Ghana at 65 – The successes and failures
Ghana is an amalgam of the Crown Colony: Ashanti Protectorate; Northern Territories and Trans-Volta-Togoland, crafted to suit the purposes and convenience of the British, who were ruling the country before independence on 6th March 1957, when Dr Kwame Nkrumah took over.
It is important to note this fact, as the sages say: “If one does not know where one is coming from it would be unlikely that one would know where he or she is going.”
This saying is obvious because for Ghana at 65, some of her citizens still wonder over what the future holds for them.
It, therefore, calls for a sober reflection on the gains and burdens of a nation at 65. This is the time to take stock of this long and arduous journey to appreciate where the journey takes the nation.
The big question analysts would ask is: Has the dream of Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah unfolded today? Does it express the just hopes of the people? Is it a good chariot for the journey?
These and many more questions should be constantly raised even if answers cannot be found for all of them. Every citizen of this country has reason to be thankful to the Almighty God for the ability of this fragile and artificially crafted nation to endure.
While other nations like the Czech Republic and former Yugoslavia had succumbed to the artificiality of their creation and torn apart along their seams due to pressures exerted by creed, ethnicity, and inefficient administration, Ghana has held together and has endured to the threshold of 65 years of nationhood.
The country could have lived the Nkrumah dream much more realistically but be it as it may it is still grappling with potable water supply to some areas, occasional chieftaincy disputes, labour issues, human rights and freedom of speech. An elixir that can help propel the nation towards its speedy development is most welcomed.
The Upper west Region
As the country celebrates its 65th birthday, it is significant to limit the conversation to the Upper West Region and to identify relevant historical documentation worth celebrating.
This year, the Upper West Region is celebrating the 65th Independence Day at the Nadowli/Kaleo District. This is refreshing news because shifting the celebration to the districts would surely project those areas to attract investors.
The region is indeed endowed with tourists’ attraction sites, namely the the Wa Na Palace, the Jaripa Dubai and the Gwollu Anti-Slavery Defence Wall.
Mr Mohammed A. Sukparu, the Member of Parliament for Sissalla West, had course to make a case in Parliament a fortnight ago, cataloging the tourism potential of the area and the revenue it can generate for the country.
“Tourism is one of the largest contributors to Ghana’s GDP, contributing up to 3.3 billion dollars in 2019. This figure dropped by almost half in 2020 with the sector contributing only 1.9 billion dollars according to statistics from the Ghana Tourism Authority; a decline highly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent reduction in the number of foreign tourists who visit the country,’’ he said.
He said the decline in revenues from this sector partly due to the pandemic is a wakeup call to encourage domestic tourism by improving and marketing tourists’ attractions in the country to attract more Ghanaians to participate.
The Sissala West District, Mr Supkaru said, possessed tremendous tourism potentials, which must be urgently harnessed to generate revenue for government, provide employment for the citizenry and enhance general development in those areas.
He mentioned the Gbele Forest Reserve as the fourth largest in Ghana, housing some of the rarest wild animal and bird species, ranging from antelopes, baboons, green monkeys, elephants, violet turacos, yellow-billed oxpeckers and warthogs. These natural endowments and scene of wonders are, however, being left untapped due to lack of investment to make the reserve attractive.
It is high time the Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, put the Gbele Reserve on the radar.
Other tourist attractions include the Kalgbe Crocodile Pond, home to hundreds of crocodiles in Gwollu, the Gwollu Slave Defence Wall and the Worugu Slave Escape Rocky Mountains, which are magnificent works of art.
The slave wall could be Ghana’s own version of the Great Wall of China; both built for same reason. Just as the Great Wall of China is branded to remain a colossal tourist attraction to this century, we can also brand and improve the remnants of the Gwollu Slave Defence wall to attract both local and foreign tourists.
The tomb of Dr Hilla Limann, the former President of the Third Republic, also lies in Gwollu and its tourist potentials must be explored.
The Sissala West District is a very traditional one, upholding cultural practices from many generations, which are showcased during festivals in various communities all year long.
A visit to Gwollu would be inconclusive without visiting the Gwollu Bone Setting and Fertility Centre. The centre is notable for its ability to cure impotence in men and improve sexual health and longevity without any known side effect.
In other jurisdictions like China, Mexico and Russia, ancient herbal medicinal practices are still very attractive to the citizens. It can be replicated in Ghana with little push from government. Gratefully, Gwollu is endowed with such a centre, which renders the most desired of herbal medications anywhere on the planet earth.
The residents of Jefisi in Wa are renowned for their mastery of the cure for leprosy and have been in the practice of these traditional medicines for centuries, which are capable of healing fractured bones and disabilities.
Mr Supkaru said the tourism potential of the Sissala West District was enormous and called on government, corporate Ghana, foreign investors and individuals to invest there to contribute to both government and private revenue generation, reduce unemployment and promote the development of the area.
Kuoro Kuri-Buktie Limann IV, the Paramount Chief of the Gwollu Traditional Area, emphasised the need to develop all tourist sites in the Region. He bemoaned the deplorable road network from Wa to Gwollu and those in the Gwollu town, saying they have nothing to write home about.
The abandoning of Dr Hilla Limann’s tomb was another major concern the Chief expressed and appealed to the government to rehabiltate it and tar all roads leading to Gwollu to serve as an honour in memory of Dr Limann.
Kuoro Limann appealed to Ghanaians to remain patriotic, maintain the peace, and desist from acts with the tendency to divide the nation as she celebrates the 65th Anniversary.
In unity lies our strength. And as the bells ring to remind us of the birth of Ghana, our beloved country, it is significant to reflect soberly on the gains and failures. We must remain bold, fearless and defend the good name of Ghana, our motherland.
The year 2022 should, therefore, mark a beginning and a milestone for Ghanaians to rise up to the occasion and make poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and misery things of the past.
This way, the nation would begin its triumphant march for progress. Ghana must succeed. It cannot be left behind. The future of Ghana is bright and hopeful. The celebration of the 65 years, as a nation, is justified.
By Caesar Abagali