WHY 4TH AUGUST?: The Question of Many Ghanaians; By Team Kwarteng-Omare

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Undoubtedly, 4th August is one of the remarkable dates you can ever find in this world. 4th August marks the birth month of the forty-fourth President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. 4th August 1993, marked the date the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda signed a peace agreement to end everything between them. Is 4th August also, a remarkable date for our beloved country, Ghana? Yes, to some extent! 4th August 2019, will mark the forty-fifth year since Ghana decided to break ranks with the British colonial habit of driving in the left lane. 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. 4th August 1947, marked the formation of the first mass political party to spearhead social and political agitations for independence in the Gold Coast, the United Gold Coast Convention.

One cannot deny the tremendous efforts put in by the United Gold Coast Convention towards the decolonization process of this country. The formation of the UGCC alone changed the narrative of impossibilities. The formation of the UGCC awakened the British from their slumber that the people of the Gold Coast are not ready to carry their own bucket of water. We cannot dispute the fact that the formation of the UGCC brought down Kwame Nkrumah from the UK to Gold Coast on December 1947.

March 2019 marked the sixty-second birthday of the new Ghana. 1st July 2019, also, marked the fifty-ninth year since Ghana became a republic. But there have been two sides to the history of this country, despite the journey we have embarked on so far as a country. Why should this happen to a country that was the first to gain independence in sub-Sahara Africa? Why is 1st July, which marks the total and complete liberation of this country no more a statutory public holiday? Has it now become a norm for anyone to rewrite the actual history of this country to suit him or his empire? What at all is happening in this country?

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Nkrumah in his rightful senses did not institute 4th August as a public holiday. Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, a prominent Ghanaian scholar and a former Prime minister, never instituted 4th August as a public holiday. Dr. Hilla Limann knew the history of this country but did not institute 4th August as a statutory public holiday in this country. Let us board a bus to the fourth republic! J.J Rawlings, the first President under the fourth republic did not try this. A patriot, the second flagbearer in the history of the NPP and the second President under the fourth republic J.A Kuffour, did not institute 4th August as a public holiday. Ghana’s third President under the fourth republic J.E.A Mills (may his soul find an eternal repose) did not think of instituting 4th August as a statutory public holiday. Maybe he toed the line of Nkrumah! Why did not John Dramani Mahama, a historian, communicator and the fourth President under the fourth republic Insitute 4th August as a statutory public holiday? Fast forward to the fifth, the current President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo. The oldest man to ascend the throne of this republic! Why has everything changed under his watch? 4th August is now a statutory public holiday in this country. Why now and not then?

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The date and syntax for celebrating our heroes have changed. It is now FOUNDERS DAY (plural) but not the Founder’s day (singular). You and I bear witness to the fact that the struggle to overthrow colonial rule right from the formation of the first proto-nationalist movement to the declaration of independent statehood on March 6, 1957, was a struggle of many souls but not an individual soul. So Founders Day is partial if not completely understandable! But why have they chosen 4th August as the date for its celebration? Why has the date *(21st September)* changed? Why is it happening in the era of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, His Excellency? Is Nana Addo doing this because his tradition (Danquah-Busia) is in power? We are not sure, because they were in power from January 7, 2001, to January 7, 2009. Why is 1st July no more a statutory public holiday? Why have they changed founders day date from 21st September to 4th August? Is it because Kwame Nkrumah ended Joseph Boakye Danquah’s dream of becoming a president of this country in 1960? Is it because Kwame Nkrumah, did not know his date of birth but to please form, he invented 21st September 1909? Is it because 4th August happens to be the birth month of the first political party and one of the earliest protest movements in the Gold Coast? Settling on these two are fair! Is the current President, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, trying to glorify his relatives for their efforts toward the independence struggle of this country?

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The fear of many Ghanaians including ourselves is that, is 4th August going to stay as a statutory public holiday in this country forever? Why would there be two sides in the history of this country? Every tradition and what it believes in! We all remember how June 4 was scrapped as a statutory public holiday in this country when the NPP assumed office in 2001. What will be the fate of 4th August if the NDC assumes office in the near future? “The history of Mother Ghana cries but there is no soul to hear her voice. Our leaders have decided to toe the party line instead of Ghana line. They have eaten party food and have decided to lean against party wall”. We pray the Almighty God gives us a life full of good health in order to climb the ladder of education, so we can tell the true history of this country to our own generation. When you lay to say a word of prayer, say some for Mother Ghana.

Authored by: Team Kwarteng-Omare
emmanuelkwarteng0@gmail.com / Nanaeyeson5@gmail.com

Department of History Education

University of Education, Winneba