Earlier this year, I had some guests from South Africa who wanted to see a bit of Ghana.
The right thing to do was to show them the resting place of the first Prime Minister and President of the country, no? I did and I was not too pleased with the degradation that the place came with.
Fast forward to last Friday, Founder’s Day that is, my son said their creative arts teacher had asked them to go to James Town to take photos of the murals on the walls around Mankye Agbona.
I thought it was an opportunity to take him and his sisters to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum or Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (KNMP).
I am sure I had hoped for an improvement at the place and that my children would experience something close to what I experienced in the early days of the mausoleum.
However, shock of what I exposed them to last Friday could not be compared to the earlier one.
The day I chose was significant.
Nkrumah’s birthday and the day set aside to honour him and the others who fought to ensure we would gain independence from Britain, after over more than a centenary of colonial servitude and subjugation.
Indeed, I had hoped that if for nothing at all that date would be spruced up a bit, even if just for a Potemkin deception. No such luck.
The entire property looks unkempt, grass on the lawns gone off at significant places, most of the trees not well cut or trimmed, structures of signage boards rusting away with no signage on them, no tour guides to tell the stories about Nkrumah and the history of how the mausoleum came by to visitors, the structure housing the automobile Nkrumah used not on good shape and no sign or anything to show a sense of what the place represents.
The biggest neglect however has to be the springs or fountains all over the property.
When that KNMP was built one of the most beautiful and iconic draws to the place were the springs on each side of the walkway.
They each had seven bare-chested, squatting statuettes of flute blowers, who seem to welcome the guests with their flutes which threw up water to form the fountain.
The nightmare moment for anyone who had experienced what it was then to the current state has to be the fact that the flute blowers are still squat and blowing their flutes, but there no water coming from the flutes.
Absolutely none and the pond which houses the fountain (if that’s the right expression) is totally dried up.
In summary, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra, situated at the old Polo grounds where the man in whose honour it was built stood to declare independence is in the most shambolic state you can ever imagine.
The question I ask is whether this is deliberate neglect or genuine lack of resources to keep the place going.
Regardless of what the reason is, this state of the park should prick our collective conscience and we should not sleep until we have pushed whoever’s job it is to put the place in a shape what would not be any more disgraceful to us all as it has been till now.
When we got to the park a television crew from UTV was rounding up a live production they did from the venue to commemorate Founder’s Day.
It was obvious the team and the people they had been interviewing were not happy about how the place had been left in desolation.
No one in his/her right sense would be happy about it.
There was a conference in Accra last week that brought people from over Africa and as part of their visit to Accra was to tour some of the sites in Accra.
Someone added the mausoleum to the itinerary and one of them, the husband of my Zimbabwean friend was disappointed in what he saw at the KNMP.
He would later tell me about how disappointed he was with state of the place and how Ghanaians don’t know what we have.
It’s a very fair point, because when you are in other countries on the African continent, the name Nkrumah is humongous only to come and see such dilapidated and abject place for his final rest.
When I posted my thoughts and shared some of the photos I took on Facebook, the man who chairs the board that oversees the park, Mr. Kwame Jantuah commented on the post and said we shall hear from him soon.
I thank Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Anne Sackey for fishing him out and I hope to God that he, a true Nkrumaist, would ensure that the needful is done for the old man and his wife Fathia to rest in perfect peace at the mausoleum.
By Francis Doku| 3news.com| Ghana