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Ghana Celebrates 55 Years of Independence Tuesday

Ghana's President John Atta Mills waves after arriving at Yamoussoukro airport (file photo)

Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills is scheduled to deliver a speech to citizens, as the country celebrates 55 years of independence Tuesday.

Ghana became the first black African country, south of the Sahara, to gain independence from Britain on March 6, 1957 with Kwame Nkrumah as its first leader.

Nkrumah envisioned the country as a guiding light in African independence and solidarity, the “Black Star” of Africa.

Observers the world over have recognized the country's longstanding democratic civil rule since 1992, which also witnessed several transitional developments, especially economic reform.

President Barack Obama before delivering a speech to Ghana's parliament in 2009.
President Barack Obama before delivering a speech to Ghana's parliament in 2009.

Information Minister Fritz Baffour said preparations have been made ahead of Tuesday’s nationwide celebration to observe the occasion.

“The president will also take the salute at the match-pass of all the security services in Ghana. The children of Ghana are not left [out]. Selected schools will also do the match-pass,” said Baffour. “The president will then give the independence speech. He will go on the inspection of the parade…these celebrations will be replicated in all the regional capitals and the district capitals of the country.”

Baffour dismissed concerns that the significance of the country’s independence is weakening.

“I don’t think it has waned. We are renewing our mandate as a nation every 6th of March and Ghanaians are taking it as that,” said Baffour. “The president and all the presidents that have been in charge of the country over the years have always reiterated the importance of Ghana’s independence to our nationhood at every celebration on March 6th, regardless of their partisan leanings.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama will host Atta Mills for a meeting at the White House. The two leaders are scheduled to discuss their shared objectives in advancing development, as well as the commercial and economic ties between Washington and Accra.

Obama visited Ghana in July 2009, where he delivered a speech in the West African’s nation’s parliament following a meeting with Atta Mills.

Baffour said Atta Mills’ official state visit to the US will bolster relations between the two countries. He underscored the strong relations between the two countries that date back to Ghana’s independence.

“We expect a renewal and the deepening of the relationship between Ghana and the United States of America,” said Baffour. “We’ve had a long standing relation with America. The US is one of our biggest trading partners and we have a large population of Ghanaians in the Diaspora living in the United States, and America has invested quite a lot in Ghana.”

In 1957, Vice President Richard Nixon was a guest at Ghana’s first Independence Day commemoration.