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 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 inside the city 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 been found to make him the African man of the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the complete liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the actual story in the Independence of Ghana to ensure that our children, their kids, as well as their children’s children will know precisely how Ghana became a nation of “Freedom and Justice.” At the time Dr Nkrumah made that legendary declaration, only about eight away from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all the 16 countries were clamped in the jaws of Colonialism. As for South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of the hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence had not been granted to our forefathers on the silver platter. In other words, our forefathers did not eat for their fill, drink, booze and visited 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 in 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 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 is therefore imperative that at any time we celebrate the independence anniversary with this blessed land called Ghana, other incredibly important national heroes has to be accorded the recognition they deserve.
For instance, 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 planning to present a petition towards the Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast. They were only fighting for his or her ex gratia awards once they was in war front for years.
It absolutely was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your legendary BIG SIX to go for 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 country; were they armed robbers? These are some of the greatest national heroes we must 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 us through the blood and toil of our fathers; I pledge myself in most items 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 least that we can do would be 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 concerning the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey from the nation since independence is not all rosy at all. For the uncountable military coup d’états in the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance of 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 has become 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 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 beauty of this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for someone to come)is progressive for that growth of Ghana.
It really is against this backdrop that this theme for this particular year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is most appropriate. It is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can take place, not just in the national level but in the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the people of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for your just-ended peaceful general elections.
Given that the elections have ended, there is a requirement for the nation to put all political games behind it while focusing on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership of the nation itself must be seen to be curious about peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption should be reduced towards the barest minimum or even eradicated entirely.
There can not 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, People in Parliament as well as other public holders is a typical demonstration 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 gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to use constitutional means to review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done there will be no peace and unity and there will be no national development.
Ghana will not be an inadequate country by nature. It really is common place that Ghana is such a blessed land endowed with all kinds 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 numerous years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources had been effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child visit bed without a meal? After 52 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 some of the best brains in Africa or even in the entire world. One can cite the immediate past UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan yet others in international bodies to symbolise the human resource base of the country. They are just a couple of explanations why Ghana may have done much better than she has been doing up to now after 52 many years of nationhood when it comes to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that a solid foundation has become laid for that economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors of 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 Health Insurance Scheme as well as the School Feeding Programme and also have created opportunity for some school-going children to remain school and stay given a minumum of one meal a day free from charge. The brand new government can improve upon what is in position for national development.
The National Medical 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 with the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana features a comprehensive ICT Policy already in position. The National Portal needs to be revamped to make it a real electronic gateway in the true sense E-Government.
The prior Government started establishing what is known as Community Information Centres (CICs) in the 230 electoral constituencies through the country. It is a viable strategy that concretely makes sure that ICTs are taken nearer to rural those who are in majority in the united states. It really is hoped the new administration continues with this particular project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the invention of oil in commercial quantity during the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this blessed nation, just to mention but a couple of.