May 27, 2024

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (R) and Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II

Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, once threatened to jail a delegation of chiefs and other prominent persons from the Ashanti Region who were sent to him by then Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II.

The Asantehene sent his delegation led by his linguist Baffour Akoto to speak to Dr. Nkrumah over concerns by cocoa farmers in the Ashanti Region, which was made up of today’s Ahafo Region, Bono Region and then metropolitan Ashanti, not receiving a fair share of the revenue from the sale of the country’s cocoa beans even though they were the largest producers.

The Ashanti chiefs and cocoa farmers were not happy with Nkrumah using almost all of the proceeds from the country’s cocoa beans for development projects across the country while giving cocoa farmers, who are mostly from the Ashanti Region, meagre monies.

Lawyer and historian, Yaw Anokye Frimpong, who gave this historical antecedent in an interview with journalist, Kafui Dey, said that the Otumfuo’s delegation which included Reginald Reynolds Amponsah (RR Amponsah), a potter and politician of the first Parliament of the Second Republic of Ghana, met Ghana’s first president two times but he did not yield to their demands.

Their third visit, Anokye Frimpong indicated, almost landed them in prison because Nkrumah became frustrated that they were not listening to his reasoning that “this is the nation we are building and so we have to help the children to come up with unbridled education. And then we have to create so many industries and as soon as they come out of school, they will have work to do. And that means that the cocoa farmers will have to sacrifice more”.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah threatened to lock up the chiefs and other members of the delegation; saying that he was not going to give them more money because they were going to use it to marry more women. He rather decided to set up a scholarship scheme so that children of the cocoa farmers could get some education.

“On the third occasion, Nkrumah told them that ‘if you dare come again, I will send all of you to Nsawam prison, because I’ve given my reasons already’.

“And one of the reasons he gave them was that ‘in place of putting money into the hands of the farmer, I have decided to create a Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) Scholarship for every parent whose ward will be able to produce evidence that his father is a cocoa farmer. The moment you show it to the headmaster, you will be given a CMB Scholarship,” the historian narrated.

He added that Nkrumah also told the delegation “And the reason why I’m doing this is that I know farmers because my parents were farmers. And I see what farmers do the moment they get plenty of money. They marry more women, and they don’t think about the education of their children. I want you to think about the education of your children. So, I am retaining the money that should have gone to you in order to educate your children for you, so that when they grow up, you have people like me, you have lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, accountants, everything.”

Anokye Frimpong said that the Ashanti chiefs and the other members of the delegation were not happy about Nkrumah’s remarks and went back to report that he had insulted them.

Watch the interview below:

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