In December 2018, a bill was laid before Parliament to amend the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601) to provide for three different holidays.
These new holidays were 7th of January which was observed as the Constitution Day for the first time earlier in 2019, 4th of August which was described as the Founders’ Day and 21st of September was marked as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
In 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo proposed that 4th August should be observed as Founders’ Day in memory of successive generations of Ghanaians who contributed to the liberation of the country from colonial rule and 21st September set aside as a memorial day for Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President who was instrumental in the fight for the 6th March Independence.
The bill was subsequently passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.
Today, January 7, 2020, has been declared a public holiday to mark Constitution Day, for the second time, after it was observed for the first time in Ghana on January 7th 2019, according to a statement signed by the Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery.
The statement has, however, called on Ghanaians to observe the day as a statutory public holiday throughout the country.
“The general public is hereby informed that Tuesday, 7th January 2020 which marks Constitution Day, is a statutory public holiday and should be observed as such throughout the country, ” the statement added.
Is this not ironical, as the majority of the citizens urged to observe the day are not well abreast with the 1992 Constitution? Much more the relevance of the said holiday? I stand corrected.
This is the second time such a day is being observed. Meanwhile, most citizens interviewed when the initial one was marked and even today, which has informed the writing of this article were and are still ignorant of the day, its relevance and the 1992 Constitution in general, which came into force for the Fourth Republic of Ghana on January 7th, 1993 to define the fundamental political principles establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties of government, structure of the judiciary and legislature and spells out the fundamental rights and duties of a citizen.
Has the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) sensitized the citizenry enough on the day? What public education have students, who are the future of the country received on the day?
Not to be seen or come off as playing the devil’s advocate, but for the country not to lose out on the relevance of the assented Constitution Day being commemorated today, I join the call of Dr Kojo Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development -Ghana (CDD-Ghana) and Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) to indeed engage the citizenry (schools and communities) on the relevance of Ghana’s Constitution Day
The day marks the adoption of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic of Ghana on January 7th, 1993 and has been declared as an additional holiday under section 2 of the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601).