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 become 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 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 created a seemingly harmless statement which proved to create him the African man of the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked on top of the complete liberation of the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the real story in the Independence of Ghana in order that our kids, their children, and their children’s children will know exactly how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” During 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 inside the jaws of Colonialism. In terms of South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of the hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our own 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 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 from the end of a battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of any battle he was alluding to. Again, it ought to be borne in mind that 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 at any time we celebrate the independence anniversary of this blessed land called Ghana, other essential national heroes should 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 had been gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 at the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They were only planning to present a petition towards the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. These were only fighting for their ex gratia awards after they was in war front for many years.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your legendary BIG SIX to choose 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 country; were they armed robbers? These are probably the greatest national heroes we must pay homage to whenever we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. This is the reason our National Pledge reminds us to some extent: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for all of us from the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in most things 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 least we can do is always to renew the promise as well as the pledge to the father and mother Ghana.
Apart from the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say concerning the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey of the nation since independence has not been all rosy in any way. 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 in the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, that was ushered in through the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has become 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 own 52 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 to NDC again. The good thing about this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone choose somebody to come)is progressive for that continuing development of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop that the theme for this particular 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 occur, not just at the national level but in the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the individuals of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections have ended, there is a need for the nation to set all political games behind it and concentrate 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 has to 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 particular welfare to the neglect of most of the individuals who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Members of Parliament as well as other public holders is a typical demonstration of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony one of the populace leading to agitation and unrest rather than unity and peace for national development. It is gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to utilize constitutional means to assess the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done you will have no peace and unity and you will see no national development.
Ghana is not really a bad country naturally. It really 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. But Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 many years of independence, in the event 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 actually is blessed with the best brains in Africa or even 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 nation. These are just several main reasons why Ghana may have done better than she did to date after 52 numerous years of nationhood when it comes to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that the firm foundation has been laid for the economic take-off the nation across board. Various sectors from the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports yet others seem to be in a better shape today than they were before independence. As an example, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme and also the School Feeding Programme and have created chance for some school-going children to be in school and stay given at least one meal a day free of charge. The newest government can improve upon precisely what is in position for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme comes 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 in place. The National Portal must be revamped to make it a genuine electronic gateway inside the true sense E-Government.
The prior 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 ensures that ICTs are taken even closer to rural people who are in majority in the united states. It is actually hoped the newest administration continue with this project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the discovery of oil in commercial quantity through the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune with this blessed nation, just to mention but a couple of.