The fight for independence in Gold Coast was characterized by a great sense of commitment and loyalty to the cause of a free and sovereign nation. The founding fathers of the country ignited a sense of patriotism among the people of the British colony. A call for independence, though marred
with bloody internal struggles especially during the rise of the National Liberation Movement (1954 – 1957), was born out of the need to see a prosperous nation where the youth can work, children can play and the old well cared for. As Dr. Kwame Nkrumah famously declared in his independence speech on 6th March, 1957, “we are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, that we are prepared to lay our foundation – our own African identity.” The basis for the struggle of independence was patriotism rather than aggrandizement.
The First Military Coup
After the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, first President and Prime Minister (1956 – 1966), the new birthed nation was plunged with various military coups carried out by officers of the Armed and Police Forces in Ghana assisted by foreigners who would not allow any form of economic
independence in the newly formed state. These officers regardless of their personal sentiments did not prioritize the unity and peace of Ghana. According to Colonel E.K Kotoka, the military coup of 1966 was a nationalist one because it liberated the nation from Nkrumah’s dictatorship.
The Second Republic
Dr. K.A. Busia a strong opponent of Kwame Nkrumah won the 1969 elections as a leader of the Progress Party. With a majority of 59 percent in popular vote and 74 percent of the seats in the National Assembly, he won the election over Komla A. Gbedemah who led the National Alliance of
Liberals. Within twenty – seven months, the Busia government became a victim to an army coup led by Lt.Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. . The reason given by the military is the country’s continuing economic difficulties. As the leader of the anti-Busia coup declared on 13th January 1972, “even those amenities enjoyed by the army during the Nkrumah regime were no longer available.”
The Second Military Coup
The National Redemption Council (NRC) sought to create a truly military government hence in October 1975, the ruling council was reorganized into the Supreme Military Council (SMC) and it membership restricted to a few senior officers. Little input was allowed from the civilian sector. SMC
believed that the young nations’ problem was due to lack of organization which could be remedied by applying military thinking. In July 1978, there was a palace coup which saw the introduction of Lt- Gen. Frederick W.K. Akuffo. Akuffo, the new SMC chairman in public promised to hand over political power to a new government to be elected by 1 July 1979. The ban on political parties was lifted on 1 January 1979. The constitutional assembly that had been working on a new constitution presented
an approved draft and adjourned in May 1979. All appeared to be set for a new constitutional government in July when a group of young army officers overthrew the SMC in June 1979.
The Third Republic and Third Military Coups
The coup carried out by Flt.Lt. Jerry Rawlings in 4th June 1979 against the SMC was short lived as he handed over political power to a constitutionally elected President in the person of Dr. Hilla Liman.
Rawlings believed the Liman regime was unable to solve Ghana’s economic dependency and led a second coup on 31st December, 1989.
The Fourth Republic
The fourth republic has survived since 1992. Ghana has had five constitutionally elected Presidents and eight consecutive Parliaments. That is the longest democracy Ghana has enjoyed since her independence. This puts the responsibility of achieving a truly independent commonwealth in the hands of the people. The time to revive the nature of patriotism and nationalism among us is now. We the people need to implement the economic and social change that motivated the various
We need to use elections to demand leaders who are accountable in the executive and legislature. We have stalled our development as a nation due to self-seeking activities which cuts across all aspects of our lives. The multi-party nature of the Fourth Republic offers an opportunity for the youth to demand the leaders we want. We do not owe allegiance to any political party but our motherland.
We will not accept mediocrity from politicians who enjoy our sweat and forget our senior citizens. We will not accept a government that will use propaganda to stifle our progress and continue to create an environment where only unemployment and depression thrives. We will use the
insurgence of education and technology to overthrow the old ways. The pen is our mighty sword. As V.L.K. Djokoto rightly wrote in his article Youth Idealism, Calculated Pragmatism and Timeless Foresight “the task of enacting this most supreme Republic on a hill shall be arduous and
painstaking. But the energies of the cosmos are on our side and our feet are washed by the indomitable mogya of our ancestors for the onward noble march to progress”. We can’t fail the next generation! We need a renewed mind to arise for our motherland.