Independence Day celebration: Its relevance in the season of Covid-19

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    Executive Director of Kandifo Institute, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah

    Sixth March of every calendar year is a statutory holiday for mother Ghana. It is celebrated yearly to remind the nation of her independence from colonial rule, precisely from the British. On the eve of independence, the first president of the new republic declared, “Ghana, our beloved country is free forever.” He also stated that, “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the entire African continent.”

    Dr Nkrumah further stated that the black man was capable of managing his own affairs. These declarations were made by the first president of Ghana on the basis of the demands and the requirements at the time. Ghana and other African countries were looking for independence and freedom from the colonial masters. And because Ghana is regarded as the gateway to Africa, we used the forum on our Independence Day to reiterate the commitment of Ghana to seeing to the total liberation of the entire African continent.

    Stage for development

    Fast forward, the entire African continent was able to overcome colonial rule and that the theme, the narrative and the objective for Independence Day celebrations also got shifted and moved away from colonization conversations to development centered discussions and objectives. In the recent past, themes for Ghana’s Independence Day celebrations have centered on how the nation can overcome its development setbacks and have breakthroughs for the betterment of citizens and generations unborn.

    And so, in the year 2013, the theme was “Investing in The Youth For Ghana’s Transformation’’. In 2014, the theme was “Investing in The Youth For Ghana’s Transformation’’. In 2015 it was “Achieving Transformation Through National Unity’’. The Independence Day celebration theme for the year 2016 was “Investing in the Youth for Ghana’s Transformation’’. In 2017, the theme was ‘’Mobilizing for Ghana’s Future’’. In 2018, we had ‘’Ghana Beyond Aid’’. In 2019, the theme was “Celebrating Peace and Unity’’. The 2019 edition was when peace had been restored in Dagbon for which the Independence Day celebrations was moved to the northern part of the country; it is the first of its kind in the history of Ghana when the great day had been celebrated outside of Accra, the nation’s capital city. In the year 2020, it was replicated in Kumasi at the Baba Yara sports stadium in Kumasi.

    Covid-19

    Currently, what confronts and threatens the nation’s very existence is Covid-19, a pandemic that has wrought the world with economic hardships and trade instability. The survival of countries in the world is dependent on how swift and smart they could be. At the time when we have not really found our balance, in terms of dealing with our own unique developmental problems, Covid-19 is also threatening us without mercy. Even though the pandemic has become a bottleneck to the global economy, we have a chance as a nation to fashion out strategies to become self-reliant and be independent indeed; shoving away all influence from the imperialist. Since there are two ways to a coin, we can look at the other side with optimism and come out of this predicament in a triumph.

    Whether we are able to do this or not depends on leadership. As a leadership and governance think tank, we are much interested in what the theme for this year’s Independence Day celebrations would be. We at the Kandifo Institute are of the view that, just as previous Independence Day celebrations were captioned to deal with issues confronting the development of the nation and also to spell out the objectives for the future, we expect to see how this great day would be used to chart a new era by giving a caption that will say it all about how we meander through these difficult times.

    At the Kandifo Institute, we share the belief that, Africa must be allowed to make its own mistakes. However, the covid-19 problem is a global one and it is not the time where other countries would try to dictate to the others. We think that we have experimented enough since becoming a republic sixty-three years ago. Ghana is turning sixty-four years on Saturday, March 6, 2021; the day must be made to count. This covid-19 era is a real test case on how we have learnt so far as a nation and how we can come out of this situation very strong; defining our own status and position on the global stage.

    The covid situation must have taught us to live like we are the only country on earth; having no other country to depend on for services and goods alike. We must have learnt to do things our own way without influence. It is indeed the time to prove that, yes, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs. It is the exact time to show that Ghana is truly the gateway to Africa.

    Self-reliance

    We were excited to hear from the president during his 24th address to the nation on covid-19 saying, “Ghana is looking into how she can manufacture her own covid-19 vaccines’’. We entreat that the effort must not end at just the vaccines; it must be extended to other sectors as production just as we have begun, on the verge of the one district one factory policy. It is surely the way to go and needs to be intensified. We must be able to do things for ourselves. We have to move away from dependence to actual independence. So, on the basis of this, the Kandifo Institute expect that the sixty fourth Independence Day celebrations  would be made relevant by announcing policies and themes that will reflect the current status of Ghana and her way forward beyond covid-19.

     

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