Opposition political parties have described the President's appeal to Ghanaians to use the country's Golden Jubilee anniversary to demonstrate their national unity as 'a call in the right direction'.
They, however, said the President should back his words with action, since the call alone would not ensure the unity that he was asking for.
In his broadcast to the nation on December 31, 2006, President J. A. Kufuor stated that 'however much we differ on issues, there are moments that should bring us together', adding 'one such moment is the Golden Jubilee of our nation's independence'.
Leaders of all the political parties that the Daily Graphic spoke to said it was unfortunate that political parties were excluded from the committee, which had been set up to plan for the celebration of the 50th anniversary.
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, said 'for now, the President has not been seen as a unifying factor in the already polarised political arena'.
He accused the government of attempting to make the anniversary a partisan matter and called for measures to bring all stakeholders together to plan for the unique occasion since 'you cannot clap with one hand'.
Mr Asiedu-Nketiah said that the President's speech fell short of addressing the corruption that had become endemic in the society, and also scratching the face of the cocaine business, which threatened the core of the country's existence during the past year.
'The President's call for national unity is not, however, too late', he intimated and expressed the hope that the government would change its style of leadership and ensure that all sections were included in issues of national importance.
For his part, the General Secretary of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr Nii Noi Dowuona, said that the call for unity 'is real, but concrete proposals for the unity should be drawn and implemented by the government'.
He expressed the hope that programmes that would be lined up for the anniversary would recognise the role that certain individuals played towards the attainment of independence in addition to people's contributions afterwards.
Dr Dowuona pledged the CPP's support for the anniversary and asked Ghanaians to assist the government to implement its development programmes 'since it is the aim of all political parties to seek the development of the country'.
Speaking on behalf of the People's National Convention (PNC), the party's Presidential candidate for the 2004 elections, Dr Edward Mahama, commended the president for his inspiring address and said 'he spoke like the father of the nation and not about his political party'.
'I am of the opinion that the President should have acted like this from the beginning', he added, and said that it was not late for the government to make amends and include representatives of all political parties in the planning of the anniversary celebration.
While wishing all Ghanaians a happy New Year, Dr Mahama asked them to work hard to enable the country to achieve its set targets for 2007.