Politics of Monday, 9 February 2015
A stalwart of the Convention Peoples Party Kweku Baako Jnr says it is time for members of his party to concede that the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) which was introduced by Nkrumah in the 1960s was grossly abused.
While still supporting the necessity of the Act at the time, the New Crusading Guide Editor-in-chief said the PDA lost its significance due largely to how it was implemented.
“The PDA was necessary at the time it was enacted; in its implementation a lot of things went wrong so it undermined its moral authority.
“I have no difficulties at all conceding that the situation in which Dr Danquah found himself in prison, the CPP leadership, under Dr Kwame Nkrumah and key members of which were my father and others could have handled the situation better.
“I have no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t handled with the appropriate sensitivity and humanism,” Kweku Baako said on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme while contributing to discussion on the 50th Anniversary celebration of the death of JB Danquah which was marked by members of the New Patriotic Party.
The memorial sparked an age-long debate about JB Danquah’s contribution to the Ghana’s development, his sour relationship with Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the perceived injustice done to the man described as the “doyen of Ghana’s politics.”
The NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo was among three leading members of the party who eulogised Dr JB Danquah on the 50th Memorial Service.
Akufo-Addo described the late Danquah as a patriot, a consummate politician, a writer, an orator, a liberal democrat, a man way ahead of his time.
JB Danquah died in the dungeons of the Nsawam prisons after he was arrested under Nkrumah’s PDA.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the Danquah family has forgiven the Nkrumah and the CPP family and charged all to forge ahead in unity to resolve the many challenges facing the country.
That olive branch offered by Nana Addo appears to have angered many, especially followers of the CPP and the governing NDC.
Having been imprisoned for two years under similar state sponsored detentions, Kweku Baako Jnr said one can only sympathise with the pain JB Danquah went through whilst in prison.
He dismissed assertion that the PDA was exclusive to the CPP. He said under the NLC which overthrew Nkrumah’s regime there was Protective Custody Decree by the NLC which led to the death of three CPP leaders in prison
The CPP member however cautioned apostles and supporters of Dr Danquah to desist from exaggerating the contributions of the founder of the UGCC party.
JB Danquah who was a member of the Big Six, together with Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Obetsebi Lamptey, Akufo-Addo and others, has been credited with changing the country’s name from Gold Coast to Ghana, credited with the establishment of Bank of Ghana, University of Ghana and the Volta River Authority.
He was even said to have predicted Ghana’s power crisis and suggested ways of solving it.
But Baako said some of those success stories being touted are at best distortions of the country’s history.
He said JB Danquah may have played advocacy roles in the establishment of University of Ghana, and what is now Volta River Authority but cannot be given credit for making those things happen.
Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the NPP said the purpose of the 50th Anniversary of the death of JB Danquah has been misconstrued by some people.
He said the purpose is not to pit JB Danquah against Dr Kwame Nkrumah but to put history in the right perspective.