As you all know, it is on 1st July 1960 that Ghana became a republic officially. This is after a long period of colonization struggles. Thus, Ghana marked this day on a calendar as a public holiday. Ghanaians were, therefore, allowed this day to celebrate the undying efforts and contribution of forebears and senior citizens. Unfortunately, in 2018, the government, under the administration of President Akufo - Addo scrapped this public holiday.
It is the obligation of every country to conserve its history. For that reason, most countries in Africa have at least one day in their calendar, set aside, to celebrate those that fought for their freedom. To Ghana, July 1 has always been one of those days until the administration of Akufo came to power. However, this has not gone so well with the National Democratic Congress (NDC). They have vowed to restore this public holiday once they are elected in 2020.
Why was the Republic Day scrapped?
The scraping of the Republic day is a causality of the steps taken by the government in 2018 to amend the constitution. The government amended the Public Holidays Act of 2001 in an effort to scrap some holidays. The parliament approved the proposed changes of the Act, and the celebration was removed from the public day calendar. Also, the changes facilitated Jan 7 (Constitution Day) and Aug 4 (Founders Day) to be the new public holidays.
The NDC did not welcome the decision by the government to scrap this significant holiday from the start. They criticized the government's move because this was against the historical facts held dearly by the country. When the bill was being passed in parliament, several NDC MPs walked. As usual, the majority had their say.
Months later, the NDC has continued to oppose the move. In a statement issued by the party through the Director of Communications, the party has promised Ghanaians that it will recognize the day by giving it the gratitude it has always received once they are elected into power in 2021.
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Why NDC wants to restore the Republic holiday
While many will see NDC's move as political, they have their reasons as to why they feel that this day should be accorded the respect it deserves. First, the party feels that the government is undermining the country’s history. In his exact words, the Director of Communication (Kakra Essamuah) said,
“Sadly today, the government of President Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo-Addo has deemed it fit to degrade the importance of this great day from a full public holiday intended to celebrate the efforts of our forebears in our collective struggle to affirm the benefits of equality, liberty, freedom and justice, to a mere commemorative day in order to rob our gallant forbears the historical credit and recognition that they so richly deserve.”
Kakra has assured all Ghanaian living everywhere that this celebration will be restored and no one has a right whatsoever to scrap it. To the party, this date should serve to cement the heroic efforts of the citizens of Ghana for liberating their beloved nation from the shackles of oppression and suppression.
The party is in the limelight for supporting the Nkrumaist ideals. Actually, it is for this reason that the party cannot agree with this specific amendment. NDC strongly believes the government is trying to distort the rich history of Ghana.
Currently, the holiday is celebrated as Senior Citizens’ Day. Precisely, July 1 is meant to celebrate the efforts and contributions of citizens to modern Ghana, which is against the original Republic Day meaning. The party considers the move to replace it with this holiday as a form of disrespect to forebears.
In its position, they are not willing to let it go smoothly when they are elected to power. Why? They feel like President Akufo is attempting to rewrite the country’s history by undermining the roles played by the forebears. They have also accused him of replacing the country’s genuine patriots with those of his family and clan.
NDC through Kakra Essamuah has once again promised Ghanaians that it will restore the Republic Day holiday once elected to power. The party has strongly condemned the administration of President Akufo- Addo for failing to conserve the rich Ghanaian history. As the Nkrumaist idealists, NDC rejected the bill that scraped July 1 from the national holiday calendar when it brought before parliament. NDC MPs distanced them away from the move because it was against the country’s rich history.