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Ghana’s 50 years of Independencepdf print preview print preview
07/03/2007Page 1 of 1
 
CULTURAL NEWS
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
  
Ghana’s 50 years of Independence
– is it meanings or meaningful?  
 
 
By:  JOS ANYIMA-ACKAH
On Vexed Issues
 

BORN on Wednesday, March 6, 1957, as a new sovereign state, Ghana which was then called Gold Coast is 50 YEARS old now HURRY!

And at this age, like a human being, the country has passed the prime time of life which is said to begin at 40 years.

Yes, reaching the 50th milestone after independence is a long way up the road ahead. And this stage is a remarkable achievement that calls for celebration in an appreciable way. Thus currently, the nation is marking the occasion with various exciting and memorable events planned to cover the whole year.

CENTENARY

When the Golden Jubilee is over, the next great occasion we took forward to, is the 100th or centenary anniversary. Surely, by that time the senior citizens in the country who saw the birth of Ghana would have been out of the scene, leaving those who were very young or born during the period of independence.

Let us all pray to live up to see that glorious anniversary in 2057. This year seems to be far away yet it is just around the corner. Within a twinkle of an eye, we will come face to face with it. So we better start planning for it now.

Indeed, the long-term planning is necessary, considering the difficulties that have characterized the Golden Jubilee celebrations. Obviously the one year period set for the planning is not enough as many of the projects are behind time, they are being hurriedly executed and we all know the results. Shoddy work that will not last! and of course financial loss to the state.

Already, concerns, suspicious and fears have been raised over the receipts and expenditures of the sums of money provided for the Golden Jubilee as shown by the acrimony generated at the meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee of Finance that was briefed on the anniversary transaction. If care is not taken, this issue may flare up to cause public disillusionment and disenchantment with the event to the extent of creating embarrassment for the Government.

It all boils down to the cardinal principal of probity and accountability and it is hoped that sanity will prevail in this matter at the end of the day.

As it has been acknowledged, the Golden Jubilee is a Festive occasion to bring more blessings of peace, reconciliation and unity to the Ghanaian people as we have enjoyed over the years, making Ghana proud as a stable country in the West African sub-region and the African continent.

Having made the above observations, I would like to move the subject-matter of this week’s write-up which is about the significance and credibility of Ghana’s Independence. In this regard, it is relevant to ask: is it meaningless, meaningful or fruitful? This question stems from the perception of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the architect of our National Independence.

In his famous midnight declaration on the eve of independence, he emphasized: “the independence of Ghana is Meaningless unless it is linked up with the Total Liberation of the African Continent”.

And indeed on the attainment of independence, Ghana blazed the trail for the liberation of Africa from colonial rule. From seven independence African countries in 1957 the number kept increasing year after year till 1994 when liberated, bringing all the 48 countries to independence.

With the total liberation of Africa achieved, it means that Ghana’s independence has not been meaningless. Additionally, Ghana played a leadership role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and has been supporting its administration and business activities.

Today, Ghana sits in the chairmanship position of the OAU now called the African Union which is an imitation of the European Union (EU). It smacks of our colonial mentally, copying everything European. I object to the change of name and wish the original name had been maintained or an entirely new one is used.

In any case, while Ghana’s independence can be seen as not meaningless in the context of African liberation and unity, it seems to be less meaningful in the perspective of socio-economic development in Ghana.

In practical terms, the independence of a country means self rule by a country’s own government and indeed self-reliance in doing things as much as possible. And this is where Ghana has lagged behind even after countries in South-East Asia which won independence at later dates such as Malaysia, Sough Korea and Singapore which are dubbed Asian economic tigers for their impressive economic achievements.

Ghana’s stagnation in economic development resulted from the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in the 1966 coup leading to successive military take-over up to the return of democratic governance in 1992 that means more than half of the 50-years period of Ghana’s independence had been wasted.

As a result, Ghana continues to be heavily dependent on importation of goods as well as foreign loans, grants, investments and engineering firms to execute development projects. We love to call the donor countries, organizations and agencies “development partners” instead of “foreign collaborators” which portrays their identity and vested interest.

Prof. Kwabana Frimpong-Boateng bemoans the dependency syndrome in vivid expression: “Building roads, construction of schools, hospitals and digging boreholes with borrowed money or grants does not constitute development” as it is not based on self-reliance.

According to him, “development is a process of developing the capacity to do things for ourselves and to be less and less dependent on foreign capital and technology”. And one can add foreign expertise and manpower or labour force.

More or less, it is this strong conviction in him which is propelling the medical specialist in cardiothoracic surgery to go into politics, campaigning as a presidential aspirant of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) with the view of winning political power and using it to reserve the dependency trend. No doubt, the contest will not be easy for him, but he can try.

SACRIFICE

From all indications, Ghana has not benefited enough from its struggle to attain independence at considerable pain and sacrifice. It has taken too long to achieve meaningful socio-economic growth and development which the Asiam economic tigers have done within a comparatively short period of time.

As we celebrate Ghana’s 50-years of Independence, let us focus our attention on accelerated economic progress and intensify our efforts to make it happen in the next decade or so.

CHEERS and BEST WISHES on our Nation’s 50th Birthday!

 

The columnist is a practitioner
in advertising and publicity and a
member of the Institute of
Financial and Economic Journalists.

 
 
 
*Source:

THE GHANAIAN TIMES      -     Wednesday, March 7, 2007           Pages: 8

 
 
 
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