Africa, averagely, has attained fifty years of independence. Every year, all its countries celebrate their independence day. That’s a logical thing to do. Who doesn’t do it? But a critical question to ask is, why do we really celebrate our independence day? What have we done with the independence we won? To clarify my point, let look at a few issues in our educational sector: lots of our B.E.C.E graduates find themselves in the undesired part of Gauss’ bell. How many senior high schools with the status of Achimota School have any of our post-independence leaders built? Over 55 years of independence and we still don’t have enough universities for our citizens to “free theirs minds”. Even the few that end up graduating from the few universities hardly get any work to do, or have the capacity to set up businesses.
In health, Guggisberg’s 1920’s Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is still one of the few hospitals in our part of the world equipped to perform brain surgeries and other procedures that could save many lives. Even our primary health care is not sufficient to deal with primary health issue s of our society – many are still born without records, vaccinations, and much more end up dying for ridiculous reasons without our knowledge or even what killed them. Common portable water is a problem for a large portion for our population. So what is it we celebrate on Independence Day?
Most of our leaders, elected by the secret ballot or not, cannot defend our values, ideas and goals. First of all, I would say we don’t even have any goals for ourselves. That’s why we have to follow someone’s Millennium Development Goals. It’s like our politicians come into public office without a clue of what to do for the benefit of the nation (certainly they intend to get rich by the time they leave office). Most of our African leaders make Lumumba, Nkrumah, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Chavez etc. look evil. What happens is that, our leaders are made rich by the guys at the center (or in the west), and they drain our resources towards that direction. That’s why don’t even own the gold mines in our own country. It’s not so weird the amount of petroleum products we use is so different (in the negative manner) from what we refine. We basically just exchange the “few “things we have for perishable goods like cars, and at the end, we run out of crude oil etc. and what we bought is no longer functional either. Then what? Had I know they say … (fill in the blank spaces). Marx and our own Nkrumah wrote about such things but I guess we don’t even know that. That’s what we should expect when we don’t know what do to with our education system.
Put two TV screens apart and play a Ghanaian movie on one and a Hollywood movie on the other then let in a group of youth. Observe what will happen. You know which they will watch. It’s no secret. It’s no longer a surprise we dress like what we see in the movies, speak like them and behave like them, all to our own disadvantage. At the end we prefer their way of life to the own. A student in our university prefers to wear an Adidas bag and a Nike pair of sneakers than anything made in Ghana. Even when we go abroad, we can’t confidently wear our kente or any other tradition African attire. We prefer to wear “coat and tie”. All this happens because we don’t utilize our communications media well. The few that we have dedicate a good part of their airtime to propagate western culture. The same western culture that gives a bad image of our continent: the continent of hunger, war and disease. The human brain believes anything that is repeated to it several times. Political parties also use it in their propaganda machinery.
Like I mentioned earlier, very few of Ghanaians access the universities. The few who manage to graduate don’t have anything to do. Those who set up businesses stand very little chance of success in their own country because we and our government prefer to award contracts to foreign companies. Our government doesn’t trust Ghanaians to build a palace for our President, or stadia for our soccer loving folks. What do we expect the Ghanaian to do? Why do we even send our children to school if at the end we don’t give them a chance to solve our problems? I thought universities were established to train people to solve society’s problems.
In conclusion, we have no economic power because those we delegated our political power (independence and sovereignty) to have traded it to their masters and their companies for pieces of silver. As long as this happens, we shall continue the way we are. Take caution if those who killed Lumumba, Gaddafi and co start singing praises at you. It may be that you’re doing so well for your people or you’re doing so well for them (the imperialists). The future in in your hands (in fact in your thumb)!
Andrew S. DZEBU