Ghana: Obama Fever Grips the Country

Accra — Ghanaians are not only planning to host US President Barack Obama like a lost son returning home after a long sojourn outside, smart traders are using the visit to make money.

Mr Kweifio Lamptey, a street trader at Oxford Street in Accra, says; "If US President Barack Obama had patented his name and image, he would have collected a lot of royalties from traders who have used them to sell various items to commemorate his two-day visit to the country from July 10-11."

There is brisk business in printed cloth with President Obama's image and paintings on mugs along the Oxford Street, Mr Lamptey.

Shrewd traders

"The people are just buying the T-Shirts with President Obama's name as if he is someone they have known for a long time."

At the main crafts market, the Centre for National Culture, foreigners have joined Ghanaians to jostle for some of the products on sale. Mr Alhassan Bashiru, a craft seller said: "Business has been good for most of last week. The man's name is magic."

On the main junction to the Osu Castle, which serves as the State House, a giant billboard welcoming President Obama with his picture and that of President John Atta Mills has been erected. Along some major streets in the capital "Friends for Obama," a new group that has just sprung up, has erected posters welcoming the US leader.

As shrewd traders try to make money out of the visit, the people of Cape Coast, where an old castle, which used to serve as a slave post, have embarked on some face-lifting in the town to keep in shape for the few hours that President Obama and the wife are due to spend there.

Another holocaust

Mr Baba Abdulai, a columnist of state weekly, Spectator said, "just weeks after President Obama was faced with relics of a bitter past, the Jewish holocaust when he went to Germany, he is yet to be confronted with another holocaust which involved the black race when he visits the Cape Coast Castle."

"It was a form of holocaust that has not been well documented. No records exist to show what happened during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and we do not even know how the sick were treated and whether some people were drowned at sea," Mr Abdulai said.

He expects that Africans and Blacks in the diaspora should use President Obama's visit to talk about these issues. "We must also put back on the international domain, Chief MKO Abiola of Nigeria's agenda for a reparation for the African continent."

As part of the countdown to the arrival of President Obama, The Atta Mills Foundation, a pro-democracy NGO, last Sunday organised cultural show in Kumasi, the second largest city.

According to a provisional programme published by the national paper, The Daily Graphic, President Obama and his wife Michelle, arrive on Friday.

The following morning, President Mills will host President Obama to a breakfast meeting at the Osu Castle.

Soon after that, he is expected to fly to Cape Coast where he will drive through the town to meet the chief of Cape Coast, Oguaa Omanhen, Nana Kwesi Atta at his palace and follow that with a tour of Cape Coast Castle.

President Obama would return to Accra in the afternoon for lunch at the Osu Castle with President Mills and guests and then proceed to the Independence Square for a national ceremony, where he is expected to make a significant statement to Africa.

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