Ghana- How Far Have We Come?
Ghana independence will soon be upon us again, and it is during this period of time when Ghanaians reflect on the progress, and in some cases lack of, the motherland has made since independence. It is with this in mind that a small Q&A session was held live at the Ghana High Commission in London last Friday night.
Set to broadcast on our screens on Sky 218 at 8.30pm on Thursday 6th March, exactly 57 years ago Ghana achieved independence from British colonial rule, the event saw prominent figures from the Ghanaian community discuss issues relating to Ghana – particularly where Ghana is at at the present, where it ought to be, and what needs to be done to move the nation forward.
On the panel were Prof. Kwaku Danso Boafo (Ghana High Commissioner to UK & Ireland), Dorothy Engmann (economist), Emmanuel Quayson (Chairman of Ghana Union UK) and Francis Poku (former National Security Minister in Ghana). Hosting the Q&A was Kwaku Owusu Frimpong.
In brief, questions put to the panel aimed to gauge whether Ghana had fallen short on the vision Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of independent Ghana had for the nation. And though the panellists had positives for Ghana, there were negatives as well. Sure Ghana is the beacon of democracy in Africa and we are not beset by divisive conflicts that have plagued many other African countries. However there are areas where Ghana sharply improve on, and among the problems the panellists and the audience touched upon were lack of infrastructure, education, accountability of politicians, youth unemployment and a stagnant agriculture and industrial sector.
Unfortunately, time constraints did not allow for the panel to really explore solutions to our country’s problems, which was a shame. But I will say this: listening to panellists, especially Prof. Kwaku Danso Boafo, it dawned on me that Ghana had lost that nationalist pride and patriotism that propelled her to achieve independence in 1957.
“Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge – a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve – to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?”
The above quote was part of a speech by Nkrumah to the National Assembly on June 12 1965. Nkrumah recognised that independence was hard work and he inspired Ghanaians to embrace that concept in order to move the nation forward, and I think it was a period where Ghanaians were truly united in a sense.
However since Nkrumah I don’t believe there has ever been a president in Ghana who has been able to arouse patriotism and national pride among the people. The mentality in Ghana has shifted from ‘how can I make Ghana better’ to ‘how can I enrich myself?’ If Ghana is to truly progress as a nation, then we must start with a change of mentality. Only then can we move forward as a nation.
Let’s hope that when Ghana is 67, we’ll not be asking what we’ve achieved or not achieved – rather we’ll be celebrating accomplishments achieved from now till then.
It was refreshing to hear a member of the Me FiRi Ghana Team highlighting how not one person had mentioned legacy or youth during conversations. An air of silence and interest seemed to also be drawn when it was announced how the company Me FiRi Ghana would be launching a publication featuring Ghanaian Youth Under 35 years Pioneering in a variety of professions to celebrate Ghana Independence on 6th March. (I’m looking forward to seeing who will feature myself!)
*Catch the Q&A on Focus on Ghana Thursday 6th March at 8.30pm on Vox Africa Sky 218*
Yaa Nyarko (@ohenebayaa)