By Yilma Bekele
Ghana is at it again. They insist on trailblazing. Not that we complain, no we just envy Ghana. Ghana envy is spreading all over Africa like a wild fire. It is not the first time Ghana is leading the way either. What is it about Ghana that makes a grown man cry with joy? What exactly did they do this time?
Ghana has a peaceful transfer of power. Yes, in Africa that is considered a miracle. Ghanaians are special people. Like their cousins the Ethiopians on the East Coast of Africa, Ghana has always occupied a special place in the annals of African history.
Present day Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. It was later absorbed to the Great Mali Kingdom of West Africa. It was no other than the great African leader Sundiata that united the warring kingdoms to form what came to be known as the Mali Empire around 1307. The Portuguese came to West Africa around the 15th. Century. They found so much gold by the mouth of the Volta River that they named the place Mina or Mine.
The arrival of the Portuguese opened the floodgates and ushered in the destruction of Africa. The English, French, Dutch, Danes and the Scandinavians followed to loot, rape and pillage the wealth of Africa. The slave trade decimated the population kidnapping the young and able. The traders hauled Africa’s treasures to Europe and the Americas leaving a trail of despair and destruction.
The so-called civilization of Europe with their ornate buildings, superb Universities, and advanced industries was built on stolen treasures from good old Africa. Their children have the time and means to contemplate the mysteries of the universe due to free labor and free resources stolen from Africa.
Ghana became the first of the British colonies to gain its independence in 1957. The founder and first president was none other than the great son of Africa Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah was educated in the US and highly influenced by the teachings of Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois the giants of African American leaders and thinkers. Nkrumah was one of the first African leaders to plant the not realized dream of Pan-Africanism.
Together with such African leaders as Emperor Haile Sellasie and President Sekou Toure of Guinea he laid the foundation for the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Abeba in May 1963. It is interesting to note that Malcolm X as an observer representing the 22million African Americans in the Diaspora attended the second OAU meeting in Cairo.
President Nkrumah was overthrown by the military in 1966. It is rumored but not proven that the British and the US played a role in this act of getting rid of an African nationalist. Ghana was thrown into succession of military leaders. A constitution allowing multi party system was set in place in 1992 and the then sitting military leader was elected in a free and democratic election. He was again elected for a second term in 1996. In a third national election John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)Won.
Mr. Kufuor served for two terms with great distinction. He is loved and respected by all Ghanaians not to mention his pivotal role in settling the election conflict in Kenya. He served the two terms allowed by the constitution. This general election was a contest between the ruling NPP and the opposition organized under National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by John Attar Mills. It was a lively and open contest. The two main Parties were allowed to debate their vision on Television, radio and newspaper. The citizen was able to make an educated decision to choose the next national leader. As there has to be a winner after any contest, the opposition NDC carried the day. The loser accepts defeat with grace and is scheduled to hand power on January 7th.
The winner Mr. Mills said “”I would want to congratulate all other contestants, especially Nana Akufo-Addo, for giving us a good fight. It is my hope that we will be able to work together to build a better Ghana… I want to assure everybody that I will be president for all. There will be no discrimination,” Akufo-Addo conceded defeat. “Our nation is at a crossroads and we must work together to build it peacefully,” “John Atta Mills’ victory and the conduct of the people of Ghana provides a rare example of democracy at work in Africa,” Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga aid in a statement.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was mum on the subject. We have a saying ‘fes yalebet zelai aychelem.’ Democracy and elections are not the vocabulary of the minority regime.
If Ghana can do it so can we. If Ghana can build a robust and united democracy there is no reason why we cannot be able to do it. If Ghana a nation composed of several ethnic groups can build a united country based on equality without Kilil and apartheid so can we. Here is a comparison between Ethiopia and Ghana. You be the judge of what works. An open multi party system where the citizen exercises his God given right to choose his leader or a closed system of one party rule where the leader is chosen by terrifying and coercing the citizen. An economy based on free enterprise or an economy directed by a few cadres and geared to loot and steal. A society where the media is free or a government monopoly with the highest number of journalists in prison.
Country Ethiopia Ghana Ethiopia Ghana
Population 76 Million 22 Million 82.5 Million 23.3 Million
Electricity production 2.86 Billion kWh 6.64 Billion kWh 3.2 Billion kWh 8.2 Billion kWh
Telephone – Land 725,000 356,000 880,100 376,500
Telephone -Cellular 866,700 5.20Million 1.21 Million 7.60 Million
Internet Hosts 89 2,899 128 24,018
Internet Users 164,000 609,800 291,000 650,000
Radio AM 8 0
Radio FM 1 86 0 86
Radio Short Wave 1 3 1 3
TV Stations 1 7 1 7
It is not enough to say I love what is happening in Ghana. The secret is to make it happen in Ethiopia. It will not happen in Ethiopia without the participation of the Ethiopians. Those in power are not going to wake up one morning and say ‘ I am going to let my people go free’. It does not happen like that. Dictators never concede power without struggle. There are many forms of struggle to get rid of dictators. In the Ethiopian context we have a few working hard on our behest to bring democracy and the rule of law to our beloved ancient land. We have a choice to involve our selves and work for the common good.
I will sign the petition to free the courageous leader of Andenet Judge Bertukan. I will march in my town to let the American people see the injustice in my homeland. I will not invest my hard earned money in Ethiopia and give foreign currency to the minority regime. I will not fly Ethiopian Airlines and contribute to the debasement of my people. I will contribute money to Ginbot7 so they can do what is necessary to get rid of the Apartheid regime. It is up to me to bring the liberation of my country. I will do my part to bring change so my children can live in a free and democratic Ethiopia. I am beyond talk. I am into doing what is necessary, now! today! Can you say that? If the answer is no, please shut up and sit in the corner. Let those committed do the job. Merry Ethiopian Christmas to our hero Judge Birtukan Mideksa who is in TPLF jail for working tirelessly for our freedom.