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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 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 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 inside 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 create him the African man from the twentieth century. He declared, “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it really is linked up with the entire liberation from the African Continent.”
Yes, it is essential to tell the real story of the Independence of Ghana in order that our kids, their kids, 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, just about eight from 53 countries in Africa knew what independence was. In West Africa, all the 16 countries were clamped inside the jaws of Colonialism. As for South Africa, she was deep inside the throat of a hateful and horrible creature called “Apartheid.”
Ghana’s independence was not granted to our own forefathers over a silver platter. Quite simply, our forefathers did not 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 failed to start on the 6th March 1957 when that celebrated proclamation was created.
If Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah talked in the end of a battle, we should ask ourselves what kind of a battle he was alluding to. Again, it should 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 the vanguard indeed! It is actually therefore imperative that any moment we celebrate the independence anniversary of this 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 were gunned down like common criminals on 28 February, 1948 on the Christiansburg, Accra. What crime did they commit? These were only going to present a petition to the Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast. They were only fighting for his or her ex gratia awards after they had been in war front for a long time.
It had been their blood that galvanised the momentum and served as catalyst for that 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 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 partly: “…I promise to hold in high esteem, our heritage won for all of us through the blood and toil in our fathers; I pledge myself in every points to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana.”
Today, since we celebrate the 52nd Anniversary of Ghana on the theme: “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development,” minimal we 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 about the economic achievements of Ghana since independence? Even the political journey of the nation since independence is not all rosy whatsoever. For your uncountable military coup d’états of 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 been 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 many 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 somebody to come)is progressive for your continuing development of Ghana.
It is actually against this backdrop that the theme for this particular year’s anniversary celebration “Unity and Peace: Pillars for National Development” is best suited. It is common knowledge that without peace and unity, no meaningful development can happen, not merely in the national level but on the District and Regional levels as well. This explains why the folks of Ghana must pat themselves on the back for the just-ended peaceful general elections.
Since the elections have ended, there is the necessity for the world to place all political games behind it while focusing on national development agenda in unity. First, the leadership in the nation itself should be seen to be curious about peace and unity for national development. Selfishness, partisanship, greed and corruption has to be reduced for the barest minimum if not eradicated entirely.
There should not be peace and unity if political leaders are seen to be curious about their particular welfare to the neglect of a lot of the those who elected them into office. The current hullaballoo about proposed ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents, Members of Parliament along with other public holders is really a typical demonstration 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 really is gratifying to note that H.E. President J.E.A.Mills is making efforts to make use of constitutional means to assess the whole saga of ex-gratia awards. If this sounds like not done you will see 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 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. Nevertheless Ghana is endemic with poverty. After 52 years of independence, when the nation’s natural resources had 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 if not in the 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. They are just a few reasons why Ghana may have done better than she did up to now after 52 numerous 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 the 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 example, the Capitation Grant, National Health 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 from charge. The brand new government can improve upon what exactly is in place for national development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme has come 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 from the Government of Ghana Portal. Ghana features a comprehensive ICT Policy already in place. The National Portal must be revamped to make it a genuine electronic gateway within the true sense E-Government.
The prior Government started establishing what is referred to as Community Information Centres (CICs) in the 230 electoral constituencies through the entire country. This 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 newest administration will continue with this particular project and kcifhh it better for national development. Again, the discovery of oil in commercial quantity through the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana was very opportune for this particular blessed nation, just to bring up but a couple of.