7 December 2012

Ghana Will Make It Again!


"Post-independence political history of Ghana has been characterised by democratic elections, coups and counter coups. Ghana since independence has had five civilian administrations and four military regimes"-remarked Prof Irene K. Odotei (January 11, 2008).

All of us are praying for peaceful elections in tomorrow. For close to twenty years of uninterrupted democratic experiment, Ghanaians are right to say they have achieved a lot.

Details of Ghana's socio-politico-economic and cultural situation, as dated back to pre-colonial days, would be hard to narrate now. But I am aware that about five major ethnic groups exist in Ghana, namely the Guan, Ga-Dangme, Akan, Ewe and Mole-Dagbani.

History says the Guans, made up of the Lartehs, Efutus, Awutus and Gonjas, were the first to settle in Ghana, as the Ga-Dangmes also comprise the Gas and Dangmes, who are located mainly at Ga Mashie, Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua, Tema, Krobo, Ningo, Kpone and Prampram.

The Akans, we are told, embody the Akyems, Fantes, Asantes, Akuapems, Kwahus, Sefwis and Nzemas, usually with partially variable customs, traditions and beliefs.

Ewes have been affiliated to the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family. But in Ghana, they are identified as Anlos, Vedomes, Tongus, Avenos and Aves.

The Mole-Dagbani encompasses the Nanumbas, Dagbanis, Mamprusis, Walas, Builsas, Frafras, Talensis and Kusasis.

The beef of this piece is to hype the need for unity and solidarity, though it appears we vary in cultures and traditions. Inter-tribal marriages, religion, politics, sports and games can be used as tools for this oneness.

For now, let's focus on our post-colonial experiences, which are a bit undulating, though we have made some strides in areas of constitutional democracy, rule of law, internal security and social justice.

On March 6, 1957, Ghana attained its independence with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as its first President. This actually inspired other African nations to also follow suit.

He was, however, overthrown in a military coup by Lt. Gen. Joseph Arthur Ankrah of the National Liberation Council (NLC) on 24th February, 1966. He was also eventually removed in April 1969 by Lt. Gen. Akwasi Amankwah Afrifa, who subsequently formed a three-man Presidential Commission.

The commission paved the way for general elections in 1969, which produced Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia of the Progress Party (PP) as Prime Minister, and Mr. Edward Akufo-Addo as President.

Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong's National Redemption Council (NRC), which later became the Supreme Military Council (SMC), overthrew the PP government on January 13, 1972, but was also removed by Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo in a palace coup in July 1978.

On June 4, 1979, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), chaired by Flt. Lt. J.J Rawlings, toppled the SMC regime, but handed over power to Dr. Hilla Limann of the People's National Party on September 24, 1979, after general elections.

Again, on 31st December, 1981, Flt. Lt. Rawlings used the Provisional National Defence Council to kick out the Limann government.

Another door of constitutional democracy was opened on January 7, 1993, where Flt Lt Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) got elected through the ballot on November 3, 1992, for a four-year mandate over Prof Albert Adu Boahen of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and others.

The Rawlings-led NDC again, won the December 7, 1996 polls over the main contender John Agyekum Kufuor of the NPP.

The 2000 and 2004 elections were all won by J.A. Kufuor, over his closest challenger Prof John Evans Atta Mills of the NDC. Observers have described all the polls as being successful.

On December 7, 2008, Prof J.E.A. Mills was declared winner over the NPP's Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, but his leadership abruptly ended on July 24, 2012, following his demise.

The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana automatically made Vice-President John Dramani Mahama President to serve the remaining term of the late President Mills.

Today, we shall head for the polls again, with the expectation that the EC will effectively and efficiently deliver on its mandate again, as the police and the security agencies maintain law and order throughout the process.

The media cannot be under-rated, since information flow is very crucial in an exercise of this magnitude. Polling agents must be wide alert, so that their parties will not feel cheated. This, however, does not call for unnecessary suspicions and alarms.

Let's eschew practices like fighting, snatching and the burning of ballot boxes, and work towards a free, fair, transparent and peaceful exercise. Your vote is your power, so cast it wisely.

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