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Monday, July 19, 2010


 Currently working on next article, would appreciate your comments:



Avoka mate
Sekou is right but he should be thankful to democracy being practised in modern Ghana, thanks to Kufuor. If it had been his father's time he would have been sleeping at Nsawam Prison. He should be grateful President Mills for peacefully releasing him of his post. He should ask his father's ghost what J. B. Danquah did and his father sent him to prison to die.
Whilst Kufour was a clear PNDC collaborator and Under-Secretary for Agriculture until he was dismissed by Rawlings, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah was the Regional Chairman of the Greater Accra Branch of the Movement for Freedom and Justice, the famous MFJ that spearheaded the struggle for the 4th Republican democratic order from the hands of a determined PNDC dictatorship. So it is grotesque to read: “be thankful to democracy being practised in modern Ghana, thanks to Kufuor.“ It is rather Kufour who has to thank Sekou, even for the very chance to be a president of Ghana.

As for J. B. Danquah, it is just a big pity he did not hang with the other co-conspirators who were involved in the ritual murder and a sordid human sacrifice crime in the early morning of Sunday, 27th February, 1944 at Kyebi. The plot to kill Nana Akyea Mensah was hatched in the evening of Saturday, 26th February, 1944, after a meeting involving all the principal players in the stool blackening ritual, ended in a confusion as they assembled for final preparations for the burial of the departed King. According to the case officer, ACP/Mr Nuamah, "the climax of the week-long funeral of the late Okyehene Nana Sir Ofori Atta I was set for Sunday, 27th February, 1944. The last rite marking the end of the funeral was the celebration of the WEREMPE custom, which was the act of blackening the stool of the late chief, formally making him "an ancestor in the line of kings."

The divisive issue was the question of which human being's blood was to be used for the ceremony. Present was the powerful Nana Akyea Mensah, Chief of Apedwa, and traditionally commander of the Okyehene's royal bodyguard. Nana Mensah quite clearly explained to his colleagues that times had changed. The colonial authorities at the Christianborg Castle in Osu had taken over the power of life and death from the chiefs. It was no longer possible for the chiefs to sit anywhere and condemn anybody – if they used any human blood in the ritual, the Gold Coast Police would arrest them.

This did not go down well with the Akyem fundamentalists who wanted human blood and considered Nana Akyea Mensah's intervention as an attack on their traditions and power. They opposed Nana Mensah. It must be recalled that since the return of Dr. J.B. Danquah from Britain with a Ph. D. degree in philosophy, precisely the period between 1927 and 1943, Danquah served as Ofori Atta s secretary, ambassador, and legal advisor (Attorney General). And that it was this position that gave rise to J.B. Danquah s political career. It was with his help that  Ofori Atta instrumented the Native Administrative Ordinance of 1927.  Naturally his advice would be sought in such a contentious issue, even if it were not for his conspicuous presence in town, also for the funeral.

J. B. Danquah, a member of the royal family and leading barister countered the authority of this "Kwaw Botwe" Krakyi (Akyea Mensah was not a lawyer, he completed his secondary education at Mfatsipim College as Emmanuel Ohemeng and and then worked as a clerk for the Akyem Abuawa State. The superior legal prowess of J.B. Daquah directed that the Akyem Abuakwa State was independent of the British Colonial rule, and the laws of Akyem Abuakwa State were not dependent upon British colonial law.

J.B Danquah encouraged and assured legal protection to the conspirators: Asare Apietu, Kwame Kagya, Kwaku Amoako Atta, Kwadwo Amoako, Kwasi Pipim, Opoku Ahwenee, A. E. B. Danquah and Owusu Akyem-Tenteng who were later found guilty of ritually killing Nana Akyea Mensah, and sentenced to death by hanging on the neck until declared dead.

An unexplained phenomenon was that after weeks of a blanket of silence as to the whereabouts of the disappeared chief, the culprits started recounting their own macabre story one after the other, in what they claimed to be under the compelling demands of the ghost of Nana Akyea Mensah, the Odikro. The ghost apparently did not rest until all those directly involved with the murder had been brought to justice, before he turned his attention to the accessories. There are reports that Danquah was often haunted by the ghost, and must have been killed by Nana Akyea Mensah s ghost. This, to me, does not contradict the autopsy accounts of heart attack, since an intense fear of a determined Akyea Mensah could not have produced anything less.

It was Danquah fighting his own devils in his own mind that finally proved his undoing. Danquah is not the only hard-core criminal to have died in prison for absolutely natural causes. It reveals a special form of radical stupidity to ask the descendants of law-enforcers and politicians to consult the ghosts of their relations who were around each time a criminal dies prison.

Further Reading:

    * A Murder in the Colonial Gold Coast: Law and Politics in the 1940s Richard Rathbone, The Journal of African History, Vol. 30, No. 3 (1989), pp. 445-461 (article consists of 17 pages) Published by: Cambridge University Press

    * Reap the whirlwind, Geofrey Bing, London, 1968.
    * An account of the Kibi Ritual murder case, (Educational Press and Manufacturers Limited, Accra, 1985.

   * "WHERE IS THE CHIEF?" A true story, concerning the ritual murder of Nana Akyea Mensah, chilling to the bone marrow that Gloria Yartey has scripted into a play.

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