General News of Sunday, 9 February 2014
Keta Legislator Richard Quashigah says it is ‘unfortunate’ Dr J.B. Danquah died as a ‘criminal’.
‘What is so saddening and so disturbing, Mr Speaker, is that Dr. J B Danquah unfortunately never got a presidential pardon and died as a criminal which was most unfortunate.
‘One would have wished that he would have gotten some pardon,’ Mr Quashigah said in Parliament as he contributed to a statement to commemorate the 49th anniversary of his Dr Danquah’s death.
Dr Danquah died at the age of 69 while in detention at the Nsawam Medium Security prison.
He was imprisoned for alleged subversive activities against the government of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The laws used at the time for his detention - the Preventive Detention Act/Order of 1958 and 1961 respectively - had the blessing of the Parliament at the time and permitted imprisonments without trial.
Dr Danquah was a founder-member of the pre-independent United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) which invited Nkrumah to join from abroad. Nkrumah later seceded to form his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), which won assembly elections prior to independence. Dr Nkrumah therefore became the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast. He later beat Dr Danquah in the first post-independent presidential election in 1960 to become the first President of the Republic of Ghana.
There has been no love lost between the two parties which differed in their approach to fighting for independence as well as in ideology.
Mr Quashigah bemoaned the consequence of the political rivalry between the two parties at the time, which, he said polarised the country along political lines.
He said the ‘unpalatable’ circumstances that led to the detention of Dr Danquah must be consigned to history and never repeated in contemporary times.
‘We need to learn from the past and move on as a people and see ourselves – irrespective of our political divergence – as one people, working together, in consonance, for the good of this nation’.