Today is International Day of Peace, also called Peace Day. It is also the birthdate of the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana.
When we think of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, ‘Pan-Africanism’, ‘Ghana’s Independence from colonial rule’, and ‘African Unity’, are the words we immediately associate him with. However, Dr Kwame Nkrumah was highly admired in the international world as a statesman whose commitment to the total liberation of mankind made a remarkable impact on the course of world history. He was respected as a man devoted to the cause of humanity, not just his own people, he was highly regarded as a man who fought for peace and social injustice everywhere.
When he fought for the independence of Ghana, it was not enough, he asked the people of Ghana to fight for the total liberation of all Africans, helping nations like Nigeria gain independence. When he fought for the unity of Ghana, it was not enough, he also fought for the unity of the continent of Africa, calling for a United States of Africa, and becoming a founding member of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity). Dr. Nkrumah was a leader who epitomised one who was ‘his brother’s keeper.’ Dr Nkrumah understood clearly, that a united people could birth peace, more so than a people divided. Ultimately, it was his quest for peace that drove him to fight for a united Ghana.
In 1961, when President Kennedy of the USA formed the Peace Corps, the first nation he sent them to was Ghana. It is said that though Peace Corps was formed in the USA, ‘Peace Corps learned to walk in Ghana’. President Kennedy must have thought highly of Dr. Nkrumah to choose Ghana among all the nations of the world, as the first nation of choice, for his new Peace Corps project.
The peace efforts of Dr Nkrumah were recognised also by the other super power, Russia, when in July 1962, Dr Nkrumah was honoured with the International Lenin Peace Prize. Having gained much international stature as a man of Peace, in 1966 Dr. Nkrumah left the shores of Ghana on a Peace Mission to end the Vietnam war, while he was away, a military coup ended his Presidency.
The theme for this year’s Peace Day is: ‘The right of all people to peace’.
Flying high on the grounds of the United Nations is the historic: ‘We Support Peace’, banner. The ‘We Support Peace’ Campaign, is a US based global grassroots campaign of renowned world peace advocates across all racial and faith based lines fighting together to restore peace to the Middle East and in other parts of the world, where war and conflict exist.
‘Today, we at ‘We Support Peace’ recognise Dr. Nkrumah and his immense and unspoken contributions to Middle East Peace, The Congo and as well World Peace, said HE Rev. Dr. Ocansey. ‘We applaud his efforts as one of the founding fathers of the Non-Alligned Movement, which is one of the world’s biggest historic peace movements that unified over 75% of the members of the United Nations and more than half of the world’s population.’
“We face neither east nor west, we face forward”….,.. By Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the Non-Aligned Movement.
With World Peace Day now set on the same day as the birth date of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, God has ensured that Dr. Nkrumah’s legacy of peace comes to the forefront every year!
By Her Excellency Rev. Dr. Ocansey
Co-Chair, We Support Peace Campaign, USA