Ghana · News

Founders Day!!! and its Controversies

Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah
Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Today the 21st September is a national public holiday marking the birthday of Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and has been named founders day. this day has been celebrated annually since the Late President Evans Attah Mills had it inaugurated in 2009, The day had been set aside to commemorate the birth and contributions of Nkrumah towards the liberation and development of Ghana and Africa. but all that is about to change as the current governing New Patriotic Party disagrees.

 

The Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Aaron Ocquaye says late President John Evans Atta Mills erred when he declared the birthday of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah as the Founder’s Day.

Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye said Ghana’s march to independence predates the March 6, 1957 declaration day.

He said although Nkrumah contributed towards independence, he is not the country’s founder.

Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye

At a Ghana@60 Anniversary Committee public lecture held at the National Theatre Friday, the political scientist said the first President became one of Ghana’s founding fathers by his association with members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).

There are two unyielding stands in any discussion on Ghana’s independence. It has always been a clash among Members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) on one hand and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) on another.

The NPP, progeny of UGCC, believes Ghana could not have been founded by Nkrumah alone to deserve the special attention. They said the blueprint for the country’s independence was designed by the founders of UGCC.

The United Party (UP) offspring wants Dr J.B. Danquah, Edward Akufo and other members of the UGCC to be given the same treatment given to Nkrumah

But the CPP and NDC have maintained the man, voted by BBC listeners in Africa in 2000 as the ‘Man of the Millennium’ deserves the founder accolade because of his immense contributions towards the country’s independence.

Founders of UGCC
Founders of UGCC on the background screen

The CPP members said any attempt to elevate Dr Danquah and others will amount to re-writing of the country’s history.

On a record setting mission, Professor Ocquaye said the progenitors of NPP, founded Ghana and not Kwame Nkrumah.

So for this reason the current President of Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo is to propose legislation to designate August 4 as Founders Day.

This is according to a statement from the Presidency signed by its Director of Communications, Eugine Arhin.

The birthday of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on September 21, will be observed as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday was originally observed as Founder’s Day.

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

August 4 is noted as the date for the formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society by John Mensah Sarbah in 1897, and the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 by J.B. Danquah and George Alfred “Paa” Grant.

Paa Grant and J.B. Danquah
Paa Grant, left and J.B. Danquah, right

THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE PRESIDENCY BELOW:

It is unfortunate that, 60 years after independence, the history of the events leading to it continues to be embroiled in unnecessary controversy, due largely to partisan political considerations of the moment.

It is clear that successive generations of Ghanaians made vital contributions to the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism. It is, therefore, fitting that we honour them, as those who contributed to the founding of our nation.

The most appropriate way to honour them is to commemorate the day on which the two most significant events in our colonial political history, that led us to independence, occurred – 4th August.

On that day, in 1897, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) was formed in Cape Coast. The Society did a great job to mobilise the chiefs and people to ward off the greedy hands of British imperialism to ensure that control of Ghanaian lands remained in Ghanaian hands. It represented the first monumental step towards the making of modern Ghana, enabling us to avoid the quagmire of land inheritance that our brothers and sisters in Southern and Eastern Africa continue to suffer, from the seizures of their lands by white minorities.

In a deliberate act in the continuum of Ghanaian history, exactly fifty years later, on 4th August, 1947, at Saltpond, the great nationalists of the time gathered to inaugurate the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first truly nationalist party of the Gold Coast, to demand the independence of our nation from British rule, at a gathering which included “paramount chiefs, clergymen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, traders and men and women from all walks of life in the Gold Coast”, according to an eye witness. The inauguration set the ball rolling for our nation’s attainment of independence, and for the dramatic events, including the birth in 1949 of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), that ushered us into freedom.

That day, 4th August, is, thus, 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.

It is equally clear that the first leader of independent Ghana, and the nation’s 1st President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, played an outstanding role in helping to bring to fruition the works of the earlier generations, and leading us to the promised land of national freedom and independence. It is entirely appropriate that we commemorate him for that role, by designating his birthday as the permanent day of his remembrance.

The President has, therefore, decided to propose legislation to Parliament to designate 4th August as FOUNDERS DAY, and 21st September as KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY, both of which will be observed as public holidays. In the meantime, the President has issued an Executive Instrument to commemorate this year’s celebration of KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY as a public holiday.
……signed……
Eugene Arhin
Director of Communications
Office of the President

 

Arranged by: CordovoGH

Source: myjoyonline

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