Who’s Afraid of the ‘New Africa’ Convention in Ghana?

Chido Nwangwu in this piece wonders why the Ghanaian government last Sunday aborted the New Africa convention expected to be attended by Pan Africanists like Prof PLO Lumumba, Julius Malema, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao and Peter Obi, among others, at the Independence Square in Accra.

Millions of Africans and persons with interests on events in Africa should ask these and other questions: First, why did Ghana’s government stop the convention — at the last moment, last Sunday, January 7, 2024?

It was scheduled to be held at Ghana’s Independence Square. However, access was blocked and denied by the Ghana government.

Second, who is concerned about some of the recent or established voices of Pan-Africanism and apostles of a substantially self-reliant African continent such as Prof. PLO Lumumba, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao (African Union Ambassador emeritus), Peter Obi (2023 presidential candidate of Nigeria’s Labour Party), South Africa’s activist Julius Malema, Ghanian and other African youths?

Third, did the government of Ghana get any security reports that the convention of peaceful panelists and speakers would have threatened public safety and/or the stability of the government?

For clarity of the goals of the disrupted convention, Dr. Arikana said about her generation: “We understand that we have failed our youth, but we know that we have a responsibility to make things right and we do know that with the wisdom, energy and intelligence of our youth, together, we can take our Africa in a new direction.”

For additional context, let me note that I believe that Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo is a person of remarkable intellect and admirable erudition. Those qualities and more largely reflect the progressive outlook of the west African country. He was elected in 2017.

Since the past three years, especially, the Akufo-Addo presidency has faced many challenges regarding corrupt activities by some officials of the government.

Appropriately, Prof. Lumumba noted, “We came to Ghana to share a message of hope that Africa needs at this time and there is no better place to begin that message than Accra, Ghana. It is in Accra that Osageyefo Kwame Nkrumah almost 67 years ago, spoke to the world and said the ‘Independence of Ghana is meaningless until it is linked with the independence of the African continent.’”

Lumumba, who has emerged as one of the leading public intellectuals in Africa and the world added that the denial of access to the public facility is not “an occasion of lamentation but for redoubling our efforts…. Looking forward, a meeting such as this will happen not only here in Accra, but I am looking forward to it happening in Ouagadougou, Dakar, Nairobi and Johannesburg because this is about the African continent. We are saying this at a time when we have promised ourselves that Africa is going to be more intimate in our interaction. This is why the African Continental Free Trade Area is headquartered in Accra.”

Major inflation of the costs of basic foods, commodities and services have weakened the economic capacity and the credibility of the Akufo-Addo presidency.

Long before this era, during the 1940s through the 1960s, historians and activists chronicled Ghana (previously known as the Gold Coast) as a key champion and proponent of pan-Africanism.

It was a nourishing zone of inspiration and support in the struggle for the emancipation and decolonization of the African continent. There was the missionary and respected scholar James Kwegyir-Aggrey (October 18, 1875 – July 30, 1927) who taught the great Kwame Nkrumah at Achimota School (also known as Government Training College).

Ghana achieved its political independence on March 6, 1957.

Significantly, the first President of the Republic of Ghana was the same Nkrumah who served as the first Prime Minister and first President of Ghana, from 1957 until 1966. 

Nkrumah who was born on September 21, 1909, and died on April 27, 1972, was one of the founding members of the Organization of African Unity (now known as Africa Union).

During his time, I believe, the strategic thinker and leader Nkrumah would have applauded and facilitated the New Africa convention.

As Bob Marley beckoned many decades ago: Africans Unite!

-Dr Nwangwu, is Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston.


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