When Ghana gained her independence from the British, many Ghanaians made an effort to compose national motivational songs and anthems. The one composed by Philip Gbeho won the heart and admiration of all Ghanaians and the anthem was set to the words starting with “Lift High the Flag of Ghana” was selected to become Ghana's National Anthem. The text was later changed and “God Bless our Homeland Ghana” is the one used today.
When I was young, the tune that I preferred was the one by W.E. Offei. This article will concentrate on his anthem which was very motivational:
“Ghana my happy home. Land of rich resources, land of mighty talents, of racial tolerance, justice and freedom. I will strive for thee, glorious Ghana. I will uplift thy name in all I think or speak or do.”
Is Ghana really our happy home and will Ghana ever be our happy home? In the 60s Ghana had no problems with foreign debts. The British left us with millions of pounds as a means of helping the country Ghana to develop. The first president, Kwame Nkrumah, did not rest on his laurels. He established more than 200 factories and several infrastructural facilities including hydro-powered electricity and universities. Ghana was a happy and a convenient place to live. Education was free up to the university level and employment at all levels were readily available. There was no need for anyone to travel abroad. The ace footballer and maestro, Osei Kofi, had a contract invitation from both the U.S and English teams.
During Nkrumah's regime Ghana was really a happy home for all Ghanaians until he was overthrown. This particular coup which many felt it could have been impossible if president Nkrumah happened to be in Ghana, opened the floodgate to military coups. Several factories were closed down and all the agricultural projects (State farms) that fed the factories were abandoned and sold out to powerful individuals. Today many do not consider Ghana as their happy home. Many Ghanaians have travelled abroad and have sworn never to reside in Ghana again. Will Ghana ever be our happy home?
Land of rich resources: Indeed Ghana has several hectares of arable lands, mineral resources and forest reserves. Kwame Nkrumah made stiff rules to protect these rich resources. Ghana's economy was booming due to the proper protection of these rich resources. These resources gave full employment to Ghanaians. Illegal mining or galamsey was never practised.
The new world order which was created by the Americans turned suspicious and wicked attention on Ghana. A group of military personnel were selected by the C.I.A and paid heavily to cause confusion in Ghana by toppling the Dr Nkrumah and the CPP government. A scramble for Ghana's mineral resources ensued. The top brass of the society, including MPs, party members, top executives plundered the nation. The Chinese joined in and the ordinary Ghanaians joined in what came to be known as "gather them and sell." It was gradually pronounced "galamsey" because most of those who engaged in illegal mining were illiterates. Deep holes are dug in the forest or near the mining areas. The sand is dug from the holes and carried up to be washed in lakes and rivers. To be able to find pieces of gold in the sand, liquid is poured on the sand and washed in the river to retrieve the gold. This process of retrieving gold from the sand is destroying the drinkable water bodies in Ghana.
It is true that Ghana is a land of rich resources but will our attitude towards mining help us? Military personnel could not stop galamsey. Special security forces were formed to seize excavators and chase away the illegal miners. Interestingly, all the excavators that were brought to Accra got missing. Na who cause am?
Land of mighty talents: At the start of independence, Ghana had mighty people with mighty talents. Talent is an aptitude or disposition, natural or an acquired intellectual ability or a special endowment. Ghana's situation can be likened to the third man in Matthew 25:14-30. This third man was among the three people who were given different amounts of money. The first two who received their monies worked with it and made profits but the third man did nothing with the little that he got. In much the same way Kwame Nkrumah could have listened to talented and mighty people in Ghana, instead he depended on his own wisdom and personal ambitions to give away millions of pounds to some African countries including Guinea, because of a personal ambition to become the first president of United State of Africa. This was not to be.
Some years ago, Ghana joined the countries that produce best quality oil in large quantities. Has the oil helped Ghana's economy? Petroleum prices go up almost on weekly basis. Are Ghanaians really proud to live in Ghana?
Ghana, land of racial tolerance: When Ghana gained her independence, there was an influx of other races in Ghana- These in included Asians, mostly Indians, Lebanese, Europeans. Ghana was a virgin land thereby creating great opportunities for foreign investors to invest. They were welcomed by Ghanaians. When Nkrumah assumed power and began to move Ghana on a smooth journey towards development and progress, America viewed Ghana as a symbol of black success, capability and modernity. Americans, especially blacks, came to Ghana and those who decided to accept Ghana as their happy home built residential houses and lived there with their families. Ghanaians have been very tolerant to other races. Many white people have been installed chiefs in Ghana. The latest addition of foreign chiefs are the Chinese. A Chinese man called Sun Qupan has been installed Chief in Abetifi. This is how far racial tolerance has brought us.
Justice and freedom: Do Ghanaians have justice and do we have freedom? Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, radical religion or equity. It is also the act of being just and/or fair. Freedom, on the other hand, is a condition in which people have the opportunity to speak without unnecessary external restrictions. Freedom is important to enhance creativity and original thoughts including overall high quality of life. Do we really have freedom and justice in Ghana? It is true that when Ghana gained independence, it became a free country. Freedom and justice either ended or slowed down when Nkrumah assumed power as the first president of Ghana. Members of the opposition United Party were randomly arrested without trial and jailed at Nsawam prisons. Dr J.B Danquah was also jailed without any reason, thereby abusing his human rights. Subsequent governments never paid attention to freedom and justice. Journalists were victimised, beaten up and killed. In Ghana, justice has been thrown to the dogs. Investigation of bribery and corruption leading to abuse of justice was revealed by the under-cover agent, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Eight judges were sacked thanks to Anas' revelation. Their attitude displayed a clear abuse of justice.
Our national anthem puts it succinctly that we should be bold to defend forever, the cause of freedom and of rights.
Dear reader, are we doing it?
Columnist: Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: [email protected]