Symposium

52 Years of Ghana’s Independence and 20 Years of German Unification

Lessons for Nation Building

As part of the activities towards the celebration of 20 years of German Unification and 52 years of Ghana’s Independence, the Foundation is organising a symposium on the theme 52 years of Ghana’s Independence and 20 years of German Unification.

Details

Background Remarks German Reunification

Pragmatism and strict adherence to principles were the cornerstones of the Kohl-Genscher government’s intra-German policy and Ostpolitik up to 1989. The aim was to afford human relief; the principle of national unity was upheld; at the same time the Federal Republic of Germany proved to be a dependable partner in Europe and within the Atlantic alliance. When the wall came down on 9 November 1989, this policy had built up at national and international level a bedrock of confidence on which it was possible to tackle the task of unification.

On 28 November 1989, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl presented to the Bundestag (German National Parliament) his ten-point programme to surmount the division of Germany, thus grasping the initiative in the unification process. The underlying conditions on the domestic and foreign policy front were favourable. The breakthrough was reached in the course of two meetings with the Soviet President and Communist Party leader Michail Gorbachev. The Soviet Union recognised the Germans’ right to self-determination and unification.

In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the overwhelming majority of the population, headed by the numerous groupings of the civil rights movement, declare support for German unity. The Economic, Monetary and Social Union with the GDR (1 July 1990), the Unification Treaty (31 August 1990) and the Two plus Four Agreement (12 September 1990) are the decisive staging points. In common with the “chancellor of unity”, most Germans see the ceremonial opening of the Brandenburg Gate on 22 December 1989 as one of the “happiest hours” of their lives.

Some brief Thoughts on Ghana's Nation Building Process

The year 2009 marks the 52nd independence celebration of Ghana from British colonial rule. The country Ghana as it is called now is made up of various ethnic groups such as Ashanti, Anlo, Dagomba, Gonja and Wale. Some of these ethnic groups did exist as independent states before the colonial rule, that is why they could be called nationalities. These previous independent states must succumb to the arrangements of modern state dispensations where they all converge under one nation state Ghana through a difficult process of nation building to achieve nationhood.

In the light of this, organization of social services was deliberately implemented to ensure national integration. First, boarding educational facilities were establish in schools to provide a system where the youth from various parts of the country with diverse ethnic background could live and study together as a means to inculcate national values in their socialization process, second Regional and District Commissioners were normally not allowed to serve their home regions but were posted to serve other regions in the country to demonstrate that the ethnic factor is less important in public administration.

These attempts at nation building have not been completely successful. Individual citizens consider themselves as members of ethnic group first before recognizing their Ghanaian citizenship. To this extent political groups have emerged with direct ethnic background or showed sympathy towards particular ethnic group of groups. These include, National Liberation Movement, for Ashantis, Northern Peoples Party, Northern Ghana, Anlo Youth Organization, for Volta Region, Ga Shifimopkee for Greater Accra and Togoland Congress for Volta Region. As a measure to curtail the ethno-political developments as well as to increase the pace of nation building process, the Avoidance of Discrimination Act was passed in 1957 which prohibits the formation and organisation of political parties along ethnic, regional or religious lines. The tenets of this Act were implemented under all the civilian regimes until the 1992 Constitution was promulgated with the subsequent enactment of The Political Parties Law Act 574 (2000).

The Political Parties Law mandates all prospective stakeholders in political parties to organise their parties with a national character. Also, the Directive Principle of State Policy under the 1992 Constitution compels the government to conduct public business with a sense of national character, hence the appointments of ministers of state and allocation of projects must be broaden to have a sense of national equitable geographic dimension.

In spite of these legal infrastructure and efforts by stakeholders in national building, Ghana is far from been called a nation. The electoral results from some constituencies indicate how far the journey of nationhood will be completed. Also the cheers and applause as well as jeers and boons from sections of society for inclusion or otherwise in ministerial appointments give credence to how close Ghana is to the finishing line of nationhood.

With the organisation of this workshop, it is expected that, stakeholders will be candid to bring articulate how the nation building process could be expatiated for purpose of enhancing national cohesion.

Programme

Opening Session

9.00am

Sitting of all Participants

9.05am

Opening Prayer

9.10am

Introduction of Chairperson

9.15am

Chairperson’s Response

Mrs. Joyce Aryee, CEO Ghana Chamber of Mines, former Minister

9.20am

Remarks by Resident Representative of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

9.30am

Remarks by His Excellency, Dr. Marius Haas, German Ambassador to Ghana

9.50am

Statement by Hon. Haruna Iddrissu, Minister of Communication (representing H.E. Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Hon. John Mahama

10.10am

Group Photograph

10.20am

Cocoa Break

Main Session

10:50am

Nation-Building in Germany and Ghana: A Cursory Historical Perspective

Dr. Sebastian Bemile

11:30am

Socio-Economic Development a Pre-condition for Nation Building

Prof. Ken Attafuah

12:20pm

Elections and Nation Building in Ghana’s Fourth Republic

Prof. Kwesi Jonah

12:50pm

Questions and Discussions

01:30pm

Chairperson Closing Remarks

01:35pm

Vote of Thanks

01:40pm

Closing Prayer

01:45pm

Lunch

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Venue

Accra

Speakers

HE Dr. M. Haas
German Ambassador to Ghana
Dr. S. Bemile
1st African Winner of the Goethe Medal
Prof. K. Jonah
Dean
Faculty of Social Studies
University of Ghana
Prof. K. Attafuah
Director of Justice Human Rights Institute

Publication

20 Years Of German Unification & 52 Years Of Ghana’s Independence: Proceedings Of A Symposium On Lessons For Nation-Building
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Contact

Klaus D. Loetzer

Head of the KAS office in Tunisia

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Ghana Office