It is fifty six years already! For someone, that is a lifetime! At this age, people usually measure their achievements! Has Ghana gone far since independence? Or could she have been far off better, were she still a colony? Has our independence brought us more achievement or rather, been a curse in disguise? We know of structures in the colonial days of Ghana, which still stand! Compared to that of today, it is a shame!

Of course there would be several others who would vehemently oppose any of such thoughts! Of course, Ghana is far of better, they would say! We love our independence! At least, that is our pride! At least, we have the freedom to define ourselves! We have the freedom to make our own laws, and govern ourselves! We decide what we want as a nation! We make our own laws, and manage our own finances and assets!

But our finances and assets are being mismanaged in the Ghana of today, by Ghanaians! We are squandering our wealth and resources! We are making our own laws, but are not keeping them! How do we define ourselves; as a lawless bunch? Are we really enjoying this freedom?

To the hungry man, what is the essence of independence? To the poor and suffering, what is the essence of the independent pride? Pride is meaningless to the hungry, jobless, poor, sick, the insecure, and the homeless! Such are the realities! What has our independence brought us all, if we cannot boast of any development, as a nation, a people, and most importantly, as individuals!

Within this nation are people suffering from mental slavery! At our work places, homes, schools, hospitals, on the streets, they are everywhere! People are too scared to voice out their opinion! In our society, it is the play of supremacy and authority! It has been encased in our tribal and ethnic divides! And so is our social classification!

For those, still subjected to the inhumane aspects of our culture! It is in our words of discouragement and hopelessness! Such are the works of mental slavery; neocolonialism! Yes, we are being subjected to neocolonialism, by ourselves, and among ourselves! We would never want to assist each other, only because we always want to feel superior! Our individual interests first! How different is this from the past? How has this country empowered her people? How much has Ghana invested in her people? How much have Ghanaians invested in this nation?

Corruption has broken the scale in the Ghana of today! Jobs meant for Ghanaians are being given away each day, whiles a large number of our people are jobless! Our resources are being mismanaged! In the so-called free state of Ghana, accountability is zero! It is the reign of lawlessness and disorder! Productivity back then was much higher! No one cares for state property! People do as they please because there is no law! Is that the essence of independence? The mirage of independence!

Yes we are still colonized! We are enslaved with mental chains! Yes, we are failing to take charge of this nation as independent people! We still go borrowing, agreeing to the various terms set by these countries! Ghana cannot seem to do anything on her own, without a loan! Yes, the country goes begging each day and in return, we are told what to do with those monies! We are still being controlled!

Each day this country loses a huge percentage of her human resource to foreign markets! Our economy is dependent on foreign economies! Ghanaians are actually spending dollars these days! Perhaps we have only changed colonial masters! Should the colonial ships be brought into this country today just as was done in the past, it would be quite interesting the kind of scramble that would resort! Yes, in the so-called independent Ghana, Ghanaians would rather eagerly volunteer as slaves!

And yet we call ourselves independent! Our governance system is in itself an inheritance! Our laws are photocopies of that from our masters!

Independence is a state, and not a mere word! It is a stage of maturity and responsibility, and not a joke! We might claim to be independent, but that is only in words, because in truth, we are still slaves! Slaves of our mind! Slaves of our imaginations! Slaves of our fears! We are still slaves of poverty, diseases, underdevelopment, to mention but a few!

It is a sad thing to watch as Africans fight each other! We have turned on ourselves! The vast destruction to this continent, were not perpetrated by our colonial masters, but by Africans!

Until we learn to be responsible and matured, we would never be independent! Ghana is fifty six and a matured age indeed! We need to stop soliciting for loans, and rather take up a more self-reliant system of growth and development! We need to believe in ourselves and rely on ourselves! Ghana is endowed with so many natural resources! Our human resource base is quite enviable! How long would it take for this nation to realize that she is self-sufficient! We can only be truly independent when we are in absolute control of our resources, economy, people, and nation as a whole! We need to steer our affairs! Until then, Ghana is still dependent!

Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.

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