Wednesday, March 7, 2007.
Independence Declaration re-enacted
By: SAMUEL AMOAKO, EDMUND MINGLE & ABDUL RAHAMAN
GHANA’S Golden Jubilee was heralded by a number of activities including, Muslim worship on Friday, a Christian national inter-denominational thanksgiving service at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, on Sunday, and a re-enactment of the declaration of Independence, as well as a special sitting of Parliament on Monday night.
The thanksgiving service under the theme: “The role of the church on Ghana’s evolution and development”, attracted the top echelon of the church in Accra, with their congregations in attendance.
Led by a mass choir, the congregation sang praises in adoration of God. Prayers were also said to thank God for the 50 years of Ghana’s nationhood, the government, the people of Ghana and national unity, deepening of democratic governance and development, development of the nation’s critical sectors and the future prosperity of the country.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Fynn, Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, preached the sermon.
Other Clergy present include the Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Frimpong Manso, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Right Rev. Dr. Samuel Aboagye-Mensah, President of the Methodist Church.
On Monday, the reenacted of Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957, by the founding President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
As ace actor, David Dontoh, acting as Dr. Nkrumah, surrounded by his compatriots, broke the midnight silence with the declaration of independence at the same location Nkrumah stood at the Polo Ground (now transformed into the Nkrumah Mausoleum) hundreds of Ghanaians, who thronged the founds, erupted into thunderous applause.
“Ghana, your beloved country is free forever. Dontoh, acting with the Ghana Actors Guild, said in a voice that sounded very much like Dr. Nkrumah’s. This was greeted with thunderous cheers and shouts of joy from the gathering including President Kufuor and his Vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, President Olusegum Obasanjo of Nigeria, members of the Diplomatic Corps and a huge number of tourists.
He brought back the memory of the first President, quoting his famous statement “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of the African continent”.
Just then colourful fireworks lit up the sky brilliantly as the crowd cheered.
The re-enactment of the declaration was preceded by various cultural performances by members of the Guild depicting unity in diversity in the Northern Territories, Trans-Volta Togoland, the Colony, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo the five geographical divisions of the country at the time of independence.
A group from Malawi also added colour to the night by performing a show that portrayed Ghana’s colonial struggle.
As the fireworks continued through dawn, the crowd was treated to a carnival of hi-life and hiplife music.
Almost every drinking and entertainment centre in Accra was filled with merry makers throughout the night.
The re-enactment in Parliament on Monday night took Ghanaians down the memory lane for an hour and a half’s commemorative sitting to mark the county’s 50 years of freedom from Britain colonial rule.
On March 5, 1957 at 11.45 pm, the Duchess of Kent, representing Her Majesty, the Queen, presented the parchment of Independence to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, then the Prime Minister, to pave the way for the declaration of Ghana’s Independence at the Old Polo Grounds.
The sitting was attended by the duke of Kent, Prince Edward, who read the Queen’s message for the occasion, and the numerous invited Heads of State including Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.
Also present were Busumuru Kofi Annan, immediate past Secretary-General of the United Nation and his wife Name, Dr. Gertrude Mongele, President of the Pan-African Parliament, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the black civil right activist, Chiefs, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Foreign Dignitaries, Members of the Council of State, Service Commanders as well as a cross-section of the public.
At about 9 pm. Members of Parliament dressed in rich Kente Cloth, smock and other Traditional and Western attire were seated in anxiety with miniature Ghanaian flags.
The chamber was decorated in the national colours of red, gold, green and plasma, an electronic device affixed to the wall which screened the proceedings.
The seemingly silence in the House was broken when Shiehk I.C. Quaye (NPP – Ayawaso Central) and Greater Accra Regional Minister, entered the chamber. His colleagues from the Majority side welcomed him with shouts of “Odomos”! and “It is big money oo”! apparently in reference to his endorsement of the mosquito repellant and his comment on the Millennium Challenge Account, respectively.
President Kufuor accompanied by his wife Theresa, Vice-President Aliu Mahama and his wife, Hajia Ramatu, then entered with ‘fontonfrom’ drums throbbing in the background, received a standing ovation from members of both sides of the House waving miniature flags and shouting “hear! Hear!
This was preceded with the arrival of Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, Speaker of Parliament, in the company of Dr. Monquelle, President of the Pan-African parliament (PAP), as well as other speakers of Parliament and Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature.
As he delivered his address, President Kufuor was greeted with shouts of ‘hear! Hear! and waving of flags by Majority MPs but with occasional signs of disapproval mainly from the Minority side.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes took Ghana down memory lane of what transpired in the house on that fateful day paid glowing tribute to past Speakers of the House amidst shouts of hear! Hear! from members.
Dr. Mongel, delivering a goodwill message on behalf of the Pan-African Parliament, drew laughter when she said: “I am a midwife who is about to deliver.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
By: TIME REPORTER
The playing of the National Anthem to welcome the President was all it took to throw the thousands of Ghanaians at the Independence Square Accra into the full Jubilee mood.
The National Anthem, composed by Philip Kwami Gbeho, was adopted upon the country’s attainment of independence in 1957.
It replaced the British Anthem God Bless the Queen which until Independence was the country’s Anthem under colonial rule.
The words were changed in 1960, upon the declaration of Ghana as a republic and again changed after the 1966 coup.
Mr. Gbeho’s piece was selected among entries that had been submitted to the National Anthem Selection Committee. The lyrics were written by a literary committee set up by the government, and Mr. Gbeho composed the music.
Ghana’s National Anthem, like the definition of an Anthem, evokes and eulogies the history, traditions and struggles of its people and although it has three stanzas, only the first is usually sung and is commonly known among Ghanaians.
Born in 1905, Philip Gbeho taught music at Chimota School and also composed many songs. He died in 1976 at the age of 71.
THE GHANAIAN TIMES - Wednesday, March 7, 2007 Pages: 7