March 6, 1957 has a significant impact on the history of colonialism in Africa. For the first time a black African colony broke the yoke of European domination of the continent. Ghana, formerly called the Gold Coast attained its political independence under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, an American educated African from a small village in the west of Ghana.

Independence was the culmination of the collective efforts of others like J. B. Danquah, William Ofori Atta, Ako Adjei, Obetsebi Lamptey and Edward Akufo Addo – together with Nkrumah, known as the Big Six – who invited Nkrumah down from Europe to help with the struggle.

The new leader hit the ground running, laying a firm foundation for the growth and development of the country. Those 14 years of Nkrumah’s leadership saw unprecedented development in Ghana.

On the day of independence, Nkrumah declared that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa.” Ghana thus became the mecca for freedom fighters from all over Africa as Kwame Nkrumah took the mantle of leadership of the struggle for continental unity.

Notwithstanding all that Nkrumah had achieved for his country, he was ousted in a military coup in 1966. Unfortunately the forcible removal of the government of Kwame Nkrumah resulted in a chain reaction of coups d’état which only served to reverse all that had been accomplished.

In this 55th year most Ghanaians are questioning the propriety of any post-Nkrumaist claims of progress in Ghana. So much has been undone to the detriment of the average Ghanaian. Government hospitals and roads have become killing fields. The few miles of railroad in the south have been disabled while many schools remain under trees. Ghana’s cities are riddled with filth and mountains of garbage, while the environment is left at the mercy of marauders parading themselves as investors.

At a time when Ghana is mining more gold in addition to new findings of petroleum, together with record production of cocoa beans, the country’s economy is nothing to write home about. Corruption is at peak levels. Ghanaians are crying out for justice, freedom, education, reliable healthcare delivery, reliable security, potable water, housing, energy, among several others. The laundry list is too long to be mentioned here.

Certainly all has not been so gloomy. Comparative to our neighbors, Ghanaians have not been at war against themselves. Relatively, Ghana’s economy has been better managed than most African states’. Surely the country’s present democratic experiment appears to be taking hold. But our best has not been good enough for the people. Ghanaians pine for more and better.

Long live Ghana, long live Africa.






Ghanaians Mourn Congressman Donald Payne, Sr.


By Kwabena Opong

Ghanaians in Newark were among a number of Newark residents who thronged the Newark Court building on Monday, March 12 to view the body of U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne who died on Tuesday, March 6. Rep. Payne was the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus foundation whose mission is to advance the global black community by developing leaders through internship and fellowship programs, informing policy and educating the public.

The Ghanaians led by Dr. Zachary A. Yamba, ex-president of the Essex County College in Newark, NJ sent a delegation to mourn with the family of the late Congressman further to Rep. Payne’s work in the United States Congress for Sub-Saharan Africa and his concern and active involvement with the African community in his constituency. Among the Ghanaians was Nana Gyensare V, Piankohene of Akwamu in the Eastern Region of Ghana who performed some traditional rites as an enstooled chief. Taking a seat in front of the body as it laid in state, Nana Gyensare dressed in red and black, made libation to the gods asking for a smooth transition for the fallen congressman and prayers for his family, residents of Newark and all whose lives have been touched by Rep. Payne.

Dr. Zachary Yamba took the floor after the libation and paid homage to the congressman on behalf of Ghanaians. He recalled Rep. Payne’s work for Africa and the black world in the United States Congress and the lives he touched. Dr. Yamba expressed the gratitude of the Ghanaian community to the family of the late congressman for their forbearance. He expressed the condolences of the Ghanaian community to the family and hoped that they would take consolation from the selfless work Donald Payne, Sr. did in his life as a U.S. Congressman.

Donald Payne, Jr., President of the Newark City Council and the son of the late congressman expressed gratitude on his own behalf and on behalf of his family for the Ghanaian community’s commiseration with them. He mentioned his father’s work for Africa and added that Mr. Payne really loved Africa. “When asked if he loved Israel, he would say yes but he would ask back: do you love Africa?” “That is how he loved Africa,” Donald, Jr. said. Donald Payne, Sr. traveled the length and breadth of Africa fighting on the continent’s behalf at the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Not only did he love Africa, he loved all people, Donald, Jr. said.

In his career as the U.S. Congressman for 10th District, Mr. Payne championed the cause of America’s working families. He worked for the passage of such laws as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Worker Health and Safety legislation and America’s Affordably Health Choices Act of 2009.

He was also a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, serving as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights and as a member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

Rep Payne co-founded with former First Lady Laura Bush the Malaria Caucus, successfully raising $50 million for prevention, control and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. He worked hard also for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Sr. was a recipient of several awards the world over and all over the United States. He was a widower and the father of three, grandfather of four and the great grandfather of one.



Posted by on Mar 21 2012. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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