Dr JB Danquah
The debate about whether to celebrate a “founder’s day” or “founders’ day” on the 21st of September doesn’t look like it’s about to end anytime soon.
A statement issued from the office of the president with a proposal to designate August 4th as a founders’ day & 21st September which is Ghana first President Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday has sparked fresh controversy with many Ghanaians voicing their disagreement with this directive.
Some even claim this is an attempt to twist the facts and rewrite Ghana’s history to suit the family members of sitting president Akufo-Addo.
In a Facebook post Prof Kwaku Asare has challenged both sides of the argument saying the day Dr JB Danquah died in Prison serving a sentence under the “preventive detection act” should rather be celebrated as Martyrs’ Day & not August 4th as proposed by the presidency.
“I do not want to be controversial but I write today to make the case that February 4, not August 4, should be declared a statutory holiday.
My reasoning is simple, albeit not simplistic, and it is as follows.
It is factually inaccurate to say the Aborigines Right Protection Society was formed on August 4th. It wasn’t. While UGCC was formed on August 4th, it is a stretch, if not a perversion of logic to link the formation of a party to the founding of a country.
On the other hand, Dr. Danquah, known as the Doyen of Ghana’s politics and a fierce advocate of freedom and justice died in prison on February 4th, a victim of the Preventive Detention Act, which he beautifully destroyed in the now famous Re Akoto case, albeit the Court severely miscarried justice in that cause.
Almost a half century after Danquah’s death in preventive custody, the nation has been too timid to own this major travesty, make amends for it, draw the proper lessons from it, or otherwise appreciate the perils of unchecked executive power.
Since Danquah’s death, others have died while in the custody of the State, sometimes through mysterious trials followed by executions, sometimes through torture, and sometimes through disappearance.
We properly celebrate our founders on Independence Day. But we fail to acknowledge those who have suffered unjust capital punishment in our national journey.
It is for this reason that I believe that we need a Martyrs’ Day rather than a Founders’ Day.
Wherefore, I will settle on February 4 as Martyrs’ day in honour of all those who have died at the hands of the State pursuant to illiberal laws, whether in the form of Acts, decrees, declarations, or even judicial decisions.
Credit : culled from Kwaku Azar’s Facebook wall.