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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-2 yrs ago (6 March 1957 to be 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 on the old Polo ground within 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 created a seemingly harmless statement which turned out to create him the African man of the 20th Century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is actually linked with the total liberation in the African Continent.”
Yes, it is important to tell the actual story from the Independence of Ghana in order that our kids, their kids, along with 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, just about eight out of 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all the 16 countries were clamped inside 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 our own forefathers on the silver platter. In other words, our forefathers failed to eat for 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 created.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in 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 which 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 at any time we celebrate the independence anniversary of the blessed land called Ghana, other incredibly important national heroes must 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 have been 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. They were only fighting for ex gratia awards when they have been in war front for years.
It was their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for the legendary BIG SIX to choose 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 across the nation; were they armed robbers? These are some of the greatest national heroes we have to pay homage to if we celebrate the independence anniversary of Ghana. This is why our National Pledge reminds us partly: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for people with the blood and toil of our own fathers; I pledge myself in every items 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 would be to renew the promise and the pledge to the 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 of the 60s, 70s and early 80s had dealt some deadly blows to democratic governance from the nation.
Fortunately, however, since the getting into being in the fourth Republican Constitution of 1992, which was ushered in by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7, 1993, Ghana continues to be enjoying change of government through democratic elections instead of military coup d’états. This trend of affairs is commendable.
Just last year, 2008, the first time in her own 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 good thing about this culture of “moko aya ne moko aba”( let someone go for someone to come)is progressive for your continuing development 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 best suited. It really is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can occur, not merely 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 the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Given that the elections have ended, there is a need for the world to place all political games behind it and focus 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 towards the barest minimum otherwise eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are noticed to be curious about their particular welfare for the neglect of the majority of the individuals who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, People in Parliament and other public holders is actually a typical example 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 gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to make use of constitutional methods to review the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If it is not done you will see no peace and unity and there will be no national development.
Ghana will not be an inadequate country naturally. It is actually common place that Ghana is certainly a blessed land endowed with all sorts 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 years of independence, if the nation’s natural resources have been effectively and efficiently managed, should a Ghanaian child head to bed with no 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 actually is blessed with among the best brains in Africa if not 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 a persons resource base of the nation. These are just a few main reasons why Ghana might have done much better than she did up to now after 52 numerous years of nationhood with regards to socio-economic, political and cultural prosperity.
Now one can speculate that a solid foundation continues to be 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 yet others seem to be in a better shape today than they were before independence. For instance, the Capitation Grant, National Medical Insurance Scheme and also the School Feeding Programme and have created chance of some school-going children to be in school and stay given at least one meal a day free of charge. The new government can improve upon precisely what is in place for national development.
The National Medical Health Insurance Scheme comes to remain, 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 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 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 nearer to rural individuals who are in majority in the united states. It is hoped the brand new administration continue with this particular project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the invention of oil in commercial quantity through the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this blessed nation, just to bring up but a few.