Speaker Oquaye Is Wrong On Republic Day

A Political Historian, Harold Bukari has dismissed the call by Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye for a change in the July 1 date observed as Ghana’s Republic Day.

The Speaker, who doubles as a professor of political science, in an opinion piece published in the Daily Graphic had argued that the date should be moved from July 1 to January 7.

According to him, 1st July 1960, which marks one of the republics of the past, is ‘dead and abandoned’, hence the need for the change.

“In fact, the First Republic was totally different from the other republics in terms of historicity and ideology. The 1960 Constitution was never restored. Indeed, it was repudiated in 1969. The former did not provide fundamental human rights, while the latter was a charter of liberty. If we simply celebrate Republic Day without knowing what we are celebrating, we will be groping in darkness.

“If we take 1st July as “Ghana’s Republic Day”, what Republic Day are we talking about? Are we celebrating that which was destroyed, abandoned, repudiated on February 24, 1966 or January 7, 1993, the day on which the 1992 Constitution was brought to being? How do you celebrate that which is otiose, dead and gone and replaced with another?,” the Speaker indicated.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Bukari however indicated that Mr. Oquaye’s argument is flawed, given that Ghana attained republican status by July 1,1960, the significance of which must not be downplayed.

“This is an argument I will say we should call balderdash…Mr Oquaye is entitled to his views but all that we need to know is that the Republic Day is equally important for all Ghanaians and all people who cherish constitutionalism. We [Ghanaians] should not forget in collectivism that Ghana, under the instrumentality of the Great Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah won her independence and then attained a republican status by 1st July 1960. We cannot forget and we should not forget 1st July.”

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He believes an attempt to shift Republic Day to January 7 will be tantamount to “neglecting someone’s efforts” in the struggle for independence.

According to Mr. Bukari, though 7th January can be celebrated to “mark the democratization of Ghana’s constitutionalism”, the celebration of 1st July 1960 as Ghana’s Republic Day cannot be ignored.

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