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Ghana at 60 celebrations can wait


ghanaindependenceThere has been a lot of fuss and righteous anger over the government’s decision to mark the country’s 60th independence anniversary with elaborate celebrations.

Ghanaians are understandably miffed that given the nation’s precarious financial state, their government will even contemplate spending bucket-loads of money to finance the event.

Facing a backlash, the Akuffo Addo’s government strenuously denied that it intends to spend lavishly on observing the 60th occasion of Ghana’s freedom from British colonial rule.

In fact, the president himself told reporters last week that celebrations this time around will be modest. Modest? I think Mr. Addo was not being truthful; he engaged in semantics to throw off Ghanaians.

By modest, did he mean a large scale back on the monies that will be dispensed or smaller crowd sizes at functions around the country?

He just threw the word out there and thought Ghanaians will buy it. Everyone remembers the obscene spending and corruption that characterized the Ghana at 50 independence anniversary.

Mr. Addo’s reassurances are not convincing; there is widespread suspicion that his government will do what previous governments had done, spend massively to observe an occasion that could best be marked with prayer services in churches and mosques around the country.

I clearly understand the government’s desire to do something, however, small, on March 6. It wants to showcase our country’s continued survival as a sovereign entity, in charge of its own affairs and making huge strides in an increasingly sophiscated world.

What is more, our political leaders want to announce to all those who are listening and watching, that our country has remained intact 60 years after driving out its colonial masters, has held four very successful democratic and participatory elections, and has not suffered the nation-wrecking tribal conflagrations convulsing other African nations.

In essence, the message, our leaders want to send out is that ours is a story of immense political success.

Of course, which Ghanaian in his/her right mind won’t want to celebrate our nation’s remarkable political growth and resilience? We will all be happy, jubilant and cheerful on March 6.

We will hold our nation high and render unqualified gratitude to those who laid the foundation for what our nation has become.

But at the same time, we oppose any elaborate and ostentatious spending on an anniversary that should rather be a day for somber reflection on how far we have come as a nation and the challenges that lie ahead.

During the campaign and immediately after he was sworn in, Mr. Addo made it abundantly clear to Ghanaians that the country’s coffers are dry. “We are flat broke,” he said.  Well, if we are penniless, why the rush to spend precious money that we don’t have?






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