Friday, June 5, 2009

Information Ministry hands over Osagyefo's "head"

The Ministry of Information on Friday officially handed over the broken head of the bronze sculpture of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, to the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture.The head of the bronze statue got missing after people vandalized the statue after the 1966 coup d'tat.Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information, said after the coup an attempt was made to destroy everything connected to Dr Nkrumah, including the bronze statue."Luckily for us, the remnant was left at the Accra Police Regional Office and here we are today - the truth about Dr Kwame Nkrumah is beginning to resurface and the statue is now where it belongs," he said. Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said when Dr Nkrumah was talking about African Unity those days people called for his head but today his ideas are being championed all over the world.He said a woman, who remains unknown, presented Dr Nkrumah's "head" to the Information Services Department for safe keeping and appealed to others who might have some of the first President's memorabilia and paraphernalia or the rest of the part of the bronze statue to hand them over to the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture. "I salute all those who fought for the truth and those who continue to fight tirelessly for the truth and freedom of the country and I urge all who have something on this great leader to bring them so that their names would be added to the history of this great nation." "Everybody with those items should feel free to send them to the planning committee (of Dr Nkrumah's 100th anniversary) to make the history of this country rich."Mr Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, said he was glad that the "missing head" was found and is at the appropriate place before the celebration of President Nkrumah's birthday.He said the budget to rehabilitate the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum had been approved by cabinet and work would soon start and reiterated the appeal to the public to return anything relating to Dr Nkrumah to the authorities at the Memorial Park.The Minister in turn handed the head to Mr Kwaku Manu Asiamah, Director of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.Mr Asiamah appealed to the media to help encourage the woman who delivered the broken head to ISD to come forward and assist in building the story around the statue and the late President.He said experts had advised against restoring the head to the body of the statue because to them that would be an attempt to erase the historical fact of the February 24, 1966."Instead, they add, the head should be mounted by the side of the body and labelled as in the case of the other half. The cost of this project is put at about 4,000 Ghana cedis," he added. He said the park was the only institution under the Ministry that has no means of transport and appealed to the Minister to provide them with one to enhance their work.Mr Asiamah said they had also suggested to the planning committee to liaise with Panaf Books Limited, Publishers and Copyright owners of Kwame Nkrumah's 14 books, for licence to print them locally. "The books are in great demand at the Park; we are always overwhelmed with visitors' demand for the books which demand we are unable to meet," he added.

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