Arthur Kennedy on Ghana's Independence Day
The speeches have been delivered. We have patted ourselves on our collective backs and we are about to move on. But we should hold on and reflect a bit on where we are. As Tanzania ' s Magufuli asked pointedly, "What are we celebrating?".
Barcelona can justly celebrate the treble they won last year and the one they hope to win this year. But Real Madrid cannot just celebrate the fact that they exist. Neither can Accra Great Olympics or Ghana. We have existed for just 59 years but a lot has happened in those years: Singapore has moved from third to first world and China has lifted over 300 million people from poverty.
When Nkrumah pledged that we would do in decades what had taken others centuries to do and show "that the black man is capable of managing his own affairs" he and all of us expected us to do better than we are doing. Here are a few questions to get us going:
1: Have we lived up to our potential?
2: Is Ghana currently on the right path?
3: Has the return of democracy benefited ordinary people?
4: Do our leaders care about people like you?
Where ever one looks-- in education, health, energy, jobs, tolerance, justice and national unity, we are short of where we need to be. And this is not just the fault of the current government. It is the result sustained bad leadership-- not just political leadership but also intellectual, religious and institutional leadership.
Today, the President justly recounted the pride we feel in the global achievements of our exceptional countrymen--like Kofi Annan and others. But seriously, can we truly measure our progress by the deeds of exceptional individuals?
Was Africa and Ghana better off because Kofi Annan was UN Gen. Secretary? Aside from pride, could our progress be measured by Cardinal Turkson becoming Pope Turkson?
Real progress for Ghana should be measured in how many mothers and children we save, how many children we educate, how many jobs we create, how equal we are before the law and how safe we feel in our individual lives.
May we bring Ghana closer to the ideal of our founding FATHERS--ALL OF THEM!
God bless Ghana.