Let us work towards holistic independence
For sixty-six years running, the people of Ghana led by successive governments have celebrated the nation’s independence gained from the British on the 6th of March 1957.
Formal colonialism first came to the region we today call Ghana in 1874, and British rule spread through the region into the early twentieth century. The British called the territory the “Gold Coast Colony” but the name changed to Ghana after gaining independence.
Few years into the much awaited and cherished freedom there was signs of national growth and prosperity. Within a period of nine years Ghana experienced massive economic and social development which saw prominent schools, and factories across the length and breadth of the country, all to ensure steady and holistic development of Ghana.
Notable among them were Akosombo textiles limited, Wenchi Tomato Factory, Bolgatanga Rice Mills,, Zuarungu Meat Processing Factory, Pwalugu Tomato Canning Factory, Glass Factory at Aboso, Kumasi Shoe Factory and Tarkwa Bonsa Factory. The rest were Kade Match Factory, Saltpond Ceramics, Takoradi Flour Mill, Bamboo Factory, Tema Food Complex, Nsawam Cannery.
Sadly, none of these exists today to perform a role in the socio-economic development of the country though they were strategically positioned to first and foremost to add value to the raw material within the localities and also to provide jobs for the local people, primarily.
For instance, the Bolgatanga rice mills, which was one time the “Rice City”, now cannot boast of a single supermarket where one can confidently go and buy local rice.
The Zuarungu Meat Product Company Limited in Dulugu, with its raw materials coming from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mali and other countries, started large production in 1965 with over one thousand canned beef produced each day, but was closed down in 1995 due to mismanagement.
Tarkwa Bonsa Factory was also established by Dr Kwame Nkrumah at Bonsa in Tarkwa. That factory was closed to the massive rubber plantations wherein the needful raw materials can be available without problems of delay in the manufacturing of vehicle tyres
After the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah, Ghana saw three other republics and a number of military dictatorships. The First Republic spanning from 1960 to 1966 was truncated by the military from 1966 to 1969. Then came the Second Republic with Dr. K. A. Busia as the Prime Minister from 1969 to 1972. That was also short lived with another military intervention spanning from 1972–1979. The Third Republic emerged in 1979 with President Hilla Liman and ended again with a military rule and ended in 1981. The then Flight Lieutenant J.J. Rawlings, who had led the military to topple a military government 1979 emerged again 1981 to overthrow a democratically elected government that he had handed over to.
So he rule the country from then and handed over to himself as an elected President in 1993 thus ushering in the fourth republic which has been the longest republic enjoyed by the people of Ghana for the past 30 years.
“After independence, Ghana’s development faced the specter of neocolonialism, as erstwhile colonial overlords and other “developed” countries sought to control Ghana’s natural resources along the same exploitative lines developed during British colonial rule.”
Ironically, Ghana has not found its feet again on the steady path of economic growth. Heavily relying on donors for budget financing and running to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for economic support and assistance every now and then. To date, every government under the fourth republic has sought for support from the IMF and donors, bringing to the fore the multibillion-dollar question “is Ghana truly independent.”
For a nation to be truly independent, it needs to be independent in revenue generation, controlling social aspects, promoting quality education, enhancing the judicial system, pushing for environmental achievements, and technological advancements.
The German-born theoretical physicist, who was widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time, Albert Einstein once noted that “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” This is to say that it is inconceivable that we could find the answers we need on the same level of consciousness in which we see something as a problem.
For us as a people, this is obviously the diametrically opposite. Our system of growth and development under this context, could be defined as an irreversible constant increase in size, and development, thus expanding horizon and territories, gaining news ground and achievements, as well as enhancing capacity.
Mass unemployment, corruption, state-society gap, inconsistent economic policies, poor human capital development, poor health system, and crime and terrorism have rather continue to be our bane as a nation but there is no new approach to deal with these unpleasant national situations.
Ghana has so much been blessed but unfortunately, we have very little. We have gold, oil and cocoa, yet we are still foundering as a nation. This is because there has not been any new idea or strategy to explore how best these could benefit the people. If there has been, they have not been sustainable and effective. We have from time immemorial been sending our commodities in their raw states to the same colonial mas,-ters to refine and add value to them and resell to us. What a shame.
At sixty-six, we have our population multiplied without commensuration of home, school, and jobs, the most essential.
In the words of Albert Einstein, we as a people need to be more knowledgeable than ever. This is because we cannot do more than we know. Change can only happen when we lift ourselves from where we are into a more dignified, a more prosperous, and a more acceptable situation.
We need to stop admiring our problems and acknowledge them as enemies that have to be ruthlessly dealt with and pave the need way for a more vibrant progress, growth and development for our people.
President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo observed at the parade of security agencies to mark the day that “Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the day we achieved the enviable status of becoming the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to be free of colonial rule, and, with this, came the weighty obligation to serve permanently as a barometer of the continent’s progress.”
We cannot but agree with him that there is obviously a very weighty obligation for us to help make a drastic and noticeable change. We cannot play the ostrich as if nothing is happening. If nothing or a very little is done towards our developmental attitude our nation’s independence mates” such as Malaysia among others may not only leave us behind but may colonise Ghana again at some point.
Their active involvement in our economic activities and their quest for growth and development as well as our over reliance on them are evidence to this.
For our situation and aspiration, we couldn’t have chosen a more relevant and significant theme for this year’s celebration than “Our Unity, Our Strength, Our Purpose”,
According to the President, this should imbue in us the constant desire to seek for the progress, prosperity and development of Ghana, no matter the circumstances confronting us.
This is because sixty-six years down the line, we have worked hard to live up to this responsibility, even though we acknowledge that we have not fully realised our potential and the dreams and aspirations of our forebears, who fought for the independent Ghana we have today.”
BY NANA SIFA TWUM (PHD)