Ghana toppled by cia 9 years after brit indepedence
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Ghana - 50 years on
05/03/2007 14:26 - (SA)
Accra - Fifty years of independence, four republics, three successful military coups, several failed attempts, five civilian governments, three military governments and nine leaders - that is the chequered history of Ghana, which celebrates its golden jubilee on Tuesday, March 6.
Now, however, the country believes it is on auto pilot on a smooth super highway towards democracy.
When Ghana achieved independence from Britain in 1957, there were high hopes for the West African state as it blazed the trail. The country's flag of red, gold and green with a black star in the middle was the pride of Africa.
Being the first country south of the Sahara to be free, its first president Kwame Nkrumah told his countrymen that they had to work hard and show that Africans were capable of managing their own affairs.
Nkrumah, a Pan-Africanist to the marrow, embraced the continent, and Ghana became the Mecca for freedom fighters who sought to achieve independence for their countries.
Historians describe him as an anti-colonial, anti-neo-colonial, and anti-imperialist leader who emerged as one of the most influential Pan-Africanists of the 20th century.
It was this stance that pitched him against powerful Western leaders, culminating in a CIA-sponsored US coup against him in February 1966.
Coups and military governments
Tnti-Nkrumah politicians described him as a dictator who threw his enemies into jail to justify the coup, but pro-Nkrumah supporters have described the 1966 coup as the worst thing that has happened to Ghana.
They argue that Ghana would have been a better place if the coup had not happened.
From then on, Ghana has had to live with military coups and military governments.
The longest serving leader is flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings who staged two successful coups in 1979 and 1981. But it is he who has set the country on the path to democracy.
He bowed to the wind of democracy that blew across the country from the late 1980s and early 1990s, put structures of democracy in place and turned himself into a civilian leader by winning two elections with convincing margins.
Formula for stability
Now, the country believes it has found the formula for stability - democracy. The resentment against military coups has been entrenched in the constitution which describes it as high treason.
Slowly, but surely, the population is being made to understand that changes in government can only come about legitimately through the ballot box.
The country has also embraced multi-party democracy, a free press and the freedoms that the UN has been drumming for years.
President John Agyekum Kufuor says that although it was true that the country has fallen short of the high aspirations with which it was ushered into independence 50 years ago, it is equally true that it has recovered its track and is making steady progress.
He says the people should therefore use the opportunity of the Golden Jubilee celebrations to uplift their spirits and the national psyche.
Black Star on the rise again
"This is the time to take pride in our land and in ourselves; let us celebrate Ghana," Kufuor says.
He says on balance the political, economic and social conditions showed that the "Black Star" is on the rise again.
Kufuor notes that the obvious challenge now is how to accelerate the development for the betterment of the entire society.
"That is why we Ghanaians must will ourselves to work harder than we have ever done in the past 50 years.
"We have recovered our track and are making headway. We should be careful not to miss our way again."
A lot depends on the politicians to carry the people along the right direction and have zero tolerance for behaviour that would give the military an opportunity to intervene.