Most workers have been given the day off – tens of thousands have gathered in the capital, Accra, to greet the independent country’s first prime minister, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The Duchess of Kent has been attending the celebrations. Last night, she opened the Independence Monument, erected near the spot where in 1948 members of the Ghanaian ex-servicemen’s union were shot when marching to present a petition to the British Governor.
The Gold Coast Legislative Assembly was prorogued at midnight to cheers from the waiting crowd outside.
This morning the Legislative Assembly building, now the building of the Ghana parliament was packed with members dressed in their national costumes. The first Governor-General of Ghana, Sir Charles Arden-Clarke has been sworn in.
Message from the Queen
The Duchess gave a speech, setting out the Ghana Government policy. She also read out a personal message from the Queen to the people of Ghana.
In it she said: “The hopes of many, especially in Africa, hang on your endeavours. It is my earnest and confident belief that my people in Ghana will go forward in freedom and justice.”
In reply, Dr Nkrumah said: “My government fully realises both the advantages and the responsibilities involved in the achievement of independence. It intends to make full use of these advantages to increase the prosperity of the country.”
Earlier, the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, made a speech welcoming Ghana’s move to independence.
“The government and people of Ghana have set their hands to a great task. We are confident whatever may be the difficulties which will face them they will maintain and develop the principles of tolerance and freedom which are inherent in our parliamentary system. We shall give them all the help we can.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
March 5, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Ghana as you celebrate the 55th anniversary of your independence this March 6.
Our two nations share a long history promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. As the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence, Ghana has set an example for countries throughout Africa promoting governance and regional stability. We are grateful to Ghanaian peacekeepers who are working to bring peace and security to places around the world.
As you celebrate this special day with family, friends and loved ones, know that the United States is a committed partner and friend. We look forward to continuing to work together to build greater prosperity for all our people.