The Elusive Independence

Mon, 9 Mar 2015 Source: Badu, K

I must emphasise that I am not seeking to point accusing fingers indiscriminately for Ghana’s slackened development, in the sense that it would appear perverse, and somewhat ignoble on my part to unduly criticise for instance, the real patriots, whose blood and toil won for us the desired independence.

Truly, the real patriots deserve every commendation for taking it upon themselves to elbow their way through for the ultimate freedom. As a matter of fact, their decision to fight for freedom was a step in the right direction. As Martin Luther King Jnr aptly asserted during Ghana’s independence celebrations in Accra, “The oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed; the oppressed has to work tirelessly for it (King 1957).”

I am in acquiescence with Martin Luther King Jnr. Indeed, freedom is gained through hard work and persistence. That said, ironically, it appears that all the hard work put in by the Founding Fathers’ has been in vain. I bet, they are mourning their beloved Ghana in their graves. How sad!

In my candid opinion, the real patriots back then, displayed a high sense of altruism. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah for instance, was in my opinion, a shrewd politician, not so much because he and his comrades steered Ghana into independence in 1957 and also took pragmatic steps towards the development of Ghana, but because of his unparalleled patriotism. Indeed, he was patriotically attached to Ghana’s cause.

It would be recalled that during the 6th March 1957 independence proclamation, Osagyefo eloquently recited a few important phraseologies which were designed to motivate Ghanaians. But as to whether those inspiring messages have impacted positively in the lives of Ghanaian people is yet to be seen.

In paraphrasing some of his benign, albeit enlivening statements, Dr Nkrumah, confidently asserted back then, that Blackman was more than ready and capable to rule himself. Without any iota of doubt, he sounded like a manful optimist. Yes, I concur, a Blackman has the requisite knowledge and intelligence to be able to manage his own affairs, but has the intelligent and knowledgeable Blackman been able, and more importantly willing to do so?

Again, during the delivery of the euphonious speech, Osagyefo challenged all and sundry to come together and work hard towards the development of the nation, so as to gain our respect amongst nations. Perfect, that message was tuneful to the ear, but have we, as a nation, managed, or in a position to do so?

Interestingly, Ghana’s current economic hardships, the ‘dumsor’ (see: wikipedia.org), the inequalities and the rampant corruptions, to some extent, give credence to the erudite writer, George Orwell’s, narrated account of the animal farm. George Orwell recounts that when the leaders of the farm were trying to gain their freedom from man, they brainwashed their followers in believing that, “all men are enemies. All animals are comrades.” Their usual slogan was, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” “Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever.”

Ironically, after attaining their freedom from the two legs enemy, the vast majority of the ‘four legs animals’ did not enjoy the freedom, as the “elites” amongst them continued the suppression. Is this story not telling Ghana’s sad case?

Truly, George Orwell’s animal farm story tells Ghana’s sorrowful story. Our Founding Fathers’ came together and fought the common enemy-the colonial masters, in what they saw as oppressive rule. Yes, our Founding Fathers’ sought to resist the colonial masters’ suppression, which in my opinion, was a laudable feat. Nevertheless, as to whether the vast majority of Ghanaians have gained their fundamental freedoms and the inalienable human rights following Ghana’s independence, is a question that would be opened to different interpretations.

In truth, the independence will remain meaningless, so long as we continue to have foreign influences, guidance and control. Indeed, we have not weaned ourselves from hitherto, the enemy of our progress. If this is not the case, why is it that we have to seek policy guidance from IMF? If we are self-reliant, why do we constantly carry our begging bowl seeking alms? If we are independent minded, why do we have to import common contractors to build our basic infrastructures?

Although, we started life with the likes of South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, we are happy to secure loans and other assistance from them. Sadly, we often measure our accomplishments according to the amount of loans we manage to secure. We should not lose sight of the fact that, independence refers to self-reliance, and so if we have to depend largely on other countries for survival, then our independence somehow remains purposeless.

As George Orwell narrates the animal farm story, Ghana’s independence has benefited and continues to benefit only a few-the greedy politicians. This is an illustrative case of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

For instance, in spite of the economic hardships, a few politicians live opulent lifestyles to the detriment of the masses. How bizarre?

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: Badu, K