The 66 year old Ghana has evolved over the years, meandering through the status of its first republic through to the present fourth Republic. The fourth republic of Ghana has stood the test of time under the headship of past Presidents who upheld the principles of democracy and rule of law and the current President who is striving to project Ghana’s beacon of hope to others.
Over the eons, African countries who were colonized, have commemorated their day of independence; the dawn in their history where their forefathers heaved a huge sigh of relief because their colonisers could no longer breathe over their necks.
The celebrations, mostly marked with pomp and grandeur, reminds the present generation of the price their forefathers paid for emancipation.
Sadly, it seems Africa is gradually relinquishing its hard-earned independence to former colonisers. Having to crawl back to western donors for foreign aid, Countries on the continent are crushing their sovereignty into fragments which will soon be blown away by the wind of immense debt.
“The black man is capable of running his own affairs,” Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserted in his independence speech on March 6, 1957. This statement emboldened Nkrumah’s belief that Africans are not meant to be dependent on foreigners to rule them. Ironically, the present-day Black man is running from his own affairs; leaving it in the somewhat invisible hand of loan conditionality.
The Ghana which seeks to be beyond aid, is drifting far from the reach of rescue.
Thus, the continent is racing towards neocolonialism.
Can Unity Do The Trick?
Delivering a speech at Ho during the 66th Independence Day celebrations, the President called on Ghanaians to be united and not allow the challenges to divide the citizens.
“The enemy we face is not each other. We can only win this battle if we stick together, and pull in the same direction, regardless of our divergent viewpoints. I am confident that we are on the right path, and I ask for your support so that we can continue the transformation of Ghana in peace.”President Akufo-Addo
Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey affirmed this by saying, “only unity will take us to our destination” during his speech at Tema. But come to think of it, is unity the ultimate panacea to our current issue?
Well, thorns of disunity are already sprouting in some parts of the country, Assembly members of the Bawku West district in the Upper East boycotted Independence Day celebration, Former President Mahama did not attend because he said the Independence Day celebration has been turned into a political party jamboree.
“I said I don’t want to be part of this party jamboree. Independence is a solemn national celebration that is celebrated at Independence Square and everybody could come.”Former President Mahama
Our Unity, Our Strength, Our Purpose was the theme for the 66th Independence celebration but where is our sense of Purpose if the strength of our unity is weakened?
Is It Worth The Celebration?
A number of people believe that Independence Day celebrations should be scrapped, stating that the government should channel the use of such resources into more profitable ventures such as securing health equipment, providing social amenities, improving the education system amongst others.
Investing in the country’s future will go a long way instead of spending the country’s sparse resources on celebrations, they say. Former President John Mahama suggested that the money spent on the celebrations could have been used to procure vaccines for children.
However, some people claim that the celebration of Independence Day, on the newly introduced rotational basis will boost the local economy of the region. Others believe that cancelling the celebration will mean disdain for the country’s history.
In December last year, President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu cancelled the country’s 61st Independence Day festivities.
About $445,000 (£364,000) had been set aside for the festivities, but the President directed that the money be spent on building dormitories in eight rural special needs schools to help many leaners, some of them who walk daily between 5km and 10km (3-5 miles), to attend classes.
The East African country celebrated Independence Day by having public dialogues on development.
Last year was not the first time that the country cancelled the celebrations.
In 2015, then-President John Magufuli cancelled celebrations and diverted funds towards the building of a road in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. In 2020, he did the same and directed that the budget be used to buy medical facilities.
Incidentally, most African countries are reeling under the load of economic crisis. Foreign donors get to determine what a country does with the funds they give them.
Some of the conditions are quite restricting for the countries at the receiving end. Certain programmes which may affect citizenry adversely have to be rolled out just to secure an amount of money which is not free.
Ghana, for instance, basks in the glory of being politically independent but on the economic scene, the country is nowhere near independent.
Recently, the country recorded worsening economic indicators with inflation hitting over 50% and a depreciating cedi.
This has pushed the government to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion extended credit facility to help revive the economy.
In order to secure the bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government has to meet the conditions laid out by the IMF.
As a result, the government undertook a domestic debt exchange programme(DDEP) as part of a comprehensive debt restructuring to meet the IMF’s condition for support.
Therefore, the country’s freedom is being limited by the unseen hands of chronic borrowing and the conditions that come with it.
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