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‘Why I weep for Ghana’ – Nunoo-Mensah explains

Brigadier-General (rtd) Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces has made worrying details of the state of our country today.On 6th March 1957, the Gold Coast became the first Black African country south of the Sahara Desert to achieve political independence from Great Britain. Dr Kwame Nkrumah had been invited by his one-time friend Ako Adjei to return to the Gold Coast to join the struggle towards political independence.

On arrival, Dr Nkrumah was appointed the General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention. Just a year later in 1949, dissatisfied with the progress being made towards political independence, Dr Nkrumah resigned from the UGCC and founded the Convention Peoples Party which gave a new impetus to the political struggle so that by 1951 it had become a dynamic political force in the country.

THE WESTERN TOGOLAND ISSUE

In 1956 when it became clear the Gold Coast was going to achieve independence from Great Britain the following year, a plebiscite was organized in the British Protectorate of Western Togoland under the auspices of the United Nations for the citizens of the former German territory to decide whether to join the Gold Coast to become an independent country or join Eastern Togoland which was under French rule.

The people of the territory decided to join the Gold Coast and thus became an integral part of the new state of Ghana. Although the decision had been made to join the Gold Coast to become a new State of Ghana in a free and fair election there were some people in the territory who had been opposed to that decision and continue to agitate against the political unification of the Gold Coast and Western Togoland.

Over the last several years, they had not posed much of a threat to Ghana but of late they had adopted a more aggressive posture and in the last few months conducted acts of terror against the State of Ghana. The reaction of the Government to these acts of terror has been lukewarm thus encouraging those perpetrating these acts of terror and intimidation to continue.Prior to the unification of the Gold Coast and Western Togoland towards the formation of the new State of Ghana the eastern part of the country and the Northern territories had been largely under-developed; for that reason, young men from these areas found employment in the military and the police service very attractive.

A lot of them were enlisted into the security services and they distinguished themselves remarkably. Many of them were exceptional. It was not surprising that a number of them rose to occupy some of the top positions in the security services. It is therefore not true as claimed by some of the secessionists that people from those parts of the country were unfairly treated. On the contrary, many of the top positions in the military for example were occupied by them.

When Ghana became independent in March 1957, the CPP Government embarked on a very aggressive and ambitious policy of building our infrastructure which included the construction of a number of industries across the length and breadth of the country. By the time the Nkrumah regime was overthrown in a military coup on 24th February 1966 a number of industries had been established all over the country. The Government set up the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation which coordinated these industrial activities and ensured that by the time of the coup Ghana was truly becoming a middle-level Industrial country.

However, the coup put an end to all these as successive Governments that followed the CPP regime progressively dismantled all these industries needlessly and ensured the country once again became dependent on foreign imported goods. It is a great shame that after over 63 years of independence and modest industrial growth, Ghana has today become heavily dependent on foreign imported goods including even fresh fruits and vegetables which were hitherto produced locally.

In 1992, after years of military rule, the Provisional National Defence Council which had come to power through a military coup under Flt Lt Rawlings decided to return the country to civilian constitutional rule. The 4th Republican Constitution was drawn up and in January 1993 the National Democratic Congress Party assumed power after winning the General Election in December 1992.

Although the New Patriotic Party boycotted Parliament the two political parties have ruled this country for the past twenty-eight years. These long years of political stability have not been rewarded with more socio-economic development as the economy continues to underperform.Today many thousands of young people who have completed university education and others roam the streets without finding any good-paying jobs to do. As their numbers continue to grow without government finding work for them to do they pose a serious security threat to the political stability of our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people; a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and not in any other particular individual or persons.

We have had a number of civilian administrations interspersed with military governments since independence in 1957. The civilian democratic governments have not behaved much different from the unelected military governments. Many decisions and policies have been made by these governments without exception which have violated the principles of democratic governance.

I have had great admiration for Dr Kwame Nkrumah but when the Preventive Detention Act was passed by parliament and that law subsequently sent many Ghanaians including Dr JB Danquah to prison without a trial, even as a young man at the time I was not amused the least. Nevertheless, when those in the opposition party came to power in 1969 following the coup that overthrew the Nkrumah regime in 1966 the Progress Party under Dr KA Busia behaved in a similar fashion.

When the Progress Party Government under Dr K A Busia dismissed ignominiously from office and one of them took the matter to court challenging his dismissal the judge ruled in his favour that his dismissal was illegal. The Prime Minister refused to accept the court’s ruling saying that no court could order the Government to employ anyone it did not want to.

Following the violent overthrow of the SMC regime in 1979 by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, in September of the same year, the AFRC handed power back to the Peoples National Party under Dr Hilla Limann. Barely three months later in November of the same year the Chief of Defence Staff and the Army Commander were dismissed from office. That singular action taken by the government played a major role in the coup of 31st December 1981 that toppled the PNP Government from office.

Copied from: Ghana web news

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