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 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 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 within the city of Accra and proclaimed:
“At long last, the battle has ended; and Ghana our beloved country is free for ever.”
The visionary Nkrumah then created a seemingly harmless statement which proved to create him the African man from the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation from the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the true story of the Independence of Ghana to ensure that our children, their children, as well as their children’s children will know just how Ghana was a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At the time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, only about eight out of 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all of the 16 countries were clamped within the jaws of Colonialism. In terms of South Africa, she was deep in the throat of a 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 to their fill, drink, booze and visited bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to get their independence. Certainly not! In fact, the independence struggle did not start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was created.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in the end of any battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of a battle he was alluding to. Again, it must be borne in mind which it was not 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 incredibly important national heroes must be accorded the recognition they deserve.
As an 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 planning to present a petition for the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. These were only fighting for his or her ex gratia awards when 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 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 throughout the country; were they armed robbers? These are among 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 us with the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in every points to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana.”
Today, while 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 our father and mother Ghana.
Besides the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say about the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey from the nation since independence is not all rosy in any way. 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 coming 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, the first time in their 52 many 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 choose somebody to come)is progressive for your continuing development of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop the theme for this year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is most suitable. It is actually common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can take place, not merely on the national level but in 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.
Since the elections are over, you have the necessity for the country to place 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 curious about peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption should be reduced for the barest minimum otherwise eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their particular welfare for the neglect of the majority of the those who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Individuals Parliament as well as 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 way to assess the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done there will be no peace and unity and you will have no national development.
Ghana is not a poor country by nature. It is actually common place that Ghana is certainly 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 years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources was effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child visit bed without 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 if not 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. They are just a couple of reasons why Ghana might have done better than she did up to now after 52 many years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that the firm foundation has been laid for the economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports yet others seem to be in a better shape today compared to they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and also have created chance for some school-going children to remain school and become given one or more meal a day without any charge. The brand new government can improve upon what is in place for national development.
The National Health 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 through the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana includes a comprehensive ICT Policy already in place. The National Portal has to be revamped to really make 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 all of the 230 electoral constituencies through the country. This can be a viable strategy that concretely ensures that ICTs are taken even closer to rural people who are in majority in the nation. It is actually hoped the brand new administration continue with this project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the discovery of oil in commercial quantity during the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this blessed nation, just to mention but several.