Dr J.B. Danquah of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was an astute lawyer and politician who was involved in the independent struggle of Ghana. We the current generation know about his great accomplishments during his lifetime and not for his death.
Conversely, the story of his grandson, the late J.B. Danquah-Adu, is different. Unlike his legendary grandfather, J.B., as he was popularly called by his colleagues, was very quiet but became known (at least to the whole nation) for his death on February 9, 2016.
What shocked and enraged Ghanaians was the fact that he was murdered in his own home. How could that have happened? We live in a country where both the executive and judicial arms of government enjoy protection from their security detail; however, the death of the lawmaker raised concerns of a disparity.
Now two years after his death, the issue of parliamentarians not having proper security lingers. His death should have become a case study to determine how best our leaders could be protected. There were a lot of discussions in the media about the security of Members of Parliament (MPs) and many came to the conclusion that authorities needed to sit up.
In April this year, the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Mr Matthew Nyindam, made a clarion call on Parliament demanding the provision of private security to protect members. His call came as a result of the attack by unknown men on the MP for Asunafo South, Mr Eric Opoku, on March 30, 2018. This incident, according to Mr Opoku, occurred at dawn. His narration of the story on Adom Television’s Badwam on Monday, April 2, 2018 was monitored by mynewsgh.com. “When they came to my house it was locked, and they tried cutting my barb wires which was electrocuted so it was making noise. They threw stones into my house and fired shots at my gate but still couldn’t come inside… I called the police commander and was able to get him… They broke the main gate down and destroyed my Land Cruiser around 2 a.m. and fired many shots into the house and destroyed the windows. The police came around that time around 3 a.m.,” he narrated.
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This evinces that much has not been done to ensure the safety of our MPs; thus the call by the Majority Chief Whip. This I must admit is not the first time the leader has complained. He made such a call when J.B. Danquah-Adu was gruesomely murdered in 2016. In a statement he made on Adom FM on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 which was captured by ghanaweb.com, he (then a Minority MP) blamed the issue on the failed leadership of the House. “Leadership of Parliament over the years has failed Members of Parliament. Gradually when they are done with killing the MPs, they will definitely get back to the leaders, including the Speaker of Parliament. If you are in Parliament and you see the Speaker coming, you’ll think the work he’s coming to do is different, as if he’s going to a different House, because he has a tight security. I don’t know his house but I know you’ll go through a lot of scrutiny before you’re allowed to enter,” he stated. His account clearly suggested that good security was limited to leadership, thereby leaving the rest of the members to fend for themselves.
I doubt much lessons have been learnt from JB’s death because there should have been an improvement by now. The attack on Mr Opoku quickly reminded me of what some unprincipled people did to JB. As a concerned national, I hastily wanted to write this piece but I also thought it wise to wait a bit and see what our leaders would do.
Besides, as Mr Nyindam once again voiced out the demands of MPs on the floor of Parliament, I became an instant optimist. Unfortunately, a month has passed but the narrative has not changed. No clear action has been taken to ensure the safety of our representatives in Parliament. For how long are they going to demand for good security?
Time must not be wasted for another precious life to be wasted. Leadership must come clear on this issue because just as my life is important, that of a parliamentarian is equally important. I still maintain that lessons have not been learnt from the pain we all felt on the 9th of February, 2016; however, if I am wrong then we should see a positive change.