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21.02.2007 General News

'Don't forget chiefs' role in the struggle'

By : The Ghanaian Times

The nation needs to recognise the pivotal role played by some chiefs and traditional authorities in the struggle for the country's independence, Dr David Bosumtwi-Sam, a former Ambassador to Kenya, has said.

"As we celebrate 50 years of independence, all one hears is the roles played by the politicians in the push for independence, but we should not forget that chiefs such as Nii Kwabena Bone III of Osu Alata instigated the 1948 boycott which served as the catalyst for our freedom," he stated.

Dr Bosumtwi-Sam was speaking at a colloquium under the theme, "Traditional rulers in the struggle for Ghana's independence" in Accra on Monday.

It was organised by the Centre for African Art and Civilisation, a non-governmental organisation, as part of this year's African World History Month celebration.

They used the colloquium which was also to celebrate Ghana @50 to launch a book titled, "Bloody Saturday" and also held an exhibition of pre and post independence activities.

Dr Bosumtwi-Sam noted that it was Nii Bone's political action in 1948 which served as an "eye opener for Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to stage his 1951 positive action".
He said Nii Bone's quest to ensure freedom for his country forced "Britain, our colonial master to rethink their plans to forestall the granting of independence for us.

"If there was a person apart from Dr Nkrumah who should be praised then it should be Nii Bone. He stood up against high inflation in the Gold Coast and that earned him the name Boycotthene."

"We should be prepared to give credit to the traditional leaders in the struggle for independence and stop concentrating only on our politicians."

"But for Nii Bone, there would have been no occasion for Dr Nkrumah to declare the 'Positive Action' in 1951. It was his boycott which triggered the 1948 riots prompting the setting up of the Watson Committee in 1948."

Professor R. B. Benning, the founding Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies in Tamale commenting on the role of the chiefs in Northern Ghana in the struggle for independence said "there were eminent and courageous chiefs who sought the welfare of their people and were instrumental in the struggle."

Yaw Jehu-Appiah, author of the book 'Bloody Saturday,' said "the decisive action taken by Nii Bone, though not intended as a political act, helped through its consequences, in the rapid attainment of independence and self government for his people."

K. B. Asante, a retired Diplomat who chaired the function, underscored the need for the nation to honour all her past heroes.

Source: The Ghanaian Times