Lunatics, pomp and pageantry Jubilee celebrations
Filed Under: Opinion | Posted: 04/25/2007 at 8:16AM
Comments | Region: Ghana
Lunatics, pomp and pageantry Jubilee celebrations
“The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it’s linked with the total liberation of all African States”. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana, delivered this positive message at Accra Polo grounds at the time the country won her Independence, on March 6th, 1957.
The message further prepared other African countries the hope to press for their independence.
Early this year, March 6th, 2007, Ghana celebrated her Golden Jubilee in a grand style with pomp and pageantry. The celebration brought many sons and daughters from the Diaspora into the country.
Almost 27 Head of States in other Africa countries attended the function. Chief Daniel Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria was the guest of honour and the Kent of Duke, representing Queen Elizabeth the second.
One of the most ecstasy moments was when Busumuru Dr. Kofi Annan, the immediate UN Boss, came with his wife to the country from a long absence to duty. Thousands of people had thronged into the Kotoka International Airport to welcome him
Before the celebration, the minority parties including the National Democratic Congress NDC, being the largest opposition party complained of being excluded from activities marking the celebration by the incumbent party, the New Patriotic Party NPP.
The major debate that sparked before and even after the celebration was the allocation of US$20 million budget allocated for the celebration. Out of which US$6 million were used to purchase expensive cars for the invited personalities who were to spend few days in the country.
The argument was that the amount was very huge for a country rated as Highly Indebted Poor Country HIPC and the need to channel some of the money to various sectors that could ensure the human resource base. Those in favour argued that the amount is rather small for a country that has reached 5o years.
Conspicuously missing at the time of the celebration was the former President Jerry John Rawlings. Who handed over his transition to the current President John Agyekum Kufour. In a news statement send by his special aide, Victor Smith, Rawlings noted that "Ghana is faced with pervasive corruption at all levels, missed opportunities for genuine progress, nepotism, tribalism and known cases of political torture and killings. There is also decay of our local industry, the breakdown of our educational system and an empty façade of good governance. I therefore deeply regret that I cannot join Kufuor’s government for this anniversary."
The absence of the former president generated debate and shattered the hopes of people who wanted to see the two leaders sharing the same platform as a form of unity and reconciliation.
Earlier, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly AMA, have evacuated all hawkers on the streets to a new market in order to create sanity .They tidy the streets of Accra and those who have their building on road sides had been warned to repaint.
The most interesting part was when the Ghana@50 Secretariat promised 800 million cedis to the AMA in an exercise to get rid the city lunatics to the Psychiatric hospital.
Many human rights advocates kicked against such measures by the Ghana@50 Secretariat to the AMA. One such organization was the Mind Freedom, which said such orders were in gross violation of the rights and dignity of the affected, saying who would be forced against their will.
The hospital authorities have said they would resist any attempt to “dump” lunatics on them since facilities there are nothing to write home about. Indeed, the Psychiatric hospital is already choked with mental derailment people who are “dumped” by their relative without coming to see their welfare.
The secretary of Mind Freedom, Mr. Dan Taylor has advised the government to come out with a comprehensive plan to support hospitals to better manage the mental patients to enable their re-integration into society.
The question is simply this, is dumping lunatics at the psychiatric hospital because of anniversary the rightful way?.
The Department of Social Welfare and health authorities need to draft a proposal that would identify a long-term solution to the problem. Hence the need for government to allocate budget that would ensure the smooth effectiveness of such departments.
Families and friends ought to desist from discrimination rather show compassion and love to their affected people. This would make the victims even come back to normalcy.
Well, although Ghana started with the Asian Tigers but they have gone far yet the country is walloping in abject poverty. This country was better than most peer countries they started together with but visionless and parochial leadership have let the country down.
Interestingly, Chinese firms manufactured the anniversary cloth without given the chance to the local Textile firms in the country.
The growth of every country can be developed by her people therefore the need to strengthen institutions and broaden the human resource base of the country. National cake ought to be shared equally and opportunities need to be given to the local indigenous to develop her nation.
The power play and niggling debates would not help a country.
The writer is a journalist and a member of the Association of Young Journalist and writers AYJW, Social worker.