January 7 should be Rawlings Day not Constitution Day – Deputy Minority Chief Whip

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The Deputy Minority Chief Whip of Parliament, Ahmed Ibrahim, has chastised the government for what he says is rushing to declare January 7 a public holiday when the House is yet to consider an amendment to the Public Holidays Act.

He said a decision is even yet to be taken as to whether the old holidays should be expunged let alone accepting the new ones.

Government on Thursday, December 13, 2018 laid a new bill before Parliament, seeking an amendment to Act 601 by, among others, including January 7 and August 4 as public holidays.

While January 7 will be celebrated as Constitution Day, August 4 will be marked as Founders Day.

Republic Day, marked on July 1, and AU Day, marked on May 25, are to be scrapped as per the new bill with September 21 celebrated as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.

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With Parliament unable to consider the bill before proceeding on recess at the end of 2018, the president declared January 7 a public holiday by Executive Instrument.

But speaking on 3FM’s morning show, Sunrise, on Friday, Ahmed Ibrahim said if the government knew it would use its executive powers in instituting the holidays, there was no need for the bill to be laid before Parliament.

He disclosed that even some of the Majority Members (MPs) are not in favour of the proposals.

“I don’t think all of them agree with what is happening,” he said, “that is why it is not under a certificate of urgency.”

He recalled how December 31 and June 4, previously marked as holidays, were scrapped when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took power in 2001.

The MP for Banda Constituency suggested that January 7 should mark a celebration of the man who ushered in the Fourth Republic – Jerry John Rawlings – on January 7, 1993, the purpose for which the day is being observed a public holiday.

He said it should be marked ‘Rawlings Memorial Day’.

According to him, it is among suggestions they have received from the public since the new bill was brought before them for consideration.

“The government must exercise patience and wait for Parliament to pass the law before they institute it,” he admonished.

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