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Opinions of Friday, 3 December 2010

Columnist: Nelson, Ekow

Verdict of the Sir Arku-Korsah's court in the spotlight

Putting the verdict of the Sir Arku-Korsah’s court in the spotlight

The common folklore in Ghanaian politics is that the CPP are unrivalled exponents of the dark art of political party propaganda - now called spin in modern parlance. But there is no better example that undercuts this myth and demonstrates the CPP's utter incompetence in political propaganda, than the Kulungugu trials that led to the dismissal of former learned Chief Justice Sir Kobina Arku-Korsah.

Most students of Ghana Politics (and History) remember two main things about

Kulungugu- quite apart from the attempted assassination itself - which, if

I may say so, often gets neglected and at best manages scant mention:

(1) Nkrumah dismissed

the Chief Justice because he did not like the verdict of the court; and

(2) Tawiah Adamafio, Dr. Ebenezer Ako Adjei and Coffie Crabbe were

instead convicted of the attempted assassination in the retrial that followed.

Over the years, much of the

discussion and literature on this topic has focused primarily on these two

outcomes. Indeed H.E. Kwesi Armah's recent very erudite piece for the 500th

edition of the New African Magazine did exactly that – once again!

This very short piece is not about

these well-rehearsed issues, but for the avoidance of doubt (and not for the

first time I should add) let me put my cards clearly on the table: Nkrumah’s

intervention in the Kulungugu trial was ill-advised and quite simply wrong! But

there is more to the Kulungugu trials than we have been made to believe and

that is what this piece aims to uncover and put out for debate.

What this piece is about is what we have failed to discuss in nearly

half-a-century and it is rather best-expressed in the form of a very

simple question which no one (if any) rarely asks: what exactly was Sir Arku

Korsah's court's verdict that Nkrumah overt-turned?

Here is what we know: there were

five accused persons charged with conspiracy to commit treason, arising out of

the attempted assassination of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, First President of

the Republic of Ghana,

in Kulungugu in Northern Ghana on 1st

August 1962. These five persons were arraigned before a Special Criminal

Division of the High Court presided over by the Chief Justice Sir Arku-Korsah

and Justices W.B. Van Lare and Edward Akufo-Addo (who himself later became

Chief Justice and President of the Second Republic of Ghana). In their

unanimous verdict set out in some 70-pages on the 9th December 1963, the

learned Justices acquitted THREE of the FIVE accused persons namely: Tawia

Adamafio former Secretary General and Interior Minister of the ruling

Convention’s People’s Party (CPP), Dr. Ebenezer Ako Adjei the former Foreign

Minister and Hugh Horatio Crabbe a former CPP executive, all whom were found

not guilty, acquitted and discharged.

This leaves us with TWO of the

accused persons. But who exactly were these two? And what was the court’s

verdict on them? What happened to them? Sadly our historians and Political

Chroniclers have very little to say about these men.

Remember: the bomb at Kulungugu

blew a school child who was preparing to welcome President Nkrumah with a

bouquet of flowers into smithereens and killed eleven innocent Ghanaians as

well. Sadly, no one has accepted responsibility for this atrocious crime in

almost fifty years since it occurred neither has anyone been held accountable.

The people found guilty of treason

by the Arku-Korsah court, would by extension have been responsible for the

murder of twelve innocent Ghanaian citizens and all of the many others who were

maimed and injured so why do we not know anything about the two accused persons

who were not acquitted in the first trial? Why have we not heard much said or

written about these two? Is it by accident or design? Indeed why were the two

found unanimously guilty by the eminent Justices when all the CPP members

convicted in the subsequent retrial were all found NOT guilty? Maybe

now is the time to find out who they are and what their motivations were.


© Ekow Nelson

December 1, 2010, in a

very cold Moscow

This piece is dedicated to Tawiah

Adamafio, Coffie Crabbe and Dr. Ebenezer Ako Adjei (who for a fleeting moment

in my early years I was delightfully made to believe was my Dad).