Accra, Ghana (PANA) – President John Evans Atta Mills’ official visit to the US and the 55th independence anniversary celebrations were some of the stories that occupied the front pages of newspapers in Ghana this week.
“Obama pledges more support,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times on Friday with the story saying the already-flourishing relations between Ghana and the United States of America were on Thursday deepened further as the Presidents of the two nations agreed to enhance their partnership for the benefit of their people.
US President Barack Obama and President John Evans Atta Mills, at a bilateral meeting at the White House, agreed that although a lot of gains had been made in their relations, there was the need to advance collaboration and partnership to explore emerging development opportunities.
President Obama also agreed with President Mills on the need for the two governments to work closely to overcome constraints to economic growth.
The US president pledged more support for Ghana and President Mills assured Mr. Obama of effective utilization of US assistance and his administration’s commitment to the partnership.
President Obama said his administration was impressed with President Mills’ unequivocal pledge, demonstrable commitment to confront drug trafficking and other trans-national crimes, and the zeal to ensure transparent and effective economic management, and free and fair elections.
The state-owned Graphic had the headline, “Obama greets Mills at White House.” The story said President Mills was on Thursday accorded a warm reception at the White House, where he held bilateral discussions with US President Barack Obama.
The two leaders had the opportunity to discuss shared objectives in advancing development, as well as the commercial and economic ties between the two countries.
They also discussed cooperation and a host of other bilateral, regional and multilateral issues and deepening of partnership between the two counties.
The Graphic said the visit to the White House gave the opportunity to President Obama to reciprocate the hospitality he and his wife, Michelle, were accorded during their visit to Ghana in July 2009.
It said President Obama lauded Ghana for its democratic credentials, saying the country had become the bastion of democracy in Africa.
President Mills said he was delighted that the partnership between the two countries was yielding positive results.
He commended the US for its support for Ghana, especially the construction of the George Bush Highway in Accra and also reiterated his commitment to peaceful elections in December this year.
The story of the Ghanaian Times on the Independence Day celebrations, marked by parades of school children and security personnel, had the headline “President pledges - I’ll ensure Ghana stays peaceful.”
It said President Mills, in his speech at the Independence Square in Accra, cautioned Ghanaians against sacrificing the sweat and toil of the nation’s founding fathers on the alter of political expediency, especially in the impending presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Our fallen heroes and founding fathers toiled to give us this dear nation and we dare not destroy what they have toiled to build,” he stressed, and pledged to ensure that Ghana remained peaceful before, during and after the elections.
He said “at no point in time should we take the peace we are enjoying for granted”.
The Graphic, under the headline “Let’s be together to achieve our dream,” said President Mills on Tuesday led Ghanaians to celebrate the country’s 55th anniversary and encouraged them to unite and strive to achieve a common national dream.
“There is nothing we cannot achieve as a people united in pursuit of a common purpose,” he said.
He said Ghana’s independence continued to be a constant reminder that with determination and hard work, Ghanaians could grow the country without depending on others.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide captured the story under the headline “Mills promises peaceful polls.” It said President Mills on Tuesday pledged his commitment to ensure that the country remained peaceful before, during and after the 7 December elections.
He said, “We have no option but to sustain the peace that we enjoy so that we can broaden the frontiers of the democracy and development that we are enjoying.”
He stated, “Posterity will not forgive us, if we do not safeguard and improve on the legacy bequeathed to us by those who fought for independence”.
The Independence Day parade at the Independence Square appeared to be drowned in a debate about the “outdooring” of a Special Forces Unit (SFU) in the Ghana Armed Forces, with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials claiming the unit could be used to intimidate voters in the December elections.
The Graphic said the SFU was the toast of the anniversary parade as the bravado and swag they displayed made sections of the crowd at the Independence Square and viewers of television explode into wild jubilation and applause.
But the newspaper noted that the appearance of a contingent of the SFU during parade on 6 March was gradually generating a political storm with the NPP suspecting that there was an ill-motive for the formation of such a force in an election year.
The paper, in its headline, “Special Forces Unit to protect nation - Col. Atintande”, quoted the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel M’bawine Atintande, as dismissing the opposition’s claims.
He said the Special Forces Unit (SFU) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had been created in response to new security threats confronting the country and to facilitate its rapid deployment to defend the nation against both external and internal aggression.
The decision to create the SFU three years ago was taken in line with the regular analysis, re-organisation and restructuring of the GAF by the Military High Command, Colonel Atintande said.
He said the appearance of the Unit should rather be applauded, as it demonstrated that the men and women in green were up to the task for which they were being paid by the taxpayer.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 10March2012