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General News Sat, 24 Aug 2013

We’re not bomb throwers – Mike Ocquaye

The opposition New Patriotic party (NPP) has sought to demystify what they described as “the vicious tag of political saboteurs’, placed on them by their political opponents.

Acclaimed historian and former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye is the one leading this image-redemption campaign which has been launched by the main opposition party in the country.

At a public lecture in Accra to mark the 21st anniversary celebration of the formation of the party, the learned fellow discarded claims of attempted assassination of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, which allegation was being spear-headed by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nkrumah’s own Convention People’s Party (CPP).

This, he said, was because “Nkrumah actually was engaging in propaganda when you talk about people wanting to kill him… when the incident was investigated by colonial authorities the report issued was that it was not us.

“It was clearly shown that there was no evidence in that regard and that if Nkrumah really thought there was a case, he should have taken that matter to court,” Prof Ocquaye said, adding that the leadership of the Danquah- Busia-Dombo tradition, of which, he is a proud member, would always go to court when they feel they have a case.

He, therefore, noted that Dr Kwame Nkrumah did not go to court because he knew he had no case.

Justification

That notwithstanding, Prof Ocquaye, a former political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, indicated that Nkrumah went ahead to pass the infamous Preventive Detention Act (PDA) in 1958 which provided for detention without trial for up to five years (later extended to 10 years).

“If anybody tells us today that the PDA was passed because of bomb-throwing and assassination attempt, it is a fallacy!” he emphasized.

This was because “the third attempt of shooting him was in Flagstaff House; that was a lone attempt by a policeman, there was no link whatsoever with us,” the Professor said, to a thunderous applause from his audience.

He recalled the infamous assassination attempt on Nkrumah’s life at Kulungugu, insisting that “those who were responsible, according to Nkrumah himself, were arrested and they were tried. They were two of his ministers and his secretary general that he himself had appointed over his party.

“The truth of the matter was that Nkrumah wanted all power for himself,” he noted.

These condemnations of Nkrumah were going on in the presence of his daughter, Samia Yaaba Nkrumah, who currently chairs the CPP.

She occasionally shook her head in apparent disagreement with Prof Ocquaye’s arguments, while sometimes nodding.

In short, Prof Ocquaye said “we (referring to the NPP and for that matter the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition) are not bomb-throwers”.

Present were key and influential members of the party, including founding members, members of NPP’s National Council, former and present national officers, former President Kufuor and a host of others.

Source: Daily Guide