The Convention People’s Party has described the institution of August 4 as Founders’ Day as “empty and without merit”, claiming the day does not reflect the true account of Ghana’s founding history.
In a strongly worded statement issued on the maiden celebration of the day, the CPP said the Akufo-Addo government only seeks to “elevate their defeated forebears beyond what and who they really were in the earliest contests of the nation’s politics” with the August 4 holiday.
President Nana Akufo-Addo last year caused a bill to be put before parliament to amend the Public Holidays Act of 2001 to make August 4 Founders’ Day in memory of the successive generations whose contribution liberated Ghana from colonial rule.
Parliament consequently passed a new Public Holidays Act, 2018 which introduced new public holidays after three, including September 21 which was celebrated as Founder’s Day and the July 1 Republic Day, were scrapped.
September 21 was thus made a memorial day for Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for his instrumental role in the fight for the country’s independence on March 6, 1957.
Government explained August 4 was being made a public holiday because the real fight for independence started on August 4, 1947.
This, it said, was the time some Ghanaian patriots like George Alfred Grant, J.B. Danquah, R.A. Awoonor-Williams, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei and some chiefs formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) on the foundation of the Fante Confederacy of 1868 and Aboriginal Rights Protection Society of 1897 for the independence of Ghana.
Some critics condemned the Akufo-Addo government, claiming it has made it an agenda to rewrite the history of Ghana to project his relatives and party members.
In the statement signed by CPP acting general secretary James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, the party vowed to “expose the emptiness of the celebration” because, stating what the Akufo-Addo government “is foisting on Ghanaians [is] without merit or grounding whatsoever”.
It argued that the August 4 Founders’ Day holiday is the only holiday in Ghana’s history which “cannot be directly or remotely connected to the reason for its declaration”.
“Ghana as we have 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, consolidated in the Ghana Independence Act, 1957.
“The man at the forefront of these key instruments was the indefatigable, sagacious Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in whose honour the earliest Ghanaian currency bore the inscription: KWAME NKRUMAH. CIVITATIS GHANEENSIS CONDITUR; meaning, Kwame Nkrumah, Founder of the nation Ghana,” it said.
It was on that basis, CPP said, Ghana’s first independent Parliament, made September 21 Founder’s Day with the passage of Public and Bank Holidays Act, 1958 (No.1 of 1958) on March 22, 1958
According to the CPP, 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, Cpl. Attipoe and Pte. Odartey Lamptey, Issa Kanjaga, Nii Kwabena Bonne were all celebrated in the September 21 holiday.
The CPP said though the Akufo-Addo government has used its numbers in parliament to institute the August 4 holiday, it will not have it easy with the celebration of same.
“The high numbers of the President’s party Members of Parliament may have allowed them an easy passage of the bill [to make August 4 Founders’ Day] but they would not have an easy celebration outside Parliament,” the CPP stated.
It said the party will fight the celebration everywhere as “no disingenuous tinkering of the settled history of Ghana would be left unquestioned”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana