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07.03.2007 General News

An overview of [email protected]

By : GNA
An overview of Ghana@50

Momentous, festive and the pinnacle of Ghana's Independence celebrations is March 6 and a delightful President John Agyekum Kufuor has asked the citizenry to give thanks to God for how far he has brought the nation.

Giving to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, he gave the political outline of Ghana's independence and lauded the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his colleagues from the United Gold Coast Convention who, in 1947 launched the last phase of the process towards independence.

In his anniversary speech at the fortified Independence Square adorned with the national colours, He paid tribute to Dr J.B. Danquah, Paa Grant, Edward Akuffo-Addo, William Ofori-Atta and Ako Adjei, who initiated the process of political emancipation.

"But above all, let us give thanks and praise for the many Ghanaians throughout the years who have worked anonymously and often without reward to make our nation what it is today."

Spotting a deep grey suit with a white shirt to match, he used his historic address to attempt to close the Busia-Danquah and Nkrumaist divide by praising heroes of the one-time bitterly opposed political traditions for their efforts at gaining independence for Ghana.

The lips of the President acknowledged the contributions of Nkrumaists of blessed memory such as K.A Gbedemah, Kojo Botsio, Kofi Baako, Krobo Edusei and Imoru Egala.

His political reverence also went to the Busia-Danquah tradition, where he draws his inspiration and listed names like Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, S.D. Dombo, S.G Antor, Victor Owusu and Joe Appiah.

Cheers from the thousands of people who had filled every space to mark
the Golden Jubillee heralded President Kufuor's arrival to the parade in the company of a Police Constabulary.

The enthusiastic crowd who wanted to have a good view of proceedings surged forward to the parade grounds thus given the security personnel a hectic time.

The smiling President waved enthusiastically to the crowd and took the National Salute.

He proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour mounted by the about 1,800 security agencies including a contingent from the First Battalion of the Scots Guards of the British Army.

He lit the perpetual flame, which immortalises the blood shed for the course of Ghana's independence.

There were Muslim, Christian and traditional prayers to depict the religious tolerance and interdependence in the country.

President Kufuor exchanged greetings with the chiefs and other invited guests including, Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, his colleague head of states such as President Olusegun Obasanjo who was the Special Guest.

The Heads of State and Governments of Gabon, Benin, Togo and Equitorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi and Cote d'Ivoire helped to transform the common feelings of national pride to the realms of Pan-Africanism.

Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, represented the Queen of England, while Secretary Alphonso Jackson led the US delegation.

Also on hand to grace the event, were the immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan and his wife Nane.

Mr Alpha Konare, President of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, President of ECOWAS Commission, the leadership of the main opposition National Democratic Congress led by Prof. John Evans Attah Mills and other minority political parties were not left out.

The large number of people including chiefs, politicians and local and international journalists were clad in the national colours, and waving miniature flags.

The independence square, displayed new looks. The pavilions have been provided with plastic chairs and painted with the national colours with the coat of arms embossed on the walls.

The Ghana Police Service also conspicuously wore a new deep blue uniform to replace the black dress that was most unfriendly to the tropical weather condition.

The President was the Guest of Honour during the parade that displayed the military might of the country by land, sea and air.

There was spontaneous shouts of joy when personnel of the Ghana Air Force flew over the square in aircraft that displayed the national colours and wishing Ghanaians "a happy anniversary.

A gymnastic display by school children also held people spellbound and attracted protected cheers.

"I am sure you will agree with me that it is a celebration not only for Ghana but also for the whole of Africa. For March 6, 1957 changed the outlook of our Continent and its status and role in the world forever," President Kufuor observed.

"The African on the Continent, who for centuries had been violated and subjugated through the Slave Trade and Colonialism. That fateful day succeeded in breaking asunder, the chains of bondage. Today therefore is as much Ghana's celebration as it is for the rest of Africa."

"Our destiny is with the most advanced in the human community and we must pursue it," he reminded Ghanaians.

President Kufuor said it was important for Ghanaians as they celebrated the Golden Jubilee of political independence, to be reminded that freedom was a living flame that needed to be constantly fuelled and not a monument to be saluted and revered occasionally.

"Ghana's freedom, indeed Africa's freedom must be an eternal flame to be continually fuelled by all Governments and peoples, because it defines our humanity."

He paid homage to the many young people who bring honour and joy to Africa's image in their daily endeavours, excelling in the fields of information technology, finance, sports, fashion and dance.

President Kufuor who chairs the AU pledged Ghana's commitment to work with the rest of the Continent to develop Africa and its peoples to gain respectable and dignified place in the mainstream of the emerging global village.

Nigerian President Obasanjo said it was critical for Africans to properly understand and appreciate the mistakes of the past so that they did not condemn their collective posterity to repeating the vicious cycle that only perpetuated underdevelopment, poverty and instability.

He noted that the biggest bane of the Continent had been enduring instability engendered by a stark leadership conflict.

"We substituted military rule for colonially-handed down democracy and socialism for capitalism without a productive base. At the height of the Cold War, we became pawns and we toyed with ideologies that we half-understood. At the end, we lost out but the fall-out-conflict, violence, poverty, under-development-remains with us."

The spell of independence that gripped Ghanaians when the first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared the country free from British colonial rule on 6 March 1957, was on Monday re-enacted at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra.

At 12 midnight, members of the Ghana Actors Guild stood at the exact spot now transformed into Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum to dramatise the declaration of independence by leaders of the Convention Peoples Party, shaking the national monument overlooking the old Parliament House with shouts of joy.

Ace actor David Dontoh, who played the role of Dr. Nkrumah broke the silence of the night with a baritone voice that sounded like that of the First President to declare the famous and historic words: "Ghana your beloved country is free forever."

"Our Independence is meaningless until it is linked up to the total liberation of the African Continent," Dontoh declared and thus bringing Dr Nkrumah back to life.

The large gathering that comprised President Kufuor, Vice President Alhaji Mahama, President Obasanjo of Nigeria, members of the diplomatic corps and tourists were later treated to highlife songs and fireworks that brightened up the skies.

The drama was preceded by various cultural performances by members of the Guild that depicted unity in diversity of the five regions of Ghana, Northern Territories, Trans-Volta Togoland, the Colony, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo that existed at the time of the declaration of independence.

A dancing group from Malawi also added colour to the night by performing a show that portrayed the country's colonial struggle.

The politics of decolonisation in West Africa started from 1925 to 1958 with the formation of the West African Students Union. independence.

Leaders of the Union later became the politicians in the Sub-Region, including Margai of Sierra Leone, Nkrumah, Danquah, Nnamzi Azikiwe, Ito Davies and Eyo Ita of Nigeria.

The is an Akan proverb that, "He who deserves wine should not be given water." Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah and the Convention Peoples Party and other political heavy weights had done their best for Ghana and all Ghanaians must be grateful for the blossoms when they eat the fruits.

Source: GNA