Parliament has passed the Public Holidays Amendment Bill 2018 into law making January 7 and August 4 public holidays.
These days will be celebrated as Constitution and Founders days respectively, scrapping the holidays on July 1 which was celebrated as Republic Day and May 25, celebrated as AU Day.
Under the same amendment, September 21, which is celebrated as the Founder’s Day holiday will now become the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day and will be observed with a holiday.
Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who reports from Parliament said the Bill was passed in the absence of the Minority who staged another walk out in protest of the changes.
Although the Executive has provided justification for the new holidays stating “Over the years, successive generations of Ghanaians have made vital contributions to the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism. It is against this background that this bill seeks to provide for additional public holidays to be celebrated in recognition of significant historical events and in honour of persons who have contributed to the founding of our nation,” the Minority is staunchly opposed to the changes.
Of the three proposed holidays, August 4 Founders’ Day is the most controversial.
The opposition National Democratic Congress 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 even though the amendment explains “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.”
Last week, the Minority walked out of the House when the proposed changes were debated and did same on Tuesday but that did not stop the bill from getting passed.
When the Speaker Prof. Mike Ocquaye asked “as many as are in favour of the motion say aye,” the aye was resounding.
However, when he asked “as many as are against say no,” there was no response. The Minority were out of the House.
The Speaker to declare, “the ayes have it. The Public Holidays Amendment Bill 2018 is duly read the third time and passed.”
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