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 is 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 at the old Polo ground within 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 created a seemingly harmless statement which proved to make him the African man in the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it really is linked with the entire liberation of the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the actual story in the Independence of Ghana so that our children, their kids, along with their children’s children will know just how Ghana was a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At that time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, no more than eight out of 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, each of the 16 countries were clamped in the jaws of Colonialism. Regarding 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 on the silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers did not eat for their fill, drink, booze and visited bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to get their independence. Not at all! In fact, the independence struggle did not start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was developed.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked from the end of the battle, we must ask ourselves what kind of a battle he was alluding to. Again, it should be borne in mind it was not only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or the vanguard indeed! It really 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.
For example, homage must 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 in the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? These were only likely to present a petition towards the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. They were only fighting for their 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 that legendary BIG SIX to choose 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 whenever we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. For this reason our National Pledge reminds us partly: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for all of us from the blood and toil of our fathers; I pledge myself in every 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,” minimal we can do is always to renew the promise and the pledge to our own father and mother Ghana.
Aside from the historical and political significance in the independence, what can one say regarding the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey from the nation since independence is not all rosy in any way. For that 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 coming into being from the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which was ushered in by 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, for 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 good thing about this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for a person to come)is progressive for the 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 best suited. It really is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can take place, not just at 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 the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections are over, there is a need for the country to put all political games behind it and focus 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 if not eradicated entirely.
There cannot be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their very own welfare to the neglect of a lot of the individuals 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 amongst the populace leading to agitation and unrest rather than unity and peace for national development. It is actually gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to use constitutional way to evaluate the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this sounds like not done you will see no peace and unity and you will see no national development.
Ghana is not an inadequate country naturally. 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 years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources have been effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child visit bed with no 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 if not in the world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan as well as others in international bodies to symbolise the human resource base of the country. They are just several reasons why Ghana may have done a lot better than she has been doing so far after 52 years of nationhood in terms of socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that the firm foundation has been laid for that economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports as well as others are most often in a better shape today compared to they were before independence. For example, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and also have created chance of some school-going children to be in school and stay given one or more meal a day free from charge. The newest government can improve upon what is set up for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme comes to remain, 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 has a comprehensive ICT Policy already in place. The National Portal has to be revamped to make it a real electronic gateway in the true sense E-Government.
The previous Government started establishing what is called Community Information Centres (CICs) in all the 230 electoral constituencies through the entire country. This is a viable strategy that concretely makes sure that ICTs are taken nearer to rural those who are in majority in the country. It is hoped the new administration continues with this particular 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 with this blessed nation, just to bring up but a couple of.