Every year on the 6th of March, to mark Ghana’s independence, a parade is held in all regions where school children and security personnel march and remain standing in the scorching sun for the entire duration of the ceremony, which mostly goes on for hours. Every year, poor school children and some of the gallant men in uniform collapse from dehydration and fatigue. Yet year in, year out these parades never get any shorter and the cycle keeps repeating itself.
For school children, it used to be an honor to be selected to march at the independence day parade. But these days parents try to keep their wards from participating in what will turn out to be a rather dreadful experience. No one wants their precious children collapsing for a country that doesn’t have their best interests at heart.
This year during the Ghana at 61 parade the District Chief Executive for the Wassa East district in the Western Region, Wilson Arthur collapsed while delivering his speech. Even though he later denied the incident ever happened, we all know it is hard to accept such a fall in public.
At the Black Star Square where the President of the country addressed the nation and other foreign dignitaries present, over ten students and a number of security persons collapsed during the parade and were given first aid by the Red Cross Society in ambulances stationed at the venue. Knowing how extra scorching the sun has been these days, it was expected that the parade will be quick and snappy for the benefit of those who had to stand under it. But no, the President arrived late and went on to give a very long speech without a care for those who had to endure the perilous heat.
Much concerned about this development is the former local government minister and Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. Ofosu Ampofo. In his opinion, the parade takes too much time and the organizers need to review the duration. Speaking to Onantefuor Addae Mununkum on Ahotor FM’s Morning Show, his concern was evident. “We should not keep these children in the sun for a longer period. This I believe is the major cause of this insistent collapse. I do remember during the late President Mills’ period these parades were done swiftly in order to avoid such incidents”.
The concerns raised by the Vice Chairman are valid. Why subject these poor children to such torture every year? Even trained security personnel can barely handle it, how much more school children who are just trying to be patriotic enough by subjecting themselves to this yearly ritual? Instead of just putting the Red Cross on standby waiting for the inevitable, plan a short ceremony so everyone can go home and enjoy their holiday.