Tomorrow, June 30, marks Martyrs Day, a day set aside to commemorate the bestial and gruesome murder of three High Court judges together with a retired military officer. Unarguably, that incident has become one of the black spots and a blot on the conscience of this country.
The heinous crime happened at a time of military intervention when a curfew had been imposed on the whole country. For those who may not know the story behind the Martyrs Day, a little history will suffice.
In the night of June 30, 1982, three High Court judges – Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng Addo, who was nursing a child, Justice Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong and Justice Poku Sarkodie – as well as a retired military officer in the Ghana Armed Forces, Major Sam Acquah, who was the Administrative Manager of the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC), were abducted from their homes one after another. As family members became worried of their whereabouts and the state was determined to find and rescue them, their burnt bodies riddled with bullets were discovered in the Accra Plains.
A Special Investigation Board that was set up by the Provisional National Defence Council, headed by a former Chief Justice, Mr Justice Azu Crabbe, indicted L/Cpl Amedeka, Tony Tekpor, Dzandu, Hekli and Joachim Amartey Kwei. They were executed by firing squad, except Amedeka, who was said to have escaped from prison and has since not been found.
As unfortunate as it is, this has become part of our history as a country. The Daily Graphic notes that countries around the world have gone through such bitter experiences, but the good thing is that from these experiences, most of these countries have come out better.
Through the unpleasant happenings, successes and failures, Ghana has managed to craft a constitution and multiparty governance for herself, which has been operating for more than 26 years now. From our history and the instability that go on around our neighbouring countries, the Daily Graphic, like many citizens, gets worried that we seem to have taken the peace and stability that we are enjoying for granted.
Democracy has all the elements that ensure the freedom of a person, which is never guaranteed in a dictatorship. Unfortunately, however, some individuals have equated freedom to irresponsibility and lawlessness. They jump the red light with impunity, litter the environment with careless abandon and do all manner of things including attacking security personnel who have been mandated to keep the law.
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As we mark the 37th anniversary of the murder of the judges and the military officer, we must vow that never again shall this be allowed to happen in the country. And this declaration must be backed with action from all by putting the country first in whatever we do.
Both the rulers and the ruled must exhibit a high sense of responsibility and patriotism towards the country. We should be vigilant of people who claim to fight on our behalf while their intention is to serve their parochial and personal interests.
We also admonish the political leadership to show selflessness and sacrifice which would encourage the citizenry to emulate for the benefit of Mother Ghana.
It is our prayer that our esteemed judges will remain bold and deliver justice as their profession dictates and God wills them to do. Never again should our dear nation degenerate into such low esteem.