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-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 on the old Polo ground in 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 made a seemingly harmless statement which proved to create him the African man in the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked with the total liberation from the African Continent.”
Yes, you should tell the true story of the Independence of Ghana to ensure that our children, their children, and their children’s children will know precisely how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At that time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, just about eight away from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, each of the 16 countries were clamped inside the jaws of Colonialism. Regarding South Africa, she was deep within the throat of the hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to the forefathers over a silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers did not eat to their fill, drink, booze and went to bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to obtain their independence. Certainly not! In fact, the independence struggle failed to start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was developed.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in the end of a battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of a 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 even 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 has to be accorded the recognition they deserve.
For instance, 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 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 was in war front for years.
It had been their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for that legendary BIG SIX to go for the gold -the INDEPENDENCE. The BIG 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 among 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 to some extent: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for people from the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in all items 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 would be to renew the promise as well as the pledge to our own father and mother Ghana.
Aside 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 from the nation since independence has not been all rosy at all. For your uncountable military coup d’états of the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance from the nation.
Fortunately, however, since the coming into being from the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which was ushered in from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has become 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 first time in her 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 over to NDC again. The advantage of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for somebody to come)is progressive for your continuing development 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 best suited. It really is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can happen, 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 the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections are over, there is a necessity for the world to put all political games behind it and focus on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership from the nation itself must be seen to be curious about peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption should be reduced to the barest minimum if not eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are seen to be interested in their very own welfare to the neglect of most of the people who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, People in Parliament and other public holders is really 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 utilize constitutional methods to evaluate the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done there will be no peace and unity and there will be no national development.
Ghana is not really a bad country naturally. It is actually common place that Ghana is such 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 all year long. And yet Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 numerous years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources have 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 the best brains in Africa or even in the whole world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan and others in international bodies to symbolise the human resource base of the nation. These are generally just a couple of reasons why Ghana might have done better than she did so far after 52 years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a solid foundation has become laid for that economic take-off of the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports yet others appear to be in a better shape today compared to they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme and also the School Feeding Programme and also have created opportunity for some school-going children to be in school and stay given at least one meal a day without any charge. The new government can improve upon what is in place for national development.
The National Medical Health Insurance Scheme comes to remain, 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 features a comprehensive ICT Policy already set up. The National Portal must be revamped making it an actual electronic gateway within the true sense E-Government.
The earlier Government started establishing what is called Community Information Centres (CICs) in all of the 230 electoral constituencies throughout the country. This can be a viable strategy that concretely makes sure that ICTs are taken nearer to rural people who are in majority in the nation. 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 through the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune with this blessed nation, just to bring up but several.