There is this beautiful Ghanaian proverb which can literarily be interpreted to this effect: “A newly hatched chick that survives will not lack the chance to grow feathers.” It means “when there is life, there is hope.”
Fifty-a couple of years ago (6 March 1957 to be precise), Ghana made political history in tropical Africa. On that day, the Gold Coast became Ghana. How did it 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 town 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 produced a seemingly harmless statement which turned out to make him the African man of the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked on top of the complete liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the real story in the Independence of Ghana so that our youngsters, their children, along with their children’s children will know exactly how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At the time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, just about eight from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all the 16 countries were clamped inside the jaws of Colonialism. In terms of South Africa, she was deep within the throat of any hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our forefathers on a 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 obtain 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 made.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in the end of the battle, we must ask ourselves what kind of the 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 even the vanguard indeed! It is therefore imperative that any moment we celebrate the independence anniversary of the 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 have been gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They were only planning to present a petition for the Colonial Governor from the Gold Coast. They were only fighting for ex gratia awards after they have been in war front for many 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. These were collected and dumped in jails throughout the country; were they armed robbers? These are some of the greatest national heroes we should 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 people from the blood and toil of our fathers; I pledge myself in every points to uphold and defend the great 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 always to renew the promise and the pledge to our father and mother Ghana.
Apart from 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 of the nation.
Fortunately, however, because the coming into being of the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which had been ushered in from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana continues to be enjoying change of government through democratic elections rather than military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, the first time in her 52 many 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 advantage of 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 actually against this backdrop that the theme for this particular year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is best suited. It really is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can occur, not only at the national level but at the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the people of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for your just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections have ended, you have the necessity for the nation to place all political games behind it while focusing on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership from the nation itself must be seen to be interested in 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 seen to be interested in their particular welfare towards the neglect of most of the those who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Members of Parliament along with other public holders is actually a typical example 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 methods to evaluate the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this is not done you will have no peace and unity and you will have no national development.
Ghana will not be a bad country by nature. It is common place that Ghana is really 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. Nevertheless 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 go to bed without having a meal? After 52 many 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 actually is blessed with some of the best brains in Africa if not in the whole world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan yet others in international bodies to symbolise a persons resource base of the country. These are just a few main reasons why Ghana may have done much better than she has done to date after 52 many years of nationhood in terms of socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that the solid foundation has been laid for that economic take-off the nation across board. Various sectors from the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports and others appear to be in a better shape today than they were before independence. As an example, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme as well as the School Feeding Programme and have created opportunity for some school-going children to stay in school and be given a minumum of one meal a day without any charge. The new government can improve upon what is set up for national development.
The National Medical Health Insurance Scheme has arrived to keep, however, 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 features a comprehensive ICT Policy already set up. The National Portal must be revamped making it an actual electronic gateway in the true sense E-Government.
The previous Government started establishing what is known as Community Information Centres (CICs) in the 230 electoral constituencies through the country. This can be a viable strategy that concretely ensures that ICTs are taken nearer to rural individuals who are in majority in the united states. It is hoped the newest administration continue using 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 particular blessed nation, just to say but a couple of.