Should 6th March, 1957 be celebrated as Ghana’s Independence Day?
Ghana IS sadly and painfully negotiating to go back to the IMF for the seventeenth time since 1966. To me it marks the triumph of neo-colonialism. So why should Ghana be celebrating independence?
March 6, 1957, was the day Ghana was said to have attained independence. Historically and politically, that is inaccurate, in fact, it is misleading. Let us concede that Ghana was partially and symbolically independent on that day. Factually, however, by March 6, 1957, Ghana was still very much a British sphere of influence.
The 1957 Independence Constitution of Ghana clearly defined Ghana’s political position in relation to Britain. Executive power was vested in the Queen. Ghana was a monarchy with the Queen of Britain as the Head of State. The Queen was represented in Ghana by a Governor-General, Lord Listowel. The Governor was more or less the ruler of Ghana. He appointed the Prime Minister and his cabinet. The Regional Heads were monarchs appointed by the Governor. The Prime Minister was a Ghanaian alright but was just Leader of Government Business in Parliament. Parliament was made up of the Queen of Britain or her representative in Ghana, the Governor-General; the Prime Minister and 104 MPs. The Governor signed all the laws of Parliament and he could dissolve it. The Governor-General was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and he appointed the Chief Justice as well.
So where was the independence? Indeed, why should anyone claim that March 6, 1957 was Ghana’s Independence Day? With the Queen and her officials still in charge and controlling almost everything I find it extremely difficult to understand, in fact accept, why March 6 was declared Ghana’s Independence Day. The surprising thing was that Ghanaians themselves celebrated, and continue to celebrate, the day as their independence day. Is this celebration done consciously with all the faculties of Ghanaians intact? Without mincing words it could be said that March 6, 1957 was just a symbolic day for something but definitely not independence. It was not, and cannot, be Ghana’s Independence Day! I have come to the conclusion that describing March 6, 1957 as Ghana’s Independence Day was a bit of misnomer.
Fortunately, Dr. Nkrumah realised that Ghanaians were living in fool’s paradise. The so-called independence was a make believe, a sham! Something had to be done quickly to achieve true independence for Ghana. On July 1, 1960 Ghana became truly independent. With the passage of the Republican Constitution, Ghana became a Republic, free from British rule. The essence of this change was that Dr. Nkrumah became the first President of Ghana and, of course, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. But above all, he became the head of state. The cabinet and ministers were now appointed by the President of Ghana.
It is very clear that July 1, 1960 was the true independence day of Ghana. On that day she became a master of her own destiny. This day must be regarded as the most important day in the history of Ghana and should be celebrated as such. There is no need to argue about this. It is unbelievable that Ghanaians have decided to stop celebrating it as true Independence Day while they have continued to celebrate March 6, a symbolic day, as independence day. Republic meant that Ghana was fully independent and could manage her own affairs as she wished subject to international law. Amazingly Ghanaians, under President Akufo-Addo, have ignored the day and have continued to celebrate March 6 as Independence Day! It seems Ghanaians are still dreaming. I do not get it!
But let us face it, whether it is March 6, 1957 or July 1, 1960, the big question is whether Ghana is truly independent? President Nkrumah answered that question unequivocally years ago. According to him Ghana could only become truly independent, in the real sense of the word, within the context of a united Africa with a common market, common army and a common currency. “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.”
The reality now is that Ghana is firmly in the grip of neo-colonialism which is more subtle and more dangerous than colonialism. Under neo-colonialism Ghana is ruled indirectly by the forces of imperialism through black Ghanaian politicians. Under the oppression and machinations of these Ghanaian Leaders, Ghana has surrendered its sovereignty, independence, economy, natural resources, way of life and governance to the neo-colonialist masters. What we have now is just a semblance of governance in which black Ghanaian leaders are governing Ghana for and on behalf of the neo-colonialists. That is how classic neo-colonialism operates. In that case you may ask what is Ghana celebrating? Is it independence or the triumph of neo-colonialism?
[The writer is a former MP for Hohoe South]
BY KOSI KEDEM