Elizabeth Asantewaa, who suffered from bomb explosion as a kid during the 1964 Independence Day celebration at the Accra Sports Stadium, has been telling about her sorry plight for years but no Ghana Government official has bothered to listen, she says.
At age 13, Elizabeth Asantewaa became a bomb explosion victim when she was asked to present a bouquet to President Kwame Nkrumah.
She suffered injuries when a bomb which was targeted at the president exploded.
Elizabeth Asantewaa who is approaching 70 years now sits in a wheelchair with an amputated limb, without any medical attention from the state.
She told Accra-based Citi TV that she now faces eviction from her Dansoman residence because she cannot pay her rent which was hitherto being paid by the Assemblies of God Church, Dansoman branch where she worships.
Elizabeth Asantewaa complained that since her attack on 6th March 1964, she has not received any compensation from the Ghanaian government.
“I am really suffering, I don’t have peace, no compensation; nothing. I have been bedridden for more than two years with bedsore at my back…,” she stated.
Recounting what actually happened on 6th March 1964, Elizabeth Asantewaa indicated that at the time, she was too young to comprehend what was actually going on.
“It all happened at the Accra Sports Stadium where students, bankers, soldiers, and police were in attendance; the place was full to capacity… we were asked to wait for Nkrumah so we were dancing to the tunes that were coming from the band. Little did I know that I was going to suffer like this,” she said.
She added, “…I was holding something that looked like flowers which I was to present to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. When he [Nkrumah] made an attempt to take the flowers from me, he raised his head up and down and later shook his head… if I had stretched my hands towards him, he would have died.”
When asked if the bomb was in what she was holding, Madam Asantewaa said she couldn’t tell except God.
“…Nkrumah got down from the platform without uttering a word. I think Nkrumah sees beyond the ordinary… 10 minutes after he had left, we heard some series of explosions at where we were standing.
“It lifted me up and brought me back onto the ground. All I saw was my leg burning and blood running all over my head. A hole was created in my calf with bullets… it sounded like how knockouts are lighted during Christmas,” Elizabeth Asantewaa recounted.
The bomb killed some of the students who were at the stadium to witness the Independence Day celebration. Asantewaa’s injury was getting serious, the ambulance that was called to the scene was not ready so the soldiers transported her to the 37 Military Hospital in a private vehicle, she recalled.
“I was burnt to the point where you could see my bones. I was admitted for two years at 37 Military Hospital. I felt severe pains [in] my back…later the doctors said my situation was worse and they couldn’t handle it so I was airlifted to Great Britain for treatment.”
Madam Asantewaa said that Nkrumah visited her frequently with his wife Fatiah and cried bitterly.
She recalled: “Nkrumah told me I had saved his life; therefore, he will provide whatever I need in this world. In the future, if I happen to travel, ‘the state will take care of you and do it better than I will do because you got injured because of me’”.
However, after Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966, life became very difficult for Madam Elizabeth Asantewaa. Her husband and two children have since died. The only person who takes care of her is her only brother’s son who is also not employed after completing the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in 2015.
She added it is very difficult for her to even buy food to eat at times because she has no money and had been lying at one place all these years.
“I cry all day because I am in pain, my knee hurts badly because of the bullet wounds…,” she disclosed. “It sometimes takes me three days before I can get money to buy medicine…”
Madam Asantewaa lamented she has been neglected and left to her fate as her current condition is deplorable and nothing to write home about.
Her plea is to get help from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his administration, and any well-meaning Ghanaian who is touched by her story.