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-a couple of years 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 inside the town 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 turned out to help make him the African man in the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked with the entire liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the real story in the Independence of Ghana to ensure that our children, their children, along with 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 from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all the 16 countries were clamped within the jaws of Colonialism. In terms of South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of a hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our forefathers over a silver platter. Put simply, our forefathers did not eat with their fill, drink, booze and went to bed and started snoring then someone went and called them to have 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 of the end of a battle, we have to ask ourselves what kind of the battle he was alluding to. Again, it ought to be borne in mind that it had not been only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or the vanguard indeed! It is actually therefore imperative that any moment we celebrate the independence anniversary of the blessed land called Ghana, other equally important national heroes has to be accorded the recognition they deserve.
For 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 at the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They were only likely to present a petition towards the Colonial Governor from the Gold Coast. These 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 that 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 some of the greatest national heroes we have to 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 from the blood and toil of our fathers; I pledge myself in most 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 very least that people can do is always to renew the promise and also the pledge to our father and mother Ghana.
Besides the historical and political significance of 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 of the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance in the nation.
Fortunately, however, considering that the getting into being from the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which had been ushered in through the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana has been enjoying change of government through democratic elections as opposed to military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, for the first time in her own 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 opt for a person to come)is progressive for your growth of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop the theme for this year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is best suited. It is actually common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can occur, not only in the national level but at 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.
Given that the elections have ended, there is the requirement for the world to place all political games behind it and concentrate on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership in the nation itself has to be seen to be interested in 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 interested in their particular welfare to the neglect of a lot of the people 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 really a typical example 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 utilize constitutional way to review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this is not done you will have no peace and unity and there will be no national development.
Ghana is not an inadequate 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. And yet Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 many years of independence, in the event the nation’s natural resources have been effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child head to bed without having a meal? After 52 numerous 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 the best brains in Africa or even in the entire 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 generally just a few reasons why Ghana might have done better than she has been doing up to now after 52 numerous years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a solid foundation has become laid for that economic take-off of the nation across board. Various sectors in the economy including Agriculture, Education, Health, Transportation, Communications, Investment, Tourism, Foreign Policies, Sports and others appear to be in a better shape today than they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and also have created chance of some school-going children to stay in school and stay given one or more meal a day free from charge. The brand new government can improve upon what is set up for national development.
The National Medical Insurance Scheme comes to stay, 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 has a comprehensive ICT Policy already in position. The National Portal needs to be revamped making it a real electronic gateway inside the true sense E-Government.
The previous Government started establishing what is referred to as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all of the 230 electoral constituencies through the entire country. It is a viable strategy that concretely helps to ensure that ICTs are taken even closer to rural people who are in majority in the country. It is actually hoped the new administration continues with this particular project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the invention of oil in commercial quantity throughout the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune with this blessed nation, just to mention but a few.