THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE CELEBRATION OF GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE
There is a school of thought that there should be a comprehensive paradigm shift in the celebration of Ghana’s independence from the age-old tradition of marching to the showcasing of various unique natural and cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups. For more than six decades the parade of children and security agencies has been part of the celebration of our Independence Day. Every year, school children and security agencies rehearse for weeks in order to present themselves accurately during the 6th March parade. During these weeks of preparation, not much learning takes place in the schools. The focus is to present a well-polished side that can march during the anniversary celebration. By coincidence, the marching of school children and security agencies takes place also in the month known as March. Some people have questioned the marching segment of the celebration and have stressed the need for a paradigm shift after all these decades of marching.
It is not surprising that the need for a paradigm shift begun during the era of President Kufuor when for the first time, the military barracks were opened to the general public and school children code-named ‘open day’ as part of the celebration. This initiative is deepening military-civilian cooperation and a beautiful sense of unity and love. Last year, there was a nice twist to the celebration. For the first time in many years, the national independence anniversary celebration was moved from the traditional ground of the Black Star Square in Accra to Tamale the northern regional capital. This was gladly welcomed by many well-meaning Ghanaians. Having decided to rotate the celebration in the regions, it is vital to take a second look at the usual marching of school children and the personnel of the security agencies and bring on board other beautiful events. For example, regional fairs can be organized across the nation to showcase the rich cultural heritage of each region as well as the natural gift that each region is endowed with. This can take the form similar to the celebration of the national farmers’ day. The military and security agencies can parade their skills, capabilities etc. as part of the celebration but not the usual marching. In addition to the presidents’ independence awards for selected individuals, a selected host region for the national celebration can select some children from deprived areas in the region to tour the capital city of Accra and some important places including the Parliament House, Jubilee House, Museums etc. This will build a sense of belonging and patriotic spirit among the citizenry. Also, regional and district hospitals could move their mobile clinic vans to hinterlands and outstations for free screening, health education and treatment of diseases. Some educational activities can also be organised during the anniversary week to enhance knowledge of Ghana’s heritage and promote patriotic values. The State Broadcaster, GBC should put in place a week-long programme prior to the celebration on TV and radio stations across the nation to highlight the various unique ethnic groups, their cultural practices and their significance to nation-building. It is the belief of the advocates of the paradigm shift that it will enhance a sense of belonging, promote unity and love, showcase our rich ethnic identities while encouraging tourism. It is our hope that next year’s event will be organised differently. Long live our beloved nation.
BY: VERY REVEREND MAJOR YAW BOATENG, METHODIST CHURCH, KUMASI DIOCESE.