The Joy FM Independence Day debate is on. Two of Ghana's profound hard hitting political personalities are crossing swords on a controversial topic: "Ghana’s independence has lost its meaning."
For the motion is Dr Amoako Baah, head of the Political Science Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; against it is Prof Agyemang Badu Akosa, a member of the CPP.
The two would attempt a thorough assessment of Ghana's 58 years of Independence after which a consensus will be reached on the way forward on Ghana's development agenda.
Moderating this all controversial debate to climax the Ghana Month programme organised by Joy FM is Prof Stephen Adei former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Listen to their arguments in the audio below:
Dr Richard Amoako Baah Speaking for the motion:
Independence is a state of being on your own where you have no boss and make decisions on your own. self-sufficient means you’re not influenced unduly by others and your destiny is in your hands. By this definition alone, if you reflect, you can tell that all is not right with Ghana
How did we get here? We cannot talk about Ghana's independence without taking about Nkrumah.
When Ghanaians engage in discourse, we tend to engage in political rhetoric instead of being realistic.
When I was young Nkrumah was my god but then I grew up. What happened? With such a promising future, what happened?
Danquah, Busia and others went to school in the UK, where you’re accepted if you’re educated. However in the USA, if you are a black man and educated, you’re a bad man. That is what Nkrumah faced. Came from a poor family, scrounged about to get to the USA, got a degree in theology, a masters and presented his Phd dissertation, only for it to be turned down for being too radical. Sheik Anto Diopp?
He was a physicist who became more interested in Egyptology and knew it was all fabrication by white people to prove they were justified in subjecting us. Switched to anthropology. Dissertation proved that early pharaohs of Egypt were all Africans. Phaoroh Kuffo won’t be found because was changed to Thiope.Unlike Nkrumah, Diopp did not give up. Eventually, professors came to agree with him that he was right. Nkrumah had a similar situation. Was angry, hurt, and left for Britain and was recommended by Ako Adjei to join UGCC. This part is very important to keep in perspective when you analyse his situation.
Nkrumah came, was in a big hurry, and the very people who would have helped him, became his enemies. November 1957 was when the UP was formed. Nkrumah was able to galvanise the ordinary people but what did the ordinary person know about governance?
This is why we had someone like Krobo Edusei become minister although he was practically uneducated.
Right from the moment of independence, it started.
There's a reason why two years after independence, Nkrumah returned to Ghana and was met with a sign reading, “Welcome back Mr Dictator”.
We have to tell it with integrity and truthfulness.
Prof Akosa speaking against the motion:
After almost 150 years of British subjugation, what worries me is intellectuals who think that after 58 yrs of independence, we should forget about that.
Nowhere has Independence given on a silver platter, and Ghana would have to go through certain process to have its independence.
It took Nkrumah and his team to move the energy and intellect of Ghanaian masses, though not well uneducated, these masses shook the British and gave us independence.
Unlike America that decolonized itself after independence and changed everything including language – domestication, Ghanaian elites rather loved Britain more than the British loved themselves.
So instead of helping build the nation after independence, Busia and his like rather engaged in incremental participation.
It took some Africans living in Ghana like Wallace Johnson to support the radicalism process initiated by Nkrumah.
Nkrumah after independence revolutionalised everything including healthcare and education – building more schools and health facilities hitherto were few serving the colonial masters. White virtually ignored places they knew they were not getting anything from, typical example being the north of Ghana.
But things quickly moved at top gear after independence because Osagyefo felt everyone needs education and health care.
Intellectuals should not forget where Ghana came from under the colonial rule just like the way the Jews keep remembering the holocaust. We should revisit the dehumanizing condition the colonial masters subjected Africans to. Yet these same people are now preaching human rights.
The situation was bad that even scientists orchestrated moves to portray Africans as people of low intellect.
Because of our natural resources, the they are using conventions after independence to keep us where we are. Neocolonialism.
Singapore and the others developed because they used their intellect, but Ghana was not given such chance because of the colonial masters interest in our resources. They also used Ghanaians elite like Busia to bring Nkrumah’s government down because he was not giving the country away to them.
Nkrumah believed we are independent so should be allowed to make our mistakes and correct them.
Why did it take CIA, MI6 and France, to overthrow Nkrumah?
Most people forget that when KA Busia let this country, he went to seek help in throwing Nkrumah. De Gaulle was looking for a chance to get rid of Nkrumah and jumped at the opportunity.
People did not know how to do politics. Nkrumah knew that the ordinary person was important. He was not elitist. Those who were elitist banded together.
I would not want to be a subjugated and sublet person. All of us are complicit in the situation in Ghana today. 11 years of Rawlings and the PNDC and no one was willing to fight. At the time in 1966, we were well ahead of all the others we compare ourselves to. If you stop thinking of your country and start thinking of yourself, it takes just 5 years for everything to crumble. We should be blamed ourselves for where we are today.
A people who were throwing black bodies into the sea and much worse, today they have forgotten what they did.
What is wrong with making mistakes?
Dr Amoako Baah :
I’m having such a hard time because I realise our students cannot think. They cannot reason, it’s almost like pulling their teeth. At several times I’ve thought of quitting but by 3rd year I see improvement and that has made me go on.
You live in a country and people are galvanised to fight for independence and Ghanaians think we are free. The same happened in Cuba. Castro’s Cuba fought for independence and they thought they didn’t have to work.
When you live in a country with so much hope and resources at its disposal and the 1t president takes over and the people who could have helped him became his enemies.
The people Nkrumah suspected of trying to assassinate him belonged to the CPP.
If you institute president for life, PDA, prevention detention act, what other is left.
This man called Kotoka fought a real war and thought he would die. I was a young pioneer myself but when Nkrumah was overthrown, there was a genuine jubilation in Ghana. We were suffocating but if you love your independence and freedom today, think about it. How justifiable is it for one person to say he is the only one who knows what to do.
Maybe I could have done better than Nkrumah but would I have been given the chance?
Coming from America, why did Nkrumah not see that he was a threat to America? We have talked about subjugation for far too long. That has been human nature for ever. If truth be told, we were engaged in slavery before the white man came over and took over.
The fact is, the Europeans were fighting among themselves. It was not that they targeted us entirely but that when they came here they took advantage.
In America they had two options, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Malcolm said if a white man shoots you, shoot him back. MLK said don’t fight. He shamed America and made them look at themselves in the mirror, forced them to face their moral faults.
Right now we are the step children of the IMF. Are we on our own do we know what we are doing?
I’d have no doubt at all that there has been discrimination against black people. Learn the rules well, it’s the name of the game. It makes no sense to say you’re a socialist. What does it mean? Did we come up with that? We have tried to come up with our own game but no one is learning that game so let us learn it.
When china ceded Hong Kong to UK because they wanted to sell heroin and 1million people became addicted to the drug, China gave them British with their big guns, the island for 99 years to conduct their illicit opium trade. UK gave Hong Kong back to China after China demanded it back.
Yes, we can complain but we have complained too long. It’s time to learn the game very well and hit them.
Prof Akosa :
I want to maintain that Ghana’s independence has not lost its meaning.
Ghana gained independence and education became free. People who had free education have conspired to make education an elitist thing. Today, how many hospitals do we have? We even have an NHIS. It’s almost like Ghana believes we should be able to change things overnight.
Lee Kwan Yew would have been considered a dictator by Ghanaians but he is being praised by them now.
Yet when opposition people in parliament boycotted parliament for good, you voted to stay in parliament and make our case.
There’s so many things that we talk about that I say that if the jews will not allow the world to forget the holocaust, we should not let them forget about slavery and subjugation.
We sit down and allow ourselves to be almost subservient in everything we do.
Ghana’s independence prepared us for accelerated progress but you and I do not allow that and sit down and say Independence has lost its meaning.
When you vote for politicians who only want to make money for themselves, whose fault is it?
The fact that you will not be shot at the 28 February crossroads is enough for you. We should know that Ghana can only be built by you and I.
Individualism has become the day. We sing 'yen ara asaase ni'. But selfishness has become the order of the day.
Whatever has happened in this country, we still have the platform for accelerated development. You still have your vote.
If we say independence has lost it meaning then sergeant Adjetey, Attipo, etc would have lost their lives in vain.
If you are prepared to lend a hand, do so and stop being a passive player in this game.