Tomorrow, Wednesday March 6 2019, Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo-Addo playing the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, would strut and preen the few paces from a reviewing stand and hop into a reviewing vehicle to inspect a parade of security services and schools in commemoration of Ghana’s 62nd Independence Anniversary. Following closely behind him, the Chief of Defence Staff and Inspector General of Police, his “body guards” for the parade, would be decked out in their impressive ceremonial garbs. The CDS in scarlet and the IGP in black with their ceremonial swords sheathed and hanging by their sides. Their lanyards would dangle authoritatively from their shoulders onto their chests and their caps would display specially embroidered coat of arms reserved for the very top ranks in the military and police. Their service medals, also on their chests would confirm that the ranks on their epaulets were well and truly earned. The massed bands of the Ghana Armed Forces and Police would play a selection of British/American/Ghanaian tunes to accompany the reviewing party, after which there would be a march past and then a presidential speech.
This presidential speech would be followed closely not only by Ghanaians but the whole of Africa because in just a little over two months, by the hand of the current government, Ghana would be turning her back on Africa by refusing to celebrate the May 25 AU Day holiday – the day of the continental body that Ghana midwifed to birth, first as Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and later the African Union in 2003.
This year’s Independence Day celebration has been moved out of Accra to Tamale in the Northern Region and as “Special Guest” an ECOWAS member head of state – Niger – would be at hand to grace the occasion. Ghana has a tradition of inviting an African head of state to join our independence celebrations, all the more reason why the abolition of AU Day is most baffling. The presence of the Nigerien head of state at this year’s parade is therefore either a cynical pretend pan Africanism or just a dishonest political ploy.
AU Day is a decision of the Union and some African countries do not only observe it religiously but have domesticated the AU anthem and flag into their protocols of State. So, what could the current Ghanaian government have so much against the AU that they will push us to break with the Union in that respect?
The abolishing of AU Day is part of a raft of new dates being introduced into Ghana’s calendar of holidays as well as the expunging of others we have held with reverence for decades. Our Republic Day is going, our Founder’s Day is going to be replaced by a Founders Day to be observed in August in commemoration of the founding of the UGCC (United Gold Coast Convention), which history records famously as not not responsible for the founding of Ghana on March 6 1957. The CPP (Convention Peoples Party) was!
This blatant attempt to re-write the history of Ghana to suit the narrow ahistorical partisanship of the current government has been commented upon by many patriotic Ghanaians as an egregious divisive policy derived from one and only one outlook: A visceral hate of Ghana’s Founding Father, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Playing up the UGCC as this government is doing cannot erase the historical fact of who declared Ghana’s independence on March 6 1957 and who replaced Queen Elizabeth II as our head of state on the epochal date of July 1 1960.
Even the Constitution Day imposed on January 7 is totally misplaced. Ghana’s constitution was voted upon in 1992, adopted and gazetted in 1992. It was the adoption that led to the elections of 1992 out of which a president was inaugurated on January 7 1993. That day is appropriately an Inauguration Day, that is if necessary at all to observe such a day as a public holiday.
Isn’t it embarrassing that the country that once linked its independence to the total liberation of the African continent is today celebrating its Independence Day delinking from the African Continent?
The government propaganda machinery has been most effusive in its adverts for tomorrow’s Independence Day parade but really, what’s in a parade which clearly has been disrobed of its dignity and gravitas and divested of its very original reason for being? Ghana is marching out of step from its original pledge to link our nationhood to the rest of the mother continent. Shame! Shame on those trying to revise our history! How pathetic!
Commentary by Oli A. Rahman, Tesano, Accra