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Opinion | Jan 10, 2018

Does Prof Mike Oquaye Understand What is a Republic?

By Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK January 9, 2018
Prof Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament’s proposal that Ghana should now celebrate Republic Day on January 7 and not July 1 because the First Republic died on February 24,1966 when Nkrumah’s government was overthrown, the Second Republic ended with the overthrow of the Busia government on January 13, 1972 and the Third Republic, ended on December 31, 1982 when Liman’s government was also overthrown but it’s only the Fourth Republic that has lasted is the most bankrupt idea ever to come from a professor of Political Science, a politician and a Speaker of Parliament (see, “Speaker wants Republic Day changed to January 7”, Ghanaweb, January 9, 2018)

Republic Day on July 1, 1960 was the day the Queen of England ceased to be the Head of State of Ghana and Ghana gained her total sovereignty as nation state taking control over all affairs including Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance without recourse to London and it has nothing to do with the end of governments. As a Political Science professor, I expect him to know better. This is another of his rewriting Ghana’s political history and it shameful. He is the same person who suggested October 4 as the Founders’ Day when in fact, October 4 is the day for the UP tradition. No country has celebrated the formation of a political party as it’s national day. He is not fit to be Speaker of Parliament with his effort to rewrite Ghana’s history.

For his information, the overthrow of Nkrumah’s government did not reverse Ghana sovereignty as a republic, neither did the two other military interventions. Since July 1, 1960 Ghana has continued to be a republic. The terms First, Second, Third and Fourth Republics are only indications of democratically elected constitutional governments. Ghanaians refer to them as such to differentiate them from the unelected military governments. It does not mean during the military governments, Ghana was not a republic. The term Republic has nothing to do with the form of government in Ghana but rather Ghana’s standing on the international community as a sovereign and independent nation, whether under unelected military rule or democratically elected constitutional governments.

This proposal is stupid and not worth considering. It’s very sad it came from a Speaker of Parliament, who hates anything to do with Nkrumah. Enough is Enough, Dishonourable Mike Oquaye,

After what is a Republic?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a republic as “a system of government in which there is an elected president but no king or queen.

Google definition says “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

Another sates, “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them”.

A fourth defines republic as, “anybody of persons viewed as commonwealth” and finally, “a state in which the head of state is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state”.

From the above, it is clear that the attainment of republican status by Ghana had more to do with not having the Queen of England as the head of state of Ghana, as well as Ghana being able to make her own independent decisions in matters of internal and international affairs. It was not about the nature or type of government or whether elected or unelected governments. In fact, even if it was about the nature or type of government, both the unelected military and elected governments Ghana has had since July 1, 1960 fit into the one or more of five definitions of republic given above, because since that date Ghana has not had a head of state who was a King or Queen

Prof Mike Oquaye, Ghana became a republic and a sovereign nation independent from the UK in all matters from July 1, 1960 and that will remain so forever. Please do not try to rewrite Ghana’s history. It dangerous.

Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK

Kofi Ata
Kofi Ata, © 2018

This author has authored 183 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KofiAta

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