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18.03.2018 Feature Article

Memo for Mr. Pratt & Dr. Tia: Kwame Nkrumah's Vision For Solar Energy At KNUST

Memo for Mr. Pratt & Dr. Tia: Kwame Nkrumah's Vision For Solar Energy At KNUST
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"...History matters in this discourse about policy...So does funding...And commitment... And vision most of all...Every reader ought to know that Mr. Kwesi Pratt and Dr. Richard Tia...have so far missed the 1,966,000-pound elephant in the room... For more than a generation, everything Kwame Nkumah built,...was destroyed by the NLC military junta with active support of United Party/Progress Party Kofi Busia, and Komla Gbedemah... In a speech...(at)...the Ghana Atomic Reactor, Kwabenya, President Kwame Nkrumah gave the "Solar Energy" research and development mission to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and...KNUST ... . Mr. Kwesi Pratt appears to have missed the road on this one..the history...And, our Professor Tia could be a little circumspect to the extent he, his colleagues, and the students under his care are all primarily funded with public resources...", (Prof Lungu, 17 Mar 18).

The chastisement of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) by the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt, and the on-going discourse between Mr. Pratt and Dr. Richard Tia of KNUST about failure of KNUST to stridently pursue research in solar energy and production of solar panels is a healthy one. From the record and history, Mr. Pratt is clearly one of the most knowledgeable individuals in Ghana about Ghana national development, politics, and administration. However, in this case, it seems to us Mr. Kwesi Pratt is arguing without his copies notes and resources, for once.

Unfortunately, that is the type of wall we run into when we attempt to divorce history from what is real, from what we have and live with, in the present, as a result of decisions our fore-fathers and elders made in influencing the development of Ghana.

Today, no discussion about the success of KNUST with respect to science and technology, application of technology to solve problems in the lives of Ghanaians, solar energy of all subjects, as well as the larger Ghana development quagmire, can ever be realistic without recourse to history, particularly after independence when Ghanaians assumed more than nominal control over affairs of the state.

By this report, every reader ought to know that Mr. Kwesi Pratt and Dr. Richard Tia of KNUST have thus far missed the 1,966,000-pound elephant in the room.

The 1,966,000-pound elephant represents 1966. 1966 is the year Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by the forebears of Akufo Addo's NPP, by the hands of the Nonentities, Liars, and Crooks (NLC), mostly rogue soldiers and policemen, among them Kotoka, Harley, Afrifa, and Ankrah, and with support and guidance by the Johnson CIA.

History and the reckoning! And avoidance of playing apologists for politicians in Ghana!

For more than a generation, everything Kwame Nkumah did, everything Kwame Nkrumah built, said, represented, etc., was destroyed by the NLC military junta with active support of United Party/Progress Party Kofi Busia, and Komla Gbedemah. Busia, we all ought to remember, would eventually be the first civilian elected as president after military dictatorship. (As payback, with mutual knowledge about secretive and subversive matters beween and among those two, it was Kofi Busia who would latter ban Komla Gbedemah from contesting for political office in a subsequent election, practically Gbedemah with questions about his citizenship).

But, we digress! What we are saying today is this: Mr. Kwesi Pratt cannot simply chastise KNUST and in the process ignore history and the context.

"Senior" must be more together! By the same token, we would have wished Dr. Richard Tia had exhibited more than rudimentary knowledge about the history and the context, and communicated as such, particularly with respect to the original mission of KNUST, and how KNUST's vision and mission has changed under military rule and civilian leadership over the years.

Responsibility of political leaders to fund cannot be relegated to the winds, as Dr. Tia rightly reminds Mr. Pratt. As it is theirs to ensure accountability at the public institution, as payers of the "piper" in the public interest.

Back in 2001 and in 2015, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would have ordered the Electoral Commissioner (EC) to adopt the "indelible ink" that developed and successfully tested in Ghana. Or, failing that, have the EC would have had to provide logical, compelling, and scientific basis for the rejection of indelible ink that could be produced in Ghana to support Ghanaian elections.

That said, from where we sit, it is just a little absent-minded for Dr. Tia to state that if the British are prepared to give him "a million pounds sterling to do research on heterogeneous catalysis," he would be in those pockets, whether it would benefit Ghana "directly, or not".

Surely, Dr. Tia and Mr. Kwesi Baako ought to know that a million pounds sterling coming directly from the UK to Ghana, being not funds from Ghana's oil or other Ghanaian resources, for instance, would have both direct and indirect effects and benefits on Ghana and the economy, if only for the "multiplier" effect of money and size of the GDP. All that, we submit, before we even start counting the benefits on the students assisting and training under Tia research program. (All that would be true, unless the purpose of the research was to subvert Ghana, in which case the value of the benefits would be less, and/or negative).

Significantly, reports on impacts of institutions on local, regional, and national economies and social life, even with respect to police and military installations, are typically part of the briefing papers available to journalists, politicians, and researchers. (So, after all the talk, does KNUST have impact papers for Kwesi Baako and other critics?).

History matters in this discourse about policy. So does funding. And commitment. And vision, most of all.

But, no one, no one, can fault visionary Kwame Nkrumah on any of those fronts.

MEMO: Fifty-four years ago, in 1964, even as the Akosombo Dam was nearing completion and Ghanaian workers were moving into Tema, Ghana's first and only "City of Industry", Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had a vision and a plan for the development of solar energy and science in his homeland. On 25 November of that year, in a speech during the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of Ghana Atomic Reactor at Kwabenya, President Kwame Nkrumah gave the "Solar Energy" research and development mission to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

In part, in 1964, 2 years before he was overthrown by the crooks and liars, this is what Kwame directed:

"....I have also recently directed the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to investigate and expand research on the possibilities of solar energy, which is already going on at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. It is estimated that even-one-tenth of the solar energy falling on the earth’s surface would be enough to produce an amount of energy several times the amount generated at present. In Africa we have no lack of sunlight, and the development of solar energy should, be one of our main scientific preoccupations...".

((2007) Courtesy of Ms. Linda Asante Agyei, the reader can obtain a copy of the entire 1964 speech by Kwame Nkrumah at Kwabenya on Ghanaweb using the link provided below).

Kwame Nkrumah had a vision, commitment, and plan to help Ghana develop on this front, but he was overthrown.

Governments after Kwame Nkrumah not only destroyed much of the industrial plans and projects Kwame Nkrumah proposed and implemented, they in addition destroyed even the vision of "City of Science" he proposed.

To the point, every Ghanaian ought to reconcile themselves to these "truths" and facts of Ghanaian history.

From kindergartens, to elementary schools, to secondary schools, to universities, to factory floors, to official bureaus, to the halls of parliament, to the court houses all the way up to the Supreme Court of Ghana, every Ghanaian ought to know these facts to allow them be better judges of the performance and record of public institutions such as KNUST, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, etc.

In concrete terms, pedagogic curriculums and other books of instructions must be revised to make the invisible, visible.

A socio-political fact, four-square archeological, tells us people who do not remember and record their own history are bound to repeat the errors of the past.

The subject of solar power and development in Ghana is not a new concept to us. There is a "history" there.

Prof Lungu has over the years written copiously on the importance of a robust solar energy policy and its role in the development of Ghana. Interested readers can obtain copies of our series of papers titled "Are Ghanaian Officials Stuck on Stupid? The Case For Solar Energy", via GOOGLE search.

As we must now conclude, the solar research and the revolution did not even begin for Ghana because Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by a military-police-civilian group of traitors recruited by foreign countries protecting their own interests. In the early 1960s, the Ankrah-Kotoka-Afrifa-Busia military-police-civilian dictatorship jettisoned Ghana's 7-Development Plan then under implementation.

Fifty-four years later, if we must repeat what we said 3 years ago on these same pages, after the foundation at Kwabenya, Ghana did not significantly leap-frog industrial development, transportation infrastructure, education capacity and capability, health administration, electricity/power production. Kwame Nkrumah's "Strategic Vision" and "Forecasting" were destroyed for political convenience in the interest of a few. In fact, compared to Singapore and the Asian Tigers, Ghana appears to have hopped just 10 years, all those 54 years.

And so, this week, Ghanaians found one of their most dedicated and innovative, but poorly-resourced young teachers in Singapore, hopping around and hoping that the merciful in that small country, and a private corporation that was not even in existence when Kwame Nkrumah was at Kwabenya, would assist him obtain computers worth $200.00, to aid him more effectively delivery lessons to his students in a classroom back in Ghana.

Still this week, Singapore is reported to have hanged Mr. Billy Agbozo, a Ghanaian national, after convicting him for trafficking in illegal drugs.

In conclusion, for some odd reason, our normally very resourceful Mr. Kwesi Pratt appears to have missed the road on this one with respect to KNUST, its mission, and its history. In addition, surely, if Dr. Richard Tia and his team at KNUST have been funded to the tune of even half a million pounds sterling and that work is being done in Ghana, that ought to count as an accomplish for the university (and Dr, Tia).

Keep up the civil discourse, we say! So it goes, Ghana! SOURCES/NOTES: 1. Linda Asante Agyei. (Posted). Nkrumah lays foundation for atomic reactor .. in 1964,

----- . See also , Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Speech at Kwabenya, 1964, in Francis Kwarteng, "Nkrumah On Solar Energy, Scientific Research, & Science Education", Ghanaweb / ModernGhana, 5 September, 2015.

2. Prof Lungu. There Was No "Dum-Sor" Under Kwame Nkrumah: The Essentials! (

3. The Ghana 7-Year Development Plan - Get a copy of the 11 March, 1964 Inaugural Speech by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, at (

4. Kari Polanyi Levitt, "W. Arthur Lewis: Pioneer of Development Economics", (

5. CITIFMONLINE. Lecturer floors Kwesi Pratt for claiming KNUST can’t make solar panels, (

6. Ghanaweb. Your academic arrogance unacceptable – Pratt replies KNUST Lecturer, (

7. Prof Lungu. Solar ‘n Gas in a Bottle for President Mahama & Patrick Asare: Try Harder! – (

8. Ghanaweb. Blow by blow account of how Singapore convicted hanged Ghanaian, (

9. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN. Donors give computers to Ghana school where teacher taught computer tech on a blackboard, (


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Professor N. Lungu
Professor N. Lungu, © 2018

The author has 183 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: ProfLungu

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