Accra, March 6, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday appealed to all sections of the Ghanaian society to put aside recrimination and seek genuine reconciliation as the nation prepares towards the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of her Independence. "Henceforth, fellow feeling should become the basis of all that we do. That way our 50th anniversary of independence will mark a fresh beginning and a rebirth of our nation and see us as worthier citizens of the motherland," he said. President Kufuor was addressing a colourful parade formed by 31 contingents drawn from the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana National Fire Service and school children at this year's Independence Day celebration at the Independence Square in Accra.
Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Acting Chairman of the Council of State, Mr A.K. Deku and former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madam Mary Robinson, who is in Accra to deliver the Aggrey-Frasser-Guggisberg were among a tall list of dignitaries present.
Others included Ministers of State, Service Commanders, diplomats and traditional rulers.
President Kufuor made reference to the Bible and said Jubilee Year was proclaimed a period of Lord's favour, good news and freedom. He said it was also time to practice forgiveness and do justice to all. "As we look forward to the jubilee of our nation next year, let us think of the new opportunities it affords us to build a new Ghana, which will play an important role in championing excellence on the African continent."
President Kufuor reminded Ghanaians to recognise that if they did not spearhead and sustain the development of the country themselves, nobody else would do it for them.
"Fortunately, the sad period of our history is now receding apace into the past. Ghana is emerging as a strong nation with steadily growing institutions of governance. The rule of law is fast gaining strength. The economy is stable and ready for accelerated growth." To sustain and maintain the healthy direction, he said, it was important that a relationship of mutual respect was established across political lines within the body politic.
He described dialogue and debate as the chief mechanisms for functional democracy and said if "these time-tested ways do not yield consensus; then, the majority decision must hold sway. This constitutes the main essence and foundation of democratic governance." President Kufuor said some recent occurrences in the country showed that the nation was yet to attain the ultimate goal. However, this, notwithstanding, there was the need to persevere.
"In the meantime, there is much to be proud of", he stated, citing the four successive and successful elections since 1992, recent submission to the African Peer Review Mechanism, economic recovery, the general peace and stability as positive benchmarks.
President Kufuor in extending his greetings to the people particularly children, who were saluting the national flag on the day, said they should not forget the meaning of the celebration and that the national motto, "Freedom and Justice", must be ingrained in the psyche of all.
Parents, guardians and educational institutions must take pain to inculcate the essence of the motto in their children and wards so that they grew up with the values that would safeguard the destiny of the country, he said.
This year's Independence Day has as its theme: "Developing and Retaining Quality Human Resource Base: Key for Accelerated National Development."