Ghana celebrates independence

Ghanaians have turned out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from its colonial ruler.

Ghana celebrates independence
Thousands of people, many wrapped in the Ghana's red, yellow and green, gathered in the capital Accra under the moonlight and danced to music blaring from lorries mounted with speakers.
"I am a Ghanaian and I came because I wanted to witness the joy," said one resident, aged 17, near Accra's Independence square.
Tens of thousands gathered in the square for a re-enactment of the declaration of independence from Britain and fireworks at midnight to mark the precise anniversary.

'Inspiration for Africa'


Singer Stevie Wonder is due in Accra this week to sing a special version of his hit "Happy Birthday" dedicated to Ghana, whose independence inspired a wave of liberation struggles around the continent.


Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, was billed as guest of honour at a ceremony on Tuesday to be attended by Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.


The British Duke of Kent, World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz, and Jesse Jackson, the black American politician, are scheduled to attend the celebrations.


Jackson said: "The independence of Ghana was a landmark event with global impact. They said the sun would never set on the British empire and Ghana was a huge blow to British colonialism."


Following independence on March 6, 1957, Ghana witnessed a spate of military coups, but has since has emerged as one of Africa's most respected democracies and economies.


One Ghanaian market seller said: "I am glad to see this 50-year anniversary. God has taken us far. We want to develop more than this."


Celebration controversy


Jerry Rawlings, the former president who led two coups and ruled for nearly 20 of Ghana's 50 years of independence before stepping down in 2000, has decided not to attend the celebrations.


A statue of Kwame Nkrumah,
at Independence Square [AFP]
Rawlings, a vocal critic of President John Kufuor's administration, has condemned the government for refusing to acknowledge his contribution to Ghana's development.


With poverty widespread in Ghana, many ordinary Ghanaians have questioned the decision to spend $20m on the year-long commemoration, including large sums on cars for visiting presidents.


On Monday evening, the Ghanaian government organised a re-enactment of historic scenes from March 5, 1957 as well as a commemorative parliamentary session in Accra.


They was followed by a laser and fireworks display at the Memorial Park named after the late Kwame Nkrumah, the 'father of Ghanaian independence'.


A jubilee parade of armed forces personnel and schoolchildren mark the start of the festivities.


Tuesday and Wednesday have been declared public holidays

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16