History is back home where it all started – the Central Region, home of Ghana’s politics is gearing up to host the 65th Independence Anniversary celebration, come Sunday March 6.
The ancient city of Cape Coast will be set agog with high profiled personalities, dignitaries and a host of diplomats and people from all walks of life.
Feverish preparations are underway to lighten the city up to host the historic event.
The city has been inundated with the national colours- red, gold and green with miniature flags hanging on electric poles trees and all vantage points.
Streets have been well swept with shrub weeds and trees on lawns and along the roadsides beautifully trimmed.
The region was the first to encounter Europeans, which culminated in the official colonisation of the country by the British in 1874, hence the starting point of Ghana’s political history.
During the colonial era and even years before that, the region became the origin and home of most political activities targeted at warding off the British occupation.
Cape Coast and adjoining communities were also extremely resourceful in terms of prominent human resources like Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford, a barrister and political leader; Jacob Wilson Sey, an artisan and farmer; and John Mensah Sarbah, a lawyer, who led the change.
The celebration of the emancipation in the one-time capital city of the country, the then Gold Coast, 65 clear years after the landmark event on March 6, 1957, is, therefore, a creditable move which makes the region’s political history whole.
This year’s edition will be the third to be hosted outside Accra after the Northern and Ashanti Regions, in a bid to take the experience and all that comes with it to all other regions.
Already, the ancient city where relics of colonisation in the form of forts, castles, schools, historic buildings, scattered across is receiving a kingly treatment with clean-ups and decorations of national colours ahead of the big day at the new Cape Coast Stadium.
With the theme: “Cape Coast 2022: Working together, bouncing back better”, the anniversary was launched by the Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan on Tuesday, February 11, 2022, at the new Cape Coast Stadium on behalf of Ghana’s leader, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It will be graced by Her Excellency Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados as the Special Guest of Honour, the President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs and other high-profile personalities, representatives of the CSOs and other dignitaries.
Independence Day activities
The two-week celebration officially began on Friday, February 25 with a clean-up exercise during, which operations of commercial vehicles and shops in Cape Coast were halted.
There was a wreath-laying ceremony in Accra on Monday to mark the 74th anniversary of the February 28 Christiansborg Crossroad shooting, while a national flag hoisting and the ‘Invest in Central’ summit were held on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, there was a tour of some historic schools in the region, Wear Ghana Day on Thursday as well as Muslim Prayer and Thanksgiving and anniversary an independence debate at the Adisadel College in Cape Coast.
Saturday is expected to see a declaration of Independence, Beyond the Return vigil at the Elmina Castle and fireworks by the Ghana Armed Forces in all regional capitals.
Sunday, March 6 will be the big day where the anniversary parade will be mounted in Cape Coast and ‘rep your flag’ concert will be organised at the Jubilee Park, Cape Coast.
The 65th Independence Day anniversary has introduced a renewed energy into the economy of the Central Region, particularly in Cape Coast, as the various sectors jostle one another to leverage the rare opportunity.
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and players in the hospitality industry in the region met last week to discuss how the industry could position itself for the anniversary and their preparedness to host the event with a promise to give guests “a rich experience”.
They indicated that tourist sites, hotels and guest houses in the region were leveraging and building drive from the success of the National Farmers’ Day celebration held in Cape Coast last year.
“For us at GTA, we are responsible for tourism promotion and development and that is why we wanted to go the extra mile. I believe all the institutions are doing their part, but the ultimate responsibility lies with us. This is just to spur us on,” Mr Kwame Gyasi, the Regional Director of GTA said.
On Tuesday, the GTA and Growing Unite Build Africa (GUBA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture held an investment summit with a call on African Diaspora to invest in the diverse potentials of the Central Region.
Reports suggest that most hotels in Cape Coast have already been fully booked ahead of the event.
The maiden edition of the ‘Invest in Central Region' summit provided a platform for professionals and industry players from the private and public sectors to discuss investment opportunities in the region in a bid to explore and optimise its potential for the common good of the people.
Mrs Assan said it was important to develop and build initiatives to attract sustainable investments in the region because it resonated with the president's vision to create an enabling environment for the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
She bemoaned the fact that accolades such as the ‘citadel of education’, ‘tourism heartbeat’ and ‘home of excellence’ given to the Region appeared to be just on paper with nothing much to show for them.
“We can do so much by ourselves to keep earning all the accolades that we deserve but to say that we are one of the poorest regions doesn't sit so well with me and I think we can begin to change the narrative”, she emphasised.
Mr Mark Okraku Mantey, a Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture said the Central Region could not be sidelined in issues of Diasporan investments, especially as it gave birth to the Pan-African-Historical-Theatre Festival (PANAFEST).
He indicated that it was necessary to push the agenda of investment as Ghana’s tourism was gradually recovering from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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