Ghana’s political history has a lot of unpleasant surprises for Dr. J. B. Danquah.
He possessed a University of London doctorate degree.
In addition, he was a lawyer, politician and historian. Most importantly, he was a royal from the Akyem Abuakwa establishment.
Now the question is, was he not prepared or qualified enough to lead Ghana? Was there any love from the people to enable him lead them?
Let’s take note of the following comments by Dr. J. B. Danquah.
He wrote the following himself. “I am sometimes much surprised when I see many of my countrymen terrified by the use of the word ‘Self-government’ “They are terrified by this because they think it means the desire to break away from the British Empire and become independent of the British. If it comes to that, if it comes to the decision to break away from the British connection, I would be the last (person) to express such a terrific wish.
When Dr. Nkrumah was fighting for self- government now, Dr. Danquah was for self- government at the shortest possible time. Dr. Danquah again noted that, “Party politics is alien political form which has created civil strife and violent dissension between father and son. Thus if the British showed no understanding, Akyem Abuakwa would secede from the country as a sovereign and independent state with the only rival of the Ashanti country.”
On 4th February, 1952, Dr. Danquah wrote to one Seth Appiah of the Akyem Abuakwa Youth Association and gloated over Akyem Abuakwa as “The largest state in the colony and must also be the greatest in the land, feared, respected and loved by all. I am determined to have the Abuakwa name rehabilitated and make Abuakwa lead the nation.” Danquah: Vol. 3 (1972)
1. Dr. J. B Danquah had earlier in the 1930’s, pushed for the establishment of an office for Home Affairs for himself. But his involvement in the cruel murder of the Odikro of Akyem Apedwa, Akyea Mensah nipped that agenda in the bud. Some scholars and commentators have cogently argued, speculated, and theorized that Odikro Akyea Mensah’s verbal threats to expose Danquah’s financial misappropriation vis-avis the coffers of Akyem Abuakwa State after the death of Nana Ofori-Atta I may have given Danquah the cause to collaborate with his relatives to murder Akyea Mensah to seal any possible accusation of causing financial loss to the Akyem Abuakwa State treasury.
2. Relatively, Dr. Botwe-Asamoah recounts an incident that took place in Osiem where men with ‘big clubs’ assaulted employees of the Cocoa Services. According to him, blood poured out of the head and faces of victims. Some female cocoa services employees including Dr. Botwe-Asamoah’s own aunt were raped. Dr. Botwe-Asamoah further notes that “Danquah had succeeded in convincing some people at Osiem to do his bidding.” It turned out that Danquah wanted cocoa farmers to resist government policy of chopping down swollen-shoot cocoa trees and may have conspired with thugs in Osiem to exact vigilante justice on his would be victims.
3. Dr. J. B. Danquah’s selfishness compelled him to exclude Wallace Johnson’s Youth League as well as the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) under Kobina Sekyi and the littoral intelligentsia from the Gold Coast Youth Congress.
4. Dr. J. B. Danquah never led or founded any political party or movement with mass following in his entire life time since he had no ideological direction to lead the Gold Coast now Ghana and lacked experience in mobilization of both human and material resources for any political activity.
5. Dr. J. B Danquah never liked multi-party or inclusive politics and in derogative terms referred to citizens from the then Northern Territories of the Gold Coast colony as “ntafo” when Dr. Nkrumah made J.A Brimah a member of his cabinet.
6. There is no doubt that Dr. J. B. Danquah’s position as one of the vice presidents of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) contributed to party’s dwindling fortunes. So for example, after the 1951 elections, the Working Committee of the UGCC passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership. Accordingly, Danquah was relieved of his position as vice president and his official UGCC function of accompanying and introducing Nkrumah at rallies came to an abrupt end. Danquah deserved nothing more than his gracious exit from the UGCC. His vice presidency came to am abrupt end never to resurrect again.
7. Dr. J. B. Danquah’s election to the Legislative Assembly in 1951 came about not through any popular vote, but through the back door, the municipal elections.
8. Dr. J. B. Danquah still managed to lose the 1956 general elections to his nephew Aaron Ofori-Atta, in spite of; a. Nana Ofori-Atta’s I stern warning to the Akyem Abuakwa State Council not for any member of the Kyebi dynasty and stool hier, to electorally vote for the Convention People’s Party (CPP). b. Akyem Abuakwa’s State resource mobilization to support him. c. Administering of Okyeman’s great oath to 140 chiefs to affirm their allegiance to Dr. Danquah.
9. Perhaps not surprisingly, the people of Akyem Abuakwa Central Constituency had rejected him in the previous 1954 general elections and voted for Aaron Ofori-Atta who became a Minister for Local Government and a Minister for Justice in the CPP government. But Dr. J. B Danquah could not obtain the support or services of his nephew to plead his case when he was justifiably detained under the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) for plotting to overthrow a democratically elected government.
10. Dr. J. B. Danquah’s former wife Mabel Dove Danquah did not even mount any political platform to campaign for him. Rather, this woman abandoned Dr. Danquah and joined Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP progressive train for “independence now”.
11. It is a well known fact that this infamous incident (Akyea Mensah’s murder) factored into popular electoral rejection of Danquah in Kyebi and Akyem. His involvement with the scandalous case undermined his ability to obtain personal representation in trade unions, Gold Coast Youth Congress and farmers in the Legislative Council. Furthermore, this barbaric incident destroyed the rapport he once shared with Governor Alan Burns.
12. Dr. J. B Danquah could not win a simple parliamentary seat, but Nkrumah saved his dwindling career by appointing him Director of Legal Education in Ghana as well as a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
13. This generosity of Nkrumah was not enough to appease him. Rather Dr. Danquah went on to seal a close working relationship with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the purpose of overthrowing Nkrumah’s government. This information was revealed by Mr. Williams P. Mahoney, the United States ambassador to Ghana at the time. He revealed this information to the world through his son Richard Mahoney.
14. Dr. J. B. Danquah went to the U.S. Embassy, after Nkrumah had pardoned him and other detainees, to ask why the “blood money” his family had been receiving from the CIA to do their dirty work against Nkrumah had been cut after his release. This strange demand caused Mr. Mahoney, the new U.S. ambassador, to summon the CIA Station Chief to ask why he (Mahoney) had not been advised on CIA’s association with Dr. J. B Danquah. Ambassador Mahoney flew to the U.S. two days later to meet President J. F. Kennedy on the matter.
15. Dr. J. B. Danquah had also previously been involved in a similar scandal of this magnitude. A scandal bordering on subversion, betrayal, greed and sabotage.
16. In 1934 for instance, when the Provincial Council of Chiefs despatched a “Committee of Citizens” to London to petition the colonial government against the “Sedition and Water bills”, Danquah, in his position as Secretary of the delegation used the occasion to undermine the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS)
These accounts give one cause to question Dr. J. B. Danquah’s accolade as the ‘doyen of Gold Coast politics’
How could an individual be identified with a country when he could not win an election for a political party and himself and had to be disposed of after the 1951 elections?
How could Danquah be identified with Ghana when he wept bitterly in prison because Nkrumah’s vision called the colonial administration into question?
It is often said that if one wants a model or excellent example of the brutality of Indirect Rule, total submission to the interest of the colonial enterprise and native authoritarianism in Africa, then one had better look at Danquah and the Ofori-Atta’s records and legacies.
Source Fallacies of J. B Danquah’s historic legacies. (V) Nana Ofori-Atta Ayim’s – Articles Dr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah’s “Kwame Nkrumah: the one and only founding father (II)
Fellow Ghanaians, this is a continuation of the true story of Dr. J. B. Danquah. Please disregard any other information about this man seeking to make him an undeserved hero in the political history of the Gold Coast now Ghana.
Prepared by: Public Affairs and Protocol Directorate, NDC Professionals Forum