Thirty-six years on, we still have not, as a nation, settled accounts regarding the murder of the above.
Following the Joy FM documentary, the former Chairman of the PNDC, President Rawlings, rubbed more salt and pepper into the wounds of the families of the judges by dredging up the murder of the Ya-Na– as if killing the Ya-Na and his team absolved the murderers of the judges. Regardless of what happened to the Ya-Na and others, the killing of the judges and Major Acquah was an evil crime.
Our motto is “Freedom and Justice”. Those judges were reviewing the sentences handed down by the AFRC’s kangaroo courts– and that is why they were killed. While some of the murderers were executed, some got away. On that rainy night at Bundase, there were some of the murderers who were not there– including the Chairman of the PNDC, his wife and Special Adviser to the PNDC, Captain Tsikata. Furthermore, all members of the PNDC who heard Amartey Kwei’s confession to the PNDC confirming the deaths and watched Chairman Rawlings lie to Ghanaians that he did not know of their fate while pledging to find them were guilty of a coverup.
Even if we set personal responsibility aside, the government of Ghana which had a curfew in place and on whose behalf the murderers believed they were acting– and thus the state and people of Ghana were and ARE responsible for those murders. To those who want to bury this, we must not. Americans still remember the Alamo and the murders of the blacks who fought against slavery, segregation and discrimination. “Remember the Alamo” rings now as true as it did in Texas’ struggle for independence! We must remember all those killed wrongly by or in the name of the state or as a result of the state’s dereliction of duty. These should include Sargeant Adjetey et al, J.B. Danquah, the judges referred to here, Kyeremeh Djan, Tommy Thompson, the Ya-Na and his team, the Kumbungu 4, the victims of Kume Preko etc. And to those who think we must focus on current problems, I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can simultaneously discuss jobs and justice.
To return to the judges and Major Acquah, even while we continue the search for the full truth, we can and must do the following:
1: Render, to the bereaved families, a public and fulsome apology through the President, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo. As a lawyer who was involved in some of the cases that led to these murders, the President must feel the pain of their deaths more than most.
2: We must pay each of the families, appropriate and substantial compensation as a token of our regret. The circumstances of their death deserve such compensation, at least as much as Major Mahama.
3: We must build in their memory, a public memorial of sufficient grandeur that it would prompt our children and their children to ask about them and the meaning of our motto, “Freedom and Justice.”
Long live Ghana.
Arthur Kobina Kennedy (October 11th, 2018)