In Ghana, September 21st is Founder’s Day. A day reserved as the national public holiday observed to mark the birthday of Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah the founding father of Ghana and in turn honour founding fathers of the country.
In an exclusive interview with Ghanacrusader.com, Hon Prosper Bani, former Chief of State and Minister for Interior in the erstwhile Mahama administration, shares his thoughts on the idea of a day exclusively reserved to celebrate the life and times of Ghana’s great founder and his effects on the country, Ghana, and Africa at large. Especially in a time when the current President, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is set to propose the idea of a new date to celebrate founding “fathers” to Parliament, to designate 4th August as FOUNDERS’ DAY, and 21st September as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial day, both of which will be observed as public holidays.
This was not without an uproar from the public, especially since the date has been celebrated as founder’s day for years without any opposition; with many calling it the president’s way of moving focus from Ghana’s founding father to the big six, so his father (Edward Akufo-Addo) and Uncle (J.B.Danquah) will be recognised. It begs the question if this is all necessary or if, Kwame Nkrumah does not deserve the title of Founding Father.
Ghanaians recognise the big six. Their faces are still a prominent feature on our currency notes. Is Kwame Nkrumah undeserving of a day to celebrate him and the other members of the big six, on his birthday?
Hon Prosper Bani spoke on the need to hold 21st September in high esteem and celebrate Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s legacy.
“Kwame Nkrumah was a great man. His thoughts and actions till date goes beyond Africa. He was Ghana’s first President after Independence. He led the struggles for independence alongside others. We cannot say that he did it alone, but he was the thought behind it. He led in action,” he explains
“If you go to the AU (Africa Union) now, Kwame Nkrumah’s statue is there. For us here in Ghana, we need to celebrate our man. Africa has been celebrating Kwame Nkrumah. If you go to countries like Mali, the major roundabout in Bamako has a statue of Kwame Nkrumah. If you go to Mozambique, to Maputo, Kwame Nkrumah has a circle there; so if you go to Guinea, Kwame Nkrumah lives in Guinea, he lived in Guinea. He had a citizenship as a Guniean anyway. Sekou Toure gave him citizenship. So other countries even beyond Africa recognise the good work of Kwame Nkrumah. Therefore we must begin to learn about Kwame Nkrumah. I was having a conversation with someone recently about how Kwame Nkrumah won his elections from prison. The first election he won, he was in prison. His party won that election under his leadership from prison and made him prime Minister. The question is how the people were behind him,” Hon Bani further shared
In responding to the question of the people of Ghana living up to Kwame Nkrumah’s dream for the nation, Hon Prosper Bani said, “We do not even know the dream. None of us know the dream. If you do not work and live and try to study Kwame Nkrumah; Kwame Nkrumah has written so many books, until you begin to read those books, you will not understand Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for Africa.”
“As we speak today, Kwame Nkrumah initiated and advocated for the political unity of Africa even before Europe started uniting and developing to create the European Union. Before that, Kwame Nkrumah had declared and written why Africa Must Unite. Europe used some of the steps that Kwame Nkrumah advocated. Today Africa is still struggling to be united. There are so many things. We should go back to when Kwame Nkrumah opened the Atomic Energy Commision at Kwabenya. We should listen to his voice and the content of his speech. He predicted that emerging countries need to develop nuclear powers to be able to supply energy for industralisation. Where are we with Kwabenya and Atomic Energy? Today we are struggling with “dumsor”. 1961, Kwame Nkrumah saw the vision,” the former Chief of Staff added.
The people elect who they deem fit for a position. The powers that bind us as Ghanaians was earned through sweat and blood and one championed that cause, Kwame Nkrumah. We celebrate him not because he did this alone, but because he led. He was bold in a time when men could not stand, moreso find their voice. He did not stop in Ghana, he spread the gospel of Independent African nations across the continent. That is the man we celebrate, this is the man we should tell our children about.
The man who ensured that history has GHANA as the first black African nation to gain its independence from colonial rule, that when we go out and we say we are Ghanaians, people look at us differently. His light paved way for the likes of the great Kofi Annan who was buried last Thursday. That is the Kwame Nkrumah we remember today, our Founding Father.
Happy Founder’s Day, Ghana!