Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Flag bearer, has openly rebuked the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings over atrocities committed under his regime.
The NPP leader, mincing no words in the presence of the former President, including the flag bearer of the NDC, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and prominent personalities gathered at the forecourt of the State House in Accra, last Friday, at the funeral of the late Mr. Peter Ala Adjetey, former Speaker of Parliament, recounted and condemned the atrocities of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) era, including the murder of the High Court judges.
Nana Akufo-Addo accused the former President of collapsing democratic rule in Ghana, when he emerged on the national stage. Paying a glowing tribute to the late former Speaker, whom he described as a fighter of dictatorship and military adventurism, he explained how he got so close to Mr. Ala Adjetey.
According to him, the courage of the former speaker, who once served as the National chairman of the NPP, paved the way for the establishment of Martyrs Day commemoration on the national calendar.
“His courage as the National President of the Bar led to the institution of that important event on our national calendar, the Martyrs' Day Memorial, when the judges were murdered in cold blood by the agents of PNDC in the line of duty on June 30, 1982, are commemorated as a result of those deeds of infamy.”
He continued, “For his leadership in that decision, he paid with political detention by the PNDC, together with his national secretary, Nutifafa Kuenyehia. The nation owes both of them a great debt of gratitude for their courage and principle.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said his political association with the late speaker developed at the Ghana Bar Association, when he led with verve and vigour the opposition of Greater Accra Regional bar to the sudden removal of Chief Justice Azu Crabbe by the Acheampong military junta.
He said such movement led to a strike by lawyers for the first time, which eventually turned into a national strike and subsequent rejection of Achampong's Union Government (UNIGOV) proposal.
“This in turn led to the formation of the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) to mobilize the 'No Vote' against Acheampong's government.
“The discredited April 1978 referendum, the ouster of Acheampong in a palace coup, the short-lived Akufo junta, the restoration of democratic rule, the June 4 mutiny and the emergence of Jerry John Rawlings on the national stage, the third Republic and its fall again at the hands of Jerry John Rawlings,” he enumerated.
To him, it would have seemed that the forces that were unleashed by the lawyers' strike of May 1977 were still playing themselves out in the nation's history.
Eulogizing the legal achievements of Peter Ala Adjetey, the NPP leader underscored that every judge listening to the rendition or submission made in court by Peter then, needed to be very careful before overruling the position of the esteemed lawyer, saying an irony of history was that of the defeated defendant of the case involving the late E. A. Mahama, the father of the current running mate of the NDC Vice presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama.
Touching briefly on the political life of Peter Ala Adjetey, Nana Akufo-Addo said after a ban was lifted on party politics in mid-1992, he (Peter) was very instrumental in the formation of the NPP, adding that a great deal of the unity of the NPP, which has been the bed rock of its success in its long drive and conquest of power, was the work of Peter Ala Adjetey.
The funeral attracted a lot of prominent people. All the political parties with their leaders were in attendance to pay their last respects, to the late NPP capo.