Feature Article of Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Must Sekou Thank Mills for Not Being Pres. Nkrumah?

by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro

A rejoinder to: Sekou Must Thank Pres. Mills for Not Being Pres. Nkrumah,
Feature Article of Monday, 26 July 2010, by Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame.

My dear grandson, I would be damned to expect you to pull a surprise and
break this annoying monotony just for a change! As I impatiently wait for
the day your darkness admits a ray, I do not give up in beaming my lights in
the hope that something can pass through your thick skull. The other day, I
had a good laugh as you went blowing your Danquah horns at my good friend,
and also a member of the Governing Board of the Danquah Institute, Dr.
Arthur Kobina Kennedy. Even though Dr. Kennedy is also a member of the
Governing Board of the Danquah Institute, in what he described as Okoampa's
"misguided effusions", Dr. Kennedy wrote:

"Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe has an unfortunate tendency to see many things around
him in the context of his family and his tribe... Unlike Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe,
I believe that in the modern Ghana that we seek to build, each and every one
of us must be judged, not by the deeds of some illustrious ancestors but on
our own merit... I urge Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe to mind his language. His
disagreeable pieces do not serve the causes and the people he supports well.
It is the misguided effusions of people like him that tend to give credence
to the unfair pejorative appellation of members of his esteemed family as
the “Kyebi Mafia”. As Ghanaian patriots, let us disagree if we must but let
us do so with courtesy."'(Re: Arthur Kennedy is being sexist and petty, by
Arthur Kobina Kennedy, Dr. Feature Article | Monday, 10 May 2010).

Since the dismissal of Sekou as a result of the very unfortunate interview
he gave recently to the New African Magazine, I have read all sorts of
nonsense from some NPP supporters. First, it was John Ndegugri. who publicly
called on Sekou ”to take a bold decision and join the NPP, which he
described as a more liberal party which is receptive to criticisms from all
people.” (See: Sekou Should Join The NPP - Ndebugri, Date: 17-Jul-2010). As
for Ndebugri, he has his own tribulations, and as a friend of Vladmir, his
son, I shall leave the reader to make his own opinions. We all have our weak

Yet another trash that I read on this was a comment by one ”Avoka mate” who

”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.”

The reason why I have bothered to repeat this is because I believe it is far
better, however silly it is in its own right, than the entire article by
this callow professor of yellow journalism called Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.,
who happens to be my own grandson.

Okoampa wants to achieve the impossible: he wants to take from Kwame Nkrumah
what even the CIA-inspired coup of 1966 could not do. He writes:

'In such an atmosphere of convenient dishonesty, myth has been permitted to
trump the truth of history, with the first premier of sovereign Ghana being
mendaciously and deviously and superficially cast as the “epic liberator” of
Ghana and continental Africa as a whole.'

Just after this he proceeds to lie:

”Nonetheless, even as Mr. J. A. Braimah, a staunch and influential CPP
operative, had occasion to painfully opine in the wake of the summary
imprisonment and the deliberately induced death/assassination of Dr. J. B.
Danquah, it very well appears as if the British colonial administration was
far more interested in upholding and preserving the human and civil rights
of their erstwhile Gold Coast colonial subjects than the Convention People’s
Party under President Kwame Nkrumah.”

Those of us who do not only know the immediate cause of Danquah's death as
heart attack, but are also aware that this was occasioned by his own
hallucinations of a very tormented soul who upon supposedly seeing the ghost
of Nana Akyea Mensah, developed a heart failure. Of a truth, I find it very
difficult to determine where to begin to debunk the kind of nonsense Okoampa
has delivered in his latest article. It is a bit ironic to read from Okoampa
praising the human rights records of the British colonialists over and above
that of the CPP government led by Kwame Nkrumah. I wonder what he would have
said if Danquah had been hanged together with the co-conspirators who were
found guilty in the ritual murder case of Nana Akyea Mensah, the Odikro of
Apedwa in 1944.

Indeed, it is just a big pity that J.B. Danquah 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. It would have made our history very simple and spared us of the kind
of nonsense Kwame Okoampa is so very excruciatingly fond of writing. It was
an open secret even in Kyebi that J. B. Danquah was an accomplice in the
ritual murder of Nana Akyea Mensah. The reason he lost the elections to his
nephew Aaron Ofori Atta. 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, Okyehene Nana Sir Ofori Atta I.

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."

Apparently, 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. (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. See also:
Reap the whirlwind, Geofrey Bing, London, 1968).

J. B. Danquah, a member of the royal family and leading barrister in the
Gold Coast, 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 then worked as a clerk for the Akyem Abuakwa
State. This gave him access to financial misconducts of J. B. Danquah which
amounted to what one may call today as causing serious financial loss to the
Akyem Abuakwa state. It is not very clear that with the departure of the
late King, he feared exposure. In any case, he would refuse to condemn human
sacrifice and recommend the head of Akyea Mensah as a fourth columnist. The
superior legal prowess of J.B. Danquah directed that the Akyem Abuakwa State
was independent of the British Colonial rule, and that the laws of Akyem
Abuakwa State were not dependent upon British colonial law. It was the same
porous argument he would use in court to the horror of the judges, who
easily condemned the murderers to death sentences. Earlier, it was clear
that J.B Danquah was looking for yet another opportunity to dip his hands
into the Akyem Abuakwa state, in the event of such a big case going to
court, 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 which many witnessed, and refer to, to this day,
was that after weeks of a blanket of silence as to the whereabouts of the
disappeared chief, the culprits themselves 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. Reports that J. B. Danquah was being haunted even started
before the case went to court. Others explain his extremely poor performance
as the defence lawyer as being the work of Nana Akyea Mensah, even though
the guy was genuinely bad as a defence lawyer. He did it for the money. He
was qualified as an expert in constitutional law and so it stood to reason
that he was such a pathetic and a dismal failure in the courts. Whilst some
thought he was losing his mind because of the shouts and screams whilst
alone in a solitary confinement, later on at Nsawam Maximum Security
Prison, there were reports that Danquah was often haunted by a 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 than an
eventual heart attack.

It was Danquah's fighting his own devils in his own mind that finally proved
to be his undoing. Danquah is not the only hard-core criminal to have died
in prison from 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. And for Okoampa to raise this issue with Sekou is therefore
extremely grotesque, particularly considering the simple fact that Dr. Sekou
Nkrumah has already paid his full citizenship dues as a civil society leader
who fought and won with other Ghanaian freedom-fighters, the current
constitutional dispensation we are all enjoying today, at a great personal

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 extremely unfair to Sekou for anybody to write that
Sekou must be “thankful to democracy being practised in modern Ghana, thanks
to Kufuor.“ It is rather Kufour who has to thank Sekou, for putting his
personal safety on-line and helping to create the very chance for him to
become a president of Ghana.

As for Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., his own confessions about his behaviour
under the PNDC dictatorship smacks of such cowardice that I am even
disgusted by the tenor of his article. Not so long ago, thinking he was on a
war path against Rawlings, he ended up exposing himself as an invertebrate

Justifying why the NPP Administration should maintain a complete monopoly of
the Daily Graphic, he went a step too far that rather did him in:
"Those of us with a lode of fiery conscience would be utterly disgusted and
feel unpardonably violated, but we would sport a poker-face demeanor, lest
we be promptly branded as "Enemies of the Revolution" and find our very
existence to be at risk.... Nobody then either bickered or griped about the
"biased reportage" of The People's Daily Graphic. George Orwell (a.k.a. Eric
Blair) had eloquently and poignantly taught us to be nimble for the sake of
being able to keep our heads on our shoulders with his literary classic
Animal Farm...Those were the days when many of my most intimate classmates
called me Togbui Sri II; it was a sort of ethnic camouflage. And as you can
vividly see, dear reader, such ethnic camouflage perfectly served its
primary objective: it would enable me to live out those lunatic days of
Ghana's "Tribal Imperialism" in order to document Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri's
"Housecleaning Exercise" for the benefit of my children, compatriots and
posterity." (See: 'The "Graphic" Has Been Entrusted to the NPP, as Simple as
That!' by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., Feature Article | Mon, 06 Oct

I would thus like to conclude by calling on Okoampa to show Sekou some
respect. He did not go and hide under his mother's bed and change his name
to Togbe Sri at a time when our nation needed men and women to stand up and
be counted. As Mr. Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah puts it, in a rare reaction to
'One would have thought that considering the extra-ordinarily large size of
your mouth, coupled with what you call your "lode of fiery conscience", you
would have walked your talk with the courage of your convictions, like many
ordinary Ghanaians did with just a pair of balls, instead of sporting "a
poker-face demeanor" as Ghanaian judges were being butchered!' (See: Kwame
Okoampa Is A Charlatan! Feature Article, Wednesday, 15 Oct 2008 by
Ali-Masmadi JEHU-APPIAH)

Sekou did not put on a poker face demeanour during the period of the PNDC
misrule. He spoke out, as he is doing now, and whether what he says is right
or wrong, that is another matter. What we don't need is every time he opens
his mouth we have any Tom, Dick, and a Togbe Sri of an Okoampa making ugly

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!