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30.04.2004 General News

Media accused of fanning political tensions in Africa

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Accra, April 30, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Friday accused the media in Africa of fanning political tensions on the continent, saying that the local media have become more of a source of worry for the continent than their foreign counterparts. He noted that in the past, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first President was weary of the foreign media, of whom he (Nkrumah) said, "we watched the antics of the foreign press with misgiving. It seemed as though our overseas critics were intent upon destroying us before we ever got started."

Major Quashigah said, however, "today it is our own press, freed to write and say what they choose that we must be worried about - the poor underdogs are getting worried as politicians tear each other in verbal abuses, with the media fanning the fire, which may become too hot to handle."

He was speaking at this year's International conference on Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, organised by Intra-West Africa Communications Limited, publishers of the West Africa and Storm magazines.

The Conference, which was also marked with an Awards night, was to revive the spirit, principles and objectives of Pan-Africanism and African Unity as proposed by the founding father, the late Dr. Nkrumah. Major Quashigah, who represented the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, asked, "has it occurred to the politicians who create and champion tensions and conflicts on the continent and the media who fan the tensions that they are once again preparing the grounds for some mindless persons to take advantage of the situation to set the clock of our reborn and infant democracies several years back?"

He noted that African leaders and the media today, have not quite appreciated the magnitude of the problems facing the continent, saying that, "Africa is in ruins" and it would take African unity as proposed by the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to save the continent.

Major Quashigah said due to disunity in Africa, the continent had been exposed to the forces of neo-colonialism, saying that today African economies were plagued with poverty, disease, illiteracy and ignorance. He said the history of the continent showed that the so-called redeemers, liberators and saviours, only connived with the old colonial masters to loot the continent of its rich mineral resources to the extent that, Africa, the richest continent on earth was declared a poor and a beggar continent.

"Several years after independence even Ghana, which did not experience any of the destructive incidents that befell her fellow African countries, has not yet attained a 500 US dollar per capita income, while her contemporaries, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia are swimming in the tens of thousands of dollars of per capita income," he said.

He was disappointed in the loss of patriotic spirit that existed in Ghanaians in the days of Dr. Nkrumah, saying that times were when Ghanaians, motivated by the song "work and happiness, all must give their best for beautiful Ghana", worked for the national pride and dignity, not for themselves, but for their children.

"Then it was pure satisfaction and love of nation and not necessarily for money that people could die for Ghana, but today that patriotic spirit is gone and we need to revive that if we are to see real development in our country."

He said Dr. Nkrumah held the slogan 'self government now' to win political independence for Ghana, but the slogan must change to 'serve Ghana now' if we were to gain economic independence.

Dr. Edward Mahama, Chairman of the Peoples, National Convention and Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Dean of Students, University of Ghana (UG) also delivered papers at the conference.

The two expressed the view that the overthrow of the late Dr. Nkrumah, through a coup, was unfortunate and the single reason for the unfinished agenda of that great son of Africa.

Dr. Mahama noted that since the death of Dr. Nkrumah, there had been no leader in Ghana or any other part of Africa, who had shown commitment to the unity, economic independence and development of Ghana and Africa as a whole.

He said almost 50 years after independence, illiteracy and unemployment rates in Ghana both stood at 70 per cent, educational infrastructure was in shambles and above all the country had been declared HIPC. Professor Takyiwa Manu, Director of The Institute of African Studies, UG, who presided said decades after the death of Dr. Nkrumah, his vision of Pan-Africanism and African Unity was more relevant that ever, adding that it was no secret that the progress of Africa was absolutely dependent on unity, in the face of economic and political blocks in the rest of the world.

Pan-Africanists, across the world, mostly from Nigeria, including governors, senators, parliamentarian and academicians attended the conference. GNA GA 30 April 04

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