Ghana heritage under threat

CNC reporting from Accra
Added On July 19, 2013

The West African nation of Ghana risks losing one of its important cultural and historical heritage sites.

The town where the country's first president was born is threatened by nearby mining activities.

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Ghana's founding father, Kwame Nkrumah, described as a "Hero of Independence," was born at Nkroful in 1909.

Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1951 to 1966.

Overseeing the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1957, Nkrumah was the first President and the first Prime Minister of Ghana.

He was also the founding member of the Organization of African Unity and the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963.

After his death in 1972, Kwame Nkrumah was initially buried at Nkroful but later he was reburied at the current Nkrumah mausoleum in Accra.

But now the founding father's birthplace is under huge threat.

The piece of land where Nkrumah was originally buried is only ten meters away from an Austranlian firm's gold mining site.

According to the local residents, to pave the way for mining operations, the company plans to carry out resettlement program and relocate them.

Local residents worry that Nkroful,hometown for 15,000 local residents, would be wiped out if the planned resettlement program is carried out.

Since the mining program has threatened their source of living and residence, young residents are strongly against it.

Nana Kweku Gyebi, secretary to the chief of Nkroful Town said the land is the mainstay of the local economy and they would fight for it.

“whether we can build decent houses for ourselves, whether we can blaze the trail of modern industrial development as enunciated by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who is a son of Nkroful much depends upon what goes on at the Nkroful mining site."

 “We cannot sit down for them to push us out and for us to go to live in a place like refugees. We can’t accept that. This is our heritage and we are prepared to die to preserve it."

To protect the heritage of Nkrumah, young residents appealed to the Ghana's president John Dramani Mahama to aid the vulnerable and voiceless people of Nkroful and its environs

The mining firm, however, declared on their website that they are working to develop strong relationships with local communities.

Ghana's Western Regional Security Council said recently the land's devastation is highly unacceptable and they will soon reclaim a large tract of land destroyed by galamsey operators at Nkroful.