It is very interesting to see monarchists observing a Republic Day but in our modern day Ghana, nothing is abnormal. In all kingdoms like Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, United Kigdom, etc., the people are ruled as subjects of monarchies and royals. Such nation prefix thei names of the nation with "Kingdom". In the Republics on the other hand, the states are run free of monarchies and royals. States like Germany, France, the USA, China, Ireland, etc., have the prefix "Republic" starting their official names.
The Ghanaian case and almost all the States on the African continent are however odd by the. pre-fix to their official names. These states have "Republic" as prefix to their official names but they are actually hybridised form of monarchies. So unlike kingdoms of Europe that are purely kingdoms and RepublicS that are truly Republics, the African case are very misleading and do not mean what they are called. The continent is infected with colonies run by royals and monarchies, where subjects are called "citizens" and kingdoms called "republics". But who is fooling who?
The 1st of July 1960 was when the first President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah led Ghanaians in declaring themselves as a republic. Declaration was after all consultations among the citizens have been made, a bill has placed before the elected representative of the people in the national Parliament and has been passed into law. This act was three years after the same Kwame Nkrumah has led the same people in declaring themselves and their state as independent.
The,question that crosses the minds of most serious thinking Ghabaians,is, why must Kwame Nkrumah waste time and resource in leading Ghanaians,to declare themselves as a republic when they have just did basically the same thing on the 6th March 1957 by declaring independence?
The answer,to the above question depends on our interprdtations of "Independence" and "Republic". Indeed the two words look very identical in meaning and can replace themselves but, they actually mean two different things.
The word Independence mean "self determination" or "Self Rule". Independence is a group phenomenon, thus a people as a group can break away from another group to exist as an entirely separate group. Such separation can be from an indigenous group or from a non indigenous group. Independence is therefore when a group feels they are forced by occupation or any other means to be part of another group who make decisions for them. A group can therefore separate itself from another group as an independent group and still maintain its monarchies. Thus a nation can become independent and still exist as a kingdom by maintaining its monarchies. A good example of this is the Kingdom of Swaziland in South Africa that become independent from Britian on 6th September 1968, just like Ghana on 6th March 1957.
The fact about Kingdom is, decision making is not about what the individual thinks but what they royals on behalf of the group think. Thus, decision is not about the individual but about a group,or groups led by monarchies. So the opinion of the individual matters less while royals are held in high esteem.
The word "Republic" on its part, is a system that lay emphasis on every individual as a member of the group, which is a big departure from a kingdom. Since a people as a group can exist as independent group but not a Republic, a formal procedure is expected to be carried out in establishing the destiny of a group as a Republic. So Kwame Nkrumah realising that the vision of the kind of independent people Ghanaians at the time wished for themselves will be unrealisable without each Ghanaian being free to individually determine the course of his or her destiny, decided to opt for a republican status for the state. That was when the status of the independent Ghanaian state was formally established and the prefix -Republic, was added to the name Ghana.
I have heard some people saying, Kwame Nkrumah declaring Ghana a Republic is a hoax. They said the first president is just an idle arrogant dictator who like showing off and because he is not a royal but found himself in a position of royals, he declared Ghana a Republic to stop the royals from assuming their rightful positions. They said it is out of envy and inferiority complex against the position of the royals to have them replaced by commoners like himself. They added that Nkrumah introduced the Republic to exampt himself from attending parliamentary session to allow him elevate himself to the position of a Head of State and a President, instead of his title of a Prime Minister. By doing this, President. Nkrumah was then able to declare himself a life president of Ghana and making the country party state, for him and his "varanda boys" to rule Ghanaians for ever.
We should not be blind to the position of a group like GPPP (Ghana Poor People Party) that hold the notion that Nkrumah declaration of Ghana as a republic is to allow him do away with the remaining traces of colonization and imperialism that the nation assumption of independent three years earlier did not address. It is to settle the contentions and ambiguities on whether our liberation is a freedom from external colonial and imperialists while the Ghanaian continue under the yoke of the indigenous colonial and imperialists ethno tribal regimes.
Yes, one cannot deny that the British Queen retain her position as the Head of State of Ghana with her official representative being the Governor General who are examples of imprilaists and colonialism legacies that Nkrumah's declaration of republic was to address. We therefore had a head of state not elected by Ghanaians who is also not a Ghanaian, and indigenous rulers who were also not elected by Ghanaians, though Nkrumah and the parliamentarians whose authority is conditional were elected by Ghanaians. Thus the authority of the people of Ghana given to
Nkrumah and his elected colleagues are shared with those are not elected by Ghanaians.
In part, Nkrumah relieving Ghanaians of the rremnants of imperialism and colonialism by doing away with the Governor General position and the British Queen as the Head of State of Ghana, addresses just part of the problem while the indigenous imperialists and colonial masters still held on to their positions. The reality is, we today live with part of the truth.
The real truth is, the concept of imperialism and colonialism are not limited to foreign authority but include indigenous authorities too. So in relieving Ghanaians of imperialism and colonialism, Kwame Nkrumah was not limiting himself to the monarchs of Europe and their representative in Ghana but aiming at the indigenous monarchs and their representatives within Ghana.
What then is the meaning of a Republic? A republic is "a state of a oeople, in which any individual politician who is to assume the role of law making and execution, must first get his or her mandate directly from the people through a democratic election, based on the principles of universal adult sufferage". This means, by declaring Ghana as a republic, no Ghanaian will take instruction from any politician, as a law maker or an executor of the law, without the individual assuming his or her role of representation by the mandate of Ghanaians through elecrion majority of stakeholders using the ballot box on the basis of universal adult suffrage. It is important to point out that this exclude appointees of the state as public servant who have earned their position by their official professional capabilities. Thus while a politician earn his or her role as a representative of others by mandate given through democratic stated procedure, the professional representative earn his or her role by acquiring skills from certitified bodies of the state. It also important to specify that the role of the professional excludes law making while that is the duty of politicians with the appropriate mandate. The contention lies on the ethno tribal politicians who are a bureacrats of a sort acting as public servants, with the power of law making and its enforcement.
Declaring Ghana as a,republic on the 1st if July 1960 means no military, no foreigner or no royal, will have any legitimacy in ruling over any Ghanaian. It is fair to touch on some historical references as evidence of this and the American War of Independence by which the Americans relieved themswlves from none indigenous coloniers serves very well. The Americans relieved themselves of the British monarchs and their representitives. The position of the Americans to the British is the absence of American representation in the British Parliament where laws are made over Americans, with such slogans like, "no representation, no tax", implying disobedience to the laws and their makers. This was then folloed by the America Civil War that was actually a form of "Republican struggle" as its based on the principles of equality to all Americans, regardless to creed or race.
The Russian relieving themselves of Czar Nicholas II in 1905 cannot be said to be "independence" but the kind of freedom addressing issue of equality and the right to everyone in choosing who rule them. That is a step towards Russian republican state. The 1917 developments that followed were just reinforcing the earlier efforts. The Chinese Qing Dynesty in 1911 was also a form of republican transition as the doing away with the king was to allow equality in access to the position of equality to who rules. Other developments that followed like socialism and communism were all versions of reinforcing the equality of all.
Our case in Ghana is best describe as a peoppe who yern for freedom but blind about what we actually want. We observe all liberation traditions but still slaves. We celebrate independence day, republican day, Christmas day, New Year Day, I'd'fitir, Id'adhar, Easter Day, AU Day,
Workers Day, etc. Everyone of these traditions serves as commemoration of freedom, genuine sense of individual equality, and dignity of man kind. In our case, we are just good at giving our own meaning to concepts to rubbish them and make them meaningless.
One thing we are sure of is, our politicians are the most dishonest characters in Ghana today, doing as they please with us. We are cursed with politicians who can not even be honest to themselves and have develop a second nature in doing so.,As our so called democratic elected politicians conive with the traditional bureaucratic politicians to mislead us, there seem to millions of destitute who feel conformable with being entertained by those in whose hands our destiny rest. The world on its part, is not oblige to have any mercy on us, if we have chosen to fool with our dear destiny.
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
CEO ERA (ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates)
and Founder GPPP (Ghana Poor People Party)
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