2019 marks the 57th anniversary of the infamous Kulungugu bombing and Elizabeth Asantewaa, the young girl who had borne the bouquet containing a bomb meant for Kwame Nkrumah, is now a handicapped woman with a painful story.
It was August 1, 1962 and Kwame Nkrumah had stopped over in the Bawku district of the Upper East region on his way back to Ghana. The independence leader had gone to Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) to meet with counterpart, Maurice Yameogo.
It was not unusual to have the president travel by road in those days although the road network was not the best. Admittedly, close to 60 years on, not much has improved.
Although it is common to have presidents greeted with joy in every part of their country, Nkrumah enjoyed a certain popularity yet to be realised with any other post-colonial leader.
And that is where Asantewaa and her little bouquet come in.
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“What I just saw was a boom, it lifted me up and brought me back onto the ground. It was a big blast. All I saw was my leg burning”, Asantewaa is quoted by Celebritiesbuzz.com.gh as saying.
She was 13-years-old then and the lucky little girl chosen to welcome Africa's most famous man at the time. If she had missed out on giving the bouquet and the day had gone well, she would have told the story of how she almost gave flowers to Kwame Nkrumah.
The bomb was clearly meant for Nkrumah. What happened to the 13-year-old was collateral damage.
Asantewaa went on about Nkrumah: "He promised to help me since I was only a victim of an attack on him.
He sponsored my treatment in London, but after his demise, I haven’t really received any help from subsequent governments."
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Unfortunately, Asantewaa, who is currently 69 years of age, has been left with an amputated leg. She walks with crutches and her situation, according to her, is not getting better due to lack of medical care.
In the aftermath of the bombing Nkrumah publicly blamed his Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Presidential Affairs, Tawia Adamafio, for being behind the plot.
But many thought it was the doing of the United Party (UP), then the main opposition to Nkrumah and forebears of today's New Patriotic Party (NPP).
There were ways available to Ghana's first president to confront whoever he believed made an attempt on his life. Justice is never really far from those with the means to get it.
As for the likes of Asantewaa, without the means to be heard and seen, the story is different. They become footnotes on the pages of history.
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