Ghana seems to be divided as to whether Founder’s Day celebrations should primarily focus on President Kwame Nkrumah as the Founder of modern Ghana or include other key leaders in the independence struggle.
This raging debate has come to the fore especially when it is time to celebrate Nkrumah’s birthday today, September 21, which has been designated as Founder’s Day.
This years celebration has been met with mixed reactions from both sides of the political divide, academic and some governance experts.
While Nkrumah’s towering role in the independence struggle is not in question, one school of thought is of the considered opinion that the role played by other key leaders in the struggle cannot be ignored.
For this school, leaders, including Dr J.B. Danquah, Mr Justice Edward Akufo-Addo, Mr Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Dr Ako Adjei and Mr William Ofori-Atta, accordingly, deserve to be acknowledged as part of the founders of the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has proposed legislation to Parliament to designate August 4 as Founders Day and 21st September as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, both of which will be observed as public holidays.
A statement from the Presidency said the President had, to that end, issued an Executive Instrument to commemorate this year’s celebration of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day as a public holiday.
The President’s move has sparked a raging debate and there seems to be no end in sight as political divides have taken entrenched positions, with no middle line.
It is the view of the Daily Graphic that as a nation, we need a bi-partisan approach to the debate on Founder’s or Founders Day.
There are some best global practices, and we think it will do the nation a lot of good to travel the path of national consensus and cohesion on this debate.
The raging confusion on the independence struggle, in our view, is needless and a complete distraction and disincentive to the developmental aspirations of the country.
The trend, if allowed to fester, will go a long way to further polarise the country and steer the country’s attention away from critical developmental challenges.
As a way forward, we need a quick fix to this controversy to enable the country to focus on its growth and developmental needs.
This will also require that we rise above self, ego and personal interests to think of the nation first.
The Daily Graphic would like to support the view that “if putting the apostrophe after the -s will make sure that all of us are included in the process, and that we will put things behind us and make us focus on illiteracy, poverty and joblessness and so on, then so be it”.
It is also the contention of the Daily Graphic that we must be mindful of the number of holidays in Ghana. This is because if the holidays are becoming too many, it will slow down productivity and impede rapid development.
There is, therefore, the need to travel this journey dispassionately, consider a delicate balance as to the number of holidays we need and place greater premium on the development needs of the country for enhanced living standards for all.