Politics of Saturday, 5 January 2013
The swearing in of President John Mahama next Monday will go down in Fourth Republican history as the most patronised by Heads of State and Governments from Africa and across the world since 2005.
With 11 African Presidents confirming their attendance and two others yet to do so, two African Vice-Presidents and a host of international dignitaries also confirming, the number of such high-profile personalities expected to attend Monday’s swearing in ceremony will surpass that of the 2005 and 2009 swearing in ceremonies.
In 2005, seven African Presidents and a host of Heads of State and Governments from Africa and across the world attended the swearing in of former President J.A. Kufuor, while in 2009, seven African Presidents, three Prime Ministers, two Vice-Presidents and one Interim Chairman attended the swearing in of the late President J.E.A. Mills.
Among the 11 African Presidents who have confirmed their presence at the swearing in of President Mahama are Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf of Liberia, Macky Sall of Senegal, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and Mohamed Abdelaziz of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
The others are Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin, who is also the African Union (AU) Chairman, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Mahamadou Isoufou of Niger, Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso and Alassane Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Briefing journalists in Accra Thursday, a Deputy Minister of Information, James Agyenim-Boateng, said the Presidents of Zambia and Tanzania had indicated their willingness to attend the event but they were yet to give confirmation.
He said the Vice-Presidents of The Sudan and Kenya and the Prime Minister of Haiti had confirmed their attendance at the swearing-in ceremony.
He said ministers of state from the United Kingdom, France, China, South Korea, Turkey, Iran, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Algeria and Angola were also coming for the event.
Mr Agyenim-Boateng said President Mahama had directed the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to remove party billboards, posters and paraphernalia from all ceremonial streets and drape the streets in the national colours of red, yellow, green and black to give the event a national flavour.
Giving more details about the ceremony, the Minister of Information, Fritz Baffour, said on Monday, Parliament would convene at 10 a.m. at the Independence Square, whose inner perimeter would serve as the Chamber of Parliament where only special dignitaries would be admitted.
He said all guests were to be seated by 8:30 a.m., adding that interested members of the public could occupy the stands at the Independence Square.
Mr Baffour said giant television screens would be mounted near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre at La and vantage points in all the regional capitals to ensure public viewing of the ceremony.
He also directed the public to a Facebook website – www.facebook.com/presidental/2013 - to savour uploaded pictures on the ceremony.
Outlining arrangements to ensure the effective management and control of the motoring public, the Deputy Commander of the MTTU of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Samuel Tetteh, said a number of roads in Accra would be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. on Monday.
They are the 28th February Road from the CEPS Headquarters to the Castle Junction, the Osu Cemetery-Lokko Street, the Osu Cemetery (Starlet ’95 Road)- Ministries Traffic Light, and the Castle Road, from the AU Circle to the Osu Cemetery Traffic Light.
He said Traffic Police Officers would be available to direct and assist motorists to diverted roads and other places.
Chief Supt Tetteh advised motorists to avoid parking their vehicles within the perimeter of the Independence Arch and on the verges of the roads.
He reminded them of the consequences of flouting motor traffic regulations bordering such special events.
“The public is further requested to note that any vehicle parked at any unauthorised place in the areas mentioned will be towed and the driver prosecuted.”
While expressing regret for any inconvenience caused to the motoring and general public, chief supt Tetteh called for their full co-operation as they had done in the past during similar events.