There is this beautiful Ghanaian proverb which can literarily be interpreted to this effect: “A newly hatched chick that survives will not lack the ability to grow feathers.” It means “when there is life, there is hope.”
Fifty-a couple of years ago (6 March 1957 to become precise), Ghana made political history in tropical Africa. On that day, the Gold Coast became Ghana. How made it happen happen? At exactly midnight that night, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, flanked by some ambitious comrades of his, mounted a podium in the old Polo ground in the city of Accra and proclaimed:
“At long last, the battle has ended; and Ghana our beloved country is free for ever.”
The visionary Nkrumah then created a seemingly harmless statement which proved to help make him the African man from the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked on top of the total liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the actual story from the Independence of Ghana so that our children, their kids, and their children’s children will know exactly how Ghana was a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At the time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, only about eight away from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all of the 16 countries were clamped inside the jaws of Colonialism. As for South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of the hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our forefathers on the silver platter. In other words, our forefathers failed to eat to their fill, drink, booze and went to bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to have their independence. Certainly not! In fact, the independence struggle did not start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was created.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked of the end of any battle, we must ask ourselves what kind of any battle he was alluding to. Again, it must be borne in mind it was not only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or perhaps the vanguard indeed! It really is therefore imperative that any time we celebrate the independence anniversary with this blessed land called Ghana, other incredibly important national heroes must be accorded the recognition they deserve.
As an example, homage must be paid to war veterans like Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey who have been gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? These people were only going to present a petition for the Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast. These were only fighting for their ex gratia awards when they was in war front for years.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for that legendary BIG SIX to go for the gold -the INDEPENDENCE. The Large SIX included Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Dr J.B.Danquah, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Ofori Atta, Mr. Akufo-Addo and Mr. Ako-Adjei. These were collected and dumped in jails across the country; were they armed robbers? These are some of the greatest national heroes we have to pay homage to whenever we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. This is the reason our National Pledge reminds us in part: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for us from the blood and toil in our fathers; I pledge myself in all points to uphold and defend the great name of Ghana.”
Today, while we celebrate the 52nd Anniversary of Ghana on the theme: “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development,” the very least we can do would be to renew the promise and the pledge to our father and mother Ghana.
Aside from the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say about the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey of the nation since independence has not been all rosy at all. For the uncountable military coup d’états from the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance of the nation.
Fortunately, however, considering that the coming into being in the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which was ushered in from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has been enjoying change of government through democratic elections instead of military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, the very first time in their 52 years of nationhood, Ghana scored high democratic marks among nations in Africa if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) another democratically elected Government successfully completed its constitutionally mandated term of eight years and handed to NDC again. The beauty of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for someone to come)is progressive for your growth of Ghana.
It really is against this backdrop that this theme for this year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is most suitable. It is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can happen, not merely in the national level but on the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the individuals of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for your just-ended peaceful general elections.
Now that the elections are over, there is a need for the country to place all political games behind it and concentrate on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership of the nation itself should be seen to be interested in peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption has to be reduced to the barest minimum or even eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their particular welfare for the neglect of most of the individuals who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Members of Parliament and other public holders is really a typical demonstration of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony one of the populace leading to agitation and unrest instead of unity and peace for national development. It really is gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to utilize constitutional means to evaluate the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this sounds like not done there will be no peace and unity and you will see no national development.
Ghana is not an inadequate country by nature. It is actually common place that Ghana is certainly a blessed land endowed with all kinds of resources including gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, timber, arable land, rivers, good rain fall patterns and abundant sun shine throughout the year. And yet Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 years of independence, in the event the nation’s natural resources was effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child visit bed without having a meal? After 52 numerous years of independence, should any Ghanaian child be denied basic education? Something might have gone amiss!
Besides natural resources, Ghana is equally endowed with human resources. She is blessed with some of the best brains in Africa or even in the entire world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan as well as others in international bodies to symbolise the human resource base of the country. These are generally just a few main reasons why Ghana may have done better than she has done up to now after 52 many years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a firm foundation has been laid for your economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors from the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports yet others are most often in a better shape today compared to what they were before independence. For example, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and have created chance of some school-going children to stay in school and become given one or more meal a day free of charge. The new government can improve upon what exactly is in position for national development.
The National Medical Insurance Scheme has arrived to remain, but there is more room for improvement. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is gradually but steadily taking roots in society. Ghana is on the Information Super High Way with the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana includes a comprehensive ICT Policy already in position. The National Portal has to be revamped to make it a genuine electronic gateway within the true sense E-Government.
The previous Government started establishing what is called Community Information Centres (CICs) in all the 230 electoral constituencies through the country. It is a viable strategy that concretely helps to ensure that ICTs are taken nearer to rural individuals who are in majority in the nation. It really is hoped the brand new administration continue with this project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the invention of oil in commercial quantity during the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this blessed nation, just to mention but a few.