Last Tuesday, the country commemorated that dark spot in our pre-independence history. It was an event which, as fate would have it, changed the course of our history and expedited our march towards independence.
The Watson Commission which the colonial authorities empanelled after the unprovoked murder of the three veterans of WWII was an important watershed in our country’s history. The looting which followed and saw the deployment of Nigerian troops to quell the rising incidence of lawlessness provided the fuel required by the agitated nationalists.
Sergeant Adjetey and his colleagues did not die in vain, for theirs was what provided the all-important fillip for the pioneer nationalists of the UGCC fame to remain even more committed to the achievement of the ultimate goal of Self-Government Now or in the Shortest Possible Time; two varying mantras which defined the differences between the UGCC and its offspring, CPP.
It is unfortunate, though, that most of the time when past events are being narrated, the names of the trio are perhaps inadvertently omitted. It is as though their roles do not merit an association with the eventual Self-Government which we achieved as a people.
It is our position that their names should belong to both the military history of the Gold Coast as well as the independence struggle.
We do not still comprehend why Superintendent Colin Imray did what he did. It could not have been ordered by a higher authority. Indeed, we do not know but can only proffer conjectures; however, weak these maybe, that such imaginations are not based on verifiable facts of history. The bottom-line though, was that regardless of the sacrifices these men and their colleagues made under very trying conditions fighting the cause of the colonial masters, their toils, it appeared, were not appreciated as much as it should have been. Otherwise, a superintendent of police, a British, could not have done what he did under the circumstances, more so when the men were not armed. They could not have been, having been discharged from the colours and did not access to any armoury at the time. They had returned home from the frontlines barely three years after Armistice Day.
Be it as it may, the trio was killed in cold blood by the colonial police officer after a Gold Coast Escort policeman countered his order to the supporting cops to fire at the recalcitrant ex-soldiers in Hausa ‘karkubuga’ to wit, ‘do not fire.’ It was at this stage that the British senior police officer snatched the rifle and fired into the armless Gold Coast veterans, snuffing life out of the trio.
They did not die in the jungles of Burma and other theatres of the WWII, but succumbed to death at home. They had been denied their dues promised them by the British and for them to suffer such a painful death at home when they simply went to ask for their entitlements was rather heartbreaking.
The importance of their role in expediting the independence must always be acknowledged, especially during the March 6 independence anniversary commemorations. They deserve both the last post and the March 6 honours.