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09.07.2009 General News

MPs hail Obama visit

By Daily Guide
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Members of Parliament (MPs) have unanimously hailed the visit of United States President, Barack Obama, to Ghana, describing it as a historic event that should be acknowledged by all Ghanaians.

According to them, the visit of President Obama is not just an acknowledgement and recognition of Ghana's democratic credentials but an appellation of the generality of what the country has been able to achieve as a sovereign state over the years.

The President of the most powerful state of the world, his wife Michelle Obama and their two children are paying a day's state visit to Ghana from the evening of Friday 10 to Saturday July 11, 2009.

Among those who praised President Obama's visit were the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu; Second Deputy Speaker, Hon. Mike Oquaye; MP for Subin, Isaac Osei; Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Tamale South; and Joseph Yieleh Chireh, MP for Wa West and Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.

MP for Kwabre West, Hon. Emmanuel A. Owusu-Ansah, in a statement to herald the visit, noted that President Obama's coming to Ghana is unique as “Ghana is his first destination in sub-Saharan Africa barely five months after assuming office”.

He said President Obama's visit to Ghana did not come by accident, reminding that “It came about by painstaking evaluation of the situation on the continent. Our democratic credentials and our management of socio-economic problems, thus far, might have attracted the attention of the White House.

“When post-election strife and violence leading to break-down of law and order are a common phenomena on our continent, we must be grateful to our Creator for the maturity of the Ghanaian coupled with humour which have combined to provide a barrier to violence and strife after elections,” Hon. Owusu-Ansah pointed out.

He said United States has been of assistance to Ghana for a long time now, but there is no US assistance which in Ghana's present circumstance of election malpractices including multiple voting will be more re-assuring and lasting than helping “us to deepen our democracy”.

He said US could do this by assisting Ghana to go electronic in its electoral process to eliminate the manual system of registration and voting.

On his part, the Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin, said “Obama, his wife and children are coming home to their parents” by rediscovering their roots in Africa.

He said President Obama's visit to Ghana is a signal to the whole world that multiparty democracy is the only way forward for any society to harness the potential of all its people to improve the generality of their lives.

“This is a unique opportunity to market Ghana not just by words or deeds but we must be able to generate income from his visit,” Hon. Bagbin urged.

He was grateful that President Obama will be addressing Parliament, adding, “we are among the chosen few. We have the opportunity to get close to him or even shake hands with him. I urge all Members to be present for the address”.

In giving the itinerary of President Obama, Muhammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, told Parliament that the Chief Executive of US would have a breakfast meeting with his counterpart, President John Atta Mills, on Saturday July 11, 2009, during which they would have wide-ranging talks, including Ghana-US relations.

The Foreign Minister also announced that President Obama and his family would visit the La General Hospital to see at firsthand the collaborative effort of USAID and the Ministry of Health in the area of maternal health.

President Obama, he added, will then proceed from the hospital to the Accra International Conference Center where he will address Parliament.

Thereafter, President Obama and his family would depart for Cape Coast where they would be received by Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Oguaa Omanhene, at his Palace before touring the Cape Coast Castle, a destination reportedly requested by the First Family of US.

After the visit to Cape Coast, President Obama will return to Accra the same day and hold a joint press conference with President Mills at the Kotoka International Airport before he finally leaves Ghana.

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