A former Minister for Petroleum, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Boah, has cautioned the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) over attempts they are making to alter the history of Ghana by amending the Public Holidays Act, 2001 (Act 601).
According to him, should the government turned a deaf ear to good counsel from all who matter most in the country’s political dispensation, and goes ahead to effect changes in the Public Holidays Act, it will leave the National Democratic Congress (NDC) with no option than to also amend the Act to its original state when they win power.
The Minority NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) walked out of the chamber of Parliament during a sitting on Thursday in protest over government’s determination to amend the Public Holidays Act.
The Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was presented to Parliament on December 2018. It was meant to amend the Public Holidays Act to provide for the 7th day of January, the 4th day of August and 21st day of September as additional statutory public holidays and for the celebration of the 25th day of May and the 1st day of July as commemorative days.
Per the report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, the existing Founder’s Day holiday which is observed on the 21st day of September will now be observed as a Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
The 4th of August would also be observed as a public holiday in recognition and appreciation of the role the forebears played towards the founding of independent Ghana.
The 7th of January would likewise be observed as a public holiday in remembrance of the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution, which birth the Fourth Republic, the longest surviving Constitution as well as Republic in our history.
The African Union (AU) and Republic Day will now be observed as commemorative days.
Changes to the Act with regards to Founder’s Day, Republic Day, and Constitution Day, according to Hon. Armah-Kofi Buah, who is also the sitting MP for Ellembelle, they are much aware that the government NPP will use their numbers to have the Public Holidays Act amended but noted that shouldn’t be the way to go.
To him, there should have been broad consensus on the matter even though he admits that more people should be recognized in the country’s independence struggle and not limit it alone to Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.
“Anytime there is an issue of national nature, whoever is in government must endeavor to reach consensus because the government at all times must know that they cannot be in government forever. The NPP government amendment intends to scrap the Republic Holiday, bring January 7 as Constitution Day and August 4 as Founders’ Day and basically make Nkrumah’s 21st September as a footnote, clearly, that is what it is. What is that intended to do? Our view is that it’s all intended to water down the significance of the efforts leading to our independent and Republic Day. That is why I strongly believe that move was wrong”, he noted.
“We acknowledge the efforts of a lot of our past leaders, especially the big six and others leading to agitation and consciousness of Ghanaians and the need for us to have self-determination. But when it came to the specific issue of 1957 and independent now, we all know who led the efforts. It was Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and people they described as veranda boys.
So, if you are making a decision today to basically change the course of history and you are making that decision without their voice; without reaching a consensus; all in attempt to basically change history, I think this government must be served a notice that the NDC government will come to power obviously and very soon and we will change what they’ve done because the truth must be told.
When that hour came, and the men and women of Ghana was called to stand up for our independent now, we know who stood up – it was Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the gallant market women and workers who fought”.