Feature: Memoires and Lamentations of Kwabena Amikaketo (47)

The National Search for Founder and Founders

Kwabena Amikaketo sat in his favourite chair on his balcony, viewing the setting sun which was making way for the shadows to grow longer and soon cover his part of the world like some dark blanket.

The chilled weather is now gradually a bating making way for the warm spells before the heat truly arrived.

Today, Kwabena was very oblivious to the weather and rather turned his full attention to some ridiculous thing being celebrated in his country.

It was all about who founded the nation, Ghana. This simple question has rather being made very complicated by some section of the political divide and this have brought about a split in the country.

Because while some have come out with empirical evidence that there were founders of this nation, some revolutionary and socialists swear that there was only one founder and they were ready to go war on this.

Kwabena started contemplating the issue, by illustrating it like this. There was a small group of people located in Accra, decided to travel on a bus to Kumasi.

So, they set off from the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange and used the Accra-Nsawam-Kumasi Road.

The news about some people going to Kumasi caused excitement in and around the capital. At Achimota, some people offered to join the trip and were picked up. At Pokuase a few people left behind their work and volunteered to join the bus to Kumasi.

At Nsawam, someone who was more than excited and had been dreaming of going to Kumasi also joined. In his excitement, he sat in front by the driver in the midst of a bus full of people singing and praising God for making that journey possible.

At Kumasi the last person who boarded at Nsawam, got down first. And behold, he was being acclaimed by his family and friends as the only person who came out with the idea of travelling to Kumasi.

To Kwabena, the bus represented the idea of gaining independence and founding a new nation. Those on the bus were all those who sacrificed to make that dream come through.

The Bond of 1844 actually sold out the sovereignty of the people to the colonial masters. During that period the Asantes would not have anything to do with colonialization so they fought the British in a bid to get that fallacy out of their face.

In 1894/97, the colonialists exercising powers inherent from the Bond of 1844 drafted the Land Bill, which aimed at investing all waste lands, forests and minerals in the Crown.

This meant that most of the lands, the forests (for lumber) and all forms of minerals were no longer vested in the people through their chiefs. Everything belonged to the British.

Out of this and among others the Aborigines Rights Protection Society was formed in 1897, to challenge the way the British was exploiting the natives, by having more representation in the assemblies, by over-taxing them, by having sole judicial power and authority over the natives, by taking over the natives’ sources of wealth through forests and minerals among others.

The ARPS can be said to have indirectly originated the desire towards the demand for independence. And members of the Society included John Mensah Sarbah, Jacob Wilson Sey, J.W. de Graft-Johnson, J. P. Brown, J.E. Casely Hayford and Kwegyir Aggrey.

Exactly fifty years later, the United Gold Coast Convention was formed on August 4, 1947. The UGCC was a political party founded by George Alfred (Paa) Grant. And its aim was to bring about independence from the British Colonial masters.

The members of UGCC were Paa Grant as chairman, J.B. Danquah who founded the Youth Conference as co-vice chairman with R.S. Blay and R.A. Awoonor Williams, was treasurer. Others were E.A. Akufo-Addo, Obetsebi Lamptey, Kobina Kessie, E.A. W. Ofori-Atta, Ebenezer Ako-Adjei and J.W. de Graft-Johnson, among others.

The UGCC needed a general secretary and Ako-Adjei, suggested a young lawyer called Kwame Nkrumah. In December 1947, Nkrumah was appointed general secretary of the UGCC. So, in truth, Nkrumah was not among those who initiated the call for independence.

The aristocratic nature of most of the membership of the UGCC, made the youth and ordinary people to feel side-lined.

Nkrumah however appealed to the grass root and won the hearts of the youth who defected with him to form the Convention People’s Party (CPP). There were other issues which made Nkrumah break away.

The CPP consisted of four principal groups, the Youth Study Group of Accra, the Asante Youth Association, the Wassa Youth Association of Tarkwa and the Ghana Youth Association of Sekondi.

The co-founders of the CPP were K.A. Gbedemah, Dzenkle Dzewu, K. Botsio, Saki Scheck, Kofi Baako and Krobo Edusei. They were all once loyal and active members of the UGCC.

Kwabena Amikaketo, really believed that due to the way the UGCC in general, disregarded the youth and the commoners, it brought on itself, the breakaway which led to the formation of the CPP.

The commoners were very much attracted to Nkrumah and his aggressiveness for independence, so with that he indeed deserved to be a founder of the nation, but he could not have been the founder.

The foundation of this country started with the activities of the ARPS and the stubbornness of the Asantes against submitting to colonial rule.

The ARPS took steps to challenge the colonialists and the fact that actions of the Asante Empire proved why the Whites should not have been allowed to colonise us, the strong desire to break from this bondageevolved, and that led to the call for independence.

So, guys like Mensah Sarbah and his colleagues are by right founders of the nation.

In came J.B. Danquah and his Youth Conference which challenged the British on many issues that did not benefit the social welfare of the natives.

It was J.B. Danquah who gave the name Ghana to the yet to be formed nation. When asked to give a name, he came out with two names which were declined. His last name, Ghana Land, was accepted but called Ghana. He also earned his place as a founder.

The rest of the members of the steering committee of the UGCC who were the first to form a group to directly call for independence deserved to be founders.

Kwabena Amikaketo, in truth, admired the way Nkrumah led the nation into independence. Come to think of it, why did the UGCC decide to look down upon the youth and the commoners?

These people formed an overwhelming majority in the country and they had feelings. Could one perceive how such people would feel that right after enduring racism from the British, they would continue to live under those conditions in an independent nation ruled by their own?

After all, they had the power to install political office holders, unfortunately that was lost on the UGCC.

The first political party lasted less than five years, for after disastrously losing the 1951 Election, on May 4, 1952, the UGCC delegation made up of J.B. Danquah, R.E.G. Armattoe, Obetsebi Lamptey, Akufo-Addo, William Ofori-Atta met with a delegation from the National Democratic Party, namely N.A. Ollennu and K.A. Bossman and a delegation of former CPP members, namely Dzenkle Dzewu, N Mate Kole (ex-treasurer of CPP) and Henry Nyametei (former general secretary of the CPP).

In attendance were K.A. Busia and M. Dowuona. The Ghana Congress Party was formed and K.A. Busia was elected Chairman and Leader, N.A. Ollennu as vice chairman and Kwesi Lamptey as General Secretary.

J.B. Danquah and William Ofori-Atta, who won their Akim Abuakwa seats in the 1951 elections on UGCC ticket, lost them to CPP candidates in the 1954 Elections when they stood on GCP tickets.

Kwabena asked wildly, how would Nkrumah have been addressed, if he had not broken away from the UGCC but helped it,by getting the youth and the commoners back to the party’s side and helped it win the elections with someone like say, J.B. Danquah elected as president?

Kwame Nkrumah deserves to be recognised as a leader of this nation who led us to independence. However, the fact that he did not originate the idea for independence, he together with others from 1897 to 1947, were indeed the founders of this country, Ghana.

Kwabena Amikaketo started fuming about the revolutionary and Nkrumaists in Ghana, who believed that there was no-one but Nkrumah and nothing he did was ever wrong and so would even die to protect his name and image.

Kwabena could line up lots of hypocrites among them. He had just begun contemplating about how such characters were sowing distortions, confusions and divisions in the country, when he heard his darling junior daughter, coming to call him, indoors and to bed.

God willing, tomorrow shall come, he said as he went into his bedroom.

Hon Daniel Dugan


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