Lest we forget It is 6th March Independence day
Feature Article of Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Columnist: Tamakloe, Kojo
As Ghana celebrates another milestone , it is important we take a look at what independence and the allied term freedom mean
1. Independence means freedom from control: freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state
Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing. Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another
On the 6th March 1957 Ghana took the bold step of becoming an independent country. It is widely believed she is the first in South Saharan Africa. However the records indicate that the Republic of Liberia may have been earlier dating back to 1847 and Ethiopia even earlier than that
So we see the United States establishing diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864 following its independence from the American Colonization Society, an organization that resettled free African-Americans and freed slaves in Liberia. A 1980 coup ended the one-party rule that dated from independence in 1847. . On the other hand Ethiopia has always been independent. It was conquered by Italy in 1936 but the Italians were ejected a few years later by British Commonwealth troops .
So what was different about Ghana’s independence? One can say the vision that was espoused . Firstly was the total independence of the rest of Africa and then the total unity giving full meaning to “ freedom from control” . “ The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa”. So as we celebrate our “independence” we should be researching how we can give a true meaning to the vision of our Founder Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP .
“We look neither to the East nor the West but forward” . That was Non alignment using the best from the East and the West to make an African “ brew” which was called Nkrumaism” . The challenges were many , illiteracy, health care, energy needs, agriculture and food security, housing, education, skills and illiteracy, infrastructural needs, enterprise, capital and skilled labor productivity, but mostly traditional attitudes and stereotyped thinking which gave rise to the worst form of opposition . “ A slave is still a slave even though the shackles are off, if he /she remains mentally enslaved” .
Today Tema is an NPP stronghold .It elected 3 NPP members to parliament . In 1957 it was not a city nor a township. It came about with the different organized communities through the vision of a man and his party the CPP . Diverse people live there all a result of the work put in by the CPP. Through the so called “ communist” or Nkrumaist ideology so many jobs were created through the building of a harbor, TDC, TOR however badly managed, and many manufacturing units that were started by the State . Those houses were built by the GNCC , Ghana national Construction Company. The Tema Motoway the first of its kind in the country was also a partnership of Kaiser Engineering and GNCC. Not imported Indian nor Chinese nor German The people of Tema should be voting CPP and saying “ thank you CPP “ for giving us a chance to live our dreams . Thank you CPP because we have been upwardly mobile . Thank you CPP for having electricity from the Volta dam built by a “ dictator” in our homes and driving our businesses. Thank you CPP for the access to good drinking water and schools for ourselves and our children. What about those staying in Estate houses at Kanda, Nungua and labadi but still call the originator of these a thief and a dictator. If you went to KNUST or UCC have you asked whose dream was fulfilled? That is independence , the taking control of our lives and being responsible for it. Have you asked what if it were the UP now NPP if Tema would have existed or any of these would have come to pass ? The CPP neither looked East not West but forward . Some people were looking backwards at what their forbears had done .
Independence or freedom is that I can be free to choose to date or marry any one I love be he/she, White, yellow , green, black, same sex without being subjected to abuse . Nana Konadu was labeled a prostitute for marrying from outside her tribe and finally dumbed as a Krobo as her friend was a Krobo , as if Krobos are prostitutes. Not having to crucify Oye Arthur for defending gays because you do not see eye to eye with gays . That is independence
Independence is being able to vote for the party you want to without being labeled tribalist just because the Founder happens to come from your Region .That goes to who you vote for and who is the Head of state without him being disparaged. I get frustrated when we label people “ herdsmen” , because of where they come from and then even calling ourselves “ Christians” .St Peter the first Pope was a fisherman like me , aided by other fishermen James and John . Jesus, The Christ was a carpenters son who was even born in a manger with shepherds . God’s son was not a King or Royalty . Moses was the son of a slave. Joseph who became Prime Minister of Egypt was a shepherd boy who was sold into slavery .Then King David was a shepherd also. So why is some one calling my Head of State a “ herdsman “ because of the region he comes from? . Do we not need to respect his office and his person? . How would it be if I start calling the Asantehene or Okyenhene names?
Independence is that I am free to worship my god without being called names , be I a pagan, Moslem, Buddhist , Christian or whatever religion of my choice
Independence means I can eat the type of food I want without some one passing his ignorant judgment on me and my diet. You see eating “ yo ko garri” helps grow the economy as I am eating what is grown locally. Why should I have to wait for Mussolini or Cortez to grow food before I eat? So I embrace my abodo and fetri detsi . I can even grow them in my back yard and I am putting money in the pocket of my neighbor.Is it not a shame that we say central region is wallowing in poverty because we are not using Salt from saltpond , fish brought in from Elmina or sugar from Komenda , shoes from the shoe factory in Kumasi , and Jute bags from the Jute factory for Cocoa beans for export?
Independence means using the textiles from juapong , or Akosombo as I am growing the economy and taxes will go into our national coffers for projects
Independence is being able to compete at par with others. So in those days we produced first class athletes , the Aheys, Quarteys, Alloteys, Christie Boatengs and the Rose Harts. Boxers like Floyd Robertson , Love Allotey, Joe Tetteh who brought glory to a nation fighting for Commonwealth and world titles with the whole country behind them . Now we rejoice when we lose because the fighter does not speak our language . We were Africa champions in table tennis and produced tennis players who went to Wimbledon . We do not need to talk of our impact in football(soccer) . What then can be tribalistic when one is looking for an organization that can produce these results?
I have two friends , Laye and Akwasi. Both went through the hard way . I met Laye when he was in a training college because he could not pay for his secondary education . On the other side Akwasi was going through the same. Through distant learning they passed their A levels and went to Legon . Both read Geography and continued to teach . In those days as teachers they were paid even at the training college and at University so they used that to support themselves . Some of those were stopped by the PP . Laye votes NDC now and Akwasi votes NPP. I asked Akwasi whose upward mobility was the same as that of Laye. He said NDC is a Volta Party. I asked Laye why he votes NDC and he said , “ you know my story. Should I not keep avenues open for other disadvantaged children? “.That is how Ghana has produced the Mannaseh Azures,and Dr Kennedy (writer of chasing the elephant into the Bush) . Humble people getting the chance to do big things
So this independence day think back and say thank you to the founders who brought the chance to move up the social ladder from those that grew up in the State housing estates, the schools that came about, the new townships , the dams built, the higher institutions of learning, the health centers built, the roads that were built, the opportunities created . Thank you CPP for daring to make life better and putting us at par with the rest of the world . We may not be there , but we can still make it by supporting the government of the day instead of under mining it . To quote Shakespeare , “ there is a tide in the affairs of men , if taken leads to fortune” . We rode the tide once but went adrift. It took new heroes with boldness to bring us back to course . Let us not miss this wind . All the best and let us work for progtress
“Work and happiness, all must give their best. To beautiful Ghana”
The writer Kojo Tamakloe is an Nkrumaist who believes the solution to Africa’s under development lies in Unity