Reflections On Dr. J.B.Danquah’s Speech

Tue, 1 Oct 2013 Source: Dale-Asiedu, Michael

Reflections On Dr. J.B.Danquah’s Speech And What Kufuor Said

Honourable members I appeal to you, to all of you, Chiefs and non-chiefs, official and unofficial, nominated as well as elected members, I appeal to you from the bottom of my heart, that if you well and truly would like to see this country’s new government embarking upon legislature, not in the raw, but with the possibility of a second opinion to check, revise and even delay the same to enable the rest of the country to look again into the proposed measure; if you desire honestly and sincerely to ensure such suitable conditions as would make it impossible for a revolutionary party to get into power and sweep everything we love and hold dear from the land by the use of its simple majority of 50 against the chief’s paltry 25 seats in the unicameral legislature, and if you want continuity, identity and stability in this very progressive, very progressive Gold Coast, then I ask you, from the bowels of Christ, vote in favour of the motion. But if on the other hand your desire is to see this country ruined and chieftaincy destroyed as it was destroyed in other countries, then I cannot help it, the unicameralists may win the debate and our country and its culture are forever doomed.’’ This is an extract from a speech delivered in the legislative Council on Bi-Cameral legislature-March, 22, 1950. This motion was resoundingly voted against by leading CPP gurus, Kwame Nkrumah and his cronies as there was the ill-bequeathed logic that Danquah’s political fraternity were by means of this then intelligent proposal stampeding Nkrumah’s fast ascendancy to his political Messianic status.it must however be emphasized that, at that time, Danquah wanted a more recognized avenue where our chiefs whom he perceived as our natural leaders will be incorporated into our postcolonial political structure where their services will be equally significant.

If Danquah’s heartfelt proposal had been given the needed consideration and probably the part of the chiefs clearly addressed or perhaps properly debated, deliberated upon and proffered in a more apt manner, our story would have been the more different now. Our aching cultural values and diarrhoea of decisions cum some haphazard payments and contracts would have been properly checked and scrutinized or averted. A second chamber would have most assuredly revised Kufuor’s huge ex-gratia proposal if not rejected it in its entirety. It must also be keenly noted and differentiated that whilst former President Kufuor, posited the idea of a second chamber, an almost fac simile of the British House of Lords which will serve as a constant check on the lower house, Danquah envisaged the institutional involvement of our traditional rulers to be very vital to the preservation, modernization and development of our indigenous cultural values. The chiefs will by this extension be safeguarded from the often murkier spectacle of politics that transpire in the lower house as pertains in countries that practice the bicameral system.

There have been also clarion calls from notable people such as the Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong that, we have more than enough human capital to breed a democracy of Ghanaian if not African origin and Former President Rawlings opining that our constitution should be structured in such a way that even if it was the devil who came to rule Ghana, he will not be able to get away with whatever he wants. Some of these assertions crystal clearly demonstrates that we needed more statesmen of Danquah’s caliber. Irrespective of the sharp dissensions that will emanate from his idea of the incorporation of chiefs, I fervently believe with the ever highest pedigree of conviction that he wanted a democracy made in Africa if not Ghana rather than we copying segments of other types that shields parochial politicians every now and then.

Michael Dale-Asiedu michaeldaleasiedu@gmail.com

Columnist: Dale-Asiedu, Michael