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 made it happen 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 inside 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 turned out to help make him the African man from the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it really is linked with the complete liberation from the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the true story of the Independence of Ghana so that our youngsters, their kids, as well as their children’s children will know precisely 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, each of the 16 countries were clamped in 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 our forefathers on a silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers failed to eat to their fill, drink, booze and went along 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 in the end of the battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of a battle he was alluding to. Again, it ought to be borne in mind it had not been 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 any time we celebrate the independence anniversary of this blessed land called Ghana, other incredibly important national heroes should 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 had been gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 at the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? These people were only planning to present a petition for the Colonial Governor in the Gold Coast. These people were only fighting for their ex gratia awards once they was in war front for years.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for your legendary BIG SIX to go for the gold -the INDEPENDENCE. The BIG 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 across the country; were they armed robbers? These are probably 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 us through the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in all things to uphold and defend the best 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 we can do is 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 from the nation since independence is not all rosy at all. For the uncountable military coup d’états from the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance of the nation.
Fortunately, however, because the getting 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 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, the very 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 up to NDC again. The good thing about this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone opt for somebody to come)is progressive for your advancement of Ghana.
It really is against this backdrop that this theme for this year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is most appropriate. 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 individuals of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Given that the elections have ended, you have the requirement for the country to set 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 must be reduced towards the barest minimum if not eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are seen to be curious about their own welfare towards the neglect of the majority of the individuals who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Individuals Parliament and other public holders is actually a typical demonstration of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony one of the populace leading to agitation and unrest as opposed to 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 methods to review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this is not done there will be no peace and unity and you will have 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 throughout the year. And yet Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 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 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 among the best brains in Africa otherwise 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 just a couple of main reasons why Ghana may have done a lot better than she has done to date after 52 years of nationhood in terms of socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that the firm foundation continues to be laid for that economic take-from the nation across board. Various sectors from 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 instance, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Insurance Scheme as well as the School Feeding Programme and possess created chance of some school-going children to stay in school and become given a minumum of one meal a day free of charge. The new government can improve upon precisely what is in position for national development.
The National Medical Health Insurance Scheme has come to keep, 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 through the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana includes 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 referred to as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all of the 230 electoral constituencies throughout the country. It is a viable strategy that concretely helps to ensure that ICTs are taken closer to rural individuals who are in majority in the country. It really is hoped the newest administration continue using this 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 for this blessed nation, just to say but a couple of.