How another Nkrumah legacy has gone down the drain forever

Dr Kwame Nkrumah established the Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship Dr Kwame Nkrumah established the Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship

Ghana as a country probably experienced its best era of economic and infrastructure development under the rule of the country’s first president, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The Kwame Nkrumah era saw huge infrastructure projects, the establishment of businesses and bold social intervention programmes, all aimed at making the country self-reliant.

It was during this era that infrastructure projects were undertaken including the Akosombo Dam, Tema Expressway and Tema City, the now Accra Technical University, the University of Cape Coast and the now Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital; as well as the establishment of factories such as the Kumasi Jute Factory, the Kumasi Shoe Factory, the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC), the Bolgatanga Meat Processing Factory and the Asutsuare Sugar Factory.

However, much of the legacy of Ghana’s first president is being eroded. Most of the factories he established, including the Kumasi pencil factory, the Bonsa tire factory and the Wenchi tomato factory, have been abandoned and some of his social intervention policies have been cancelled.

The last legacy of the former president that will no longer exist is the popular Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship program, following the announcement by the leadership of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) that the scholarship had been canceled because “it has lost its main purpose due to the Free Higher Secondary School (Free SHS) Scheme”.

Why Nkrumah established the COCOBOD scholarships:

Historian Yaw Anokye Frimpong, in an interview with journalist Kafui Dey, told the story behind the establishment of the Cocoa Marketing Board Scholarship, which is popularly called the COCOBOD scholarship.

He indicated that a disagreement between Ashanti chiefs and the late Dr Nkrumah led to the establishment of the scholarship scheme.

According to him, the chiefs, led by the then Asantehene, were unhappy with the fact that Nkrumah used almost all the proceeds from the sale of the country’s cocoa beans for development projects across the country, while simultaneously handing over to the cocoa farmers, who are mostly from the Ashanti region. , which included the present-day Ahafo, Bono and metropolitan Ashanti regions, meager sums.

He said Ghana’s first president then proposed the Cocoa Marketing Board scholarships to appease Asantehene and Ashanti chiefs who were pressuring him for a fair share of cocoa profits.

“What they (the bosses) wanted was to be cocoa producers and for the farmers (hired workers) to be paid. Even though they came from the north and other parts of the country, such as the Volta region, they were paid.” Well, no one was fooling them… and the little that the cocoa (grower) would get at the end of the day, Kwame Nkrumah, ‘you are telling us that you are using it to develop the country, including scholarships for the people in the north. , who have already been paid, and are building schools everywhere, so we think it is better to divide it,” Anokye Frimpong narrated.

After several visits from the chiefs, Nkrumah did not give in to their demands for an increase in his share of the country’s cocoa revenues.

He said Nkrumah told them that instead of giving them the increment directly, he would give scholarships to their children.

“And one of the reasons he gave them was that ‘instead of putting money in the hands of the farmer, I have decided to create a Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship for every parent whose ward can provide proof that their parent is a farmer of cocoa.

“The moment you show it to the director, you will receive a scholarship from the WBC. And the reason I do this is that I know farmers because my parents were farmers. And I see what farmers do the moment they they get enough money.” of money; They marry more women and do not think about the education of their children. I want you to think about your children’s education.

“So, I keep the money that should have been for you to be able to educate your children so that when they grow up, they have people like me, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, accountants, everything,” he detailed.

BAI/AE

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