By: Felix Dari
Student, Biomedical Engineering (First Year)
Academic City University College
It has been proven time and again that the darkest hour heralds the dawn of day, and in much the same way, recognizing the various sectors that uphold the country plays an instrumental role in the country’s progress. As the nation steps into the new millennium, there could be no better opportune moment to broach this vital topic. Ghana is a country that spans across the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, and Togo to the east. Ghana appeared to be the first African country to gain self-rule from its colonial masters. It is therefore deemed expedient to showcase the qualities of our country as we mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of our political independence. Culture entails the distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features that characterize a society. Politics has to do with the way the country is influenced by politicians, and the economy depends on the production and consumption of goods and services.
To begin with, our customs and practices make us distinct. However, there exist some practices that have outlived their usefulness by virtue of their irrelevance and being out of touch with modernity. I would begin with the widowhood rites practiced among some tribes in the country. It is customary in some tribes for a widow to be fed on an egg for a week, walk barefooted for quite a long time, and even be refused a handshake at the funeral following the death of her husband. Is it necessary to subject them to such an ordeal?Equally appalling is female genital mutilation. It is self-evident that we are in a society where men run riot when it comes to sex, but no one has the legitimate right to exhibit puritanical tendencies by suppressing the libido of women. To add to this, the “trokosi” system is nothing but a bottleneck to Ghana’s progress. What this entails is that a girl is made to compensate for the sins committed by their parents against a god, and they end up as wives of fetish priests. Is it not an iniquity for an innocent girl to be emotionally tortured for no reason? We are in a country where women constitute a significant proportion of our population. We cannot afford to sacrifice a part of our population on the grounds of biological or sexual differences. This debases women and, as such, they are relegated to the background as baby-producing machines and domesticated animals of the kitchen. The practical realities of the day have rendered most of our customs and practices outmoded and should be banned outright if we are to move forward as a nation.
On the other hand, the nation is characterized by some customs that, on the whole, are regarded as necessary. A clear case in point is the celebration of festivals. This creates an avenue for reunion, and the different endowments of the people can be mobilized for national development. Festivals also serve as occasions to portray the rich cultural heritage of Ghanaians. Equally important is the naming ceremony. This happens seven days after a baby is born in an attempt to inculcate the spirit of truthfulness, in that calling a spade a spade becomes a rule. The puberty rite is no exception. This is the point at which ladies are formally ushered as sexually competent, which has an impact on morality and serves as a conferment to the family.
Furthermore, the political aspect of our country is based on the constitution and democracy. A person is deemed fit for a political position after the necessary references to the constitution are made. A politician derives their mandate from the expressed opinions of the people. The parliament of Ghana is characterized by a 275-seat parliament, representing the various constituencies. Before a politician is given a mandate, they need to have the hearts of the people beat to the same rhythm. This is usually achieved by mounting campaigns and demonstrating a sense of diplomacy and accountability. It is always a win-win situation, and as such, conferences are attended by politicians to juxtapose the truth with duplicity in order to gain favor. There is respect for the rule of law, which entreats that no one should resort to any unlawful means to gain power. Also, press freedom, independence of the judiciary, the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances entrenched in the constitution are urged to be strictly adhered to. The unfortunate aspect of this is seen in the unflinching desire of politicians to win power. They explore every avenue to dismantle the shackles of distrust in order to gain favor, which, in nine cases out of ten, leads to mendacious propaganda. Corruption becomes the opium of the masses, and each person has justification for misconducting him or herself. It has become a hydra-head problem from the top managerial hierarchy to the lowest sector. If this were not countered, categorically, we would be drenched in an unknown wilderness. Desperate diseases demand desperate remedies, and as such, a collective effort is necessary to nib this in the bud. Closely intertwined with politics is press freedom, which allows constructive criticism from the people against the policies if they are deemed directionless. This helps keep the government on track since the one cutting the path does not realize it is crooked behind them.
Moreover, the economy of Ghana is worth talking about as we commemorate the 65th anniversary. Ghana has a mixed economic system that entails private freedom and centralized planning. Ghana has a fast growing economy, but in most cases, it is undiversified and vulnerable to external stocks. It is hugely contingent on an increased demand for Ghana’s exports, improved businesses, the successful implementation of policies of poverty alleviation and the revitalization of enterprise support programs. In the year 2019, Ghana was ranked ninth among 47 countries in the sub-Saharan African region as the country with the fastest growing economy. The degree of economic freedom is above the regional average but below the world average. Ghana is among the largest producers of gold and cocoa. The horrifying consequences of COVID-19 could not be overemphasized as far as the economy of Ghana is concerned. Due to bankruptcy, Ghana remains at a higher risk of debt distress than most countries in the international monetary funds. To rise above this, there should be improvement in the primary sector.
In conclusion, this cannot be achieved on a silver platter. I envision that if we are ready to fight on all fours by giving ourselves no rest until we accomplish the mission that we have been commissioned to, the country would be moved to the forefront of the world. Let’s all do our part, because if we leave the country to rot, we won’t be able to blame ourselves.