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01.03.2007 Feature Article

[email protected]:Let's celebrate

GHANA @ 50: LETS CELEBRATE

March 6, 2007 and Ghana will be 50 years. Yes 50 years of independence. This is no mean achievement. It is a time to really, really celebrate and also reflect on our past, where we have gotten to, where we are going, and what has inhibited us from developing to the stage of countries that gained independence around the same time.

Ghana was the first colony in the sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence. It provided a shining example as well as assistance to other countries to follow suit.

In the 50 year period of Ghana's independence a number of important events have occurred in and around the country (good and bad) which indeed should give us cause to celebrate. Probably it is worth stating a few for the purpose of this piece.

The 50 year period has witnessed 4 Republics. The period has also seen the election of 4 Presidents and 1 Prime Minister. The period also witnessed 6 coup de tats. Whilst some of these coups were bloodless (like the Akuffo Palace Coup), others were very bloody like the 1981 coup which witnessed the execution of 3 heads of state and an army officer as well as many innocent civilians. The coup was led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.

The 50 year period has also witnessed the election of Ghana to head various international institutions; President Nkrumah chaired the OAU, Dr. Ibn Chambas was appointed Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Chairmanship of ECOWAS by Ex-President Rawlings and President Kufuor, Kofi Annan was appointed Secretary-General of UN, President Kufuor was recently elected chairman of the AU. These were good and in no small way boosted the image of Ghana internationally.

The 50 year period also witnessed the influx of refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d' ivoire and Togo into Ghana, as a result of political instability and civil wars. These were very trying times for Ghana as the security situation in most of its neighbouring countries caused some tension and economic stress within our borders.

We lived through all this and survived the emotional stress and trauma associated with such events. Indeed we have come very far. This is a time for all Ghanaians to shelve our differences and appreciate the fact that we have all contributed to 50 years of nation-building.

Let us support the government and the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat to make this celebration a joyous and memorable one in spite of all their shortcomings. Let us mount national flags in front of our offices, our homes, on our cars, on our school compounds, etc. Let us tell the whole world that we are 50 years, and appreciate that we all contributed one way or the other in getting here.

For those who have decided to use divisive methods to undermine the celebrations to achieve their selfish objectives, I ask them to think again. They know better than what they have set out to do. Celebration of a country's independence is handled by the Government of the day. Let us recognize that there is a government in power, elected to office by majority of Ghanaians, to steer the affairs of the country. We do not need to make this a political party thing. Indeed the Chairman of the planning committee has stated categorically that even the NPP, the political party of the government in power has not been made a part of the planning process because it wants the celebration to be a national issue. So why is it that some elements within the opposition parties have decided to celebrate the anniversary in a divisive and mischievous way? If their intention is to undermine the success of the celebration, then I believe discerning Ghanaians will join me in telling them that they will fail.

Ghanaians appreciate how far we have come in strengthening our democracy. We are happy and proud that we have conducted ourselves in a way to avoid a 'Liberia' 'Sierra Leone' or 'Cote d' ivoire' befalling us; and after 50 years of independence and 14 years of uninterrupted multi-party democracy, can someone please tell me why we should not celebrate the 50th birthday of Ghana, the shining star of Africa? From a proud Ghanaian, I say, HELL NO!!!!

YAO DAGADU
[email protected]

Yao Dagadu
Yao Dagadu, © 2007

This author has authored 9 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: YaoDagadu

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