Opinions Mon, 22 Jan 2007

The Meaning Of Independence Of Ghana II:


Certain analytical foundations were put forward for general reflection in part I of my discussion on the meaning of independence of Ghana. The central ideas contained in it may be stated as:

1. Every social system has three important pillars of a) economic structure, b) political structure, and c) legal structure. These three elements constitute the structural foundation of the social system for nation building

2. Political independence provides the people of the nation the domestic control of the social decision-making power.

3. The social decision-making power is vested in the political structure and hence who controls the political structure defines and shapes the direction of our national history.

4. The domestic control of the social decision-making power must be directed toward defending the collective interest of Ghana and Ghanaians in particular and Africa at large.

5. This collective interest must be expressed in nation building and social development of Ghana in particular and Africa in general.

6. The nation building, its architect and design must find their creative expressions in our collective thinking as a people.

7. The collective thinking must connect the past to the present in order for the present to be connected to the future satisfying the SANKOFA philosophical instruction where the past, present and future constitute a conceptual trinity.

8. The collective thinking must find support in our domestic collective effort in order to achieve desired results that are sustainable through the future.

9. The future must always have hope in our internal strength but not from external sources.

10. All things considered, political independence offers us an opportunity to a) actualize freedom and justice, b) build the nation in our own will and desires, and c) construct institutions and policies that serve our national interest and safe guide our independence and freedom for our people.

In this part II, I would like us to conceptually look at some current realities in Ghana that will allow a forward looking thinking. To have continuity to part I we must observe that the material foundation of the society on the basis of which the political and legal structures are organized is the economic structure without which life is empty and social development and progress are impossible. The social stability and the rules of behavior are vested in the legal structure that defines the nature of social participation in both economic and political structures. The power to control the destiny of the nation and the center of social decision-making in order to shape both the economic and legal structures, and to bring about nation building is vested in the political structure.

The objective of the struggle for political independence of Ghana and for that matter any colonized African territory is to take over the domestic social decision-making power from the imperial predators that controlled the domestic political structure. However political independence can not be complete without a respectable level of economic independence in a form that is meaningful for improvements in spiritual, material and cultural essence of our people’s dignity. The meaning of political independence, therefore, finds expressions in our people’s ability to control 1) the center of the nation’s decision-making power, 2) the legal structure for social stability and national security and 3) the economic structure for the material benefits and welfare of the people.

Political independence is simply the means whose meaning to the nation is the domestic control of the center of the social decision-making power, and whose meaning to the masses must find value in the establishing culturally and socio-economically rich conditions of social progress and nation building which colonial imperialists denied to the masses. These rich conditions must constitute foundations where Ghanaians will find value, pride and dignity in our nation as a member of African States, appreciate our rich and diverse culture as well as honor those whose lives have been sacrificed for the rebirth of our beloved nation, Ghana. I must emphasize that in the last analysis the meaning of political independence is the opportunity that it offers us to build Ghana as a nation and by logical extension Africa as a continent in accordance with our domestic will so as to save guide our freedom.

The sovereignty of Ghana must be derived from the meaning of independence. It ( sovereignty) must find expression in her people’s decision to foster a meaningful and creative course that propels them toward their goals, aspiration and peaceful life in pursuit of freedom, justice and happiness under African democratic traditions of “each for all and all for each” without yielding to the whims of interests of other nations. In this respect, and a significant one, the acceptance of foreign military and propaganda bases on the soil of Ghana violates any meaning of sovereignty and hence renders independence that our forbearer fought for as laughable and stupid. This national stupidity, the selling of our people into a new slavery and the acceptance of imperialist deceptions find expressions in the fact that thinking in our contemporary Ghana and by logical extension, all Africa, has become a lost art, a casualty of colonial education that has forced the leadership to operate in the zone of cognitive imbecility and the masses to function in the zone of global ignorance and confusion.

The lost art of thinking has produced bizarre collective behavior where a passing through of a Western leader in our nation is considered as achievement; an invitation to a center of any Western power is considered as a major achievement. The process has degenerated into schizophrenic collective personality such that

“What the white man eats, he (African) eats; what he drinks and smokes, he (African) drinks and smokes, thereby securing what, in his deluded opinion, is considered the Hall-mark of respectability, civilization and refinements” [Attoh Ahuma]

These are done without asking a simple question whether they are good for him, his offspring and fellow Africans. Unproductive imitation is developed to a fine art of imbecility. When a European calls an African freedom fighter a terrorist, other Africans also call the same freedom fighter a terrorist. When the Ghanaian makes money in Ghana, he or she takes it to the desert lands of the West that historically have nothing to return to Ghana except racial insults, humiliation of the leaders and a mockery of the masses. It is operating in the same zone of cognitive imbecility that moved a number of Ghanaians to accuse Kwame Nkrumah’s government of shortages of milk and sardines without seeing the building of social infrastructure such as free water supply, free education and development of free health service system in support of the building of Ghana..

At this juncture an advice from one of eminent African thinkers from Gold Coast is in order.

“The most difficult problem of our times is how to think so that Africa may regain her lost Paradise….There are conditions more abiding and worth contending for, achieving and overcoming; in this sign we shall conquer, if we learn to think our hardest and strive to transmute our innermost thoughts into action for the safety of the public and the welfare of the race.” [Attoh Ahuma] The difficulty in thinking is shone in our analyses of global events and how they affect Ghana and Africa in terms of freedom, social progress and nation building. Let us think our hardest and answer some questions please! What does independence mean to us and the masses if our political leaders run around the world with beggar’s basket in search of crumbs? What meaning does independence have for our people if the social decision-making power is indirectly controlled from without? What meaning does sovereignty have for Ghanaians when we accept with pride foreign military bases and what uses does Ghana have of such bases relative to the building of Ghana? What is the difference between colonial slavery and neocolonial slavery? What sensibility does the social system have when we are proud to accept bankrupt idea of poverty reduction while well-to-do Ghanaians siphon out from Ghana resources to imperial desert lands that return nothing to our people except insults and humiliations? What is independence and what is sovereignty? Many such questions may be planted in our minds and remain there for our critical reflection and analyses while our national sprit waits for answers.

The implicit idea toward the definition of independence is that independence of Ghana must mean much more than just being free to fly our own flag and sing our own national anthem. Beneath the freedom to fly our own national flag and sing rhythmically our own national anthem is a demand on us to maintain a spirit of vigilance and cultivate creatively revolutionary qualities required for well-disciplined citizenry for building our nation and our continent. This is a simple but important ancestral call to help us to redefine our history and to make a lasting contribution to mankind. These revolutionary qualities must define a dynamic diameter of our knowledge and an increasing circumference of our vision as a nation. The vision is nation building that should inspire us to define and achieve our aspirations and the aspirations of our forebears without the dependence on external oppressive powers. The vision should move us to democratize education and health for all Ghanaian irrespective of creed, religions and political affiliations and to develop the required economic conditions in support of the dignity of Ghana while we keep in mind that internal subjugation is domestic colonialism whether we accept it or not.

Independence of Ghana must find meaning in the improvement in our economic, spiritual, and cultural conditions that must in turn find expressions in our collective freedom, and happiness which we do not have at the moment. Generally citizens do not run away from their prosperous and progressive countries to become objects of abuse in other countries. In light of these spiritual, material and cultural conditions we must seek to establish a revolutionary thinking framework that will allow us to create relevant institutions relative to the Ghanaian essence within the African essence. Such an essence must form the foundation to develop our own resources in creating and sustaining a level of socio-economic development from our human and non-human resources in support of our sustainable collective welfare and nation building.

The socioeconomic development must secure for all Ghanaians an increasingly higher standard of living, proper education that inspires thinking, good health care that inspires hard work and improved traditional culture that brings dignity, pride and confidence in our people as Africans. We are Africans and this fact of history cannot be changed just as the African pyramids are integral part of Africa and this historic fact cannot be altered. We have built proud things and we can build great things. The nation building must be the product of independence and it is the task of all, requiring the participation of all for the benefit of all and to secure collective freedom for all. We must put the control of the social decision-making process to the services of Ghana and Ghanaians by building institutions that will allow democratization of effort and reward. What is lacking now is critical thinking that must support the vision of unitary nation and nation building under Africa’s own democratic principle of each for all and all for each without which society has no foundational meaning.

The practical lesson that can be learned from this understanding and the meaning of independence relative to the vision of nation building is that Ghana can barely hope to maintain the initial conditions of her independence that offers us an opportunity, break the grip of out-dated international politico-economic relations and improve the economic basis of the lives of her citizens without actively and consciously transforming herself and the collective thinking of Ghanaians from within. Nobody can build Ghana but Ghanaians and from within and our inner strength. This statement also applies to Africa as a whole. Our current collective thinking, however, is inimical to our progress and freedom as well as subverts our independence. Our national life is in semi-paralyzed mode. Our collective cognitive machine has been dislocated by years of colonialism and colonial education. Our African personality is in disarray. The resulting consequence is simply that thinking has been replaced by loquacity, that is, people who talk too much and think too little.

Our current collective thinking fails to instruct us that the meaning of independence flows from the concept and practice of nation building. It fails to instruct us that sustainable national progress and nation building are from within but not from external empty proclamations. It fails to instruct us that poverty is due to lack of domestic production and increase productivity but not lack of foreign loans and giveaways. It fails to instruct us that it is only by the unselfish use of collective efforts of Ghanaians that our true independence can be achieved and sustained. It is only by our collective sweat that Ghana (Africa) can precede on the path of nation (continental) building and social progress. It is only by hard work that our people can become rich and poverty can be reduced. It is only by casting relevant institutions that our collective security and defense can be attained. It is only by our vision and practice of the nation building that tomorrow will reveal our ancestral wisdom and greatness. It is then and only then can our independence have a meaning for the individual and our collective freedom. The current realities are that Ghana is living and operating in the zone of neocolonialism and still at shadows of Western imperial order of poverty generation, racism, and exploitation of human and non-human resources. We can not stay the course. We must change the course by redefining our collective essence, personality, vision, purpose and national life that will support a meaningful political and socio-economic independence through taking advantage of the opportunity that political independence offers us to build and maintain our nation and continent for true freedom and justice.

(For extensive discussions on the African essence and corresponding African personality one is again refer to my two books: POLYRHYTHMICICITY: Foundations of African Philosophy and AFRICAN UNION: PanAfrican Analytical Foundations, Adonis-Abbey, London, 2006)

Department of Economics,
Howard University,
Washington, D.C. USA
Email: kdompere@howard.edu

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Dompere, Kofi Kissi