Tradition And Culture

Kumasi, December 10, 1960

My wife and I are most deeply touched by the warmth and sincerity of the great welcome which you, Nananom and people of Ashanti, have accorded us this morning. This grand and colourful durbar, at which I am sure every section of the community is present, is surely a powerful demonstration of your faith and confidence in me and in my Government. This spontaneous expression of delight and rejoicing is eloquent testimony of the increasing realisation throughout the country of the paramount need for peace and unity in our new Republican State of Ghana.

I am particularly grateful for the fine sentiments you; Nana Asantehene on behalf of chiefs and people of Ashanti have expressed about some of the recent measures taken by the Government, both at home and abroad. Your declared support for the steps taken by the Government to stamp out acts of violence and gangsterism in this country is most reassuring. I wish to refrain on this occasion from making any allusions to those regrettable incidents that took place some time ago in Ashanti, Those horrible days are gone, but we should be under the delusion that law and order have been completely restored in Ashanti.

In the rural area of Ashanti, there are many people who do not appear to have leant their lesson from the experience of the earlier days. We are ever watchful and vigilant and have ready-made plans to deal with any accidents of lawless, gangsterism, violence and subversion which may appear. Nobody should think that by intrigue — he can either within or without our Great Party revive the tragedies and tribulations of the National Liberation Movement days, or to undo all that we, with painful experience have done for the people of Ashanti. There are also those who think we are deceived by their open declarations for it Government, while their hearts and minds are elsewhere. I should like all the people to realise that we know them.

Forgetting the past and looking to the future, I would like to quote the words of Francis Bacon here: “He that will not apply new remedies must expect evils; for time is the greatest innovator.” I wish to reiterate what I have said several times elsewhere, that it is only an atmosphere of peace and quiet that we can successfully plan and execute great schemes for the consolidation of our hard-won independence and for economic and social reconstruction of our nation. I am sure you realise, as I do that events taking place with dramatic but such tragic results in certain parts of Africa today throw into focus more than ever before the supreme need for united and concerted effort not only to fortify our sovereignty, but also to evolve a better pattern of living more in keeping with the dignity of man.

There is only one way to Africa’s survival: a union of African States.

Otumfuo, Nananom, fellow Ghanaians,

As I said during my speech at the durbar in Sekondi the other day, the people of this country have a great future before them. I have visions of great cities Ghana with large factories and cultural institutions, inhabited by people who happy, cheerful and re-silient, venturing forth unto the realms of science, industry and technology.

On our political horizon, I can see Ghana within the framework of a united Africa making her voice and strength felt in the counsels of the world. If ever there was a time for unity, concord, concerted action and relentless personal sacrifice at home, this is it. My recent visits to certain parts of the country have more than confirmed my belief that today the Government, the party and the people are one, and that in Ghana, we have a Government that belongs to the people and a people who are inseparable from the Government.

We all now belong to the Convention People’s Party and the Convention People’s Party belongs to us. The Convention People’s Party is the only force uniting us here and abroad. This augurs well for the economic and social and construction of this country.

No doubt you have followed with keen interest the progress being made in the field of development particularly as regards the implementation of the Second Development Plan and the Government’s determination to press forward with the Volta River Project. The stage has been reached in our national development where all of us-the workers, farmers, teachers, civil servants, chiefs and all men and women — should harness our resources to the full, to tackle the various projects the Government has planned for the country.

I cannot do justice to the importance of this occasion without making reference to some of the international events now taking place around us. The latest development in the Congo today serves as a sad commentary on the subtle, but relentless attempts being made by the colonialists and imperialists to strengthen their foot-hold in the continent of Africa. This situation is a matter of deep concern to all of us, and each day unfolds grave developments fraught with danger for all Africa; it has also more than ever served to underline what I have repeatedly emphasised, that the independence of Ghana is meaningless, unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the whole of the continent of Africa.

We are today witnessing the staging of all kinds of intrigues, machinations and manoeuvrings aimed at stifling the sovereignty of the Congolese people and sabotaging their aspirations to follow their own chosen path of destiny. The stand of my Government as regards the Congo crisis is well known to all of you; We regard the attitude of the United Nations Organisation towards this matter extremely disappointing; it is therefore our inflexible deterioration to work the restoration to power of the legally constituted Government of the Congolese people headed by Premier Patrice Lumumba, and my Government and I will vigorously pursue that policy.

It was in consonance with this policy that felt compelled a few days ago to break off diplomatic relations with Belgium, for we need no telling that the confusion existing today in the Congo is largely the responsibility of the Belgian Government with her colonialist and imperialist agents, cohorts and stooges who are conniving with her and giving her every material support in this crime.

Yesterday I caused to be published a letter which I addressed to the General of the United Nations asking the United Nations for the unconditional release of Lumumba the legal Prime Minister, re-instating his Government and allowing the constituted Parliament to function. If as usual he ignores this advice, the tragic consequences will be placed squarely at door of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Dag Hammarsjoeld.

The emergent states of Africa will not tolerate the use of any continent of Africa as the cockpit for the protagonists of the so-called. Now more than ever before, the independent African States should unite and act with a concerted effort to rid this continent of the lingering of imperialism and to stave off the forces of neo-colonialism. The idea of an African High Command with Military Planning Headquarters somewhere if Africa is the child of the Congo situation. It is my belief that this proposal seriously engages the attention of the leaders of the independent states for there can be no stronger proof than the events of our times of the united front in the struggle for the total liberation of Africa.

To come nearer home to the subject of chieftaincy, allow me, repeat what my Ministers and I have on many occasions already said, that the Government is committed to the preservation and maintenance institution of chieftaincy in the Republican State of Ghana. As the frontiers of our social and economic development widen, the institutions of chieftaincy cannot afford to remain static. We are a modern nation with modern and progressive ideas and we will always wish our Chiefs to move abreast of us in our forward march. To ensure the existence of a cordial relationship between the Government and the Chiefs, the first prerequisite is cooperation between the Government, the Chiefs and the people.

The question of the maintenance of traditional authorities is actively engaging my attention and that of the Government. I assure you, Nananom that the matter will be objectively pursued and the result will no doubt rebound to your prestige and dignity. All I expect from you is Trust, Loyalty and Honesty. Nananom, my wife and I again thank you all for the enthusiastic reception and for this grand and majestic durbar which you have staged on our behalf.

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