23
Mon, Jan

Time to move Ghana Forward

Ghana is one of the few African countries that have not been decimated by any civil conflict since we were forced to live together as one people, our cultural differences notwithstanding

Ghana, by all standards has certainly been a blessed country even since colonial times. If the Americans are proud to call the USA “God’s Own Country,” we shall not be far from right to acclaim Ghana as ‘’God’s Own Country in Africa.’’

Ghana may be a small country in size compared with many other African countries, but it is blessed with so many natural and human resources as to make it a formidable African Country, a foremost country on our unpredictable continent.

The scramble for Africa that started in 1881 led to the partition of the continent following the Berlin Conference of 1884 –1885.

The European powers, principally Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal grabbed whatever piece of land they could lay hands on and brought people of diverse culture, religion and language under their hegemony.

Since that time, the people of colonial Gold Coast have lived together and accommodated one another, diversity in culture and language notwithstanding.

We can even trace the time those of us living happily together in what is today’s Ghana to 1884 when our forebears, some Fante chiefs, reached an agreement with the British adventurists to receive protection from the marauding Asante army who were harassing the people along the coast, annexing their lands.

Beginning of modern Ghana

The Bond of 1844 can be said to be the beginning of modern Ghana and when the British army finally brought Asante under their control in the closing years of the 19th century, the chemistry was completed.

The partition of Africa that was also finalised just before the beginning of the First World War formally created the Gold Coast.

It was on the 113th anniversary of the Bond of 1844 that the new nation of Ghana was born on March 6, 1957 still remaining a conglomeration of people with diverse backgrounds but agreeing to live together as one people with a common destiny.

Almost 60 years into nationhood, nothing has seriously shaken that foundation laid by our forefathers, while we have disagreed to agree to live together in peace, unity and harmony.

Unnatural marriage

Not many of today’s over 50 countries on our continent have had it as smooth as we have had since the partition more than a century ago. There have been so many disagreements among the various peoples within the countries put together for convenience by the colonialists.

It is this unnatural marriage, if I many call it so, that has resulted in so many tension in many African countries, leading to civil wars with their attendant refugee problems.

Ghana is one of the few African countries that have not been decimated by any civil conflict since we were forced to live together as one people, our cultural differences notwithstanding.

It is this situation that has made some of us to see Ghana as a blessed country. It is this has made many in Africa and outside the continent to see Ghana as an oasis of peace on a troubled continent.

Yes, it is this apparent peace and unity that has made Ghana so distinct and which has made her to play a leadership role in Africa since we became the first country, south of the Sahara, to achieve independence.

While internecine wars were going on in most of Africa, we were a united nation free to lead in the struggle that led to the total emancipation of the continent.

However, it is pertinent to note that we have had our own problems in terms of conflicts along the line. These were skirmishes that we never allowed to blow out to engulf a whole nation. They were localised conflicts which we always succeeded in controlling.

Some of us can never forget the political crisis we went through in the years before independence when the Action Troopers held away in Kumasi, with activists of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and National Liberation Movement (NLM) at each other’s throats. 

It was a tense situation, especially when we got to know that one Baffoe, a CPP man had been stabbed by one Twumasi Ankrah, an NLM king pin. Kumasi was always boiling and schools were usually closed down when bottle – throwing started.

Fortunately, this never escalated into civil conflict and despite the animosity between the CPP and the NLM, Ghana was able to achieve her independence as scheduled on March 6, 1957.

Ever since, the boat had been rocked a few times like during the period of the Preventive Detention Act, immediately after independence; the various military interventions; the UNIGOV crisis of 1976 – 1978; the Konkomba – Nanumba war, also known as the Guinean Fowl War of 1994 – 95 etc.

Today, Ghana is hailed the world over as the beacon of democracy on our continent. Since we did away with military governments and accepted democracy as a way of life in 1992, we have become a respected member of the international community.

During the past quarter century, we have been practicing the democracy to the satisfaction and administration of the rest of the world.

The world have been marveling at how we have been changing governments though the ballot box without any hitch. Indeed, we have become something special among the comity of nations.

However, you and I know that it has not been easy. We all know that it has been through the special grace of God that nothing untoward has happened to us as a nation after every election, seven in all.

We have got to a boiling point as a nation each election year. The two leading political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), through their actions and inactions, have always driven us to the end of the precipice any time we go to the polls.

However, and fortunately, we have always survived the tension after we have been made to feel that, with each election, the world was coming to an end.

That is why I started this piece by saying that we are a blessed nation. No matter the political rivalry, nobody would like this nation to burn. It is for this reason that we must thank our religions leaders both Christian and Moslem, the National Peace Council, traditional authorities, our senior citizens for always rising to the occasion, to call the political leaders to order.

No one party state

Another election has just been concluded. By the results of the 2016 elections, Ghanaians have certainly decided that the destiny of this nation will never be entrusted into the hands of one party. How long the NPP or the NDC will stay in power will be determined by how well you perform during your tenure.

It also appears that Ghanaians in their own wisdom will not allow any party to govern more than two terms, meaning each party can be sure of eight years, but at the satisfaction of the people.

My one appeal to our political leaders is the need to take a critical look at the winner-takes-all-syndrome. This has not done Ghana any good. It has only succeeded in increasing division among the populace. Yet, Ghana belongs to us all.

The posture and utterances of Nana Dankwa Akuffo-Addo since his victory in the December election tell me and many other concerned Ghanaians that he is determined to unite this country.

Yes, it is unity and peace that has brought Ghana this far. We must go a step further by ensuring that all Ghanaians are happy no matter which party is in power. Every Ghanaian must feel a sense of belonging. It is only by this that we can build a more prosperous and united nation.

Over to you, Nana. Welcome on board.