The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) have kicked against the celebration of August 4 as Founders’ Day.
They said it amounted to a revision of the country’s history.
For the NDC it has assured Ghanaians that August 4 will be expunged from the statute books as a public holiday as soon as it assumes the reins of government in January 2021.
The CPP, on the other hand, said “the high numbers of the President’s party Members of Parliament (MPs) may have allowed them an easy passage of the bill but they would not have an easy celebration outside Parliament. This debate would be fought in our homes, farms, schools and workplaces.”
The two parties made their positions known in separate press releases issued in Accra yesterday.
The NDC statement, which was signed by its Director of Communications, Mr Kakra Essamuah, said it was unfortunate that “the government had legislated into law, the commemoration and celebration of August 4 as a holiday to be called the Founders’ Day, replacing the Founder’s Day that was celebrated in honour of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the architect of Ghana’s independence.”
The CPP statement, signed by its acting General Secretary, Mr James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, said Ghana as it existed today was knitted into a unitary state with a unicameral parliament from four separate territories through two legislative instruments in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly and the United Kingdom House of Commons on August 3, 1956 and February 7, 1957 respectively, and was consolidated in the Ghana Independence Act, 1957.
For the NDC, the only reason advanced for the change as contained in the new law passed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP)-dominated Parliament of Ghana was that it was on August 4, 1947, that the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was set up as a political party but “the reason behind the August 4 commemoration is that President Akufo-Addo wants Ghanaians to remember the formation of UGCC because his grand-uncle, Dr J. B. Danquah, his uncle, Mr William Ofori-Atta, and his father, Mr Edward Akufo-Addo, were foundation members.”
The passage of Founder’s Day
The analogy of the CPP was that on March 22, 1958 Ghana’s first independent Parliament passed into being, the Public and Bank Holidays Act, 1958 (No.1 of 1958) and among others, the Founder’s Day on September 21.
On such occasions, the party posited, all other contributors such as Nana Kwamina Ansah of Elmina (1471), Anton Wilhem Amo (PhD, 1703 – 1759), Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein (PhD, 1717 – 1747), King Aggrey, King Ghartey, George Paa Grant, Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah, Imoru Egala, Simon Diedong Dombo, Sgt. Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, Issa Kanjaga, Nii Kwabena Bonne and others were celebrated as well.
It pointed out that from the earliest recorded introduction of holidays legislation in May 20,1899 to the present day, the only holiday which could not be directly or remotely connected to the reason for its declaration or observance is August 4 as Founders’ Day instead of September 21 as Founder’s Day.
The complicity of NDC
The CPP also had issues with the NDC, which it accused of “hypocrisy and double standards”, saying the NDC was part of the passage of “this deceptive August 4 Founders’ Day.”
For sixteen years, the NDC, the CPP said while cumulatively in power with the parent PNDC history of 11 years, as well as deliberately ignoring the umpteenth promptings from the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Celebration Committee, did nothing about legislating back into law September 21 as Founder’s Day except to conveniently use executive instruments for a purpose which could not stand regime change.
“Even worse was their conspicuously loud silence when memoranda were invited by the Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament on the bill. NDC is not innocent of the sins of this regime. They are a party to the parliamentary process which they could have stopped if they meant business,” the CPP maintained.