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09.03.2009 General News

Nkrumah Mausoleum decays

By Ghanaian Times
Nkrumah Mausoleum decays

About seven months from now, the nation will observe the Centenary birthday of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana.

September 21, the birthday of the Osagyefo, has been proposed by President Mills to be declared a public holiday in his honour.

But all is not well at the mausoleum, which contains some of his personal belongings.

These belongings are the metal coffin in which his remains were conveyed to Ghana from Conakry, Guinea, the headless metal bust, the desk he used at the Flagstaff House, and a dressing mirror.

Others are beds, chairs he used while at Lincoln University and a collection of photographs he took with prominent world leaders.

All these items of historical importance, stand the danger of deteriorate from the elements of the weather because the roof of the museum leaks badly and the floor has developed cracks all over.

This came to light when Mr Kwame Manu-Asiamah, Director of Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, conducted this reporter round to see the deplorable state of the museum which is part of the mausoleum.

He explained that because of the cracks on the floor, a floor carpet had to be laid to conceal the cracks from visitors. But the carpet is now soaked with underground water.

Additionally, the electrical system is down and the place suffers from irregular water supply.

He recalled that in September 2007, Prestige Division of the Public Works Department won the bid to re-roof the museum, but funds were not released, thus stalling the project.

He said if the place could not be renovated to coincide with Ghana's 52nd independence anniversary, the centenary celebration should see the place transformed.

Mr Manu-Asiamah, has therefore, appealed to President Mills to ensure release of money for the renovation and• rehabilitation of the Museum to honour the memory of the late former President.

Dr Don-Arthur, the architect of the project, when contacted described the present state of the museum as deplorable and must be addressed.

"Left to them alone, there should not have been a monument to Nkrumah's memory, he said, and added that the management personnel of the project lacked expertise and wondered why a carpet should be used to cover a structural defect.

He recalled that some time in the year 2000, the then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, informed him that the Nkrumah Mausoleum had been slated as one of the world's heritage monuments.

He said he relayed that information to Professor George Hagan, the then chairman of the National Commission on Culture, who promised to pursue the issue to its logical conclusion.

Professor George Hagan, for his part, told the Times that the deplorable state of the mausoleum was brought to the Commission's attention on his assumption of office.

He said in the assessment of the place to determine the extent of damage, it came to light that massive investment is needed to arrest the situation.

Prof. Hagan said the commission's lobbying for budgetary allocation to undertake the refurbishment, coincided with the country's declaration as Highly Indebted and Poor Country (HlPC).

He said for the two years that the country went HlPC; nothing was made available for the refurbishment.

Prof. Hagan said when the country came out of HIPC there was an initiative to institute an institutional reform of the place so that it could run under a private management.

He said during the celebration of Ghana @ 50, the Mausoleum was earmarked to benefit from some of the financial support the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat was given but said the support fizzled out when it was realised that a lot of money was needed to return the place to a degree of acceptability by visitors.

The Mausoleum is the third place to be Dr. Kwame place of burial.