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-2 yrs ago (6 March 1957 to get 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 within the city of Accra and proclaimed:
“At long last, the battle has ended; and Ghana our beloved country is provided for free for ever.”
The visionary Nkrumah then produced a seemingly harmless statement which proved to help make him the African man from the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the entire liberation from the African Continent.”
Yes, you should tell the true story from the Independence of Ghana in order that our kids, their children, as well as their children’s children will know exactly how Ghana was a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At that time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, only about eight from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all of the 16 countries were clamped in the jaws of Colonialism. Regarding South Africa, she was deep in the throat of any hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our own forefathers on the silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers failed to eat with their fill, drink, booze and visited bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to have their independence. Not at all! In fact, the independence struggle failed to start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was developed.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked of the end of any battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of the battle he was alluding to. Again, it should be borne in mind that it was not only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or 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 should be accorded the recognition they deserve.
For example, homage has to be paid to war veterans like Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey who had been gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They were only likely to present a petition to the Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast. These people were only fighting for ex gratia awards when they have been in war front for years.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for the legendary BIG SIX to get the gold -the INDEPENDENCE. The Major SIX included Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Dr J.B.Danquah, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Ofori Atta, Mr. Akufo-Addo and Mr. Ako-Adjei. They were collected and dumped in jails throughout the country; were they armed robbers? These are probably the greatest national heroes we have to pay homage to whenever we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. For this reason our National Pledge reminds us in part: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for all of us with the blood and toil in our fathers; I pledge myself in every points to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana.”
Today, since we celebrate the 52nd Anniversary of Ghana on the theme: “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development,” the very least that we can do is to renew the promise as well as the pledge to the father and mother Ghana.
Apart from the historical and political significance from the independence, what can one say regarding the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey from the nation since independence has not been all rosy whatsoever. For the uncountable military coup d’états from the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance in the nation.
Fortunately, however, since the coming into being in the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which had been ushered in by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana continues to be enjoying change of government through democratic elections as opposed to military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, the very first time in her 52 years of nationhood, Ghana scored high democratic marks among nations in Africa when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) another democratically elected Government successfully completed its constitutionally mandated term of eight years and handed to NDC again. The advantage of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone choose somebody to come)is progressive for the growth of Ghana.
It really is against this backdrop the theme for this particular year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is best suited. It is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can occur, not only on the national level but on the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the folks of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for your just-ended peaceful general elections.
Now that the elections have ended, you have the requirement for the nation to put all political games behind it and concentrate on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership from the nation itself has to be seen to be interested in peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption must be reduced for the barest minimum if not eradicated entirely.
There cannot be peace and unity if political leaders are seen to be interested in their very own welfare to the neglect of the majority of the people who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, People in Parliament along with other public holders is actually a typical example of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony amongst 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 review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this sounds like not done you will see no peace and unity and there will be no national development.
Ghana is not really a bad country by nature. It is actually common place that Ghana is such a blessed land endowed with all types of resources including gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, timber, arable land, rivers, good rain fall patterns and abundant sun shine throughout the year. But Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 numerous years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources was effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child go to bed without having a meal? After 52 numerous years of independence, should any Ghanaian child be denied basic education? Something might go amiss!
Besides natural resources, Ghana is equally endowed with human resources. She actually is blessed with some of the best brains in Africa or even in the whole world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan yet others in international bodies to symbolise the human resource base of the country. These are generally just a couple of main reasons why Ghana might have done a lot better than she has done to date after 52 years of nationhood when it comes to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a firm foundation has become laid for your economic take-off of the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports and others appear to be in a better shape today compared to they were before independence. For example, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme and also the School Feeding Programme and possess created opportunity for some school-going children to stay in school and become given at least one meal a day free of charge. The brand new government can improve upon what is in position for national development.
The National Medical Health Insurance Scheme comes to stay, there is however 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 place. The National Portal must be revamped making it a genuine electronic gateway in the true sense E-Government.
The earlier Government started establishing what is referred to as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all of the 230 electoral constituencies throughout the country. This is a viable strategy that concretely helps to ensure that ICTs are taken even closer to rural those who are in majority in the country. It 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 throughout the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this blessed nation, just to bring up but several.