By: Dr. Nana Sifa Twum, Communications and Media Consultant
Yesterday, the entire world received perhaps one of the most devastating news of the passion of the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II. This happened just 48 hours after authorizing the 77th Prime Minister of Britain to form a new government. The new Prime Minister, Liz Truss is the 15th Prime Minister under the monarchy of the late. Queen.
Ghanaians, the Commonwealth Community, and the world will forever remember the Queen for her unparalleled role in helping to shape global politics and leadership.
Known also as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor she became the queen of the United Kingdom on Wednesday, 6th February 1952 at the age of 26 and reigned for 70 years 214 days, thus becoming the longest of the British monarchy and the second record of any monarchy of a sovereign country after Louis XIV who ruled for 72 years from January 1643 to June 1715
She took a special interest in the politics and the general development of Ghana exhibiting a great sense of leadership, high reputation, and resounding integrity.
She had not hidden her special concern for this country and had the occasion to visit Ghana as the Head of the Commonwealth on two occasions.
Ghana being one of Britain’s most prominent former colonies, it is no wonder the Queen has visited this country in her lifetime: 1961 and 1999 under Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry John Rawlings respectively
A few years after Ghana gained independence from the British, Queen Elizabeth 11 made a trip to Ghana in 1961. Her journey helped Ghana to get highly sought-after funding for the Volta Dam, a hydroelectric project that was a centerpiece of Nkrumah’s economic plans. Once she’d returned, Macmillan contacted President J. F. Kennedy, “I have risked my queen. You must risk your money.” Financial backing from the Americans for the project soon came through, which cut off a potential avenue of influence for the Soviets
When Ghana was about to change government from one political party to the opposition, for the very first time in its history, the Queen was in the country to show her excitement and interest in Ghana’s consolidation of its democracy.
She praised the then President John Jerry Rawlings and the good people of Ghana for their exhibition of maturity that has seen peaceful transition of political power.
Not quite long after that, she hosted President Kufour on a state visit to England, the first of its kind by a Ghanaian Head of State. During the visit which also coincided with the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence, The Queen assured Ghana of her unflinching support to help develop Ghana.
This has now been seen as not rhetoric. The UK’s assistance to Ghana from then on has multiplied seeing Ghana as one of the Commonwealth countries that has enjoyed enormous economic aid and financial support of the colonial master.
The UK has invested nearly three billion Pounds in bilateral aid in Ghana over the past two decades. Since 2011, the UK’s aid portfolio has been reoriented towards helping Ghana overcome the economic and governance challenges.
Her love for Ghana was intriguing and exceptional and she did not hide her bias for Ghana as she saw the country as promising and committed to the rule of law. At a dinner she organised for Heads of Commonwealth countries during the 2016 Commonwealth meeting in London, The Queen singled out Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to propose the toast.
The late Queen of the United Kingdom also hosted the Asantehene at Buckingham Palace to strengthen the traditional, political and economic relationship of the two countries.
She was the Head of State of fourteen other Commonwealth countries around the globe including Australia and also the Head of the 56 Commonwealth nations. She has been at the center stage of global leadership
At age 96, having lived through the second great war, 15 prime ministerial appointments, 14 US presidential visits, and most recently a global pandemic, the Queen of England, for the past seventy years has been a much-loved figure and role model across the globe.
Very calm but resilient and with a great heart as a unifier, she visited 131 countries and was the first monarch to ever visit the Republic of Ireland in an effort to mend burned bridges.
In a changing world, Queen Elizabeth was a constant source of comfort not only for the people of Britain but for the entire world, including many who have never known life without her.
She will be dearly missed, especially her Christmas broadcast.