Sing on, President Mahama, sing
Accra, March 6, GNA - When Ghana attained independence on Wednesday, March 6, 1957, the first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, declared freedom on the nation, linking it to the freedom of the entire African Continent.
And another Wednesday came, 56 years later, on March 6, 2013, when President John Dramani Mahama, Ghana’s current President sang emotionally at the Black Star Square in Accra, the second stanza of the Ghana’s National Anthem ‘God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.’
‘Hail to thy name, O Ghana
To thee we make our solemn vow;
Steadfast to build together
A nation strong in Unity;
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
Whether night or day, in the midst of storm,
In every need whate’er the call may be,
To serve thee, Ghana, now and evermore.’
President Mahama was delivering the independence anniversary address, and the song was to evoke a higher sense of patriotism from Ghanaians.
He urged unity, and doing whatever one could to support the building of a more prosperous nation, a New and Better Ghana. ‘What can you do for Mother Ghana?’ President Mahama asked.
The anthem, in a fine tenor voice, was for joy for a double anniversary – that of the nation and then also for a dear one. First Lady Lordina Mahama turned 50 years on Wednesday, March 6.
It was his first Independence Day anniversary address after becoming the President of Ghana, a nation of close to 25 million people.
The Black Star Square was washed with Ghana’s national colours of red, yellow, green and black star in the middle, as the nation celebrated her day with a grand parade of school children and contingents of security personnel under a bright weather and breeze from the nearby Atlantic.
Vice President Paa Kwesi Amisah-Arthur and wife Matilda, Speaker of Parliament Doe Adjaho, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and Former President Jerry Rawlings were present for the occasion.
They, together with the milling crowd in the sheds have come to observe the day and hear the President speak, on the theme ‘Partnership and Innovations for Building a New and Better Ghana.’
Sporting a Ghanaian Daboya smock in black and white striped colours, with a black pair of trousers and black shoes to match, President Mahama arrived to a cheering crowd of celebrants, who waved as he drove to the cenotaph and lit the perpetual flame.
A high point of the ceremony was the trooping of the colours, done once in every four of five years, in commemoration of Independence Day, and in honour of the Commander- In-Chief, the President of Ghana.
Originally, it was a traditional British ceremony held every year in London on the official birthday of the Queen or King. Many soldiers on horses or on foot, marched across Horse Guards Parade carrying their ‘colours’ (flags), and saluted the queen or king as they marched pass. Over time, it became a very colorful ceremony and very popular especially with tourists.
All rose when the security service personnel marched across parade ground, showing the national colours as well as the navy, army and air force colours. After the march pass there was a colourful display of operation duties by the Special Forces.
They climaxed their performance with the bata dance where they hit their legs against the tarmac, with a medley of brass music in the background by the Army Central Band. This attracted rapturous applause from the crowd before the talking drums invited the President to deliver the anniversary address.
Then emerged two Air Force planes and two helicopters in the sky which flew past the Square, as the peace doves were simultaneously released.
The paparazzi would not be left out as they quickly moved into action to capture the address of the President, in which he stressed patriotism and oneness in achieving a Better Ghana.
It was all joy as the President and his Deputy drove past the crowds, acknowledging with waves the cheers of the thrilled celebrants, who will continue to remember and talk about the President’s singing prowess for quite sometime.