God, Country and Ghana's statehood!

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 Source: Jeffrey, Peter

In Ghana, the question of God and Country working together is not an illusion. In all national ceremonies, whether at the Independence Square, the Castle, or in the church, or mosque, we show our love and respect for God and country.

During the 2006 World cup, whenever Ghana Black Stars are victorious in a game, everywhere you go, you see the flag of Ghana flying high on roof tops and cars and hear gospel music, yes gospel music, playing loud to thank God! At the first game Ghana played at 2008 African cup of nations, the rousing chorus of “God bless our Homeland Ghana” stirred up emotions in everyone, both at home and in Diaspora. The tears many saw flowing down the cheek of Sulley Mutari and some of his team mates when the national anthem was being played whip up patriotism in Ghanaians to sing it into emotional frenzy.

Unlike many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and across the world, Ghana won her freedom on a silver platter with very limited bloodshed!

Our homeland, Ghana, is important to this writer as it should to all Ghanaians. In how many places would one be able to state their opinion freely? In places like Zimbabwe, under the tyranny Robert Mugabi, to state your opinion would certainly lead to your death.

The most important thing that has shaped the life of this writer and many of his compatriots is the Ghana national anthem and the unofficial national anthem. Have anyone ever paid attention to the national anthem and what it really means? From the first verse to the last, it symbolises one nation under God (God and Country) and united as one country, one people. The “other” national anthem, “Yen Ara Yasase Ni” (the land of our birth) also raises passion in Ghanaians. It is a call to national self defence as one nation, one people and under the guidance of God.

“God bless our Homeland Ghana, And make our nation great and strong”. God and country can never be divided. Through the national anthem, God and country have influenced our lives in many ways. Many have argue that our country is like a melting pot, made of different tribes and cultures all living peacefully together in one country.

Loving your country is not just singing the national anthem at football (soccer) match, loving your country is trying to make it better – building good physical infrastructure, good health care, decent education, good housing, equitable distribution of resources and eradication of poverty. Our national anthem (God and country) is a manifesto of our country.

Shedding a tear when we hear the national anthem or “Yen Ara Asase Ni” is sung or when sing it ourselves won’t bring us development if we do not do anything about the plight of the 80% poor, those who are powerless and voiceless and do not have much say apart from soliciting their votes by corrupt politicians. On January 6th 2008, Kenyans went to church and mosques to pray for their country after bloody violence after December 27 elections. The fraudulent re-election of Mwai Kibaki and the ensuring ethnic violence and clashes which almost unravelled stability in the east African region must never be allowed to occur in Ghana. Like Kenya before the violence, Ghana is regarded as one of Africa’s most stable and economically flourishing democracy, perhaps the most enlightened and the only peace loving country in a very troubled region.

In Ghana, the general spirit of the people is liberal and considerate. Like many of Ghanaians, this writer holds to the ideal of freedom and justice for every citizen, good health care, good education, free speech (without the fear of macho men or targeted assassination at night by thugs) and free action to demonstrate (as was the case under Kumi Preko), of material well-being for all and not just the “few” as enshrined in the 1992 constitution.

Whether we like it or not, Ghana is a predominantly a religious country (Christian and Moslem) and so shall it remain! No one can say otherwise. The last verse (below) sums up this writer’s argument!

“Arise, arise, o sons of Ghanaland; And under God march on for evermore”. No one can separate God and Country!

Peter Jeffrey (peter.jeffrey@yahoo.com) London.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter