The Kyebi Ritual Murder influenced the pace of the campaign for independence so why has it disappeared from public discourse?

masterfully written

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Ekow Nelson

The Kyebi Ritual Murder and the protracted legal battle that followed it had more influence on Ghana’s politics than many appreciate. Strangely, and rather worrisomely, not much is written about it in Ghana and it is hardly ever discussed – not even in the context of the biography of its key defence protagonist, Dr. J.B. Danquah. There is a deafening silence about his role in the interminable legal challenges that followed the awful murder of the Odikro of Apedwa, Nana Akyea Mensah.

Murder at the Omanhene’s Palace

Six months after the death of Nana Sir Ofori Atta I in August 1943, the Odikro of Apedwa disappeared. According to evidence presented at the trial that followed, while Nana Akyea Mensah was on his way to the Palace to perform the traditional custom of Wirempe – the consecration of the stool of the deceased Omanhene with ‘a mixture of soot…

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The origins and the case for introducing preventive detention under Nkrumah

updated and still relevant contribution to our debate,,,,

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Ekow Nelson and Dr. Michael Gyamerah

August 2010; Updated January 2013

For all the criticism of Nkrumah from much of the western press and the opposition in Ghana, he did not kill any political opponents; neither did he massacre groups of people opposed to him. Indeed in his often cited work – ‘Ghana without Nkrumah-The Winter of Discontent’, Irving Markovitz confirms that at the time of Nkrumah’s overthrow, “Ghana was neither a terrorized nor a poverty-stricken country”. Yet Nkrumah’s detractors would have us believe his was the most cruel administration in history, citing in their defence, the much-debated Preventive Detention Act (PDA) of 1958. But how did this piece of emergency legislation, not too dissimilar to the wave of anti-terrorist laws adopted by many countries after September 11 2001, come about, and was it justifed?

We argue in this paper that the PDA was a necessary piece of emergency security…

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Dr. J.B Danquah’s achievements are being over-hyped

We thought that the history of Ghana was straight forward and has already being written and settled…then in comes a politician historian whose main sock in trade is revisionism

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A few years ago, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata triggered a debate about Dr. J.B. Danquah’s legacy and profile when he said rather blithely that the latter’s imprisonment under the Preventive Detention Act and subsequent death may have exaggerated his influence and contribution. If Dr. Nkrumah hadn’t detained him, his reputation might not loom as large as it currently does. Or something along those lines. I have thought about this over the years and still find it profound and intriguing.

Irrational comparison

Increasingly, there is an equivalence drawn between Dr Danquah and Dr. Nkrumah. If Dr. Nkrumah is honoured, there must be an equivalent for Dr. Danquah, otherwise we are biased, we are told. The effect is we tend to judge Dr. Danquah more as a countervailing force to Dr. Nkrumah rather than on his own merit – warts and all.

So, for example, while Dr. Danquah is hailed as a scion…

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Tribute to Elder Statesman K. B. Asante from the Convention Peoples Party

Tribute to Elder Statesman K. B. Asante from the Convention Peoples Party

 

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The old man has gone back to the village and we shall no longer be regaled with deep insights of a man who lived a full and fruitful life and who selflessly shared his wealth of knowledge with all. KB Asante, a man of many parts has passed on to the ancestors and the people of Ghana and the wider African family in the diaspora will forever miss him. We in the Convention Peoples Party will miss his unbiased views about events in the country and his words of wisdom and knowledge of government, acquired through his many years of service to the country working in different capacities at different levels and with different shades of governments.

KB was a teacher; he taught at Achimota School his alma mater before and after he graduated with a Mathematics Degree. His teaching skills never left him since he continued to give lectures in his later years at home and abroad.

He was a civil servant; he worked in several departments including Trade and Industry, Finance and Economic Planning. As a diplomat, he helped set up several embassies and missions during the fledgeling years after our independence. His work in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Foreign Ministry provided him with insights about issues relating to the implementation of the pan African mission. His work as the executive secretary to Dr Kwame Nkrumah brought him into close contact with politics at the highest level observing the intersectionality of the variety of demands on a newly independent country.

 

Though he retired from the Civil Service, KB never retired from public service. There were too many things for him to do in politics, as a community activist and as a dedicated old student of his alma mater.

As a politician, he fronted the Social Democratic Party, a coalition of trade unionists and other centrists who stood to empower the larger labour movement but that was fiercely Pan African in its principles. Though the party did not flourish as much as he would have liked, Comrade KB never compromised his principles for fairness and social justice.

He went back into public service as one of the older statesmen ushered in to provide credibility to a struggling military regime propounding ambiguous socialist principles. As an experienced administrator and diplomat with a deep knowledge of the history of the country and where it should be, he served with honour. The older mature KB saw it as a duty and service to his country and he served very well in ambassadorial roles as well as in running some of the vital departments of government.

In later years he came into his role as a senior citizen and elder statesman with ease, he continued to be an ambassador for the country though he no longer had a role in government, delivering lectures during his many travels abroad.

He was an excellent and engaging raconteur. His knowledge of the finer details of how governments function was unsurpassable, and he became a much sought-after speaker and lecturer on the foreign circuit; there are many in London and elsewhere who flocked to listen to him, many ardent pan Africanists went to hear him speak on wide-ranging issues that almost always ended on the topic of African unity.

Ever the community activist, he held many meaningful positions in the community. He was dedicated to serving Achimota School on several levels and the visible face of The Gadangme Council, championing the cause of the pre-eminent civil society organisation that campaigns for redress of the many social and developmental arising out of Accra becoming an overpopulated highly urbanised place with its attendant issues.

Elder KB continued to be involved in public and social life and he is best known as the incisive critic and social commentator in his column ‘Message from afar’ in the Peoples Daily Graphic where he was at his best doing was elder statesmen should do! – sharing their rich experience with all in an unbiased way with the government and the people.

As a fearless advocate of fairness, as a champion of social justice and self-determination and as a passionate proponent of pan Africanism, we in the CPP have no doubt that he was comfortable in our midst, providing much-needed advice from afar and cheering us on as we seek to reconnect with the masses to provide them with a government based on Nkrumaist principles of self-determination, social justice, and Pan Africanism
Comrade KB, we wish you safe crossing on the journey back to the village where your ancestors await you. Please let them know how difficult times are and how we are struggling to slowly but surely put the country and continent on the right path. Please ask them to send us advocates who will direct us and show us where we should be going.

We know that it will be difficult to walk in your shoes, but we trust that having listened to and read your wise words over the years, that transformation will yet come and Ghana will slowly and gradually become a better place.

Rest in perfect peace in the Lord and to borrow from your Ga, Tsulɔ kpakpa, oba tsu ohawɔ, agbenɛ yaawɔ ojogbaŋŋ yɛ oNuntsɔ minshi!
Forward Ever!

Comradely Yours
Prof. Edmund N. Dell
National Chairman & Leader
Convention People’s Party
Accra

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History of the Gold Coast and Asante: Reindorf, Carl Christian. (1895) – A thematic review by Gyau Kumi Adu

(Reindorf, Carl Christian. History of the Gold Coast and Asante. 2nd Edition. Ghana University Press, 2007) A thematic review by Gyau Kumi Adu Email: (joewykay55@gmail.com)

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 Have you ever thought why “history” is the mother of all knowledge? One reason is that it shows the level of progress of any body of knowledge or event, and the functions of a thing: whether it has been able to stay on course or stray off-course.

Reindorf puts it so beautifully, “A history is the methodical narration of events in the order in which they successively occurred exhibiting the origin and progress, the causes and effects, and the auxiliaries and tendencies of that which has occurred in connection with a nation. It is, as it were, the speculum and measure-tape of that nation, showing its true shape and stature. Hence a nation not possessing a history has no true representation of all the stages of its development, whether it is in a state of progress or in a state of retrogression.” Reindorf’s work is precisely that. That is, to show a true reflection of the state of affairs in Ghana, then Gold Coast, from the period 1500 to 1860, based on traditions and historical facts available during his day. Whether Ghana progressed during this period as a whole or not is left in the hand of the reader to decide. (By Gold Coast he refers to the southern states such as the Gas, Fantes, Anlos, Akuapem, Akwamu, and Akyem). However, he gives more attention to the Gas and Asantes. In the first place, writings of other ethnic groups were difficult to come across. Having in mind that Reindorf was a Ga, this book was supposed to be an initial work which shall be continued by people of other Ghanaian tribes.

 

The book covers a very wide scope such as tribal and inter-tribal politics and wars, economics, religious institutions, migration, social customs, agriculture and missionary work in the Gold Coast. In my opinion, Reindorf must be put on par with writers who wrote chronological accounts of their country such as Josephus – the Jewish Historian, and Tacitus – the Roman Historian, because of the quality and import of his writing.

I shall touch on the following themes in the book, blending it with some contemporary views:

  1. Migration and Settlement of Ghanaian Tribes (with particular interest to the Ga)
  2. Forms of Governments – “Fetishocracy” and “Monarchy”
  3. A Missionary Challenge of the Time, and its Sacrifice

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Concluding Observations: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh

LECTURE IX

                                                            CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

The future belongs to those who plan for it; the good plan takes account both of the present and the past. If we remember not the works and toils of our fathers we have no claim ourselves to be remembered in history, and if we recognize not the defects in the present we would not be stirred into improvement. Our goal is to build the best society there is for our progeny and their compatriots.

It is often said by our fathers that one ought to look back in order to look into the future; the path-maker does not notice the crookedness of the way he plots (gbe-dzelor enaa esee). We have in the foregoing Lectures cast a constant light on the institutions and traditions of our forefathers and discovered that there is a lot in what they created which might still be of benefit to us in today’s world. However, some might argue that the examination of the past is sterile if it does not yield lessons for the future. Therefore it seems appropriate that in concluding this series of Lectures we use the lessons of the past to light up the future.

It is emphasised that the various suggestions put forward here and the programmes advocated on their behalf embrace all peoples, Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian, within the Greater Accra and adjoining regions; they call for the building of social and other infrastructures on the basis of cultural commonality. They also call for equality of treatment of people in a manner that opens up opportunities and vistas for both indigenous peoples and those whose lot has brought them within the ambit of traditions developed by our forefathers; for as we say, ablekuma aba kuma wó (“may strangers be added unto us”). Social and economic failure affect all inhabitants of the region; concentrations of disadvantage need to be tackled irrespective of inhabitants. It is not sufficient to “fire-fight” social and economic problems after they have emerged and taken hold; it is much wiser to plan against their occurrence. Traditional functionaries and their advisors must have the political guts to initiate programmes, particularly for disadvantaged peoples.

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 The role of King Tackie Tawiah I: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh

LECTURE VIII

                                                      THE ROLE OF KING TACKIE TAWIAH I

To pull to pieces is, after all, the work of a child…our chief duty as Citizens is to build up our country, mould our nation, and help to effect the uprising of our race…In all circumstances of life – “Be wilde, Be bolde, and everywhere Be Bolde.”[1]

We come now to the high point of this series of lectures; the role of King Tackie Tawiah I in the modern history of Accra and the importance of his reign in the development of Ghana into a nation-state. Coinciding with the formal colonisation of the Gold Coast in 1874, King Tackie Tawiah’s reign usshered in a period of systematic institutionalisation of European concepts and systems in the motherland. Johannes Zimmermann’s translation of the Bible into the Gá language in 1865 and the earlier works of various missionaries, African and European, had already created the basis for the introduction of mass Christianity. The transfer of the capital to Accra in 1877 gave the Gá-Dangme a central role in the spread of colonial European ideas across the Gold Coast and beyond.

From the traditional perspective the emergence of King Tackie Kome I and victory at Katamanso had created a new militarism and surge of confidence, leading to various military campaigns in the Volta area. The reception of European ideas was therefore received by a Gá-Dangme at the height of its military prowess and ready to spearhead the propagation of such ideas. In many ways, the new era in Gá-Dangme affairs commenced with the divine ordination of Tackie Kome I; it continued steadily through the reigns of Nii Ofori Gakpo (Kpakpo) (1856-1859) and Nii Yaotey (1859-1862). In the person of King Tackie Tawiah they found yet another bold and fearless leader to lead the building of the new nation.

Tackie Tawiah’s fourty-year reign provided the basis for Gá-Dangme entry into the modern era. Widely recognised by both Europeans and Africans as King of the Accras, Ga Manche Tackie Tawiah was a fearless military general and wise leader. Like Caesar, Tackie Tawiah returned to Accra at the head of many a victorious military expedition. His reputation for bravery, invincibility and sagacity grew as he advanced in years, increasing the stature of the Gá-Dangme.

Born to the Ga royal family of Teiko Tsuru We at Kinka,[2] Tackie Tawiah (originally known as Nii Quarshie Tawiah) succeeded to the stool in 1862, shortly before colonisation of the Gold Coast. He was descended in a direct line from Ayi Kushi, the first Gá king in recorded history. Tackie Tawiah lived and reigned for some time under the Dutch flag. King Tackie Tawiah’s charisma, bravery and authority derived in no small way from psychosocial factors in Gá-Dangme society which ascribed to him the combined mystical force of the Gá royal households as well as the added spiritual authority of the Sakumo oracle. To the Gá-Dangme still enthralled by the extraordinary military exploits of Nii Tackie Kome I, the hallowed name and prestige of the deceased leader attached to his grandson. King Tackie Tawiah succeeded to his predecessors’ role as senior military leader of all the Gá, Dangme and Akan states of South-eastern Ghana.[3]

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