In December 2018, a bill was laid before the Parliament of Ghana to amend the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601) to provide for three different holidays.
These new holidays are on January 7, Constitution Day; August 4, as Founder’s Day and September 21 as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
The bill was subsequently passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.
The Constitution Day marks the adoption of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic of Ghana on January 7, 1993, and has been declared as a holiday under section 2 of the Public Holiday Act, 2001 (Act 601).
The Day, apart from acknowledging Ghana’s longest-serving Constitution, also ensures that the tenets of democracy, liberty, democratic governance, rule of law, accountability, constitutionalism are upheld.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a televised address on the eve of Ghana’s 30th Anniversary of the Fourth Republic on January 6, 2023, chronicled some successes the nation had chalked in her democratic journey.
The President was of the belief that for the country to prolong her democratic journey, it was imperative to enhance transparency and accountability in the governance structures to fight corruption and the dissipation of public funds.
Also, the Electoral Commission, an independent body overseeing election in Ghana, should work to ensure that all stakeholders in the electoral process-the citizens, civil society organisations and political parties- did not have lingering questions about the legitimacy of an election.
The President said his government had undertaken, arguably, the boldest initiatives since independence to reform and strengthen the capacity of governance institutions to tackle corruption in the public sector, including the financial empowerment of the anti-corruption bodies.
The President cited, for instance, the passage of the Right to Information Act and the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption.
“We must do everything within our means to safeguard our democracy.
“We have advanced a great deal in realising this vision, and I am confident that, with a spirit of fairness, hard work, integrity and reconciliation, the best days of Mother Ghana lie ahead of us,” the President assured.
The President underscored the need to create the platform for the evolution of a new Ghanaian civilisation, which would give true meaning to the foundational values of freedom and justice on which the nation’s democracy was birthed.
The National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, at a forum to mark the Day, reiterated calls for reforms in the 1992 Constitution to promote participatory democracy and consolidate political gains made so far.
According to the Chairperson, Madam Kathleen Addy, the Commission and other organizations had undertaken a number of activities to discuss weaknesses and suggest areas for amendments to the 1992 Constitution.
She said though corruption-related activities, political monetisation and violent extremism had been a threat to the country’s democracy, the significant gains made could not be overlooked.
Madam Addy said unemployment and activities of illegal mining ‘galamsey’ were also other emerging factors hindering the country’s democracy and that everything must be done to save the situation.
“If we carry on with illegal mining as we are doing now, we will very soon not be far from the wars fought in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the nineties, so Galamsey will eventually lead to breakdown of law and order in the country..,” she said, calling for it to be stopped now.
Madam Addy said having uninterrupted Constitutional rule for 30 years was a milestone that must be celebrated, recalling the chequered political history with the overthrow of three previous Republican Constitutions, truncated by military interventions.