Ghana commemorates the 63rd anniversary of the 28 February Christiansborg, Crossroad shooting.
[On 28th February 1948 veterans of world war two, who had fought with the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force, organised a peaceful demonstration marching to Christiansborg Castle, Accra, Gold Coast (Ghana), to hand in a petition to the colonial governor, demanding that they receive end of war benefits and pay which they had been promised.
Before reaching the castle the Veterans were ordered to disperse by the colonial police chief. When they refused he opened fire on them instantly killing three – Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.
Angered by this unwarranted violence, against unarmed men, and continued injustices suffered by the population in general, people in Accra and other towns and cities took to the streets, attacking European and Asian businesses and property. Immediately after the outbreak of these violent disturbances the leadership of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a political organisation advocating an end to colonialism, sent a cable to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London expressing their belief that:
“…unless Colonial Government is changed and a new Government of the people and their Chiefs installed at the centre immediately, the conduct of masses now completely out of control with strikes threatened in Police quarters, and rank and file Police indifferent to orders of Officers, will continue and result in worse violent and irresponsible acts by uncontrolled people.”
The UGCC cable further stated that:
“Working Committee United Gold Coast Convention declare they are prepared and ready to take over interim Government. We ask in name of oppressed, inarticulate, misruled and misgoverned people and their Chiefs that Special Commissioner be sent out immediately to hand over Government to interim Government of Chief and People and to witness immediate calling of Constituent Assembly”
The people’s protests lasted five days. By 1st March the colonial governor had declared a state of emergency and put in place a new Riot Act. On 12th March the governor ordered the arrest of “The Big Six,” (Ebenezer Ako-Adjei; Edward Akufo-Addo; J. B. Danquah; Kwame Nkrumah; Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey; William Ofori Atta) leading members of the UGCC, which included Kwame Nkrumah, as he believed they were responsible for orchestrating the disturbances. The Big Six were incarcerated in remote northern parts of the country.
It was around this time that Nkrumah and the other five began to have significant disagreements over the direction of the movement for independence. By 1949 Nkrumah had broken away from the UGCC to form the Convention People’s Party (CPP) taking the masses of the people with him. The CPP, through a campaign of “Positive Action,” achieved an end to the Gold Coast colony and brought the new dawn of independent Ghana on 6th March 1957]
By: Amma Fosuah Poku Source: Pan-Africanist Briefs
[A solemn flag raising and wreath laying ceremony will be held at the newly created Nationalism Park, close to the Freedom Monument at Osu in Accra tomorrow, February 28, to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the 28 February Christiansborg, Crossroad shooting.
The event which is celebrated every year to honour the three ex-servicemen who were killed in 1948 by the colonial police, while marching to the Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor, will see a lot of activities this year, with the police and the military bands in attendance.
A contingent made up of officers from the Ghana Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) will also be on parade.
Also expected to grace the occasion will be Vice-President John Mahama, Ministers of state, Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, Service commanders of the various security agencies, traditional rulers, the clergy and other identifiable groups.
After the wreath laying, the Ga Asafo and Kolomashie groups will take over until 6pm. Later that evening at 7pm, there will be a re-enactment of the shooting incident at the Nationalism Park.
The Historical Society of Ghana will also hold a public lecture on the theme“Celebrating Our Heroes: The Importance Of 28 February To The Independence Of Ghana,” at the Civil Servants and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) auditorium, Ministries, Accra, later in the afternoon of Tuesday, February28, 2012, between 3:00pm and 6:00pm.
It would be recalled that, on that sorrowful Saturday, 28th February 1948, before noon, a number of unarmed ex-servicemen were on a march from Accra to the Christiansborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief, Sir Gerald Creasy, when they were intercepted at the Christiansborg Crossroad by a contingent of armed policemen, led by a British Superintendent, Colin Imray.
Superintendent Imray ordered the ex-servicemen to disperse, but they did not. He then gave orders to the police to open fire on the ex-service men, but that too did not deter them, so Superintendent Imray himself fired at the Ex-servicemen, killing Sergeant Adjetey, Cpl Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, instantly in cold blood.
The news about the death of the gallant Ex-servicemen spread rapidly, leading to a situation where law and order broke down in Accra and other parts of the country, which was popularly referred to as the 1948 disturbances.
This encouraged the anti-colonial movements to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings and the consequent general disorder.
The committee recommended self- government for the Gold Coast, and subsequently, led to the attainment of political independence for the country on March 6, 1957.]
The True Statesman, Source: Modern Ghana