Dear Ace, counting my fingers, I realize our independence anniversary is around the corner. 6th March, isn’t it? It dawned on me a few days ago watching national television, and seeing the Volta region being prepared for the celebration.
But I should have known it from late last year, when we saw a circular from the Minister for Interior, reminding us of the 2023 calendar of holidays, with 6th March prominently displayed.
Those notices about holidays, the way we do that, tell us holidays are our national priorities, not hard work, not GDP. The Hon Minister’s announcement gives us long enough notice so we can plan towards days on which we can sleep the whoooole day, or rather walk with a swag to the beach and eat khebab.
Because this is 6th March, smartly dressed school kids also have to swing their arms marching, then respond with precision to a ‘military’ command of ‘eeeeyes right.’ Left right left right.
Dear Ace, for 66 years, we have repeatedly done ‘eeeeyes right,’ without getting anything right about independence. But there is something more ominous this year. This year 2023, on our 66th anniversary, I humbly pray we do everything possible to steer our national day away from CNN Breaking News.
Here is the news we should avoid: On Ghana’s 66th independence anniversary, a dependency agreement will be signed and sealed between the sovereign nation Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
That disaster indeed has already happened, as we wait with bated breath for IMF to proceed on a rescue mission, to make life a little easier for the ordinary Ghanaian.
I just flipped through the net, lazily browsing this strange computer before me, and realized we have knocked on the doors of IMF about 16 times since independence, beginning from 1966, after Osagyefo’s overthrow.
This must be less than a decade after Nkrumah’s celebrated boast that, we are capable of managing our own affairs. In primary school lingo, one can say we have done corrections upon corrections upon corrections upon corrections; yet we are still decades away from getting the right formula, woefully lagging behind our class mates in Asia. In primary school, the comment on our report card from Teacher Duncan was likely to be “Poor. Always joking in class.”
This simply means the situation has reached a point of desperation where, never before in our history, we resort to monetary haircuts to qualify for dependency. With this unusual turn of events, our preparations for 6th March should cease to be business as usual. Otherwise, our beloved country could become a global laughing stock. Dear Ace, must we continue celebrating independence with self-same salutes and same ‘eeeeeyes right’ knowing very well we shall continue to do everything wrong.
Times have changed, and we should come along, and learn even from younger nations. December 2022. Samia Hazan, the President of Tanzania cancelled Independence Day celebrations and directed that the budget be used to build eight dormitories for children with special needs. Her will was done. Tanzania is four years younger than Ghana. 2015, Hazan’s predecessor Magafuli used the Independence Day funds for road construction.
Dear Ace, what of our Independence day this year? Let’s dream of our school children marching early morning in protest against the menace destroying their future, poisoning their water bodies, taking them out of school, and inflicting deadly diseases in local streams.
Let the theme be ‘Think of the Kids: Stop Galamsey.’ Let the ministries of education, and of lands and mineral resources consult and organize this unique project. The ‘eyes right, and master saluting’ on independence days, are archaic and must stop this 6th March.
Allow the children to say No to Galamsey with placards, song and slogan, marching in every district across the country, and on billboards. Let individuals, industry and the media sponsor this project. And as the children take their destinies into their own hands, let us elders bow our heads in shame. We have failed our children.
Dear Ace, you and I are fighting a losing battle; as a nation, we are still looking on, as our children’s future is flushed down the drain.
Let’s use Independence Day marching with the kids. Ghana without IMF, and Ghana without Galamsey, will come one Day.