The Social Justice Movement Ghana (SJMG), a group of socialists, has called on government to reinstate Ghana’s Republic Day as a public holiday to a give true meaning to the country’s freedom.
“The SJMG notes with deep regret and disappointment His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assent to the Public Holidays (Amendment) Act 2019, (Act 986) on April 16, 2019 and its attendant effect of Republic Day which is no longer a public holiday.
“We unreservedly condemn the decision to downscale the status of Ghana’s Republic Day celebration and call for it to be reinstated and given even more significance than our Independence Day celebrations.”
These were contained in a communiqué signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency by Mr Aidan Adongo and Mr Nyeya Yen, interim leaders of the movement.
In July 1, 1960, Ghana became a republic which meant that the country had formally severed ties with the colonial masters and was completely independent to manage her own affairs.
Until this year, July 1 has always been observed nationwide as a statutory public holiday.
The statement said “by downscaling this year’s Republic Day, government is confirming that we are neither independent nor masters of our own destiny” and demanded that the July 1 must be reinstated and given more prominence than the Independence Day celebration.
It said “the SJMG argued in 2017 that the status of the Republic Day should be elevated beyond just the honoring of senior citizens. Our view was temporarily bolstered when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo said at the 2017 G20 summit in Germany that very little has changed over nearly a century as far as Ghana’s economy is concerned.
“Ghana still operates what he described as the Guggisberg economy – we rely predominantly on the export of primary products – cocoa, timber, minerals and now Oil and Gas – for our export earnings.”
Then in March 11, 1964, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the country, formulated a Seven-Year Development Plan, which when completed, would have made Ghana prosperous on a highly organized and efficient agricultural and industrial programme, however, in less than two years he was overthrown and “ushered in Ghana’s declining and prevailing nightmare.”
The statement called on progressive groups to move above their differences and come together under one umbrella to provide an alternative to the New Patriotic Party/National Democratic Congress dominance of the political process.
“The SJMG reaffirmed its commitment and determination to organize the youth, women, and other marginalized people to lead the process of building a peaceful and prosperous Ghana, a country in which there shall be work and happiness.
“The SJMG remains convinced that it is only under a socialist Ghana that there shall be prosperity for all Ghanaians,” it said.
The statement said the SJMG was established in 2017 with the goal of building a society of generational thinkers, an economically empowered membership to harness the potential of the youth working alongside the older ones in an accountable and transparent environment.