There is this beautiful Ghanaian proverb which can literarily be interpreted to this effect: “A newly hatched chick that survives will not lack the chance to grow feathers.” It means “when there is life, there exists hope.”
Fifty-two 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 in the old Polo ground in the city of Accra and proclaimed:
“At long last, the battle has ended; and Ghana our beloved country is free for ever.”
The visionary Nkrumah then made a seemingly harmless statement which been found to help make him the African man in the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it really is linked with the total liberation of the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the true story from the Independence of Ghana in order that our children, their children, and 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, no more than eight from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, each of the 16 countries were clamped in the jaws of Colonialism. Regarding South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of any hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence had not been granted to the forefathers over a silver platter. In other words, 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! In fact, the independence struggle failed to start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was developed.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked of the end of a battle, we must ask ourselves what kind of the battle he was alluding to. Again, it should be borne in mind which it had not been only Dr Nkrumah who single-handedly fought for Ghana’s independence. But he was the locomotive or perhaps the vanguard indeed! It is therefore imperative that 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 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? They 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 after they was in war front for many years.
It had been 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 should pay homage to whenever we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. This is why 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 own fathers; I pledge myself in most items 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 would be to renew the promise and the pledge to the father and mother Ghana.
Aside from the historical and political significance of the independence, what can one say about the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey of the nation since independence has not been all rosy whatsoever. For the 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 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, for the first time in her 52 numerous years of nationhood, Ghana scored high democratic marks among nations in Africa if 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 somebody to come)is progressive for the growth of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop the theme for this 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 on the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the individuals of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for your just-ended peaceful general elections.
Given that the elections have ended, you have the requirement for the world to set all political games behind it and concentrate on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership from the nation itself has to be seen to be interested in peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption should be reduced for the barest minimum or even eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their own welfare for the neglect of a lot of the those 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 example of how political leadership can create disunity and disharmony among the populace leading to agitation and unrest instead of unity and peace for national development. It is actually gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to make use of constitutional way to evaluate 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 will not be a poor country by nature. It is 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 all year round. And yet 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 with no 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 is blessed with among 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 a persons resource base of the nation. These are just several explanations why Ghana might have done a lot better than she has done so far after 52 numerous years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate which a firm foundation has become laid for that 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. As an example, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme and also have created chance for some school-going children to be in school and be given one or more meal a day free of charge. The brand new government can improve upon what exactly is set up for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme comes to keep, 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 through the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana includes a comprehensive ICT Policy already set up. The National Portal must be revamped to really make it an actual electronic gateway in the true sense E-Government.
The prior Government started establishing what is known as Community Information Centres (CICs) in all the 230 electoral constituencies through the entire country. This can be a viable strategy that concretely helps to ensure that ICTs are taken closer to rural individuals who are in majority in the united states. It is hoped the brand new administration will continue using this 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 for this blessed nation, just to bring up but several.