and the Fourth Republican Constitution. The speaker of Parliament who described the idea as palpable falsehood bemoaned the current history curriculum, which credited late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a founder of independent Ghana.

This has been an unfortunate part of our history so much so that, today we celebrate one founding father which is palpable false, we have founding fathers. 

While he acknowledged Nkrumah as one of the founding fathers, he called for more recognition of other diplomats who significantly contributed to Ghana’s independence. Nkrumah is a founding father of Ghana he said, but added there are other founding fathers of Ghana that need to be celebrated.

Nkrumah not Ghana's founder
Nkrumah not Ghana’s founder – Speaker Mike Oquaye

Speaking further, Prof Oquaye said Nkrumah should rather be celebrated by way of a holiday in his honor as the first President, and not as the only founding father of Ghana. This according to him, would only teach the young generation a distorted idea of Ghana’s history. He however, acknowledged Nkrumah as a president who had a lot of vision in terms of education, health and so many areas of Ghana’s national development.

Prof. Mike Oquaye’s claim that Kwame Nkrumah is not the sole founder of Ghana, is sure to raise further arguments in the media, regarding Ghana’s history. His assertion takes our mind back to President Nana Addo’s speech during the Ghana @60 independence celebration, which also suggested a similar thing.

Nana Addo’s Independence Speech

President Nana Addo had come under intense criticisms after being accused by a section of Ghanaians of giving a biased account of Ghana’s independence story. According to some stakeholders, Nana Addo during his speech, gave prominence to J.B Danquah and other members of the United Gold Coast Convention, rather than highlighting the role of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

But the President had responded to those claims, insisting he gave the necessary acknowledgment to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah during his speech. His acknowledgment and recognition of the late founding father Nana Addo said, was also appreciated by the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who had closely monitored Ghana’s progress toward independence and the country’s history after independence.

Till today, political stakeholders are yet to arrive at a consensus over the long-lasting ‘Nkrumah not Ghana’s founder’ argument. A section of political stakeholders who have been tagged ‘Nkrumahists’, believe the legend deserves more recognition than he is receiving from present day Ghana.

First daughter of Ghana’s first President Samira Nkrumah, says although the independence struggle started before her father, Nkrumah, he was the principal architect of the victory.

Samia, who is former chairperson of the Conventions Peoples Party (CPP), was also among those who criticized Nana Addo’s so called biased speech. Reacting to the controversy, Samia had said she would have given more prominence to Nkrumah who had a vision for Ghana’s independence.

Founders Day 

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah

Now the opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) during their regime, had declared Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, 21st September as a statutory public holiday called Founder’s Day. This was to recognize Nkrumah for his tremendous contribution towards the independence of Ghana and Liberation struggle for the entire African continent.

However, the new government seems not to be subscribing to the idea of showcasing Nkrumah as Ghana’s sole founding father. Instead of a founders day for Nkrumah alone, Prof Oquaye says the country should rather celebrate a founders’ day, which will honor all others who contributed to Ghana’s independence.