Expectant crowd disappointed as security prevents them from seeing Obama
The expectations of many of the massive crowd that had travelled to Cape Coast from all over and outside the Central Region, to catch a glimpse of the United States President Barack Obama were on Saturday dashed as they were kept at a long distance from the Oguaahen’s palace and the Cape Coast castle, amidst tight security.
Some of the people who started converging at the forecourt of the castle and near the palace from as early as 7 am, therefore had to waited anxiously from long distances, like from the chapel square and the frontage of the Ghana Commercial Bank building and near the Victoria park.
So tight was the security that all the paramount and sub -chiefs in the region together with their queens, had a tough time gaining access to the palace, with some of them being turned away, with the explanation that their names were not on the list of invitees.
The 36 chiefs and queens, who were invited, also had to go through thorough security checks before being allowed into the Palace.
The local media, also faced the same situation, as the accreditation provided by the Regional Planning Committee, was not recognised by the US security and they could therefore not gain access to the palace or the castle.
Undaunted, the crowd, cheered loudly as soon as President Obama’s helicopter was spotted in the air exactly at 14:56hrs, but their hopes of seeing him in person, were also short lived as the vehicle in which he was riding was driven straight into the Palace, where he was scheduled to pay a courtesy call on members of the Oguaa traditional council before touring the castle.
Speaking to the GNA, some of the people complained bitterly about the turn of events, and that they had hoped to see President Obama, while some said they wished they had stayed at home to watch the visit on the television.
A student Ms Parker said “I came purposely to catch a glimpse of Obama but it is unfortunate that the American security had to prevent us from doing so”.
One African-American woman resident in Ghana was so frustrated that she queried why security had been so tight, since Ghana was a peaceful country.
Some of the people, gathered near the castle and the court premises, were however appeased when President Obama, waved at them before and after he entered the castle.
President Obama, who is being accompanied by his wife Michelle and their two daughters Sasha and Malia, were accompanied by President Mills.
The tight security had more to do with the “Post 9/11” world than anything else.
The visits by different U.S. Presidents are starting to become, in a way, tradition. This can only make Ghana stronger. I think that is special and will not only make relations better but make Ghana into a country that is looked at when it comes to world organizations, groups, sporting tournaments, etc. wanting to do work in Africa.
Hopefully, President Obama makes a second visit later in his term and the security is, at that time, a bit more relaxed.