Ebo Quansah in Accra
Sorry folks, I have been so engrossed in the Total African Cup of Nations championship in Egypt that I forgot the Martyrs Day commemoration on Sunday – that sordid execution of three men and a nursing mother on that chilling curfew night in 1982, was such an atrocious event that no Ghanaians should never forget.
Like they say, better late than the late. What this wise saying meant to me as I sat by the computer yesterday to churn out these thoughts about the atrocities orchestrated by those who took to arms to overthrow the People’s National Party (PNP) regime of ex-President Hilla Limann, is never again should this society allow any group of people to visit atrocities of such nature on fellow Ghanaians.
For me, as a social commentator who lived through those turbulent days, I have never ever been in doubt at all that Jerry John Rawlings and his cohorts, who stood to gain from the activities of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), orchestrated the callous act.
The murder squad, most of who were residing in the Boys Quarters of the Rawlingses residence at Ridge in Accra at the time, sang like birds when they were apprehended. For them, the murder of the judges and the army officer was only one act in a series of events that resulted in a number of bona fide Ghanaians being spirited to the spirit world.
Lance Corporal Amedeka and his murder squad told Superintendent Yidana, who was given charge of investigating the murders, that at the time they abducted the three judges and the army officer from their residences in the night and murdered them at Bundase, they knew that they were carrying out the instructions of the PNDC and its Chairman, Jerry John Rawlings.
Let it be known that at the time the murder squad was arrested there had been a number of unsolved murders. There was the assassination of Yeye Boye, a known juju man at Ho, whose body was exhibited at the Ho Sports Stadium, while a number of other high-profile murders and disappearances rocked the body politic at that point in time.
There was the case of Nana Osae Ntifu Ababio, Aburihene and Adontenhene of the Akwapim Traditional Area. The Chief was known as one of the avowed critics of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Provisional National Defence Council. He went to Europe and was never seen again on arrival. Family members say there was evidence that Nana’s name appeared on the manifest of a Ghana Airways flight from London to Accra.
The Chief was said to have arrived at the Kotoka International Airport, but, up till now, nobody has caught sight of him. Apostle Barnabas Akrong, Editor of the Believers Newspaper, and many others also disappeared in similar circumstances..
As a matter of fact, murder was suspected to have been applied as the main tool to cow down the citizens in order to allow the PNDC to gain a semblance of legitimacy. It is said that it was the fear of murder that cowed down the citizenry and created what Jerry John Rawlings himself blatantly described as ‘the Culture of Silence.’
On such an auspicious occasion as the 37th Anniversary of the murder of the three judges and the army officer, I will like to know whether anybody is aware of the whereabouts of the baby girl who was being breast-fed when the murder squad struck.
That baby would be, at least, 37 years old by now, certainly matured enough to marry and raise a family. But as Jerry John Rawlings marked the June 4 Anniversary with his daughter, Zenator Rawlings, by his side, I would like to know whether the one-time junta head ever spares a thought for that poor girl who was a toddler being breast-fed when the death squad struck.
I was talking to one of this country’s top lawyers yesterday, just before composing this piece, wanting to know whether any person has any idea at all about the poor girl.
To my disappointment, the senior attorney had no idea about the whereabouts of the poor girl. I am told that the poor baby’s father, Dr. Koranteng Addow, who was Director of Public Prosecution for a long spell during the Supreme Military Council regime, did not survive the atrocious murder of his wife for long.
I fled Ghana and re-located to Britain barely one year after the incident. I am told that Dr. Koranteng-Addo also visited his ancestors not long after his wife was murdered, which left the future of the child in very precarious circumstances.
I hope the poor girl survived. But if she did, one would have heard about her by now, which should leave a sour taste in the mouth of discerning Ghanaians. For those who still believe in Jerry John Rawlings and his cohorts at the PNDC at the time, they should reflect on this. If the Chairman of the PNDC had no idea about the callous abduction and murder of the judges and the army officer, did he bother to find out what happened to the children of those so callously killed?
I know that Kwabena Agyei Agyapong is the son of Mr. Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyapong, one of the murdered judges. Kwabena was a student at the then University of Science and Technology (UST) at Kumasi when his father was abducted and murdered. As you read this piece, there is no evidence that the former air force pilot or any of his officials on the PNDC ever asked about how he was being raised and educated.
Meanwhile, Jerry John Rawlings managed to smuggle all his four children abroad to be educated in some of the best institutions in Her Majesty’s Great Britain. For those who still believe that the military interventions of June 4, 1979 and December 31, 1981 were staged for the benefit of Ghanaians, they ought to read this carefully.
At the time the surviving kids of the eight officers tied to the stakes and executed in June 1979, as well as the kids of the murdered judges, were struggling for survival, Jerry John Rawlings enrolled his children at the Ghana International School at the plush Cantonment Residential Area, to pursue the General Certificate of Examination, Ordinary and Advanced levels, to enable them qualify to be enrolled in British universities.
That was the time Rawlings’ military regime had abolished the General Certificate of Education (GCE O’ Level) as an examinable qualification, and introduced the Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary School concept for the children of me and you.
If you ask me what the JSS stood for, I will tell you that it is an acronym for Jerry’s Stupid Schools. For the so-called Junior Jesus, the Basic School Certificate Examination and its Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) qualifications were not good enough for his children. That, in a snap-shot, is the true nature of the former air force pilot, who shot himself to power and ruled this country for 19 years.
Not only did Mr. Rawlings believe our educational system was inferior, he managed to get companies dealing with Ghana to pick up their bills while studying abroad. Today, Zenator Rawlins, his first daughter, holds a doctorate degree.
She sits in Parliament representing the people of Korle Klottey and enacting laws for the people of Ghana. Meanwhile, no one in the three regimes ran by Jerry Rawlings seems to know the whereabouts of the baby girl who was breast-feeding on the laps of her mother, when Mrs. Justice Cecelia Koranteng-Addow was abducted and callously murdered at the Bundase Firing Range.
Just as I was writing this piece, I got information from a senior lawyer, who told me that a young woman once introduced herself to him as the daughter of Mrs. Cecelia Koranteng-Addow. I also got a message from a very senior member of the Ghana Bar Association yesterday, who graciously informed me that a friend in London had promised to locate the lady and report. I hope and pray that the child of Mrs. Cecilia Koranteng-Addow is finally found.
The poor lady might have had a rough ride paying for her education. Meanwhile, after educating all his children abroad, Jerry John Rawlings has managed to get the people of Ghana to fund his expensive lifestyle as a former President. According to the 1992 Constitution, we shall continue to fork out our little resources to bail out this brutal former dictator.
To make matters worse, the military regime he supervised over managed to smuggle the Transitional Provisions into the 1992 Constitution to make it impossible for any Ghanaian to challenge those who visited mayhem on Ghanaians on June 4, 1979 and December 31, 1981, under the Indemnity Clauses: “No member of the Provisional National Defence Council, Provisional National Defence Council Secretary, or other appointees of the Provisional National Defence Council, shall be held liable, either jointly or severally, for any act or omission during the administration of the Provisional National Defence Council.”
“Cowards,” they say, “die several times before their death.” Like Muhammad Ali, the most colourful World Heavyweight Champion ever to grace the boxing ring once said; “you can run, but you cannot hide.” There is one thing I know, justice in the eyes of God grinds slowly. I also have implicit faith in the bearded old man to create a scenario for someone like Jerry John Rawlings to account for his mis-administration.
The Special Investigative Board of former Chief Justice Azu Crabbe might have left the former air force pilot’s name from those suspected to have ordered the abduction and murder of the judges and the army officer. The Bearded Old Man above, though, is the final arbiter.
I am encouraged by the former dictator’s own submission during the celebration of the June 4 Uprising last month, calling for the repeal of the 1992 Constitution, with and the intention to abolish the Transitional Provisions. How I wish President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appoints the review panel today.
I am praying for the day the 1992 Constitution would be bereaved of the Transitional Provisions. On that day, I will celebrate with a cold beer and seek the services of an astute lawyer. My intention is to sue Jerry John Rawlings in court.
The ex-military personnel, who occupied the Boys’ Quarters of his Ridge residence, abducted and murdered the three lawyers and an army officer on behalf of the regime Jerry John Rawlings founded, and on his own behalf. He knows it.
I shall return!