Monday, March 5, 2007
And NKRUMAH met the World Press
THERE were more than a hundred of them at the Prime Minister’s independence week press conference, representing newspapers and news agencies and broadcasting and television companies, whose very names indicate the global variety of this gathering.
The Times (London) was there; and so was Pravda (Moscow); Life Magazine and the Hsinhua News Agency of China. The Manchester Guardian the Rand Daily Mail. The BBC and the NBC, Associated Press and British United Press. Drum and the London Daily Mirror, Reuters and the Agence France Presse. The Liberian Age (Monrovia) and the Nigerian Catholic Herald (Lagos), The New Yorker and Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner.
The variety of the journalists was matched by the variety of the questions which they put to the Prime Minister; and the Prime Minister showed himself a master of diagnosing instantly the kind of questions that were put to him. So every straight question got a straight answer. And the playful questions – whose playfulness more than once concealed a prickle – got a playful answer. Thus, in a pat and smiling reply to a playful-prickly question about the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Nkrumah said simply: ‘Do I look so old as to need a Deputy’?
There were also some prickly – and not so playful – questions, put by French African journalists about French Togoland. The Prime Minister’s answer was direct and serious: Ghana would welcome French Togoland into Ghana, if that was what the people were proved to want; but Ghana would not surrender the former British Togoland unity.
To a prickly question about Ashanti, the Prime Minister replied that a referendum would be held throughout the whole of the Ashanti territory to decide whether a Brong Region was wanted by the Ashanti people, or not.
To a question of Ghana’s relations with the Union of South Africa, the Prime Minister said that he looked forward to increasing trade, and perhaps technical co-operation, between the two countries; adding that he detested Apartheid ‘which does not conform with the principles of Christian ethics’, and if he had his way ‘it would be smashed’. But, ‘you cannot interfere in another country’s internal affairs’.
So, for more than an hour, the Prime Minister trod skillfully among the thorns and the bouquets that had been prepared for him. In the course of the conference, he had referred to Ghana’s position in international affairs as being that of a small country with a big voice’. By the time they left the conference room, most of the international journalists present seemed freely persuaded to agree with him.
Daily Graphic - Monday, March 5, 2007 Page: 40