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06.02.2007 General News

Outrage on nationalism

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Editorial, Ashanti Pioneer, 15 February 1957

On the statute book the bill to make it a criminal offence for any citizen of Ghana to utter insult or hold to scorn or ridicule the proposed Ghana flag now stands out as a revolting monument to the abuse of our time.

Why is it that on the very eve of independence our Government should consider it at all necessary to ensure that its citizens do not insult or hold to ridicule their flag? Underneath this simple act lies a tale of woes - the shameless admission by the Government that what it calls the Ghana flag has not been nationally approved and that, therefore, it lacks that imperative element of evocativeness which is the very quintessence of all true national flags.

As Mr Joe Appiah, Member for Atwima Amansie constituency of Ashanti, said during the debate on the bill, it projects the guilty conscience of the Government for having in the first place sought impose on all sections of this country a flag conceived and laid out by one party, and one party alone.

No, the bill is not a challenge to the nationalism of the citizens of this country. It is an outrage on their nationalism, pure and simple.

The bill then is a means of escape from the just reaction of the people, a sad commentary on the measure of respect that the Government has for the people by whose votes it exists as such.

It is a high-handed attempt to foster nationalism by decree. Against this background Mr K A Gbedemah's pledge that he Government intends, as soon as possible after independence, to present to the Assembly proposals for a review of both the national flag and the coat of arms is worth its weight in gold.

One hopes that the entire country will take Mr Gbedemah"s word for it and that the Government on whose behalf he spoke will never delay not only to bring its proposals but also accept the Opposition's counter-proposals so that Ghana might begin its uncharted career with a flag and a coat of arms which every citizen could spontaneously call his own and merely not nod at thorough craven fear.

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