Wednesday, March 14, 2007

President Kabbah Celebrates With Ghana

The President, Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, returned to Freetown Friday 9th March, 2007 from the Ghanaian capital, Accra, where he attended the 50th Independence Anniversary of Ghana. President Kabbah was among over fifteen African Heads of State, including Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, who represented the Queen of England, and Government representatives from different parts of the world to grace the occasion. On arrival at the Kotoko International airport, President Kabbah and entourage were met by Prof. Ameyaw Akumfi,the Ghanaian Minister of Ports, Harbours & Railways and Sierra Leone's High Commissioner to Ghana Alie Bangura. Who led the President and entourage to the Ghanaian House of Parliament, where the President Kabbah attended the re-enacting of the House of Parliament. A display of laser show and fireworks was done later at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. The independence celebrations indeed brought revival to the Ghanaian capital Accra. The red, gold and green colors of the national flag, with the black star in the middle, were flying on buildings, trees, offices, shops, factories, church houses, electric poles. At least two out of every three motor vehicles had one or more. All over the municipality, people were clad in national colors which were either worn as shirts, caps or headgear. The President of Ghana, John A. Kufuor presided over the Golden Jubilee Parade at the independence square in Accra, with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, as Special Guest of Honour. The parade started with the showcasing of Ghana's culture by Chiefs from all regions of the country, lighting of the perpetual Flame by President Kufuor, school children in their national colors exhibited an impressive gymnastic display, all of which was followed by a match past of contingents from all forces in Ghana. President John Agyekum Kufuor in his address rallied the nation to set its sight higher and to approach the next 50 years with clarity of vision and sustained national steps. "Our destiny is with the most advanced in the human community and we must pursue it." He said it was important for Ghanaians as they celebrated the Golden Jubilee of political independence, to be reminded that freedom was a living flame that needed to be constantly fuelled and not a monument to be saluted and revered occasionally. "Ghana's freedom, indeed Africa's freedom must be an eternal flame to be continually fuelled by all Governments and peoples, because it defines our humanity."President Kufuor used the celebration to call on the youth in the Continent to use their energies, dynamism, creativity and dreams for the development of Africa. "The future of this Continent is yours, it is your heritage and you must stay and be part of building the well-governed, economically vibrant nations we all aspire to." President Kutuor noted that Africa and many of its nations were making progress and said what they achieved together back home would be far more fulfilling and satisfying than anything they could do elsewhere in the world. He paid homage to the many young people who bring honour and joy to Africa's image in their daily endeavours, excelling in the fields of information technology, finance, sports, fashion and dance. President Kufuor, who current chair of the African Union pledged Ghana's commitment to work with the rest of the Continent to develop Africa and its peoples to gain respectable and dignified place in the mainstream of the emerging global village.Special guest President Obasanjo also said that, it was critical for Africans to properly understand and appreciate the mistakes of the past so that they would condemn their collective posterity to repeating the vicious cycle that only perpetuates underdevelopment, poverty and instability. He noted that the biggest bane of the Continent had been enduring instability engendered by a stark leadership conflict. "We substituted military rule for colonially-handed down democracy and socialism for capitalism without a productive base. At the height of the Cold-War, we became pawns and we toyed with ideologies that we half-understood. At the end, we lost out but the fall-out-conflict, violence, poverty, under-development remains with us." President Obasanjo said what was refreshing was the fact that the rejuvenated AU through the instrumentality of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), has established a structured platform for ensuring democratic good governance across the Continent. He congratulated Ghana for being the first country to be peer reviewed with useful lessons to the rest of Africa and said this was key to any meaningful permanent reversal of the Continent's undignified negative antecedents. The enthusiasm of Ghanaians for the celebration set the tone for Mass Street parties which took place after the anniversary parade, as floats, masquerades and brass band processions took a large part of the day. Over 1,200 prisoners also benefited from the Presidential Amnesty as part of the occasion. A State Banquet was organized at the banquet hall, State House, Accra, as part of the golden jubilee celebrations, which was attended by all the visiting Heads of State and Government and dignitaries from all works of life.