SIGNIFICANCE OF 28TH FEBRUARY CHRISTIANSBORG CROSSROADS SHOOTING

The shooting by the British Colonial Inspector, Collins Imray, at the Ghanaian war veterans at the Christiansborg CrossroadS, close to Osu Castle 70 years ago (yesterday), is worth recounting because of its significance to our independence, which we shall celebrate next Tuesday.

Three of our Second World War veterans, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey were gunned down on that fateful day, February 28, 1948 by Inspector Imray.

They were among a group of Ghanaians who had been conscripted into the British West African Frontier Forces. After the war was over, they decided to present a petition to colonial Governor of the Gold Coast, as gentle reminder of a promise made by the colonial administration to appropriately reward them for their participation in the theatres of war.

The war veterans marched and got to the spot now named the Christiansborg Crossroads, like an avalanche and as they were trying to make their way to the Castle, to present the petition to the Governor, Inspector Imray ordered security men on guard to open fire to stop them from entering the vicinity. At lease this is what history tells us.

Folklore as has it that when  Inspector  Imray  gave the order, one black police man  on duty told his colleague  in the Hausa language “karika  halbe,” to wit , do not shoot. Those days the British colonial police was dominated by Hausa speaking people, we were told.

Information available indicate that when Inspector Imray realised that the policemen were hesitant to shoot at their own, he snatched the gun from them and opened fire into the advancing war veterans, resulting in the death of the three.

Hell broke loose afterwards in Accra, when word went round that three of the war veterans had been killed. The shooting incident infuriated Ghanaians who were already upset with the oppressive rule of the colonial administration and their lack of courtesy for the Ghanaian war veterans who braved the storm in the theatres of war, for the interest of the colonial master.

There was massive riot resulting in the looting of European and Asian shops and a contingent of police was brought down from Nigeria to help quell the disturbance. Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who later became the First President of Independent Ghana and other nationalists were arrested and imprisoned for allegedly being the brains behind the riots.

The Watson Commission of Inquiry, which was set up to investigate into the riot, made recommendations, which culminated into the country’s independence on March 6, 1957, perhaps much earlier than anticipated.

The bravado exhibited by our war veterans who laid their lives for the independence of our dear country showed the tenacity of purpose of the Ghanaian in resisting oppressors rule.

Indeed, the spirited fight by our war veterans is encapsulated in our national anthem “… and make us cherish fearless honesty. And help us to resist oppressors rule…”

Yes, we have been able to resist the oppressors rule but what has been the impact of self rule on the people both economically and socially.

After 61 years of self rule can we confidently hit our chest and say, we have achieved the goals set by those who lay down their lives so that we can be free?

Indeed, we are still confronted with economic hardships, insecurity, diseases, poverty, squalour and corruption among others.

As we mark the remembrance day and look forward to celebrating the 61st anniversary of Independence, we must resolve not to toy with the blood and sweat of our forebears, and as the way forward, let us use the lessons learnt from the past to guide us into the future, by resisting corruption in order to free our resources for our development agenda of Ghana beyond Aid.

 

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