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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Columnist: Bawa, Abdul Razak

Are We Independent After 55 Years ?

There Is Victory For Us ….In Spite Of The Setbacks

Tuesday, March 7, should be a day of deep national and individual reflection by all those who call themselves Ghanaians. Tomorrow we cross another milestone in our national life, 55 years of independence. I am not a fan of flag independence, especially the type we celebrate in Africa. I mean, it’s all great using the opportunity to spread goodwill and wish our nation and its citizen’s well, but how long are we going to sit there and look away from the rot perpetuated by the people in trust, hoping that the country will just be whole again, all by magic?

What are we celebrating? Are we celebrating the open butchery of the nation by the gruesomely predatory elite, cloth in politics and in the guise of civil servants, the corruption that have eaten into the fibre of the Judiciary, where justice has become the preserve of the highest bidder? Are we celebrating the Legislature which has become a rubber stamp and a tool to be manipulated by the Executive? Are we celebrating the daily carnage on our roads because the relevant institutions task to ensure safety on our roads has gone to sleep? Are we celebrating the fact that our institutions of higher learning, i.e. the universities, polytechnics or Training Colleges are now glorified secondary schools with no place in the list of real institutions of learning?

Are we celebrating the suborning of traditional rulers and traditional institutions as they fall over themselves to indiscriminately support whoever is in power at whatever level, just so they can eat and run big palaces against the spirit and letter of the 1992 Constitution? Or maybe we are celebrating the fact that the manufacturing sector is suffering the lowest capacity utilization because of erratic power supply.

Yes we are celebrating the importation of Chocolate, Jewelry, or furniture, when we are a Cocoa growing nation, a diamond and gold producing nation, as well as a timber production nation. What are we celebrating?

We are celebrating our inability to diversify our economy, with the vast natural resources we have all over the nation, we are celebrating our inability to provide electricity to run this nation; in a land where our recently discovered gas is being flared indiscriminately and the local content bill is yet to see the light of day, the sun scorching from dawn to dusk, the wind blowing, the rivers flowing. Are we celebrating our leaders’ mastery of giving hare-brained excuses for why we are still prostrate when we should be sprinting? You may want to know why all this is allowed to continue in Ghana, why all the citizens are not putting pressure on their elected representatives to deliver the much-touted dividends of democracy and independence.

Of course, there is a school of thought that says we are this bad at self-governance, because we did not fight for independence with blood and tears. The likes of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Joseph Boakye Dankwah, and other nationalists all just jaw-jawed with the white man who was anyway tired of his imperial pretentions after the Second World War and the loss of the crown jewel in India.

Independence was given to us on a platter of gold, they claim. Well true, followers of history know it wasn’t. From the moment the Whiteman stepped foot on our soil for slaves, through the time of the supposed legitimate trade, and colonialism, we Ghanaians had consistently paid with our blood and birthright. There can be no worse violence visited on a people than to be considered uncivilized, carted away as slaves, dictated to on the price of your natural produce and then get ruled over by force of the Maxim gun, all over 400 years. But, we shouldn’t be crying eternally over that or be pointing at these as the causes of our present sorrows. Yeah, they are remotely responsible, but our real problem today is that we have refused to take charge of ourselves in the true sense of independent people.

After all, we weren’t the only people to suffer slavery or colonialism. Some of the vibrant nations today with good governance and development like America, Brazil, and India and so on suffered same. So, why are we making a song and dance about it half a century after? Even Britain was once colonized by Romans. I am not a fan of Wikileaks for reasons I have explained so well in one of my articles, when their most recent revelation came out, but I will not discountenance its social and political relevance as it concerns revelations relating to Ghana. Anyone looking at the entirety of the leaks would not miss the fact that it is only in Ghana that you get the elite and political leaders falling over themselves to tell foreigners our national secrets and how bad some of our leaders are.

WHY AM I HOPEFUL FOR THE FUTURE

I refuse to be saddened by all the problems I have enumerated, because I know my country has the human, humane and intellectual resources to turn things around. I also know that unlike a lot of people who keep looking at the long winding and narrow road, despairing that it may not happen in our lifetime, my belief is that it can happen in a jiffy! Yeah history is dynamic and humans are equally dynamic and time is only what you make of it. So if we can only start thinking and acting like a blessed people, like a proud people, like a people God has specially empowered with population, brains, great naturally endowed land and weather and a great responsibility to their children and generation yet unborn, we will ditch our corrupt nature, ditch our political complacency and social inertia and seize the day.

I am hopeful because of people like Bernard Avle, the host of the Citi Breakfast Show, whose intelligence and in-depth understanding of issues marvel every listener, who tunes in to listen to him every morning, from Monday to Friday. Ekuaba Gyasi of Happy FM has also displayed maturity and a high sense of responsibility towards his listeners, serving them only what they need to know and has always left the decision for them to make.

If I have hope for the future, it is because every morning the Youth gets the opportunity to listen to both Bernard and Akuaba, I could not help but say Ghana is happy to have the two of you at this time in the life of this country and our tottering democracy. It is my prayer and hope that others who are also in a privilege position of sitting behind the microphone would learn from them. I am hopeful that politics has not blinded the likes of Dan Botwe, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere, Adu Asare, MP for Adenta, Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communication and MP for Tamale North. There have always risen above petty partisan politics, putting Ghana first both in their utterances and actions, and they are giving hope to the youth and the belief that politics is not and must not be acrimonious.

I have always admired Kwesi Ahwoi, the Minister of Agriculture; his only problem perhaps is that he is a victim by virtue of belonging.

John Dramani Mahama, the Vice-President also deserves special commendation, when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said we should create an African personality, his dream is being realised in the person of John Mahama.

If ever I have a dream, it is to live and see Mr. Mahama become the President of this country. He is a unifier and a man of principle.

God bless you and may God bless our country Ghana. Happy independence anniversary.