Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, is waiting with bated breath to host the rest of the country at the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday, March 6, 2020, as Ghana marks 63 years of Independence from British colonial rule.
It will be the first time the event will be hosted in the Garden City and the second outside Accra since government introduced the rotational system to give each region a feel of the event.
The first one outside Accra was held in Tamale last year.
Kumasi, the home of tradition and culture, is presenting a unique spectacle on the occasion which may go down in history as the best.
Beyond the normal parade and speeches, the event ground is expected to be flooded with personalities in traditional wear, mainly Kente, as the people of the region have vowed to showcase their rich culture, spiced with ‘kete’ and ‘adowa’ dances.
Events leading up to the big day have been inspiring.
There have been massive and sustained clean-up exercises, led by the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, as well as regular announcements of the event in the central business district of the metropolis to court support for it.
The city has also held a pre-Independence Day jamboree at Amakom, one of its most popular suburbs.
There has been a blend of old and new generation music throughout the week, with events and activities to promote traditional food, especially fufu, and the wearing of Kente and other local prints, across the city.
Independence Day activities and the burial and final funeral rites of the regional minister’s mother at Jachie in the Bosomtwi District have conspired to keep major hotels in city fully booked, a day to the event.
The double header assignment has made accommodation one of the hottest commodities, as a few people with whom the Daily Graphic spoke said they were prepared to spend the night with friends.
Pubs have been busy too, with one of Kumasi’s hottest joints, the Vanyo Pub at Amakom, hosting vigils since Sunday.
A final street jam takes place today, featuring Kofi Kinata and colleagues, while a number of “unsanctioned” individual events are scheduled for tonight.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, on whose land the big event is taking place, is contributing to bringing preparations towards the event up to scratch.
A delegation from Manhyia has been with the planning committee for the past two days to provide a helping hand and offer valuable advice.
At the stadium where the event will be held, there is already heavy security presence, especially around the dais where the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his Special Guest, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Keith Christopher Rowley, and other dignitaries will sit.
About 2,000 very important personalities (VIPs) will flank the President on the dais.
The stadium has been decorated with miniature flags, while a number of security horses and dogs are visibly present at vantage points.
At least, three helicopters have been hovering around the stadium for the past three days, flying the red, gold and green national colours, as eager youth jostle to catch a clear view of the spectacle.
The two goalposts on the pitch have been removed to enhance visibility and the about 43,000 seats at the stadium painted in the national colours.
Yesterday, the security services and schoolchildren rounded off their dress rehearsals.
Tonight, the military will hold fireworks at the regional capitals to herald the marking of Independence Day. There will also be a re-enactment of the Declaration of Independence at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra this evening.
The Head of the Independence Anniversary Planning Committee, Mr Laud Commey, said 1,500 accreditations would be issued to journalists to provide coverage of the event, with the national broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), scheduled to telecast the event live.
He later took journalists around the stadium to satisfy their curiosity ahead of the day.
From all indications, all is set and Kumasi is ready to host the rest of the world at the 63rd Independence anniversary tomorrow.
The week-long programme to mark Ghana’s independence started last Friday, February 28 with a remembrance ceremony for the Christianborg Crossroad Shooting Incident at the Nationalism Park at Osu, Accra.
The ceremony is a reminder of one of the events leading to Ghana’s independence.
The Christianborg Crossroad Shooting took place on February 28, 1948 when a protest march by unarmed Ghanaian ex-servicemen was broken up by the colonial police, resulting in the death of some of the ex-servicemen, notably Sergeant Cornelius Francis Adjetey, Corporal Patrick Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.
On the same day, there was a national prayer and thanksgiving service for the Muslim community, as well as an anniversary inter-school debate at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which saw Mfantsiman Girls’ SHS, Saltpond, beat Yaa Asantewa Girls’ SHS, Kumasi.
Aside from last Saturday’s clean-up exercise in Kumasi and fitness walks nationwide, a Christian prayer and thanksgiving service was held by Christians nationwide last Sunday.
Later that same day, a ‘What Do You Know?’ competition was held at the Great Hall of KNUST.
A week-long flag-hoisting ceremony started last Monday, while a Presidential Independence Day Awards for schoolchildren were held at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
Rumble @ 63, a boxing fiesta, is also scheduled to take place at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra on Saturday, and the following Saturday, March 14, all military garrisons throughout the country will welcome students from basic schools, as well as civilians, to have the opportunity to interact with military men to gain insights into their roles as the defence pillars of the state.