The Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the [email protected] celebrations says government is taking full responsibility for the Golden Jubilee anniversary and will not allow the celebrations to be politicized.
At a press conference called by the Information Ministry to address concerns about the celebrations, the highlight of which would be on the 6th of March, the Chairman of the Planning Committee and Minister for Presidential Affairs Kwadwo Mpiani outlined a number of programmes for the celebrations and justified government's exclusion of political parties in its organization, saying there is no precedent.
“All over the world, Governments plan and execute such anniversaries, not political parties. We have not involved them in any thing and I say it is right not to involve them in any of these things. The government is the government of the country Ghana, whether we voted for it or not. If tomorrow another person comes in or another party, that person or that party will represent the government of Ghana. If it was a matter for parties, I don't think we would have reached where we are now.”
Mr. Mpiani downplayed the emphasis on government's invitation to former President Rawlings to attend the highlight of the celebrations on March 6. He told journalists that President Kufuor remains the only President in Ghana and that there should be no attempt to diffuse his authority.
“President Rawlings was the president of this country not too long ago, we acknowledge that and you can't throw that out. I don't think we want President Rawlings to come and run this organisation. I don't think that is what you mean, so he has no role per se in the planning of this thing. But as the former president of this nation he has been invited, and I think that is the role a retired president should do. We have only one President, let's be very clear in our minds that at any time in our history there will always be only president. You can't have two presidents.”
The Chairman of the Planning Committee acknowledged complaints from a section of the populace that they have been marginalized in the celebrations and said funds are being mobilized for the various districts to organize events to ensure that the entire country feels included.
On issues of accountability partly raised by the Minister for Public Sector Reforms, Mr. Mpiani without any direct reference to Dr. Nduom's call said all persons with information suggesting misappropriation of funds meant for the celebrations are free to volunteer such information. He announced that a total of ¢34.6 billion has so far come in by way of donations.
Mr. Mpiani also condemned the planned Independence Day procession by the Committee for Joint Action and described the group as anarchists who should not be allowed to disrupt the celebrations.
Minister of State and member of the Planning Committee, Elizabeth Ohene also discounted suggestions that there has not been enough focus on Nkroful, the birth place of the country's founding President. According to her, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah throughout his life identified first as a Ghanaian and as African and never stressed on his roots.
Two types of the anniversary cloth were also launched at the press conference, two wax prints with colored Kente prints for ladies and a black and white one for men to be sold at ¢180 thousand per half piece.
Mr. Mpiani said a certain quantity of the cloth had to be printed in China because the local manufacturers did not have the capacity.