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Politics of Wednesday, 26 February 2020


54 years after Nkrumah's overthrow: Politicians now fighting over an 'apostrophe' - MP

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa play videoMember of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has expressed disappointment about the repositioning of the apostrophe in the’ Founder’s day’, set aside to celebrate the founding fathers of Ghana.

According to the NDC MP, the change of Founder’s Day to Founders’ Day by the NPP government is a distortion of Ghana’s history.

“This obnoxious, appalling, distortion of the history of a piece of legislation has changed Founder’s Day to August 4 and Founder’s Day is now ‘Founders’… that is what we the politicians in Ghana are busy doing, fighting over where an apostrophe should be.”

He said the government abused its majority in parliament to have its way just because of familial interest when there are more pressing issues that need attention in the country.

“A country where there is no bed syndrome, people are dying they can’t find enough beds, look at our roads. We are fighting over an apostrophe because of familial interest.”

Speaking at a lecture series to mark 54 years after Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s overthrow at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, the politician noted that the persons for which the day was changed from September 21 to August 4 do not match up to Ghana’s first president in any way.

“Today people are fighting for equalisation, fighting to be at the same level with Nkrumah but hard as they try even with laws in parliament abusing their majority the more Nkrumah becomes great and greater thana all those people.”

Setting the birthday of Dr Kwame Nkrumah as Founder’s Day sparked debate over whether other contributors to Ghana’s independence were being side-lined.

After taking over office in 2017, President Nana Akufo-Addo proposed a legislation for September 21 to be observed as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day while August 4 will mark Founders’ Day.

The Presidency in a statement at the time said August 4, is “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.”

The shift, however, was met by criticism from across the political divide, especially groups with Nkrumaist ties.

The NDC, known for its support for Nkrumaist ideals, deemed this move as an attempt to distort Ghana’s history by enforcing the idea that Ghana had multiple founders.

This is because August 4 is a pivotal day for groups within the Danquah-Busia tradition, of which the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) belongs.

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.