The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern Region has called on Parliament to initiate steps to give Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah, one of the architects of the country’s independence, a fitting and final burial, 55 years after his death.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea told the House that since the passing of the former legislator at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons in 1965, the final funeral rites of the former renowned educationist and legislator were still outstanding.
“I beg to submit that our current freedom was largely purchased with the innocent blood of the doyen of Gold Coast politics, the imitable Dr Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah,” the Abuakwa South MP told Parliament.
Mr Atta Akyea made the call when he made a commemorative statement to mark the 55th anniversary of the death of Dr J B Danquah, a former MP of the Abuakwa South Constituency, who died in prison at age 69.
Delivering a personal letter Dr Danquah wrote to Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for his release from prison, Mr Atta Akyea, who is also the Minister of Works and Housing, highlighted the many failed attempts Dr Danquah made to secure his release, languishing in a condemned cell until his death.
Adorned in black cloth, Mr Atta Akyea stated that on the basis of President Nkrumah’s Preventative Detention Act passed by the Parliament in 1958, Dr Danquah appealed to the conscience of President Nkrumah in a prison letter dated May 9, 1964 for his immediate release.
Excerpts of the letter, as the MP recounted, were:
“Dr Nkrumah, I am tired of being in prison on preventive detention with no opportunity to make an original or any contribution to the progress and development of the country.
“I, therefore, respectfully write to beg, and appeal to you to make an order for my release and return home. I am anxious to resume my contribution to the progress and development of Ghana in the field of Ghanaian literature (Twi and English), and in Ghana Research (History and Culture), and I am anxious also to establish my wife and children in a home to develop the education of my children (10 of them) and to restore my parental home at Kibi (Yiadom House) to a responsible dignity, worthy of my late father’s own contribution to the progress of our country.”
He told the House that Dr Danquah died of a heart attack at the age of 69 while in detention at the Nsawam Medium Prison on February 4 1965.
Eulogising Dr Danquah for his invaluable contribution to the independence of Ghana, the MPs were full of praise for the inspiring legacy he bequeathed the country.
The MP for Adansi-Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, Mr K T Hammond, commended Dr Danquah for the enormous role he played in the political independence of the country.
He, however, expressed worry over the manner the then incumbent government wasted his life in prison, saying, “The suffering he endured demonstrated the bestiality of human beings towards their fellow due to power that can corrupt.
“This was a man who was credited with Ghana’s name and had a lot to contribute to the development of Ghana and was pleading for release but he was denied human dignity,” he said, insisting that the life of Dr Danquah should be celebrated by Ghanaians.
Relive the ideals
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Keta in the Volta Region, Mr Richard Quashigah, indicated that the role Dr Danquah played in the independence of Ghana should be acknowledged by Ghanaians.
“This was a man who lost his life in incarceration and all those who contributed to the independence of Ghana, including Dr Danquah, must be acknowledged and it is time we relive the ideals of such people who were devoid of corruption, waywardness and showed commitment to the cause of Ghana,” he stated.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Evalue Gwira in the Western Region, Ms Catherine Afeku, also highlighted some of the good works of the former lawmaker and urged Ghanaians, regardless of their political leaning, to remember Dr Danquah for his commitment to the progress of the nation.