August 4 in Ghana: Lesser Known Facts About Why The Day Is Celebrated


You’ll certainly come around the ongoing debates on the necessity of Ghana’s August 4 celebration. That’s why we bring you lesser known facts about the controversial anniversary…

The New Patriotic Patriotic Party (NPP) who are staunch supporters of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) has once again resurrected Ghana’s August 4 celebration.

The reenactment of the day at a national level has however, inflicted fresh wounds on an old sore, with debates on bias and prejudice arising from opposing angles in the country’s political circle.

While you may be interested in some of these debates as the anniversary holds today, we wish to acquaint you with lesser known facts about Ghana’s August 4 celebration. Read on…

Ghana’s August 4 Anniversary

Every August 4 in Ghana marks the anniversary of the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention  (UGCC). The UGCC which was the first nationalist full fledged political party in the then Gold Coast, was founded on the 4th of August 1947, by Paa Grant, JB Danquah, and co.

Earlier on August 4, 1897, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS), a group critical of colonial rule was formed by traditional leaders and the educated elite with the initial aim of protesting against the Crown Lands Bill of 1896 and the Lands Bill of 1897, which threatened traditional land tenure.

The ARPS became the main political organisation that led organised and sustained opposition laying the foundation for political action that would ultimately lead to Ghanaian independence.

The August 4 anniversary does not however, receive national recognition during the years that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are in power. This is easily explained by the history of the UGCC’s affiliations with the NPP as against the NDC.

UGCC’s Role in Ghana’s Independence

The United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), is a political movement that begun the struggle for Ghana’s independence from British rule with the slogan “Self-Government within the shortest possible time”.

Other key personalities that spearheaded the party’s affairs were Ernest Ako Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, and William Ofori-Atta.

Even though Dr Kwame Nkrumah was not part of those who foundered the UGCC, he was invited later by Mr Danquah to serve as the General Secretary of the party. He joined hands with the other five leaders of the party to to form the “Big Six” who fought selflessly for the country’s independence from British rule.

Osu Castle Presidential Museum

Ghana’s August 4 Celebration – UGCC’s Big Six

However, some ideological differences forced Nkrumah to breakaway from the UGCC to form his own party- the Convention People’s Party (CPP) with the slogan “self government now”. It was the CPP that eventually won independence for Ghana in 1957, with Kwame Nkrumah becoming the first President.

One could basically say that UGCC was CPP’s stepping stone.

Nkrumah/CPP Achievements Controversy

Many years later, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was formed following the UGCC political ideologies while the National Democratic Party (NDC) was founded in 1992, with significant inspirations from Nkrumah’s CPP ideologies, with a wide ideological gulf existing between loyalists of the two initial movements.

At the moment, followers of the UGCC believe history has been distorted to favour Dr Kwame Nkrumah at the detriment of JB Danquah, and other key figures of the UGCC who were prominent in the fight for independence. Supporters of the CPP however think the vice versa is the case.

Meanwhile, a similar anniversary dubbed “Founder’s Day” is also held every 21st September, in honour of Nkrumah and all founding fathers of Ghana. But NPP loyalists also complain that the Founder’s Day which falls on Nkrumah’s birthday, majorly celebrates the first President, at the detriment of others who fought for independence.

Samia Nkrumah Warns Against “Belittling” Father

Ahead of this year’s August 4 celebration, and in the spirit of the independence role controversy, Kwame Nkrumah’s daughter, Samia Nkrumah, cautioned the NPP against belittling her father’s role in the emancipation of Ghana from colonial rule.

The former president’s daughter who made it clear that she has no problem with the August 4 UGCC anniversary, recounted that “Kwame Nkrumah himself said that the struggle for independence began before him and the struggle for emancipation may continue after him.”

She however stated that what she has problem with “is the attempt to denigrate Kwame Nkrumah’s contribution”.

“Let no one belittle Nkrumah so that we do not lose focus about what needs to be done about the future of the country,” she warned.

The 2017, August 4 Celebration

This year’s August 4 Marks the 70th Anniversary of the UGCC, and the [email protected] Planning Committee of the Nana Addo-led NPP government, reached a decision to celebrate the anniversary at the national level.

The committee who revealed that the celebrations will be state-funded, indicated that the 4th of August is a very significant day in the history of Ghana and as such, the day ought to be celebrated as Ghana marks its 60th anniversary.

Addressing a press conference at the Flagstaff House Wednesday, the Deputy Chief of Staff and member of the Anniversary Committee, Abu Jinapor, said the formation of the first Nationalist Political movement in Ghana, the UGCC heralded the country that we have today.

The Committee therefore, decided to organize a memorial  and thanksgiving service today, Friday August 4, at Saltpond in the Central Region where the UGCC was formed, with President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo being the Special Guest of Honour.

The ceremony which is expected to have the ruling party’s bigwigs and fans in attendance, is also open for everyone to attend.

An Anniversary Lecture on the theme “4th August, Ghana’s day of Destiny”, will subsequently be delivered by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Reverend Michael Aaron Qquaye,  at the National Theatre in Accra.

The celebration did not however, go without once again attracting criticisms from the opposition NDC who opined that it amounts to a waste of funds considering the financial needs of the state at the moment.