49TH INDEPENCDENCE CELEBRATIONS IN THE UK.
Ghana's 49th independence anniversary was celebrated in traditional Ghanaian style by the Ghanaian community in the UK and Ireland. The occasion was marked by a wide range of activities including church services, receptions, musical shows, dinner-dances, fundraising programmes and social events
Essentially the Ghanaian Diaspora used the occasion to pay tribute to the heroes of the independence struggle, to celebrate their Ghanaian identity as well as their unique heritage and to re-dedicate themselves new to the development of their motherland.
The Ghana High Commission set the tone for the festivities with a reception at the Carlton Tower in London. In keeping with established practise in diplomatic circles, the national day reception was attended by Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations including H.E. Dr. Christopher Olusola Kolade, Nigeria's High Commissioner to the UK, H.E.. Dr. Lindiwe Mabuza, South African High Commissioner to the UK. H.E. Mr. Joseph Kirugumi Muchemi, Kenya's High Commissioner, H.E. Mr. Joseph Stephen Charter , Grenada's High Commissioner, traditional chiefs, leaders of the Ghanaian community and friends of Ghana.
Most Ghanaians who attended the event were clad in rich kente clothes and traditional Ghanaian costumes adding colour and a Ghanaian flavour to the occasion.
In his address, Ghana's High Commission to the UK, Mr. Isaac Osei observed that Ghana's independence was a significant development because it not only liberated the people of Ghana but it also re-energised the liberation movement in Africa which ultimately culminated in the total emancipation of the continent.
High Commissioner Osei stressed that celebration of the anniversary in the UK was of paramount importance in view of Ghana's long standing relations with Britain and noted that the ties between the government and peoples of the two countries could not have been better. He also commended the British government for extending support for the economic programmes of Ghana.
Ghana's envoy to the UK revealed that preparations for the 50th golden anniversary had already begun and called on the co-operation of all friends of Ghana to make the golden jubilee celebrations a resounding success.
“Ghana Night” were organized by various Ghanaian Unions across the UK including Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Portsmouth, Luton and Reading.
Ghana Union in London held its annual independence dinner dance in at the plush Novotel Hammersmith ,to among others, mobilize funds for the Ghana Community Centre Project, revive the Union's Saturday School, stage the second Ghana Community Service Awards and to implement their programmes.
Speaking at the function, H.E. Mr. Isaac Osei, underscored the need for Ghanaians to cultivate the culture of honouring their national heroes and stressed that this would help motivate Ghanaians to make a positive contribution to the lives of their people.
He revealed that the present cream of leaders in various facets of life in Ghana especially in politics, the private sector and in civil society would not be judged by their pronouncements but by their actions and achievements.
“Judgment of history belongs to another generation so let us all work hard and do our best for our country and our people and posterity will judge us fairly” declared Ghana's High Commissioner to the UK.
Recounting Ghana's political history from the inception of British colonial rule through to the struggle for political independence, Mr. Osei emphasized that the sacrifices made by the numerous nationalists of the country should not be allowed to fade into oblivion.
“We need to honour and raise these national icons up as models for the up-coming generation to emulate because they exhibited exemplary courage in the face of great difficulty and adversity” said the High Commissioner.
High Commissioner Osei described Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a veritable hero and the founder of the Ghana nation in recognition of his relentless pursuit of “a free and united Africa” Other luminaries cited for commendation by Ghana's envoy to the UK included the “Big Six”“Yaa Asantewaa, Komla Gbedemah, Governor
Gordon Guggisberg and Dr. Ephraim Amu, among others.
On his part Mr. Ima Plahar, President of the Ghana Union, London, expressed delight at the thriving democracy in Ghana and conceded that the nation had come a long way since it achieved independence some 49th years ago. The President of the Union was hopeful that efforts to entrench democracy in Ghana would be vigorously pursued in the years ahead.
He extended appreciation to all affiliated groups of the Union and High Commissioner Osei for their unflinching support and urged all Ghanaians living in the UK to join hands with the Union to help improve life for their compatriots in the UK
The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of a lifetime membership certificate of the Union to Ghana's envoy to the UK in recognition of his unwavering commitment to the development of the Ghanaian community in the UK during his tenure as Ghana High Commissioner to the UK The presentation was made by Mr. Ade Sawyer, a former President of Ghana Union.
Ghana's 49th independence anniversary celebrations in the UK was concluded with a Thanksgiving Service at the Kensington United Reform Church. The annual inter-denominational service was organized by the Ghana Service Committee was attended by Councilor Jonathan Dearth, Mayor of the London Borough of Islington, Rev. Dr. Godwin Nii Odonkor, the Ghana Chaplaincy as well as Ghanaian clergy in the UK.
Ghanaian Churches in the UK which took part in the annual celebration were Presbyterian Church of Ghana, London, Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, London, Methodist Church of Ghana, London and the Church of England.
Mr. Charles Wereko, Counsellor Information, represented the Ghana High Commission at the Service.
Delivering the sermon on the theme “For this reason l was born” Rev George Ansah, Minister of the church of England cited biblical examples of Moses and Joseph to buttress his observation that God gives each individual a divine mission to accomplish in the life of the country of his birth.
He therefore urged all Ghanaians to use their God-given talents to help lift up their country stressing that it was for that reason they were born as nationals of Ghana.
He stressed that it was when all Ghanaians were united as one people dedicated to the task of transforming their country that the desired progress would be achieved. He called on Ghanaian nationals abroad to endeavor to shun all divisive tendencies and work closely with their compatriots back home for the transformation of the country.
ISSUED BY THE GHANA HIGH COMMISSION, LONDON 24 MARCH 2006