A staunch member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, has said that the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) of 1958 and 1961 were necessary at the time of its enactment.
The Act, which was passed by the first post-inde-pendence Parliament permitted the detention of subversive elements without trial for up to five years and later extended to 10 years.
Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, one of the founding members of the pre-independent United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was one of the top politicians who fell victim to the law.
He allegedly died in the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons on February 4, 1965 while serving in detention for subversive activities against the Nkrumah government. He was 69-years-old.
Wednesday marked the 49th anniversary demise of Dr Danquah.
The Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South (MP), Samuel Atta Akyea, said on the floor of the House that the Act, “rather unfortunately gave expression to constitutional absolutism”.
In his view, it was an “instrument used twice by President Nkrumah to incarcerate Dr. Danquah”.
The MP for Subin, Isaac Osei, bemoaned that not only was Dr. Danquah incarcerated without trial but also “denied his medication and he died in prison and had to suffer the indignity of being buried within 48 hours contrary to the traditions and culture of his own ethnic group”.
Prof. Akosa held an opposing view. He said the subversive activities perpetrated against Nkrumah’s government at the time, necessitated the enactment of the PDA.
“When you live in a country where a certain proportion of the people had taken to nothing but violence; planning assassinations attempts against the Government or the country, something needed to be done and therefore, for that moment, it was necessary”, Prof. Akosa argued.
In a rebuttal, Mr Atta Akyea said even when laws were passed, they must be enforced fairly based on evidence.
“What is Prof Akosa talking about? You should apply the law when you know and have reason to believe that this one is a terrorist”.
The MP for Nanton, Murtala Muhammed also said in Parliament that Dr Danquah died of natural causes and not from his incarceration under the Nkrumah administration.
“Even under Dr. Busia administration, a committee that was set up to look at the circumstances under which he lost his life proved clearly that, he didn’t die as a result of he being in prison”.
“It was a natural death, and the history is there clearly for us all to see”, Murtala Muhammed said.
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