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Opinions of Thursday, 8 March 2007

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

A celebration of passage of fifty calender years

This year is significant for all Ghanaians. It marks the 50 years since Ghana broke loose from the British colonialism. It is our golden jubilee. As a theologian the word jubilee means a lot than ordinary fiesta and festivity. In deed this is a year we have been waiting for. I believe it is every politician dream to be the one in office to enjoy the adulation and congratulation when this time comes round. President John Agyekum Kufour would receive more dignitaries and goodwill messages in this year than all other years sum together.

Our nation was the first sub Saharan nation to get its independence. It became a great beacon of hope other many African nations struggling with the principality of foreign occupation. Liberia and Ethiopia independents were quite of exceptions in black Africa

At the time Ghana became nation, we had a population of six million, living in an economy with a healthy balance of payments surplus of some £400 million, a GDP of some $2.5 billion, and a considerable average per capita income. At the time of independence Ghana’s economic strength was parallel to countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore etc. Ghana’s influence was felt almost everywhere in Africa and even beyond as Dr Nkrumah committed substantial amount of Ghanaian cedis to help other countries fighting for their self-rule.

It has been almost fifty years since the British Union Jack flag was lowered and their anthem God Save Our Gracious Queen gave way for the Ghanaian flag and God Bless Our Homeland Ghana as the Ghanaian anthem.

When Nkrumah said freedom what did mean by that? Was he referring to a system whereby we were sacking the colonial masters away from Ghana but we would later go to beg and depend on them for almost all of our sustenance? I do not believe that. Nkrumah meant a free nation which was entirely independent from every neo-colonialist or imperialistic control. Today if God were raise Dr Nkrumah from death and give him only 24 hours for him to take a possibility of a general and panoramic view of Ghana’s history between 24th February, 1966 to 31st December, 2006, I think he would weep. Perhaps, most of our heads of states would not escape the full wrath of Nkrumah’s anger.

Today was as we make noise about our independence celebration we may need to pause and ask ourselves whether are really independent or dependent or the hybrid.

Shortly after the exit of Nkrumah from power, we started our dependence on the same person whom we have earlier on escorted from our nation. Today Ghana depends on the Western world for almost everything. Our roads are funded by them. They tell us the economic policies best for us. We have taken a bitter pill of Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) or the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiatives (HIPIC). They even build our public place of convenience for us. They even give us money to run our national budget. They have even given us money to build our new presidential palace.

Over ridding passion for foreign aid and imported materials is unimaginable in sense that we have even collapsed our local industries. Today most Ghanaian factories have collapsed under the hot volcanic lava of cheap imported goods from China and United Arab Emirates. The vision that Dr Nkrumah had that we produce whatever we want here has been electrocuted by various post Nkrumah regimes be it optimistic military dictators or pessimistic civilian government. In do not know whether we can call this dependence or independence.

Freedom calls for more responsibility than slavery and colonialism. When one is free he is set to think and decide for himself.

When America had its independence from the United Kingdom some centuries ago they embarked on an industrial revolution. They did not feast but rather fast. A generation sacrificed for a generation to enjoy. The story of China equally fits in the same picture. They resisted every imperialist manipulation because they saw themselves as a free nation that does not have to be told to be dictated to.

The question still remains: Is this year’s golden jubilee or a mere passage of fifty calendar years or fifty years of real independence? I do not pretend to have answer to this question. Let me leave it here perhaps you can best answer the question yourself.

Two thousand years ago a Galilean peasant who walked on the dusty soils of Jerusalem talked about a parable of the prodigal son who one day woke up and demanded his portion of his father’s estate. After he had been given his portion he went on to a far country and haemorrhaged everything given unto him. And as the Hebrew New Testament recorded this story of the young man, he later came to his senses and journeyed back home to see his father requesting that his father even takes him as one of his labourers. The lesson here is that father gave the child a second chance. Life is a cycle. When we fail we have the opportunity to rise up and start over again. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher once said that it does not matter the number of times fall but the number of times we rise up when fall.

As nation we failed to sacrifice so that we posterity would enjoy. We hate to take hard decision for the fear that we will loose election. We want everything free of charge. If we are to continue to call ourselves as an independent nation then we better take bitter pills and bit the bullet. If we fail to do this in another 50 years time (year 2057) will come and we will celebrate century but we will have nothing to celebrate but just another passage of time. This is not to say we have not done well as a nation. Comparatively, we have achieved a lot when compared with other African countries. At least we have peace which no amount of money can guarantee. Our democracy is emerging and it has become a yardstick for other nations to use to measure theirs. Freedom of the media and its pluralism is one of the best in any developing world. Again and again, the capitation grant and school feeding programme is something that we can proud ourselves with. The National Health Insurance Scheme has replaced the cash and carry system, which was a directive from the IMF.

The question still remains: are we truly independent in year 2007 or dependent as we were in 1957.

Appiah Kusi Adomako is an international freelance writer and the president of the Ghana Chapter of Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation.
He can be contacted through: Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, P.O. BOX. KS 13640. Kumasi. Tel: 024-212-5355 www.leaders-of-tomorrow-inc.com
E-mail: appiahkusiy2k@yahoo.com