The Head of Department of International Relations School of Public Service and Governance of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Dr Lord Mawuko-Yevugah has expressed misgivings about the annual independence celebration in Ghana.
He told the Ghanaian Times in an interview : “Let us stop the spectacle of parading innocent children under the scortching sun every year in the name of independence celebration, this is so backward. Let us rather focus on bringing these children together to show them the latest technology.”
He was of the view that there was no remarkable gains to celebrate more than 60 years after independence considering what Dr Kwame Nkrumah advocated for and what he accomplished during his era.
He explained that the enormity of the postcolonial challenge for Ghana and emergent post-colonial Africa was eloquently articulated by Kwame Nkrumah as follow: “Once freedom is gained, a greater task comes into view. All dependent territories are backward in education, in agriculture and in industry. The economic independence demands every effort from the people, a total mobilisation of brain and manpower resources. What other countries have taken 300 years or more to achieve, a once dependent territory must try to accomplish in a generation if it is to survive.”
With this commitment, Dr Mawuko-Yevugah indicated that the Nkrumah government embarked upon expansive developmental projects aimed at addressing the poor developmental legacies of colonialism and also transforming the country to make it an enviable nation.
The senior lecturer was, however, quick to add that successive governments while not matching Nkrumah’s record have also somehow added their share of infrastructural developments and improvements in other sectors which many have described as underperformance and inability to live up to the dreams and promises of the independence struggle.
Touching on the theme for this year’s Independence Day celebrations, which is ‘Consolidating our gains; 63 years on’, he stated that one of the unfinished businesses on the decolonisation agenda was the country’s inability to emulate the gallantry and fortitude of our forefathers, particularly in decolonising our minds, attitudes and the way we treat each other in relation to foreigners.
The starting point, he explained, was the need to look for solutions to the country’s problems “right here at home, instead of the current practice of running to Western capitals in search of aid and donor assistance.”
“Over the years, we seem to have lost our way as a proud and independent nation, capable of rising up to any challenge but if we must achieve the promise of independence, fulfil the dreams of our forebearers and secure the future of our children, then we must begin to own key aspects of our nationhood by weaning ourselves off the over-reliance on foreign aid.”
He also expressed worry about past and present leaders of the country not heeding to the warning of Nkrumah about the dangers of certain forces and agents within the global system which are bent on derailing Africa’s liberation and emancipation project.
According to Dr Mawuko-Yevugah, a system where the future of the youth look bleak also helped to create and perpetuate the belief that nothing good can come from here, adding that the culture of prioritising everything foreign over Ghana’s indigenous ones sends a worrying signal.
He further explained that Ghana can only start talking about gains proudly, after political parties and their leaders show Ghanaians their medium to long term developmental plans so that the public can be assured of their commitment towards a truly transformative agenda for the country.
As a society, he mentioned that Ghana had not done well in urban rural dichotomy and there was still a narrow gap between the vulnerable and the rich, saying, “We have failed the promise of independence, we have not created a more humane society. We are doing worse now than before.”
Touching on the transport system of the country, Dr Mawuko-Yevugah stressed that no modern country depend on roads alone as means of transport.
He bemoaned that the John Mahama led administration spent GHC3.6million of the tax payers money to rebrand a few buses when that same money could be used to buy more buses to ease the transportation burden of the working class.
He stated that the only time Ghana could start consolidating it’s gain is when leaders begin to explore new ways of completely taking the nation’s destiny into its own hands, live within the country’s means and mobilise resources internally for developmeng and Governance processes.
This he said, was the only true meaning of independence and the ability to take such decision is what defines and marks out truly transformational and visionary leaders.
As we celebrate 63 years of Independence today, it is important we cast our minds back to the sacrifices our forefathers made for us, let us learn from Nkrumah’s sense of patriotism and selflessness.
Dr Nkrumah saw to the construction of the largest man-made harbour in Africa, which is the Tema harbour, which also serves the needs of other countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali and handles over six million tonnes of cargo annually. Ghana has immensely benefited from the Tema Harbour.
Other projects Osagyefo can be greatly credited with are the construction of the Adomi Bridge, Tema motorway, construction of the Akosombo dam which is Ghana’s first and largest energy generating plant. Other plants such as the Aboadze Thermal Plant and Bui Dam have been added but are nothing compared to the over 1000 megawatts of energy produced by the Akosombo Dam and the construction of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) aimed at nurturing and transforming talented young Africans into world-class experts in the science and technology world, among others.
Kwame Nkrumah is worth emulating, it is time our leaders focused on truly transforming Ghana before we reach 100 years post independence with nothing but what our forefathers did to show for it.
It is time for our leaders to focus on efficient and equitable distribution of resources to benefit everybody, irrespective of which part of the country they find themselves.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU