Remembering The Murder Of The Judges

Try as I would, there is one FACTUAL DEVELOPMENT in the British history that I can NEVER forget. It is mind boggling.

In the 17th century, a power struggle developed between the House of Commons, the legislature and the monarchy, King Charles I. Parliament enacted laws that permitted corn to be imported cheaply from France, but the landowners, tied to the monarchy, producing corn locally at expensive prices pitched the House against the king, supporting the landowners.

Parliament accused the king of TREASON tried him and EXECUTED him to establish the SUPREMACY of Parliament. His son Prince Charles fled to Scotland and Cromwell after the fall of the king ruled England with Parliament.

Twenty years later Cromwell died, and England had no leader. Why not bring back the king, from Scotland, under the thumb of Parliament? So, Charles was brought from exile, crowned King Charles II and sat in the Palace.

Initially it was all diplomacy. Smiles, afternoon tea and parties. Then slowly questions were asked, ALL THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH THE EXECUTION OF HIS FATHER WERE ARRESTED TRIED AND HANGED TO DEATH!!!

The part of the story which makes me numb is that CROMWELL’s dead body was exhumed from the grave, symbolically TRIED, condemned and SYMBOLICALLY HANGED!!!!! Do you believe that?

According to history, a famous Princess in France died of suspected POISONING in the 19th century, and, 200 years later, in 2004, a High Court in Paris granted permission for the tomb of the Princess to be opened, and, medical tests on the HAIR of the corpse CONFIRMED that yes, the Princess was POISONED….

Remember, don’t just throw your hands in despair and say that nothing can be done. No. the Akans have a mind-boggling proverb: if you dig a hole and swear an oath and bury the oath, IT WILL GERMINATE!!!

On 30th June 1982, FOUR senior citizens in Ghana, made up of three sitting High Court Judges and a retired Army Officer were picked up from their houses and murdered in cold blood. FOR WHAT OFFENCE?

As a result of a public outcry and popular agitation, the PNDC was compelled to yield to pressure and appoint an enquiry under the chairmanship of a distinguished jurist, retired Chief Justice, Samuel Azu-Crabbe.

They published their Report and recommended that Captain Kojo Tsikata, security captain of the PNDC regime, member of the PNDC Amartey Kwei together with some military appointees of the PNDC, hatchet men of the Revolution, should all be arrested and tried for murder.

The PNDC published a White Paper on the Report, rejecting the findings on Captain Kojo Tsikata, they arrested Amartey Kwei and some of the hatchet men, tried them and executed them by firing squad.

But, for students of history – can it truly be said that Captain Kojo Tsikata and his boss Jerry Rawlings were INNOCENT of the blood of the Judges? Who ordered the killings?

Whoever wrote the Government White Paper did a great disservice to Captain Kojo Tsikata. It would have been far better if he had been placed under arrest and tried and ACQUITTED AND DISCHARGED – after all the Judiciary was at their back and call, so why were they afraid?

Now, Captain Tsikata lived all his life with this blot on his mind. He appeared before the National Reconciliation Commission of President JA Kuffuor but he could not convince Ghanaians that he was innocent of the killing of the Judges and the retired Army Officer.

And, J.J Rawlings? Look at what Ebo Quansah in his well-written article said ….. “Jerry Rawlings died with hands dripping of blood…” I was a uniformed soldier in those days, working at PNDC Headquarters as the member secretary of the National Investigations Committee.

I am no fan of Jerry Rawlings, and even though he intensely maltreated me as an officer in the Ghana Army, my conscience as a lawyer compels me to say openly that as regards the abduction and murder of the three Judges and the Retired Army Officer, Jerry Rawlings KNEW NOTHING about it.

In fact, when he first heard of the incident, and Amartey Kwei entered the office at Gondar Barracks Jerry confronted him brusquely “where are the Judges? Go and release them……”

But you see, the Akans have an interesting proverb: That if you are an elder in the house and your children are being counted as being eaters of snake meat, YOU WILL BE ADDED!!!

Jerry John Rawlings was chairman of the PNDC. All appointees of the Revolution were under him, but he allowed so much license that excesses were being committed left right center

Factually one of the murdered Judges did a case involving GIHOC workers, including Amartey Kwei. One of the murdered Judges did the case which ruled that the National Security appointees had the right to chase and follow Captain Kojo Tsikata. The murdered Army Officer was the Military Intelligence Officer in the Nkrumah Regime who recommended that Captain Tsikata should be retired compulsorily from the Armed Forces.

You will be shocked to hear that what I fear most as a human being is HISTORY. Yes history. You can never hide. And you know, every lawyer will tell you that there is NO TIME BAR to crime – as you are reading these lines, sitting with your legs on top of a beautiful woman, like Nana Ama Macbrown an, innocent young detective from Police Headquarters can enter your house and say that “Inspector wants to see you to answer questions for defiling a 15year old girl when you were in the University, FORTY years ago!!!!

Reader, be good, but if you can’t be careful. Tomorrow is pregnant with a whole lot of issues and NOTHING can hide under the sun.


Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

Editor’s note: Views expressed in this article do not represent that of The Chronicle


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