There is this beautiful Ghanaian proverb which can literarily be interpreted to this effect: “A newly hatched chick that survives will not lack the opportunity to grow feathers.” It means “when there is life, there exists hope.”
Fifty-a couple of years 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 at the old Polo ground within the city of Accra and proclaimed:
“At long last, the battle has ended; and Ghana our beloved country is free of charge for ever.”
The visionary Nkrumah then made a seemingly harmless statement which proved to create him the African man from the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked on top of the total liberation of the African Continent.”
Yes, you should tell the true story of the Independence of Ghana to ensure that our children, their kids, and their children’s children will know precisely how Ghana was a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At that time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, no more than eight away 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 inside the throat of a hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our forefathers on the silver platter. Put simply, our forefathers failed to eat for their fill, drink, booze and went along to bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to get their independence. Certainly not! As a matter of fact, the independence struggle failed to start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was created.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked of the end of a battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of the battle he was alluding to. Again, it must be borne in mind which it had not been only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or the vanguard indeed! It is therefore imperative that any time we celebrate the independence anniversary with this blessed land called Ghana, other equally important national heroes must be accorded the recognition they deserve.
As an example, homage should be paid to war veterans like Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey who were gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 at the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? These were only going to present a petition towards the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. These people were only fighting for their ex gratia awards once they have been in war front for many years.
It had been their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your 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 nation; were they armed robbers? These are some of the greatest national heroes we should pay homage to if we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. For this reason our National Pledge reminds us to some extent: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for all of us from the blood and toil in our fathers; I pledge myself in every items to uphold and defend the best 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 we can do is always to renew the promise and also the pledge to our father and mother Ghana.
Besides the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say regarding the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey in the nation since independence is not 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 in the nation.
Fortunately, however, because the getting into being of the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, that was ushered in by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana continues to be enjoying change of government through democratic elections instead of military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, for the first time in her 52 numerous years of nationhood, Ghana scored high democratic marks among nations in Africa once the New Patriotic Party (NPP) another democratically elected Government successfully completed its constitutionally mandated term of eight years and handed up to NDC again. The good thing about this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for a person to come)is progressive for the advancement of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop that this theme for this particular year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is best suited. It is actually common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can take place, not only 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 that just-ended peaceful general elections.
Now that the elections are over, you have the necessity for the world to place all political games behind it and concentrate on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership of the nation itself must be seen to be curious about peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption must be reduced to the barest minimum otherwise eradicated entirely.
There can not be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their own welfare towards 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 a typical illustration 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 use constitutional means to review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this is not done you will see no peace and unity and you will see no national development.
Ghana is not really a poor country by nature. It really is common place that Ghana is certainly a blessed land endowed with all sorts 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 many years of independence, when the nation’s natural resources had been effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child visit bed without having a meal? After 52 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 is blessed with some of the best brains in Africa otherwise in the world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan and others in international bodies to symbolise a persons resource base of the country. These are generally just several explanations why Ghana could have done a lot better than she did so far after 52 many 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 the economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors of 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 they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and also have created opportunity for some school-going children to remain school and become given a minumum of one meal a day free from charge. The new government can improve upon precisely what is in place for national development.
The National Medical Insurance Scheme has arrived to keep, 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 from the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana includes a comprehensive ICT Policy already set up. The National Portal has to be revamped to make it a real electronic gateway inside the true sense E-Government.
The earlier Government started establishing what is referred to as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all the 230 electoral constituencies throughout the country. This is a viable strategy that concretely ensures that ICTs are taken closer to rural people who are in majority in the country. It is hoped the brand new administration continue using this project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the discovery of oil in commercial quantity throughout the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this particular blessed nation, just to say but a couple of.