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 exists 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 at the old Polo ground inside 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 been found to make him the African man from the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked with the total liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the true story of the Independence of Ghana so that our youngsters, their kids, as well as their children’s children will know just how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At that time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, only about eight out of 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, each of the 16 countries were clamped inside the jaws of Colonialism. In terms of South Africa, she was deep within the throat of a hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to the forefathers over a silver platter. In other words, our forefathers failed to eat to 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 did not start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was made.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in the end of any battle, we have to ask ourselves what kind of any battle he was alluding to. Again, it ought to 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 perhaps 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 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 were gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They were only going to present a petition to the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. They were only fighting for their ex gratia awards once they have been in war front for years.
It had been their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your 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 across the nation; 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 with the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in all things 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 least we can do is always to renew the promise and the pledge to our own father and mother Ghana.
Besides the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say concerning the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey from the nation since independence is not all rosy at all. For the uncountable military coup d’états in the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance in the nation.
Fortunately, however, because the getting into being from the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which was ushered in by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has been enjoying change of government through democratic elections rather than military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, for the first time in their 52 numerous 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 over to NDC again. The beauty of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for someone to come)is progressive for that continuing development 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 most suitable. It really is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can happen, not merely at the national level but at the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the folks of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections are over, there is the necessity for the world to place all political games behind it while focusing on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership in the nation itself should be seen to be interested in peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption must be reduced to 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 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, Individuals Parliament along with other public holders is actually a typical illustration of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony among the populace leading to agitation and unrest as opposed to unity and peace for national development. It really is gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to make use of constitutional means to assess the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done you will see no peace and unity and you will have no national development.
Ghana is not really a poor country naturally. It is common place that Ghana is such 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 all year long. Nevertheless Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 many years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources was effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child head 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 is blessed with among the best brains in Africa otherwise in the whole world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan as well as others in international bodies to symbolise a persons resource base of the nation. These are generally just a couple of reasons why Ghana could have done much better than she did so far after 52 numerous years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a solid foundation continues to be 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 appear to be in a better shape today compared to what they were before independence. As an example, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme as well as the School Feeding Programme and also have created chance 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 precisely what is set up for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme has arrived to stay, 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 features a comprehensive ICT Policy already set up. The National Portal has to be revamped to really make it an actual electronic gateway within 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 through the entire country. This is a viable strategy that concretely makes sure that ICTs are taken even closer to rural those who are in majority in the nation. It is hoped the new administration continue with this particular 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 bring up but several.