CPP petitions Parliament over Public Amendment Bill

BY: Getrude Ankah Nyavi
James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr
James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has described the new August 4 holiday proposed in the Public Holiday Amendment Bill by the government as inconsistent with the history of the country.

The CPP said the most dangerous part of the bill is the “disingenuous tinkering of the settled history of Ghana” on the part of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

In a memo sent to Parliament and signed by the General Secretary of the party, James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, the CPP further accused the government of “creating an erroneous impression with regard to our history of the country after proposing the public holiday amendment bill 2018.”

 Public Holiday Amendment Bill

It also argued that the Public Holiday Amendment Bill would serve as a wrong precedent and a disincentive to education in the country.

The CPP also claims to be falsehood, parts of the bill that suggested the fight against colonialism began on August 4, 1897 with the emergence of the Aborigines Right Protection Society.

“It is not correct as the bill purports to suggest that the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism” began on August 4, 1897, with the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) or August 4, 1947.”

The party argues that the government’s stance on the bill is misrepresenting the facts on the true account of Ghana’s independence struggle.

“The Convention People’s Party has learnt with grave concern, the proposed Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2018 which is yet to go through the motions to be passed into law. We find the proposed amendments and the intendment thereof inconsistent with historical records abundantly available, including the Parliamentary Hansard here and the United Kingdom.”

Disincentive and slander

“We are convinced that if we don’t correct certain erroneous impressions created in the proposed amendment, they would serve as a disincentive and slander to education and scholarship, especially at the lower levels of learning as to what the true account of our nation’s independence history comprises.”

The party in the memo also stated that although the bill is likely to be pushed through due to the NPP’s high numbers in parliament, they will do all that is within their means to fight it.

The CPP also cautioned parliament against passing the bill as its passage will be a disservice to future generations who are to learn about the history of the country.

“Parliament must be cautioned that should this bill pass, generations to come will learn from the surfeit archival records of the dangerous show of abuse of power by an incumbent that assumed it could elevate their defeated forebears in the early contest over how we should be governed beyond what they really were. And Parliament would be complicit.”

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Unabated debate

“The high numbers of the governing party’s Members of Parliament (MPs) may allow them an easy passage of the bill but they will not have an easy celebration outside Parliament. This debate will be fought in our homes, farms, schools and workplaces.”

In September last year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the proposal for the celebration of August 4 as Founders’ Day, and September 21 as a day set aside to honour the memory of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Ghanaians may soon have two more holidays after an amendment to the Public Holiday Act was tabled in Parliament last week.

January 7 is being earmarked as Constitution Day by the Akufo-Addo administration with this bill to amend the Public Holidays Act 2001 (Act 601).

Ghana will now have 13 statutory holidays and two commemorative holidays if the amendments are passed.

Africa Union Day on May 25 and Republic Day on July 1 will be the two commemorative holidays.

Founder’s to Founders’

The birthday of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, on September 21, was initially Founder’s Day, sparking debate over whether other contributors to Ghana’s independence were being sidelined.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2012, first earmarked September 21 Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday.

In President  Akufo-Addo’s proposal, September 21 will now be observed as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.

The Presidency’s statement at the time said August 4, is “obviously the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana.”

The CPP has,however, expressed its displeasure at the new turn of events.