Nation marks Founders’ Day today
Ghana marks Founders Day today. It is the third to be marked since it was promulgated into law in 2018. Because it is being marked during the COVID-19 global pandemic, just a few activities have been planned to mark the day which has been declared a public holiday.
Public Holidays Amendment Bill (2018) was laid in Parliament by the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, and passed to amend the Public Holiday Act, 2001 in 2018.
The new amendment bill quashed three public holidays and introduced two new ones. The affected holidays are the Republic Day which falls on July 1, African Union (AU) Day, which falls on May 25 and Founder’s Day, September 21, which happens to be Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah's birthday.
The amendment of the bill followed a proposal by President Akufo-Addo that August 4 should be observed as Founders’ Day in memory of the successive generations of Ghanaians who contributed to the liberation of the country from colonial rule and September 21 set aside as a Memorial Day for Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, who was instrumental in the independence struggle.
The bill explained that August 4 was being made a public holiday in place of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day because the real fight for Ghana’s independence started on August 4, 1947, when some Ghanaian patriots such as George Alfred Grant, J.B. Danquah, R.A. Awoonor-Williams, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei and some chiefs formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), founded on the foundation of the Fante Confederacy of 1868 and Aboriginal Rights Protection Society of 1897 for the independence of Ghana.
The change (amendment) which resulted in the removal of the apostrophe from in between the ‘r’ and ‘s’ (Founder’s) and its placement after the ‘s’ (Founders’) sparked a debate among the political parties, as some, especially the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) members believed that the contribution of Kwame Nkrumah surpassed that of the other nationalist leaders, hence the Founder’s Day should be maintained instead of the Founders’ Day.
However, members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is of the Danquah-Busia tradition, disagreed and indicated that the Founders’ Day was apt as it recognised, not only one person, but all those who contributed in various ways to the independence of the country.