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General News
Come Let''s Party 3/5/2007
Accra, the nation''s capital, is ready in all facets for tomorrow Tuesday 6th March 2007, the biggest day in the celebration of the nation''s historic golden jubilee independence anniversary. Dignitaries including over seventy government delegations led by presidents and heads of state from around the world, started trooping in since last week, and some are still expected today.

They will all converge tomorrow morning at the Independence Square in Accra to witness the climax of the anniversary - a super parade featuring the security services and school children.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Kwamena Bartels, said the number of dignitaries expected in Accra is unprecedented in the political history of Ghana.

At a media briefing in Accra last Friday, Mr. Bartels said, "We have never witnessed such a great number apart from that of the OAU meeting held here in 1965".

The Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mrs. Oboshie Sai-Cofie disclosed that President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria is the special guest of honour to the function.

President Kufuor, she said, would take the salute and deliver the golden jubilee address.

A number of events have been planned for today. Among them the Ghana Armed Forces in conjunction with the police is holding a route march through the principal streets of Accra this morning. There will be a musical concert featuring renowned highlife musicians including Abrantie Amakye Dede, A.B. Crentsil, C.K. Mann and Kojo Antwi. Parliament will also hold a commemorative golden jubilee sitting which will be a re-enactment of the parliamentary motion for independence.

At the Old Polo Grounds in Accra later in the night there will be a re-enactment of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah''s declaration for freedom on the eve of independence. In an interview with Peace FM a local radio station last Friday, President J.A. Kufuor asked Ghanaians to put their differences behind them and see the anniversary celebrations as blessings, which call for Ghanaians to party. He said though the country had experienced different kinds of regimes after it attained independence, the past 14 years of constitutional rule have seen some democratic progress, hence the need to celebrate.

"Look round the continent and observe the kind of suffering some of the countries have experienced. [In] Ghana, even though we have seen some atrocities, now that we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, [and] the whole world has accepted the fact that Ghana has risen again, we need to thank God and honour him."

Referring to how the national economy is moving steadily, President Kufuor hoped that in the next ten years, "Ghana would be a middle-income country".

He recalled the ups and downs the country had gone through, before his government took over the administration. Everything was almost in disarray, compelling his government to opt for the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, through which the country benefited from over $7 billion debt relief.

The president noted that Ghanaians are now seeing vigorous infrastructure development including roads, schools, hospitals and water, in addition to improved agricultural growth.

These achievements, he said, among many others give Ghanaians cause to celebrate and be thankful to God, and he hoped God would in turn bless us.

The president said with the kind of progress that the country has made over the years, "the $20 million [for the celebration] is even small".

"People talk as if the government does not care about the country, when we are doing well. Talk of roads, education and the rest. We are doing what we have to do," he said.

He said Ghana''s size warrants more than $20 million, and that "those who don''t want to know, will never know".

The president recollected Ghana''s 40th anniversary, where no member of the then government accounted to Ghanaians. "When we celebrated the 40th anniversary, did they account for it," he asked, and added that "Kufuor wants to be transparent, so everyone should be made aware of the expenses".

He explained that some of the things done with the $20 million would help the country in the future. "When Kwame Nkrumah built Job 600, including the Parliament House, did we think we could use it today? Now we have it and if it were to be constructed today, you would need about $50 million It is not only Job 600, there are many things that Kwame Nkrumah did during the first OAU summit in Ghana, that we are using today".

"Are we the only poor country in the world? Countries are poorer than us , go and see what they are doing," he said.

"In fact we should stop exaggerating, our coat is big Ghana is flying with those top countries in the world," we added.

To those saying that the celebration is useless, the president said those people do not see anything good in the country, but the country has a lot to celebrate. "All over the world people are saying Ghana is progressing We can now express our views, but that was not done in the past. People say a lot of bad things about me, but I don''t go and arrest them Have you heard that Kufuor has arrested or seized the properties of someone?" he asked the interviewer.

On his presidency and privileges, President Kufuor stated, "Governance is not easy," and placed on record that it is not full of enjoyment, as people perceive it to be. "When I became the president, you noted that the colour of my hair was black but, you can now see how the white has taken over the black within this short period."

He acknowledged however, "I was not forced by anybody [to become a president but,] I have [been] prepared to serve the nation right from childhood".

Accra Mail

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