Ghana at 58: Anything to celebrate?

General News of Thursday, 5 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Independence Arc1

Tomorrow, March 6, 2015, marks the 58th anniversary of our country. As Ghana gears up to celebrate this historic day of nation building, many other nations are in turmoil and on the verge of breaking up as we plod along in unity.

But since Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to break the yokes of colonial rule in Africa on March 6, 1957, can we truthfully say all is well with the nation Ghana and that Ghanaians, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, as well as friends of Africans must celebrate Ghana’s day of nationhood and the pace-setting role it played in liberating Africa from the shackles of colonial rule.

Undoubtedly, Ghana has made some modest gains. It is a lower middle- income economy, but it is regrettable that these gains if not managed well, will be eroded. We seem to view national issues with political lenses, hence enable to provide objective contributions far development, which has resulted in blame game. After 58 years of independence, we still have difficulty with our financial discipline as the country has signed a bail-out agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Some political analyst haw described Ghana as a country that is enmeshed in deficit, which is causing a lot of socio-economic hardships to the citizens with the possibility of the economy being bleak, as small and medium erne-prises are collapsing.

According to the National Chairperson of the Convention People’s Party, Ms Samia Yaba Nkrumah, on the birth of modem Ghana, the country’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, her father declared, “From now on we are no longer a colonised people.”

She explained that it was to prove that as a nation, “we are not working for our colonial masters, but we are working for ourselves.” This was also to inculcate in the Ghanaian a spirit of nationalism and self-determination.

Nkrumah, she pointed out, also believed that in working for ourselves, we should be independent and demonstrate to the whole world that “the Blackman is capable”.

Additionally, we were to work towards a continental union as Nkrumah declared during independence that “Ghana’s independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.

This, Ms Samia Nkrumah explained, was aimed at consolidating the gains of independence — economic and political freedom.

She said these were the underpinnings of our missions, aims and objectives of the birth of Ghana and asked where our success had been if after 58 years we were still pleading for aid and had the concept of donor dependence.

In her view, Ghana is not at the commanding height of its economy as it is struggling to be in control of her resources.

Based on these, she added, it was for every Ghanaian to determine the answer of how far we, as a nation, had come and the government must also evaluate its success based on the achievement of those objectives.

But the National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress, Mr Kofi Adams, opines that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the future is bright for Ghana.

He said the country would wish to haw done better at SR. but we must applaud ourselves for the strides we had made so far compared with those of other nations.

The most critical concern, in the view of Mr Adams, “is for us to stay united in diversity,” recalling that “our forbearers fought for a united Ghana.”

In the struggle for independence, Mr Adams pointed out that “we all stood shoulder high and there is no better time to do same than now”.

He said at 5, Ghanaians must never allow ethnic or tribal differences to divide them.

“As a ruling party, the NDC accepts there are challenges, but we will overcome them. The most important thing to do is to support the President achieve his programmes. Some of these ultimately programmes will come with pain but ultimately ‘the patient’ will get far better and there will be a lot to celebrate,” he stated.

He wished all Ghanaians a happy 58th anniversary.

Congratulating Ghanaians, the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr Paul Afoko, said 58 years in the life of a country was no mean achievement, but pointed out that things did not look well for us at birth.

Economically, he said, our efforts were in the doldrums and regrettably, we were moving towards bigger division and polarisation.

He said it was time to unite as a people in diversity with a common destiny pursuing a common dream and vision.

“It is time to talk about the Ghanaian dream and vision;” he pointed out, and asked, “What is our dream as a nation at 58? We have no time to waste,” he said.

He said at age 58, Ghanaians should bear in mind that the competition was out there in the global arena.

“My thinking is that whether it is ‘dumsor’ we face, collapsing health services or deteriorating living conditions, these are symptoms of a deeper malaise that have to do with the lack of good governance and management, as well as the presence of corruption.”

The fixing of these problems, he advised, must be hinged on addressing the bad management, governance issues and corruption.

He said it was an intolerable situation that at age 58 “we let the IMF come in to supervise the management of our economy, something the Kufuor administration managed to wean the country off”, saying, “We have brought this to ourselves through bad management of the economy.”

The National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) also pointed out that if Ghana were a human being, he or she would be nearing retirement at 60 years.

“The question we need to answer is ‘what have we, as a nation, achieved at 58 years?’,” he said and added that as we looked at what was happening at 58, “the state of Ghana is not in any good shape”.

We still have not solved our energy problems. Proportionately, we are educating less of our citizenry today as compared to the percentage in the 1956, 1957 and 1958. We have housing deficit where we have able-bodied Ghanaians living in kiosks. We also have many men and women looking for jobs, whilst on health issues, we are still urinating and defecating on corners of streets and in free range areas. This is not good for creating a healthy environment.

“It is about time we addressed the housing deficit for the people to live a decent life,” he stated.

Looking into the future, he said the nation Ghana should focus attention on having clean running water for every Ghanaian. “Indeed, we must be thankful to God that the dreadful Ebola disease has not rear its ugly head in Ghana.”

In his view, Ghana is where we are because of incompetent and corrupt leadership. “We, as electorates, must endeavour to elect incorruptible leasers to govern affairs of the country.

“That is why the PPP is still insisting on institutional changes in our governance structure.

“we reiterate our call for separation of the Attorney-General’s office from that of the Ministry of Justice to have an independent prosecutor that would behold to deal with issues of corruption,” Nii Brew Hammond said.

According to the PPP chairman, the current nebulous arrangement of picking majority of ministers of state from Parliament also undermined the ability of Parliament also undermined the ability of Parliament to be an effective check on the Executive.

He said the citizens’ inability to elect their own chief executive at the district, municipal and metropolitan levels also served to drag local development under the weight of a central government burdened by corruption.

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