The Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, yesterday promised Ghanaians that the National Planning Committee (NPC) of the Golden Jubilee celebrations would be transparent in its dealings throughout the period of the celebrations.
“Like all projects funded with public money, the funds given to the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat shall be audited by the Auditor-General at the end of the year and, as we all know, his report will be made public,” he said.
Mr Mpiani, who is also Chairman of the NPC, said the secretariat was open to scrutiny, adding that if in the course of its duties, anyone had any real or genuine evidence of wrongdoing against the secretariat, that person should feel free to report the matter to the appropriate quarters.
The Chief of Staff, who was speaking at a media briefing in Accra, also provided the financial details for the country's Golden Jubilee celebrations and explained that the decision by the government to exclusively organise the event was in line with international practice.
He announced that so far, ¢18.8 billion had been received from sponsors as part of the ¢34.6 billion pledged in cash and in kind by various sponsors towards the celebrations.
The sponsorship is in addition to the $20 million allocated by the government for the event.
The occasion also marked the introduction of two anniversary cloths.
They are made up of a special Golden Jubilee version of the Kente cloth and another which is a version of the traditional wax print called “Ghana [email protected]” and designed by the internationally-renowned Ghanaian designer, Kofi Ansah.
The Chief of Staff called on the general public to do well to acquire pieces of the anniversary cloth to put on for the events of the anniversary and also keep for posterity.
Mr Mpiani said there were appropriate souvenirs for all schoolchildren in the country, from the primary to the senior secondary school levels.
Elaborating on some of the events to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, he said the celebration of the birthday would be marked with parades in all the districts, to be followed with “street” parties and carnivals in which “the whole nation will rejoice and fraternise as Ghanaians united in the joy of our collective achievements”.
He said there would be other activities which would offer opportunities for revelry and merry-making and called on the media to work as partners with the anniversary committee to inform Ghanaians about the events to make them have a good time on the occasion.
Mr Mpiani asked Ghanaians to focus on the positive aspects of the celebration and ensure that the events brought the nation together as one people with a common destiny.
He said the coming month would offer the country a wonderful opportunity to showcase its good works to the outside world, adding, “It is time to show what is about us that propelled our founding fathers to inspire and lead Africa to freedom and self-rule.”
Responding to questions on the exclusion of political parties in the organisation of the anniversary, Mr Mpiani explained that the decision by the government to exclusively organise the Golden Jubilee celebration was in line with international practice.
He, therefore, dismissed concerns raised by a section of the public about the exclusion of political parties in the organisation of the celebration, indicating that there was nothing wrong with that.
One other issue which was thrown at the Chief of Staff by journalists was the invitation extended by the government to former President Rawlings to take part in the anniversary celebrations.
Last week, some eminent citizens, on behalf of President Kufuor, extended an invitation to the former President but there were speculations that the former President had made certain demands before he would accept the invitation.
Responding to those speculations, Mr Mpiani pleaded for patience from the public to allow the emissaries of the President to report back to the President.
“These speculations won't help anybody. At times we are part of the problems in the country. There are too many speculations which, I believe, are not necessary in these matters,” he noted.
The Chief of Staff admitted that enough resources had not been given to the districts to enable them to take part in the celebrations and gave the assurance that resources would be given to them within the week to enable them to be part of the celebrations.
He reiterated the fact that the anniversary celebrations were scheduled for the whole year, saying, “We'll make sure that things are done over the whole year so that our children yet unborn will even come to remember what happened during 2007.”
Mr Mpiani said all African Heads of State had been invited to join the nation to celebrate the occasion, adding that as of now 16 of them had confirmed their participation.
The Minister of Energy, Mr Joseph Kofi Addah, said his ministry was working closely with the Presidency and relevant institutions to address the energy crisis currently plaguing the country.
In the meantime, he said that the nation would enjoy uninterrupted power supply from March 1, 2007 to March 14, 2007.
Story by Lucy Adoma Yeboah
& Kofi Yeboah