Bring Back Our 1st July Public Holiday

We watched with dismay in December last year, as the government tabled an amendment to the Public Holidays Act to scrap Republic Day, which is marked on July 1, every year. The amendment took effect this year and as such, July 1, 2019, will not be observed as a statutory holiday but a commemorative day.

We believe this move by government is not only sinister in nature but a gross under-appreciation of the selfless efforts of our independence leader and first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

To say that a country is a republic is to mean that the said country has successfully transited from the status of colonial dependence to absolute sovereignty. For Ghana, this important transition happened only on 1st July 1960. No plot by anyone is enough to alter this historical fact.

To be a Republic cannot be taken to mean the transition of a country from a military dictatorship to a civilian rule. Therefore the premise of the division of our republican status into 2nd, 3rd, and 4th is an erroneous one. Ghana became a republic on one day only – 1st July 1960, the day the 1960 constitution, which was drafted by an elected constituent assembly, became operational.

It’s also hypocritical, on the part of the government to maintain, on one hand, 6th March as a statutory holiday, while on the other, discard 1st July. Those two historic moments are complimentary. As a matter of fact, the freedom that came with 6th March was only symbolic; the Queen of England was still the head of state of Ghana. True freedom, however, came on 1st July, when the Queen no longer held any political prerogatives over Ghana.

Also, the government’s move to abrogate 1st July Holiday and replacing it with a Constitution Day on 7th January is nothing but a glorification of Military dictatorial Legislation. Is the government suggesting that Ghana as a Republic legally started in 1993? Is president Akuffo Addo trying to make J.J Rawlings the de facto founder of Ghana, since he signed 7th January to become official as a military dictator?

The conditions that birthed the 1992 constitution were far from right. The whole process was undemocratic. In fact, to state that certain provisions of the Constitution, especially the indemnity clauses, are undemocratic, is an understatement; it denies Ghanaians the principle of equality before the law. It is tragic that our leaders have chosen to ignore this illegality for close to three decades. Maybe now that former President, J.J Rawlings has admitted publicly, that the constitution he created is problematic, we would be able to garner the courage to do away with it altogether.

In view of the above, it is rather sad and ironic that this government has decided to downplay the relevance of 1st July in order to upgrade the sheer undemocratic document we call the 1992 constitution.

Source: Modern Ghana