Today August 4, 2020 which marks Founders’ Day is a statutory Public Holiday to celebrate the collective efforts of the country’s forebears who led the fight for the attainment of independence from colonial rule.
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.
A new Public Holidays Amendment Bill, 2018, was laid in Parliament by the Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, and passed to amend the Public Holiday Act, 2001 in 2018.
The new amendment bill quashed three public holidays and introduced two new holidays.
This followed a proposal by President Akufo-Addo that August 4 should be observed as Founders’ Day in memory of the successive generations of Ghanaians who contributed to the liberation of the country from colonial rule and September 21 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 affected holidays were the Republic Holiday which fell on July 1, African Union (AU) Holiday which fell on May 25 and the Founder’s Day which was on Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, September 21.
The bill explained that August 4 is being made a public holiday in place of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day because the real fight for Ghana’s independence started on August 4, 1947, when some Ghanaian patriots like George Alfred Grant, J.B. Danquah, R.A. Awoonor-Williams, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei and some chiefs formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) founded on the foundation of the Fante Confederacy of 1868 and Aboriginal Rights Protection Society of 1897 for the independence of Ghana.
Find below the full statement from the Presidency
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.
Director of Communications
Office of the President