18 Akoras (past students of Achimota) and four Good Samaritans gave practical expression to being mindful of the needs of others when they responded to Madam Elizabeth Asantewaa’s plea for help and raised over GhC5,000 for her needs.
At the age of 13, Madam Asantewaa suffered severe injuries at the 1964 Independence Day Celebration in Accra when, a bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers she was about to present to President Kwame Nkrumah, exploded. A recent video and interview circulating on social media in which Madam Asantewaa now in her 70s spoke about her dire straits, was enough to get the group to help.
The four Good Samaritans included the grand-daughter of Supt. Salifu Dagarti, Nkrumah’s personal security guard who sacrificed his life to save the President during an assassination attempt in January 1964.
Another of the Good Samaritans was Mrs. Dzagbele Matilda Asante, whose late husband, Akora KB Asante, a Nkrumah aide witnessed the Independence Day celebration assassination attempt and another attempt at Kulungugu on 1st August 1962. She was glad to speak to Madam Asantewaa as she had been wondering what had happened to her.
In addition to the GhC5,000 raised, there are plans to set up a funding program for Madam Asantewaa whilst lobbying the Department of Social Welfare to take up the responsibility of looking after her.
A Zoom meeting was organised to meet Madam Asantewaa. She was overwhelmed by the kind gesture, and her son, Asiedu Charles Yirenkyi said: “Mummy and I couldn’t cry over the phone because of the visitors amongst us when we had the Zoom meeting. Mum and I are very much grateful for the time you took to put all these things together. For your personal contributions and the contributions of others, may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob restore unto each and every person who donated to the glory of the Lord! God bless us all.”
Akora Sarah-Lynn former OAA President said “This is a big one for all of us. It is one of the blots on our past, because of the effects on her, especially as a child. It is one of the things our school children should be made aware of, as part of our history. And we should all be grateful to her for holding on all this time. Had it not been for her, the history of this country might have gone in another direction. We must acknowledge her place in our history and make it a point to look after her and other “Veterans” of our Social and or Political unrests.”
The Zoom meeting and fundraiser was facilitated by Akora Awula Serwah, founder of Eco-Conscious Citizens who said: “It is a blight on Ghana’s history that persons who were never brought to justice deemed it fit to risk a child’s life in order to assassinate the President”. For the short time he was in power after the assassination attempt, Nkrumah ensured that Madam Asantewaa was looked after. She received medical treatment at 37 Military Hospital and in London for her life threatening wounds. Sadly, after the 1966 coup, all support stopped.
Ghanaians must always be mindful of the needs of others. The good Book asks us to love our neighbour as ourselves, and Micah 6 v8 says “and what is it the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God ” We must ask ourselves whether it is just that Ghanaians in parts of Ghana do not have access to clean drinking water and basic services whilst Parliamentarians receive generous ex-gratia awards at the end of every Parliament whether or not they lose their seats.
We must reflect on the practical implications of being mindful of the needs of others. For example, what are the consequences of illegal mining? Do we care when we hear of the destruction of the environment and cocoa farms and other crops by illegal miners using excavators in search of gold? Perhaps because it does not immediately affect us we do not care that our brothers and sisters are losing their livelihoods as a consequence of wanton destruction from illegal mining.
Are we mindful of the needs of others when we are silent about the consequences of mining bauxite at Atewa Forest reserve when we know that in addition to destroying the eco-system and endangered species it will pollute the source of water to over 5million Ghanaians? Who stand to benefit from the so-called development that is to come from the proceeds of the bauxite? Let’s take a short visit to mine towns and ascertain whether or not the local people have benefited from mining. Perhaps it is time to seriously consider jobs in the Green Economy.
We urge Ghanaians to be mindful of the needs of the majority of Ghanaians and not only what benefits a few of us. Ghana first should be our motto. Ghana is bigger than any parochial interests or political party. Let our standards be measured by the mandate in Micah and whether or not what we are doing is just.
—Akora Awula Serwah