Tag: Dr. Kwame Nkrumah


The best books on Ghana: start your summer reading here

A literary tour of Ghana takes in the early disappointments of independence, a woman’s search for personal freedom, and the gradual evolution of democracy.

 

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah

This morality tale’s unnamed narrator, a railway clerk in Accra, strives to maintain his integrity amid the corruption that surrounds him in newly independent Ghana. His refusal to accept bribes, despite struggling to make ends meet on his meagre salary, angers those around him – especially his acquisitive wife.

The high hopes he had for the country at independence have soured, and he is bitter that things have grown rotten “with such obscene haste”. “The man”, as the narrator is referred to, views the new leaders as trying “to be the dark ghosts of Europeans” – aping the repression and rapacity of the country’s white former colonial masters.

Armah’s acerbic debut novel excoriates President Kwame Nkrumah’s government for the graft and extortion that were rife in 1960s Ghana. A military coup in 1966 overthrows Nkrumah but, rather than heralding better days to come, it merely brings “another group of bellies [that] will be bursting with the country’s riches”.

As the man continues to grapple with providing for his wife and children and resisting “the rot” he sees everywhere, a misspelled inscription on a bus (which provides the book’s title) offers a sliver of hope for an end to the ugly realities of the day.

Armah, born in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), lives as something of a recluse in Dakar, Senegal.

 

Changes: A Love Story by Ama Ata Aidoo

The provocative and engaging tale of a young woman in modern-day Accra who challenges sexism and social mores, Aidoo’s story resonates beyond Ghana.Esi Sekyi, a smart, spiritedcareer woman, feels stifled in her marriage. Finding her ambitions curbed and freedoms constrained by her husband, she decides to divorce him.

No one Esi knows is remotely sympathetic. Her sharp-tongued grandmother chastises her, saying women must do “the serious business of living with our heads and never our hearts”.

And her best friend, Opokuya Dakwa, who wants more freedom in her own marriage, reminds her: “Our people have said that for any marriage to work, one party has to be a fool … And they really mean the woman.”

Esi meets Ali Kondey, a successful businessman, and is charmed by him. They become lovers, and Ali – a Muslim who is married and has children – urges Esi to become his second wife. Curiously, for such a fiercely independent woman, she agrees.

Later, as disillusionment with her polygamous marriage sets in, she reflects on life “stretching ahead like the Yendi-Tamale road when it was first constructed: straight, flat and endless”.

Aidoo wears her feminism on her sleeve, and gets her message across with sly humour rather than being preachy or shouty. The author, also a poet and playwright, served briefly as minister of education in the 1980s.

 

My First Coup Detat by John Dramani Mahama

Mahama’s first coup – which he experienced as a seven-year-old – was the army’s 1966 ousting of Nkrumah, who had led Ghana to independence from Britain nine years earlier. It proved to be a life-changing experience for the author. His father, a government minister, was held by the military for more than a year and came back a changed man.

Reinventing himself as a rice farmer, Mahama Sr became extremely wealthy. He eventually returned to politics, only to be forced to flee the country after yet another coup.

His father plays a big part in Mahama’s endearing memoir, in which he recounts his coming of age – in tandem with his newly independent country – during Africa’s “lost decades”. During that bleak post-colonial period – from the late 60s to the 90s – the continent was bedevilled by economic stagnation and political turbulence.

Mahama delivers an intimate, insider’s account through personal stories, and weaves in some of Ghana’s own progress and pitfalls along the way.

The cycle of coups finally ended in 1992, when the country adopted a new constitution and entered into an era of democracy that brought “the return of hope”.

Like his father, Mahama went into politics. He published this book during his term as vice-president, and went on to serve as president from 2012 to 2017.

Pushpinder Khaneka is the author of Read the World: A Country-by-Country Guide to the Best Books on the Global South

Article via The Guardian

 

Ghana’s Gitmo dilemma

In the same week that Ghana’s interest rates soared to an eye watering 17.7%, a US Embassy official admitted Ghana would be sharing the upkeep costs for two Guantanamo Bay ex-detainees.

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef (left) and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby (right)

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef (left) and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby (right)

Yemeni Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Saudi-born Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were transferred on 6 January by the US to live in Ghana for two years.

The transfer followed an agreement between the two countries that reportedly has been going on for a year.


Truth and lies

Daniel Fennell, head of public affairs at Ghana’s US Embassy, said on TV3’s ‘Hot Issues’ programme that upkeep expenses were being shared by the two countries.

No sooner was that information circulating, Fennell then reportedly retracted his statement, falling in step with the

President Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing the bill for detainees' stay

President Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing the bill for detainees’ stay

official government line in Ghana. The country’s president John Dramani Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing any part of the bill or that he received $300 million for the detainees’ stay.

More revelations are emerging, namely that these men’s involvement in terrorism was downgraded to a minimal threat. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US misled recipient countries. It seems Ghana wittingly or unwittingly accepted this advice without conducting independent checks.

No doubt most Ghanaians are outraged. Ghana enjoys an international image as a friendly and safe country compared to some of its neighbours. In such uncertain times when countries such as Burkina Faso and Egypt most recently, and latterly Nigeria and Mali faced terror attacks, preserving that haven of relative tranquillity is paramount.

Whether you believe the men, who were interred for almost 15 years without trial, pose a threat to Ghana or not – the process taken to agree their transfer to Ghana is dubious. These men are reportedly self-confessed terrorists with Atef believed to have trained at an Al Qaeda camp, according to Joy FM and Wall Street Journal reports.

Yemen in particular, where Atef is from, is considered to be a hot bed of terrorist activity. This is probably why US president Barack Obama recently signed a defense authorisation bill barring detainees from being transferred to Yemen.

 

Republicans v Democrats

The Republicans are currently trying to push through a moratorium to prevent more detainees leaving the prison because they are considered a risk. And yet the official line from Ghana’s government remains that these men pose no threat and are under 24 hour surveillance.

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay

Seems contradictory….. Why monitor them if they are considered low risk? And if they are so low risk why hasn’t the US taken them in? US law prevents the country from accepting these detainees. On top of that, there would be a public outcry.

Closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has been an Obama pledge. So it’s unsurprising that he is keen to dispense of the prisoners even if – to some – it looks as though he is exporting terrorism.

The two prisoners, the first to be sent to a sub-Saharan country, are also the first of 17 due to leave the prison in early 2016. Obama is under pressure to reduce prisoner numbers below 100. With 17 due to go, the total facility population will drop to 90, according to online publication defenseone.com
Some have been already been sent to Uganda and Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa, and Georgia and Slovakia in Eastern European, according to multiple media reports. But where are the rest going to and can Ghana expect more?

 

Keeping mum

Those with authority in Ghana have been economical on these details. Under Ghana’s laws, people considered to have terrorist connections are barred from entering the country. So why would Mahama not only flout this legislation but also deny Ghanaians the right to this knowledge?

Most Ghanaians learnt about these revelations through US’ Fox News. Even with the cat out of the bag, the Ghanaian government is inadvertently stoking up fears and conspiracy theories by saying very little.

Joy FM revealed that those in Ghana’s security council (the interior and foreign ministers) were not fully aware of Mahama’s plans. Many have questioned why the Ghanaian public was not deemed important enough to be told. Possibly because the government knew the response would have been not too far away from the current reaction…Sound familiar? Didn’t Ghana follow a similar route in its reported involvement in Ebola testing in the country?

 

Friend or foe?

So what’s in it for a Mahama? Well, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended Ghana for its role in image.imghelping to combat Ebola. Taking on these ex-detainees may be another way Mahama can curry favour with the West and the international community …..even if it is at the expense of Ghanaians. Afterall, this may be his last few months as president….elections are scheduled for 7 November 2016.

Of late, Mahama has been saying the decision to take in the ex-prisoners was out of human compassion and because of Ghana’s alliance with the US. But wasn’t Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961? And wasn’t one of the tenets of that organisation that members were not for or against any major power bloc?

With evidence emerging that the US may be have misled recipient countries, I wonder how Ghana’s decision will impact national security and that of her neighbours. Could the presence of these men have repercussions for Ghana politically or dissuade current or future investment?

It is unclear how much access these men have to the wider Ghanaian public or what level of surveillance there is on their telephone and internet activities. We are not clear what happens after their two years expire. Do they gain Ghanaian citizenship? Do they go home? Or can they invite their families over?

What we do know is that Ghanaians are struggling to survive as utility and fuel costs soar and Dumsor continues to blight the country.

Don’t Ghanaians deserve to be put first in their own country? Afterall, doesn’t charity begin at home?

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

The Nana Project Launches Website

The Nana Project, an online platform dedicated to preserving and sharing firsthand accounts of Ghana’s history, has announced the launch of their website www.thenanaproject.org.

Established in 2014, The Nana Project’s mission is to preserve, archive, and share firsthand accounts of Ghana’s history.

As the first Sub-Saharan African country to gain independence, Ghana gained the attention of many politicians and world leaders. “The nation of Ghana is still relatively young at only 58 years old”, says Founder and Executive Director of The Nana Project, Kirstie Kwarteng. “There are Ghanaians who are older than Ghana that can remember important moments in Ghana’s history from the Gold Coast to present day. I wanted to protect and share this history while we still have this generation to share their stories.”

tumblr_nxo7yoO78F1uc67syo1_1280At the heart of The Nana Project’s mission is the desire to remind one another of our shared culture, to strengthen and build connections, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into our fabric the understanding that our history matters. From the slave trade to independence and the Pan-African movement, Ghana’s role in history transcends continents and cultures. The project aims to invoke pride in one’s culture, country, and, most importantly, one’s self that translates into participation and action across all sectors. Kwarteng also hopes that the site will be used as an educational resource for history that is often glossed over or not found in history books.

The website archives video recordings of firsthand accounts such as childhood in colonial Ghana, Ghana’s Young Pioneers, and the impact of Fathia Nkrumah, Ghana’s first 1st lady, on Ghanaian women. The website also includes old photos of the storytellers and instructions for Ghanaians and friends of Ghana to submit their own video and photo stories.

The Nana Project hopes to share the voice of a generation and serve as a resource for Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike to learn about Ghana’s history.

To learn more about The Nana Project, visit the website at www.thenanaproject.org.

Link: The story of Nana Aba Naaman – Nana Aba Naaman shares her memories on Ghana’s Independence Day, growing up during the presidency of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and experiencing her first coup as a secondary school student.

Link: The Nana Project Introduction– The Nana Project Founder and Executive Director, Kirstie Kwarteng, discusses the importance of The Nana Project and Ghana’s importance in world history.

Black History Month!!

Ghanaian Culture: Celebrating 55 Years of

‘GHANA’

Black History Month in the United Kingdom begins from Monday, 1st October 2012, and ends Wednesday, 31 October 2012.

*

Why wait upon a month, to Celebrate

‘BLACK HISOTRY’

Our Year was 57, Not a Mystery!

Embrace with heart, those who left MARKS

Never forget, why we’re still LARGE.

Dr Nkrumah. Gold Coast Leader,

 A Minster, A Lecturer, BEYOND A Preacher

The Blood of Our Land, Suffered To STAND

Whilst The BRITS, Invaded,

From Stripped To TAKEN

Families AWAKEN, to see the SHAKEN

BRITS, for BLAMING

ALL too SHAMING

Mothers, fathers, from sisters to brothers,

Divided Apart, SHIPPED AFAR

OUR EMPIRE is enriched with ECHOES of SORROWS

              Yaa Asantewaa, FEMALE WARRIOR, Intelligent LEADER

She Was a Believer

She Guarded our STOOL,

YOU Thought we Were FOOLS!

Soaked in Hardship,

Superiority and SHAME

As the pages flipped, Anger grew Fame

We declared our independence in 57.

Never again to serve

Although the Story seems, delight & Bright

Our Country, still suffers from Fright

In 2012, the evidence shows

Slavery EXISTS, slavery still BOLD

From 1957, GHANA has grown,

GHANA’s still young,

Never too OLD,

Embrace our 55th year, by teaching Other’s about GHANA, whether it be facts, history, or culture, spread and share our history.

Host or organise events/ activities to celebrate our history.

TIPS & IDEA’s BELOW!

 

To University Students:

*See what your Societies are running For the Month, in your SU.

*Or Start up an event, & get peeps involved

To College Student’s:

*Host activities in your canteen, or clubs to celebrate

                                                   *See What the College Have Lined Up,

Take Part, and get peeps involved

To Others:

*Be Creative & Unique

* Organise or host, neighbourhood parties

(& have quizzes, snacks (GH foods), Ghanaian Games, and music, make it fun, and invite neighbours, families & friends.)

___________________________________________________________________________

TWEET The Team YOUR Ideas, for the MONTH!

>>> @MeFiRi_GHANA

 

By Trey’C

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Ghana’s 55th Independence: Indigo O2

Ghana Independence Celebrations: Azontoing at the Indigo O2

 

Ghana_Independence_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_comOhene’s & Ohemaa’s get your kente, Ntuma & Me FiRi GHANA outfits ready because this year’s 6th March Ghana Independence Celebration; “this one no be easy”. As it gets closer and closer to March I can’t help but Azonto!  Ghana has truly gone a long way. Gosh we have had 55 years of independence, having been the first Sub- Saharan African country to gain independence in 1957.

It’s going to be a beautiful sight to see different faces, different shapes and colours all come together to commemorate this day. Every year independence is celebrated and I have to say we should be thankful we even gained independence; thanks to the well respected  “Yaa Asantewaa & Dr. Kwame Nkrumah” .

This year one of the main events will celebrate Ghana’s Independence at the well-known venue Indigo2 on the 3rd March.

Whether you decide to celebrate by: Going out to eat with friends, Party, strong prayers or simply from the heart. Me FiRi GHANA wish you Ghana fuo Happy independence.. and don’t forget to AZONTO all the way!

By CLOUDIA