This year’s event organized by Kwesi Pratt’s Socialist Forum of Ghana drew in hundreds of citizens and friends from around the globe. It was little wonder then that the College of Physicians and Surgeons auditorium was filled to the brim.
With the theme Nkrumah Never Dies: Battling Neo-colonization, The Last Stage Of Imperialism, speakers Nana Yaa Gyaemfua, Dr. Yao Graham and Kwesi Pratt provided food for thought.
Opening up the session, the Hope of Africa performers comprising a drummer, singer and guitar/ flute bearer served the audience with stimulating antics and sounds including employing the nostrils to play the flute.
Poet Oswald Okaitei when his time arrived discharged his duties to great applause. His simple plea was for the Osagyefo to respond to his call. Employing song and words, his emotional plea hit home the need for a dedicated leader devoid of greed.
Chairman for the occasion Dr. Gamel Adam Nasser invited the first speaker Nana Yaa Gyaemfua of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party to address the gathering. Yaa reiterated the deadly effects of neo-colonialism further bemoaning the situation where in Ghana today catapult and calabash are being shamefully imported despite elders producing these items one time in Ghana.
Nana Yaa Gyaemfua in summarising her speech called upon those at the helm of Ghana to adopt the ideals and philosophy of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as they remain relevant today.
Dr. Yao Graham of the Third World Network drew comparisms from the Nkrumah era and Mahama’s negotiation with the IMF.
“Nkrumah also negotiated with the IMF thanks to a drop in the value of the price of cocoa but the difference is that his finance minister came to parliament to frankly discuss the progress of the negotiations indicating where the Nkrumah government agreed and differed” Mr. Graham noted.
He stated, in 1964 Nkrumah expressed the need for the nation to have diversified sources of energy including solar and atomic energy.
“Nkrumah had an anti-imperialist stance but managed to have a policy where an American company invested in the Volta River Project” the Third World Network chief observed.
Touching on the power crisis, Mr. Graham indicated that over 20 years the VRA has been progressively weakened affecting the operations of ECG adding that should ECG be paid debts owed it amounting to 500 million dollars by government and other bodies, the company could undertake the maintenance and expansion it needs for efficient delivery.
According to Yao Graham, crisis procurement offer opportunity for patronage and thievery. He said although crisis procurement offer short term solutions they generate long-term problems.
Mr. Graham expressed worry that for less than 500 million dollars government is allowing the US to reign supreme in the power market with the increase in portfolio of Independent Power Providers (IPP’s) under the Millennium Challenge Account programme.
“As hydro was a force for change in the earlier decades, gas could well be for this generation but bad deals has meant foreign companies interested in only profits to the disadvantage of citizens have the lion share” Graham observed”.
He added that Ghana by and large has retrogressed since Nkrumah’s overthrow noting that even in the case of manufacturing in 1966 the sector contributed 4.4% of GDP whiles in 2015 its only over 6%.
For his part Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt junior stated as at the time of the overthrow of Nkrumah, to boost the nation’s energy supply Nkrumah had mobilized engineers who had moved to site to begin the Bui Dam Project and since his overthrow it had to take decades to construct the dam.
Mr. Pratt further bemoaned the state of affairs citing the sorry sight of Ghanaians selling catapults made from china on the streets.
“After decades of mining in Ghana, revenue accrued to the state is less than revenue generated from the sale of bush meat such as ‘akrantie’ and ‘kusie’. Meanwhile Nkrumah had 80% completed the construction of a gold refinery before his overthrow, quickly the Europeans ordered for the abandonment of the project”.
“Ghanaian resources are not in Ghanaian hands hence the crass poverty and massive unemployment. Decisions about Ghana are taken in Rome, Brussels, Italy, London and Washington” ‘Masa’ added.
Touching on the power crisis, Kwesi Pratt stated that the impending privatization of ECG makes no sense as the more than 400 factories built by Nkrumah which were privatized has not inured to the benefit of Ghanaians.
“In a modern world all assets cannot be nationalized but should the need arise for certain holdings to be privatized they ought to make sense” he added.
Representatives from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Iran, Palestine and Cuba were in attendance as was NPP’s Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, NDC chairman Kofi Portuphy, Francis Nkrumah and family, Akatapouri and reps from the seat of government.