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Kwame Krumah: A Legendary Pan-Africanist

INTRODUCTION

AHEAD OF SUNRISE, ON SUNDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER 2009, I HAD TO START OFF ON A FIVE HOURS ROAD DRIVE – ON A MISSION TO NKROFUL IN NZIMA. 

I HAD LANDED AT KOTOKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AFTER MIDDAY, TOO LATE TO CATCH THE FLIGHT ARRANGED TO CATCH A RIDE WITH GHANA’S VICE PRESIDENT, WOULD-HAVE-BEEN CURTSEY OF MY FRINED BABA.  IN ANYCASE, I WOULD HAVE CONSIDERED GOING BY HORSECART.

NKROFUL IS WHERE KWAME NKRUMAH WAS BORN IN SEPTEMBER 1909.  THE EXACT DATE IS UNKNOWN – EVEN TO HIMSELF AND HIS MOTHER!  SOMEHOW, FOR OFFICIAL RECORDS, HE SETTLED ON A 21ST OF SEPTEMBER 1909 OFFICIAL BIRTH DATE. 

BUT, THE NAME KWAME INDICATES THAT SATURDAY WAS WHEN HE WAS ACTUALLY BORN, WITH THE NEAREST SATURDAY HAVING BEEN ON 18TH OF SEPTEMBER 2009.  BUT, BOTH OFFICIAL AND NON-OFFICIAL RECORDS CONCUR THAT HE WAS BORN AT NKROFUL, WHICH WAS THE PLACE OF HIS FIRST GHANIAN BURIAL, HAVING BEEN EARLIER BURIED IN CONAKER, GUINEA.

1974 WAS THE FIRST TIME I HAD PAID A PILGRIM’S VISIT TO NKROFUL.  THE PURPOSE, IN BOTH 1974 AND 2009, IS TO REFRESH COMMITMENT AND REINVIGORATE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT, THROUGH FELLOWSHIPING WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. 

IT IS APPROPRIATE TO DO THIS IN REFLECTION OF THE LIFE AND STRUGGLE OF KWAME NKRUMAH, WHO, IN THE EVOLUTION OF PAN-AFRICANISM STAND OUT LIKE A FIRE ON A COLD DARK NIGHT.

MY 1974 FIRST PILGRIMAGE TO NKROFUL BROUGHT THE BLESSING OF MEETING KWAME NKRUMAH’S MOTHER, ELIZABETH NYANIBA. 

I NOTED IN THE VISITOR’S BOOK THAT THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEEDING VISITOR WAS THE THEN ZAMBIA-BASED COMRADE GEORGE SILUNDIKA OF THE ZIMABABWE AFRICAN PEOPLE’S UNION, ZAPU. 

I WITNESSED THE NKROFUL TOMB, WHILE IT STILL CONTAINED THE BODY OF NKRUMAH. 

NOW, THIRTY- FIVE YEARS LATER, THE MOTHER AND THE BODY OF NKRUMAH ARE NOT AT NKROFUL.  THE MOTHER PASSED AWAY SEVEN YEARS AFTER HER SON. 

THE MORTAL REMAINS OF KWAME NKRUMAH WERE AGAIN TRANSFERRED TO ACCRA.  IT NOW LIES AT THE KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL PARK TOMB AT THE OLD POLO GROUND, OPPOSITE THE OLD PARLIAMENT BUILDING.

THIS IS WHERE GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE WAS PROCLAIMED, ON 6TH MARCH 1957.  THIS WAS IN THE STATEMENT IN WHICH NKRUMAH FAMPUSLY DECLARED THAT GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE WAS MEANINGLESS UNLESS IT WAS LINKED TO THE TOTAL LIBERATION OF AFRICA.  THIS IS WHERE I WITNESSED THE GRAND DURBAR TOOL PLACE DURING THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION OF KWAME NKRUMAH, ON 21ST SEPTEMBER 2009.

IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE, WHEN IMMEDIATELY UPON MY ARRIVIAL AT NKROFUL, ON SATURDAY THE 20TH SEPTEMBER 2009, I BUMPED INTO A “FRIEND, SISTER AND COMRADE” OF OLD.  I HAD NOT SEEN HER SINCE MY BOSTON UNIVERSITY YEARS, SOME TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO.  THIS WAS DR. JULIETTE TUAKLI (BILINGSLEY.)

JULIETTE IS A WELKNOWN GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA MEDICAL SCHOOL AND A ZAMBIAN RESIDENT OF OLD.  SHE HAD COME TO ZAMBIA WITH DR. BILINGSLEY, WHO WAS ONE OF THE MANY AFRICAN-AMERICANS INSPIRED TO RETURN TO AFRICA TO WORK WITH GHANIANS DURING THE LEADERSHIP OF KWAME NKRUMAH.

AT THIS UNEXPECTED MEETING, JULIETTE WAS WITH DR. JULIUS GARVEY – A SON OF MARCUS GARVEY!  THE TWO ARE CO-OPERATING IN BEUTIFICATION AND CONSCIOUS RAISING WORKS. 

THE RESULTS ARE ALREADY SHOWING POSITIVELY AT THE BIRTH PLACE AND EARLIER BURIAL GROUND OF NKRUMAH.  IN ADDITION, TOGETHER WITH OTHERS, THEY ASSISTED YOUTHS FROM ACCRA TO JOIN NKROFUL LOCAL STUDENTS ON THE EVE OF WHAT IS NOW FOUNDER’S DAY IN GHANA.

THE PURPOSE WAS TO REFLECT UPON THE LIFE AND STRUGGLES OF KWAME NKRUMAH.  AMONG PARTICIPANTS WERE PERSONS FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND ACROSS THE MOTHER CONTINENT. 

THERE WERE ALSO MEMBERS OF RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, THE CONVENTION PEOPLE’S PARTY, ALL AFRICAN PEOPLE’S REVOLUTIONARY PARTY AND THE RASTAFARIANS MOVEMENT. 

I WELCOMED AND ENJOYED A CHANCE TO ADDRESS THE GATHERING.  THIS WAS FOLLOWED WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIALOGUE WITH GHANIANS OF VARIOUS POLITICAL PERSUATIONS AND PAN-AFRICANISTS.  IT IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT HAS BEEN REFRESHING.

THE LIGHT OF NKRUMAH

A SHINING BLACK MABLE TOMB STONE, UNDER A ROOF OF A SHADE, WITH AN EVER FLAMING HUGE BLACK TOUCH NOW MARKS THE PLACE OF NKRUMAH’S SECOND BURIAL.  ABOVE THE NKROFUL TOMBSTONE IS PLACED A COMMEMORATIVE INSCRIPTION FOLLOWS:

 “AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, I AM IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT DEATH CAN NEVER EXTINGUISH THE TOUCH I HAVE LIT IN GHANA AND AFRICA.  LONG AFTER I AM DEAD AND GONE, THE LIGHT WILL CONTINUE TO BURN AND BE BORNE ALOFT, GIVING LIGHT AND GUIDANCE TO ALL PEOPLE.”

THIS REFERS TO IDEAS, POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES THAT NKRUMAH PUT FORWORD.  THESE ARE IDEAS ABOUT AFRICAN IDENTITY, PERSONALITY AND STRATEGIES OF FULFILLING PAN-AFRICANISM.

THE PAN-AFRICAN MISSION CAN BROADLY BE CATEGORISED INTO THREE. THE FIRST IS A NEED TO LIBERATE AFRICA FROM POLITICAL FOREIGN DOMINATION AND OPPRESSION. 

THE SECOND IS A CALL FOR DOMESTIC ECONOMIC MODERNIASTION AND INDUSTRIALISATION WITH HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.  THE THIRD IS A DEMAND FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICE IN AFRICAN SOCIO-ECONOMIC RELATION AND INTERACTION, ON ONE HAND, AND BETWEEN AFRICAN AND NON-AFRICAN REGIONS AND POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD.

AFRICAN IDENTITY AND PERSONALITY

PAN-AFRICANISM IS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND DIVISIVENESS ON THE BASIS OF ETHNICITY, RACE AND PLACES OF ORIGIN.  NKRUMAH SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT:

“ALL PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT, WHETHER THEY LIVE IN NORTH OR SOUTH AMERICA, THE CARRIBBEAN, OR IN ANY OTHER PART OF THE WORLD ARE AFRICANS AND BELONG TO THE AFRICAN NATION.”

AS STATED IN THE 1956 FREEDON CHARTER OF SOUTH AFRICA, AFRICA BELONGS TO ALL WHO LIVE IN IT AND WHO HAVE MADE IT THEIR HOME.  THIS IS REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY AND PLACE OF ORIGIN. 

AND, AFRICA IS AS ONE AS THE CONTINENT ITSELF.  AFRICA IS NOT DIVISIBLE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE SAHARA OR THE CONTINENT LAND MASS AND ITS ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN AND ATLANTIC OCEANS AS WELL AS THE MEDITERRENIAN AND RED SEAS. 

AND, OF COURSE, AFRICA BELONGS TO ALL WHO FIND THEMSELVES ON THE AFRICAN CONTINET OR DIASPORA. 

THESE ARE AFRICA’S NATIVES AND PERSONS WITH AFRICAN BLOOD IN THEIR VEINS.  IN ADDITION, WE ARE AFRICANS, AS LONG AS WE HAVE CONSCIOUSNESS OR ARE TREATED OR REGARDED BY OTHERS AS AFRICANS.

THIS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE DEFINITION OF AFRICAN IDENTITY HAS IMPLICATION FOR THE MISSION OF NATION BUILDING AND NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS CONSTRUCTION. 

THE IMPLICATION IS A COMPLETE REJECTION OF ANY MANIFESTATION OF NEGATIVE ETHNICITY AND GROUP DOMINATION AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OTHER AFRICAN AND EVEN NON-AFRICA PEOPLE.

THIS IMPLICATION CHALLENGES AFRICANS TO PROMOTE POLITICAL FREEDOM, SOCIAL; JUSTICE AND EQUALITY IN EVERY FOR ALL.  PAN-AFRICANISM CALL FOR THIS TO BE SO AMONG AFRICAN COMMUNITIES.  THIS SHOULD BE WITHIN AND BETWEEN OUR CURRENT BALKANISED AND OTHERISE DEVIDED COUNTRIES WHERE AFRICAN LIVE AND WORK.

NEW CITIZENS, NEW LEADERS

KWAME NKRUMAH HAS SAID THAT:

“AFRICA NEEDS A NEW TYPE OF CITIZEN, A DEDICATED, MODEST, HONEST, INFORMED MAN AND WOMAN.  A MAN AND WOMAN WHO SUBMERGES SELF IN SERVICE TO THE NATION AND HUMANITY.  ONE WHO ABHORS GREED AND DETESTS VANITY.  A TYPE OF CITIZEN WHOSE HUMILITY IS HER STRENGTH, AND WHOSE INTEGRITY IS HOS GREATNESS.”

IT IS NECESSARY TO ACCEPT THAT WHAT IS GOOD FOR CITIZENS MUST BE GOOD FOR LEADERS, AND VIS-A-VERSA.  IT HAS LONG BEEN CLAIMED THAT A PEOPLE HAVE THE LEADERS THEY ASK FOR AND DESERVE.  BUT, IT SHOULD EQUALLY BE APPRECIATED THAT LEADERS HAVE THE TYPE OF CITIZENS THEY INSPIRE AND DESERVE.

CITIZENS MAY REBEL, WHEN THEY HAVE LEADERS THEY DO NOT WANT.  SIMILARLY, LEADERS ARE LIKELY TO TURN TO DICTARSHIP OR OPPRESSION, WHEN CITIZENS BEHAVE CONTRARY TO WHAT LEADERS WANT.

A POPULATION COMMITTED TO THE NATIONAL GOOD AND CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS AND AGAINST CORRUPTION SHALL SEEK, AND ULTIMATELY GET, LEADERS WHO ARE CALLED FOR TO LEAD TO PAN-AFRICAN FULFILMENT. 

THESE ARE THE QUALITY LEADERS I HAVE REPEATEDLY REFERRED TO AS, BEING “CLEAN, CLEAR, COMPETENT, COMMITTED, CREDIBLE, COURAGEOUS AND COMPASSIONATE.”  ON THE OTHER HAND, CORRUPT, CONFUSED, INCOMPETENT, INCONSISTENT, POPULIST AND SELFISH LEADERS WITHOUT CREDIBLE REDORD OF BEING CLEAN CANNOT INSIPRE THE NEW TYPE OF CITIZEN THAT NKRUMAH HAS REFERRED TO.

PAN-AFRICANISM DEMANDS MUTUAL REINFORCEMENT BETWEEN GENERAL CITIZENS AND THEIR LEADERS.  THIS MEANS THE ADDED, BUT CENTRAL RESONSIBITY, FOR LEADERS TO EVOLVE A CULTURE OF CONSULTATION, COMMUNICATION AND CONSCIENTISING CITIZENS.  IT CALLS FOR CONSCIOUS AND BROAD LEADERSHIP TRAINING.

THIS IS WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR GENUINE AND EFFECTIVE TEAM LEADERSHIP TOWARDS THE GOALS OF PAN-AFRICANISM.  IN THIS REGARD, PAN-AFRICANIST MUST LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES, EVEN BY NKRUMAH. SOME OF THESE MISTAKES HAVE ARISEN FROM TOO MUCH OF TOP-DOWN MANAGEMENT STYLE. 

PAN-AFRICANIST ALSO NEED TO GUARD AGAINST TOO MUCH SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH INSUFFICIENT ADAPTABILITY TO CONCRETE REALITY.  PANAFRICANISM DEMANDS CREDIBLE AND COMMITTED TRANSFORMATIONAL COLLECTIVE AND PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP.

Ends

About the Author:

This is a statement by Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, former Vice-president of the Pan-African Students Association of the Americas (1971/2) to the Press Freedom Committee of The Post & Pan-Africanist Committee on occasion of the Kwame Krumah Centenary Celebration at the prestigious Mulungushi International Conference, Lusaka, Zambia, Monday 21st September, 2009.

Aka as he is affectionately called, is the co-founder of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy. A scholar and author, Aka has held several high profile positions and a is currently serving as Political Advisor to the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Rupiah Banda.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Africa-S. America Summit backs lifting of sanctions on Cuba, Zimbabwe

PORLAMAR, Venezuela, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — The presidents attending the second Africa-South America Summit (ASA), which ends on Sunday on Venezuelan resort island Margarita, publicly demanded the end of economic blockades on Cuba and Zimbabwe.
In his speech to the summit plenary, Rupiah Banda, President of Zambia, tabled a motion demanding an end to sanctions which affect those nations.
Banda’s speech followed an impassioned one backing the same policy earlier in the plenary by host President Hugo Chavez, who said that his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe had become the target of an international campaign.
“I wish to give our moral, spiritual and political support to Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe,” Chavez said. “They seek to make Mugabe pay for being anti-colonialist,” he added.
In his speech, Mugabe said that Africa’s industrial development had “been difficult because of a reliance on the very powers that colonized us,” he said. “They do not want really to see us industrialized.”
Mugabe has been in power since 1980, but suffered international criticism and sanctions following opposition party claims that his party rigged the 2000 election.

The nation suffered hyperinflation during most of this decade, which Mugabe blames for sanctions. Some of these sanctions were lifted after he entered a unity government with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

Ends

September 28, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment