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28.10.2005 General News

Ghana: The Presidential Tour

By Gina Blay, Maryland, USA
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Daily Guide, Oct. 28 -- THE TRAFFIC Police Unit and the secret service of United States of America (USA), on the evening of Wednesday October 26, held up all traffic on a four junction road in Silver Spring, Maryland, when President John Agyekum Kufuor and other dignitaries, including World Bank President, Mr Paul Wolfowitz, crossed over from one Discovery place to the movie theatre of the American Film Institute.

The occasion was the premiering of a one-hour documentary titled Ghana: The Presidential Tour, produced and directed by the Travel Channel of Discovery Communication, in partnership with the African Society of the National Summit on Africa.

The huge movie theatre, blazed with the name GHANA, and the film title, as the huge auditorium was filled to capacity with ambassadors, congressmen and women, African-Americans, and the powerful well-connected president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Discovery Communications, Ms Judith Mcttale.

Accompanying the President, was his wife Madam Theresa, Tourism Minister Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Foreign and Trade Ministers, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Alan Kyerematen respectively, deputy minister of Justice, Joe Ghartey, and Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Paul Acquah.

Also present were a large Ghanaian community from Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, as well as deputy information minister Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, MPs Kennedy Agyepong (Assin North) and Madam Chigabattia (Builsa North).

Significantly teenage soccer star Frank Adu, was there with his mother, and US ambassador to Ghana Ms Bridgewater with a powerful marketing strategy.

Eighty-four million homes in America, are expected to watch the documentary, starring President Kufuor as a tour guide, when Ghana: The Presidential Tour hits the Travel channel screen on November 8, 2005 at 10pm.

It will subsequently be screened to 184 million households in Europe and Asia, on December 21.

Arrangements are far advanced to show the documentary to Ghanaian homes, by satellite through Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), but certainly subscribers to Multi-choice DSTV will have the rare privilege to watch the documentary on December 21, too.

The premiere was simultaneously seen in six other states on Wednesday, in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix, Oakland, Brooklyn and Seattle.

Africa Society president, African-American, Leonard H. Robinson Jnr., Who once lived at Asylum Down and Kaneshie in Accra, in the 1970s and his vice president, Italian born-lawyer Bernadette Paolo, forcefully convinced Discovery Communication to shoot the film through the sponsorship of Honda Motor.

Ghana: The Presidential Tour shows President Kufuor as a tour guide, who leads ace journalist, Forrest Sawyer, on a tour into some of Ghana's most treasured locations.

Kufuor and Forrest get up close and personal in visits to Osu Castle, Kakum National Park, where the President is seen sweating it out on the Walk-way, and later admitting to his fear of her guts.

“Whew!”, he said when he came to the end of the walk, and is also seen taking some powerful shots at a football in a beach ball game.

Discovery shows Forrest at the Monkey Sanctuary at Buabeng Frema, Paga Crocodile pond, Bonwire Kente weave centre, basket weavers up North, cocoa farmers in Tafo, Manhyia Palace, and the tragic point of no return in the dungeons of Elmina Slave Castle, are some of the spectacular scenes that grips viewers at the premiere.

Speaking at the Film Theatre, Robinson described the film as both entertaining and enlightening, which were the objectives of the Africa Society when it sought the assistance of the Discovery Travel channel.

“I know that of the 184 million viewers around the world who will see this film for many, it will be the first accurate portrayal of an African country that they have ever witnessed.

They will see a magnificent Ghana, a country run by a popular and charismatic President deeply rooted in democracy, full of vibrant businesses and of course, inhabited by friendly and hospitable people.

The mission of the Africa Society, established in 1955, it was explained, was to promote the African-American and to educate Americans in general, about the positive side of Africa and to build bridges of understanding and partnership and to facilitate the continent's social development and political transition to more open, democratic societies.