In December 2018, a bill was laid before the Parliament of Ghana to amend the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601) to provide for three different holidays.
These new holidays are on January 7, Constitution Day for the first time in 2019; August 4, as Founder’s Day and September 21 as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
The bill was subsequently passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.
Today, January 7 2022, is a public holiday to mark Constitution Day for the fourth time.
Unfortunately, many people are not abreast of the relevance of the holiday, an elsieopinari.com engagement with some sections of the people in Accra has revealed.
Mr. Elvis Presley, a Banker, in an interview with elsieopnari, called for education on the celebration of the Day as a holiday.
“I don’t know what the Day is all about, I only enjoy the holiday when it comes, I have not been schooled well on the day,” Moses Antwi, a tertiary student, also said.
Madam Emelia Amakye, a lecturer, said: “I may know the importance of the Day but can that be said for my auntie in my hometown? This is the fourth celebration but what significance has the Day served the country? Institutions responsible for civic engagements must sit up or the Day is cancelled as a holiday” she said.
“I don’t know when the first was observed, I only enjoy the Day without knowing what it is about,” Ms. Leticia Afful a sales representative, also said.
In 2020, Dr. Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD) and Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) underscored the need to 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 7, 1993, and has been declared as a holiday under section 2 of the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601).
The Day, aside from acknowledging Ghana’s longest-serving Constitution, also ensures that the tenets of democracy, liberty, democratic governance, rule of law, accountability, constitutionalism are upheld.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), in a statement to commemorate the Day, said having uninterrupted Constitutional rule for 29 years was a milestone that must be celebrated recalling the chequered political history and the overthrow of three previous Republican Constitutions, which were truncated by military interventions.
The Commission enjoined the citizenry to celebrate the Fourth Republican 1992 Constitution, and also encouraged the study of the fundamental law as a guide to civic rights and responsibilities.
It reminded Ghanaians of their collective commitment to uphold and defend the 1992 Constitution against interference and interruptions.
“As article 3(4) of the 1992 Constitution reminds us, every citizen of Ghana must defend the Constitution, must stand in defence against any person, group or issue that threatens the very fabric of our democracy, and must reject oppressor’s rule in any form or anything that seeks to disturb the peace and stability we enjoy.”
The 1992 constitution, as the supreme law of the land, provides for the sharing of powers among a president, a parliament, a cabinet, a Council of State, and an independent judiciary. Through its system of checks and balances, it avoids bestowing preponderant power on any specific branch of government.