“Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism. Her earth is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment” –Kwame Nkrumah
Today is Republic day in Ghana. On the 1st day of July 1960, Ghana was confirmed as a republic. This meant our beloved Ogyakrom had become a State whose destiny will be determined by the inhabitants of the state through leadership coming from the citizens. Headship of our state was transferred from the queen of England to persons elected by Ghanaians. In the heat of the liberation struggle that led to the birth of the republic, the first president of Ghana asserted the desire of Ghanaians to relinquish our status as an appendage of the whims and caprices of London, in many defiant speeches from which have emanated some great quotes that underscore the black man’s struggle.
“It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else” – Kwame Nkrumah
“We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquility.” –Kwame Nkrumah
“The black man is capable of managing or mismanaging his own affair” –Kwame Nkrumah
What Nkrumah didn’t perceive was that some of these vitriolic attacks, aimed at people who did not see the need for the birth of the republic, would be take literarily by the beneficiaries of the republic. As if to say “Kwame Nkrumah gave us options “govern” or “misgovern”, the later is fine”, African leaders have continually misgoverned and mismanaged this continent to the extent that the “vision” of self government with danger has almost been attained in many States in Africa. The leadership, tacitly supported by the actions and in-actions of citizenry, has turned the continent into an epitome of failure.
We shamelessly spent over seventy million US dollars to celebrate fifty years of Ogyakromian independence fraught with massive under achievement and mediocrity. We cannot provide treated water and electricity to majority of our people, Our health system is in shambles, our lands are very fertile and have been under used yet we cannot produce enough to feed our selves, post harvest losses is still the bane of our agriculture, our educational system is not fit for purpose, too many women die trying to give birth, the most important resources of our nation are owned by foreigners, majority of our citizens lack self confidence and will pander to the whims of any light skinned man as if he is God, too many people lack decent accommodation, the CVs of our presidents are laden with trips abroad to beg our neo-colonial benefactors to fund our budgets- What the hell were we celebrating with 70 million dollars?
To commemorate our republican under-achievement, the president usually fetes senior Ogyakromian citizens to celebrate their contribution to the mess we have all created. At this gathering, it is usual to hear our seniors complaining about one hardship or another, and the fact that nobody remembers their toil. With our usual lack of introspection, these old folks do not realize that the Ghana we see today is the Ghana they created. Once, they were young and had the opportunity to make a difference, they blew it big time. This is the only recognition they deserve-they are the architects of our present failure.
I challenge all our senior citizens this day, to look back at their contribution-
The policeman who always upheld the law and lost the bribe;
The planner who acted to uphold the integrity of the city’s layout;
The procurement officer who didn’t compromise any procurement process for his personal gains;
The teacher in that village, who didn’t sacrifice his pupils’ time to tap palm wine from his farm;
The resident of Nima who didn’t dump refuse in that open gutter;
The engineer whose only incentive for certifying a road project as complete is because it met the agreed standard;
The accountant that always gave the true account
The business man who didn’t crave the opportunity to short change the state in taxes
The civil servant who did not require any inducement to do what she was paid for;
The banker whose lending decisions were not based on 10 percent kick-backs;
The doctor who never sacrificed his commitment to patients in that public hospital for a stint of locum;
And the citizen who stood for conscience and not for tribe;
If there be such amongst them, let them stand and be honoured.
And for those of us in the saddle today, may we be reminded that tomorrow’s Ghana, is what we build today. If we continue to live without principled values, where our definition of a criminal depends on the party of the accused, where we can only disapprove of an action if it is taken by a member of the opposite party, where we are blinded by where we come from, where we sell national resources to our cronies and foreigners for what we will personally gain in return, where we refuse to weigh our actions against the well being of the state today, tomorrow and the future, where we refuse to demand accountability from the people who are entrusted with our resources and where we refuse to account for what is entrusted to us, we PUT THE REPUBLIC IN DANGER (“We prefer self-government with danger …”) . We will retire and question why pensioners are treated with disdain, why the state is so disorganized, and where all our resources went.
Where is the next Kwame Nkrumah? We need a new proclamation.
– We will prove that the black man is capable of managing his own affairs. We choose freedom and we are not scared! We choose governance and reject abuse! We are black but our star will shine brightest!- The Ogyakromian!