General News of Monday, 7 January 2019
Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), says beyond the Executive Order issued to make Monday, January 7 a public holiday, the President must ensure that it remains in Ghana’s statute books as such.
Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson said there is a viable reason to celebrate the day, urging the country to use the day for critical introspection.
He said the day should not be commemorated as just another public holiday following immediately after Christmas “where we will stay at home and probably neither work nor learn,” but it must be an occasion shortly after the last year and before the current year goes through for introspection.
“Indeed Classical philosophists referred to January as January because it is Janus’ face…Janus had two heads, one looking forward and one looking back. Looking back to reflect and looking forward to plan. I am hoping that Your Excellency Mr. President will think about not only institutionalizing it, as you have done with the support of Parliament but making it a meaningful holiday,” Prof Bondzi-Simpson said at the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra.
He was speaking at the maiden Constitution Day Lectures to commemorate the day.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration has earmarked January 7 Constitution Day and has submitted a bill to amend the Public Holidays Act 2001 (Act 601) to Parliament.
January 7, 1993, was the day the 1992 Constitution came into force for the Fourth Republic, after its approval at a Referendum held on April 28, 1992.
January 7 is also the day new Heads of State are sworn into office.
However, before the bill passes into law, the President issued an Executive Order for the day to be celebrated as a public holiday.
Too many holidays?
Aside from the proposed January 7 public holiday to commemorate the Constitution Day, the current administration is also pushing for August 4 as another public holiday.
Should the two days pass into law, the country will have 13 statutory holidays and two commemorative holidays.
Many say the holidays in Ghana are too many.
The amendment to the Public Holidays Act will make August 4 a Founders’ Day and a public holiday.
Under the same amendment, September 21, which is celebrated as the Founder’s Day holiday will now become the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, also a holiday.
Two other public holidays May 25, which is celebrated as the AU Day and July 1, celebrated as the Republic Day will now be scrapped. Both days will now be commemorated without a holiday.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has repeatedly accused the government of trying to rewrite Ghana’s history by obliterating the influence of Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP and elevating JB Danquah and his UGCC party.
But the amendment explained as follows:
“On 4th August 1897, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society was formed in Cape Coast to resist the enactment of the Crown Lands Bill and to begin the assertion of our national property rights. It is therefore important that we acknowledge and honour the members of the society and the role they played in the process.”
“Some members of the Society including Jacob W. Sey, John Mensah Sarbah, Joseph Casely Hayford, JP Brown organized the chiefs and the people of the then Gold Coast to protest against the Crown Lands Bill which eventually lit the flame of self-determination and paved way for the struggle for the independence of Ghana.”
The Bill will be considered by the committee and discussed at the plenary and decision will be taken to or not to vote for the new proposals.
The Minority in Parliament has vehemently kicked against the new proposals but the Majority in Parliament who are also in support of the bill are likely to use their numbers to push the Bill through.