Monday, March 5, 2007
50 Years of Freedom
Story: KOFI YEABOAH
TOMORROW, Ghana will be the focus of the world as more than 20 African Heads of State and leaders of about 40 international delegations converged on the capital, Accra, to join Ghanaians to celebrate the country’s Golden Jubilee.
Many of the international dignitaries are expected to arrive today and the President J.A. Kufuor would host a welcome reception for them later this evening.
Already, Accra is awashed with the colours of the national flag. Many people are adorning dresses and paraphernalia depicting the national colours while buildings, vehicles, trees and electrical poles have been draped in the national colours of red, yellow and green.
The vegetation in the capital has been well trimmed and almost every building and wall have also been washed with painting to give Accra a new look in readiness to receive the international guests for the celebration.
The highlight of the Golden Jubilee celebrations will be a national parade of school-children and officers of the security services at the Independence Square in Accra tomorrow. Similar parades will take place in all the Regional and District capitals.
President Kufour will review the national parade, with the Duke of Kent, Prince Edwards, in attendance as the representative of the Queen of England. The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, will be the Guest of Honour.
The preparations for the Golden Jubilee celebration have been docked by controversy with members of the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), a political-oriented pressure group, declaring their intention to keep away from the national parade and instead mark the day with a procession from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park for a wreath laying ceremony.
The police, however, refused to grant them permit on the grounds that the procession would not be administratively convenient since the demand of duty on Independence Day would not permit the release of officers for the procession.
After lengthy discussions without success in getting the CJA members to change their intention, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) filed an ex-parte motion at an Accra Fast Court for an order of interim injunction to restrain the CJA from holding the procession on March 6, 2007, which was dismissed.
Apart from the CJA controversy, there have also been some hullabaloos about the operations of the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, which is responsible for the planning of the anniversary celebration.
Since independence, Ghana has
gone through a chequered history.
The Finance Committee of Parliament summoned the Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, to account for his stewardship but Dr. Wereko-Brobby did not heed the summons, an act that some Members of Parliament (MPs) considered to be a smack in the face of the committee.
The controversies surrounding the anniversary celebration are a reflection of the diverse interests that have characterized the country’s history over the past 50 years.
The controversies notwithstanding and with barely 24-hours to the occasion, more than 20 million Ghanaians home and abroad are relishing the country’s eternal political freedom, which was declared by the Principal Architect of Independence and First Prime Minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on March 6, 1957.
The lowering of Britain’s Union Flag on that historic day at the Old Polo Grounds and the hoisting of the beautiful colours of red, yellow, green with black star of the new nation Ghana affirmed the proclamation by Dr. Nkrumah at the Old Polo Grounds on Independence Day.
“From now on, there is a new African in the world, and that new African is ready to fight his own battle and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs”.
Ghana’s independence lit the candle of hope for the total emancipation of Africa. The country became the trailblazer for Africa’s liberation and freedom for the people. In a matter of a decade, more than 30 African countries have secured their independence from colonial rule.
Since independence, Ghana has gone through a chequered history with successes and failures in almost every aspect of its national life, politics, economics, culture and sports.
Between the attainment of independence in 1957 and now, spanning a period of five decades, there have been four military regimes and countless number of coup de-tats in the country, all of which established despotic regimes and set back the clock of progress.
On the economic front, after taking off on a good note, the country’s economy plummeted in the 1970s and that made it a poodle of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with regard to its economic recovery policies.
At 50 years, the good news, however, is that Ghana is emerging out of the woods with solid credentials as the citadel of democracy in Africa and champion of human rights the rule of law and good governance.
On the economic scene, Ghana is on the upswing as almost all the economic indices, such as inflation, currency, stability and the growth rate, have been positive over the past five years.
These credentials have carved a new image for the country and also defined the profound respect for and confidence reposed in President Kufuor by his peers and other leaders on the international scene.
Living by its bidding as the image of Africa, the history of Ghana in the past five decades also reflects the story of the African, which is gradually shirking off all the negative things about its politics and economy in particular.
Daily Graphic - Monday, March 5, 2007 Page: 3