News / Africa
Rousing welcome for Mugabe in Ghana
07 Mar 2017 at 06:11hrs | Views
President Mugabe's popularity as an African icon continues to rise with delegates who attended Ghana's 60th independence celebrations here yesterday rising to their feet, cheering and clapping hands when the master of ceremonies announced his entry into the venue of the celebrations.
The Independence Square also known as the Black Square, reverberated with thunderous applause when President Mugabe disembarked from his official vehicle.
The master of ceremonies announced the President's brief history about his training and teaching stint in Ghana, his marriage to the late Ghanaian Sally Mugabe and his admiration for Ghana's founding father, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, proceeded to greet Ghana's former Presidents — Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama before taking his seat next to incumbent President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In his speech, President Addo said the independence celebrations meant a lot to Ghana and the rest of Africa.
"We are met here today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of our nation's independence, to celebrate our freedom from the clutches of British imperialism, to celebrate the final achievement of the struggle of successive generations of Ghanaian patriots to establish a free, sovereign Ghana," he said.
"We are grateful that on such a happy day, leaders of our neighbouring countries and friendly nations have joined us in our celebration. Akwaaba, Your Excellencies, to each one of you."
President Addo mentioned the names of some of the country's citizens who played a major role in pre and post-colonial Ghana in their quest to liberate it.
"It is worth mentioning some of the names of the members of the society because, unfortunately, we have not often acknowledged their role — John Mensah Sarbah, Joseph Casely Hayford, J W Sey, JP Brown, and their colleagues, who mobilised the chiefs and people against the Crown Lands Bill and forced the colonial authorities to retreat.
"Sarbah began the tradition of the Ghanaian lawyer as a nationalist. This was probably one of the most dramatic interventions in the colonial history of our country.
"One hundred and twenty years after that event, its significance might be lost on us. The very same objectives of the Crown Lands Bill were introduced at the same time and became law in countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and other British colonies around Africa and changed the course of their history," said President Addo.
He said the land of indigenous people was seized by the British Crown under that law.
He went on to pay homage to Dr Nkrumah whose message on independence day — March 6, 1957 was to liberate the whole of Africa.
"He said our independence would prove that the black man or woman was capable of managing his or her own affairs.
"And then he said what has probably been the most quoted part of that speech. He said "the independence of Ghana was meaningless unless it was linked with the total liberation of the whole continent of Africa".
"In those words, Kwame Nkrumah sealed the fate of Ghana to the continent. He bequeathed to us Ghana's pan African vocation and its commitment to the unity and integration of Africa," said President Addo.
He said Ghana had enjoyed political stability in the last 24 years since independence with the results showing though regrettably slowly.
President Addo said while the slogan at independence was "to seek first the political kingdom and all other things would be added", the challenge was that they assumed that there would be economic development to follow political freedom.
President Mugabe left for Ghana on Sunday. VP Mnangagwa is the Acting President.
Source - chronicle