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-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 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 made a seemingly harmless statement which proved to make him the African man from the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the entire liberation of the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the real story in the Independence of Ghana in order that our youngsters, their children, as well as their children’s children will know just how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” During the time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, no more than eight away from 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 within the throat of a hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence had not been granted to the forefathers over a silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers did not eat to their fill, drink, booze and visited bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to get their independence. Not at all! As a matter of 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 the battle, we have to ask ourselves what kind of a battle he was alluding to. Again, it should 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 even the vanguard indeed! It really is therefore imperative that any time we celebrate the independence anniversary with this blessed land called Ghana, other essential national heroes has to be accorded the recognition they deserve.
As an example, homage should 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? They 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 had been in war front for a long time.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your 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. They were collected and dumped in jails across the nation; 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 in part: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for us 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 is always to renew the promise and also the pledge to our father and mother Ghana.
Besides the historical and political significance from 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 whatsoever. For your 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, since the getting into being of the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which had been ushered in from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has been enjoying change of government through democratic elections instead of military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, for 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 up to NDC again. The advantage of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for a person to come)is progressive for your advancement of Ghana.
It is actually 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 only in the national level but on 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.
Now that the elections are over, there is a requirement for the nation to set all political games behind it and concentrate 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 has to be reduced to the barest minimum if not eradicated entirely.
There cannot be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their 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, Individuals Parliament along with 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 actually gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to utilize constitutional means to evaluate the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this is not done you will see no peace and unity and you will have no national development.
Ghana is not really a poor country by nature. It is actually common place that Ghana is really 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 all year long. And yet Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 many years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources had 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 actually is blessed with among the best brains in Africa if not in the 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 several explanations why Ghana might have done a lot better than she has done up to now after 52 many years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that a solid foundation has been laid for the economic take-off the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports yet others are most often in a better shape today than they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme and also the School Feeding Programme and possess created chance of some school-going children to stay in school and stay given a minumum of one meal a day free from charge. The brand new government can improve upon what exactly is set up for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme has come 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 needs to be revamped making it an actual electronic gateway within the true sense E-Government.
The prior Government started establishing what is known as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all of the 230 electoral constituencies throughout the country. It is a viable strategy that concretely makes sure that ICTs are taken closer to rural those who are in majority in the nation. It is hoped the newest administration will 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 say but a couple of.