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And Jantuah Cried

 And Jantuah Cried

Kwame Sanaa-Poku Jantuah, originally known as John Ernest Kwame Antoa Onyina Jantuah, was a Ghanaian politician, lawyer and diplomat. He until 2011 was the last survivor from the first all-African cabinet set up by Kwame Nkrumah in the Gold Coast prior to independence.

Kwame Jantuah was born at Kejetia, a suburb of Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. When he was baptised on 19 May 1934, he was given the Christian names John and Ernest at the St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kumasi.

In 1936, he proceeded to the St. Theres’s Junior Seminary at Amissano, near Elmina for training. He was known formally as John Ernest Jantuah until 21 December 1962 when he changed his name to Kwame Sanaa-Poku Jantuah.

In 2007, then President John Kufuor presenter Jantuah with a meritorious award in Accra.

Jantuah served as a cabinet minister in the Nkrumah government of the first republic and as the Interior Minister during the Limann government.

Kwame Sanaa-Poku Jantuah was a CPP MP and ambassador to many countries in various governments through roles such as; the Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in the 1950s, the first resident Ambassador to France and the Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic in the late 1980s during the PNDC era. He was also the ambassador to Brazil during the Nkrumah era.

In the first legislative assembly (1951), the Asante CPP MPs broke with their party and agitated for more share in resources and seats for Asante.

Jantuah, the older brother of FA Jantuah of the famous Jantuah family, led the passionate plea.

But lo and behold, his own CPP MPs from other regions accused him of tribalism.

As a result, Jantuah would break down and weep like a child in the legislative assembly. He could not fathom how on earth his sincere plea for his people could be tagged as tribalist- much more from his own party. Through tears, Jantuah spent the rest of this time on the floor defending why he was no tribalist than propagating Asante interest.
For fear of being called tribalist, all Asante CPP members fell into rank and that was the end of the discussion once and for all.

The next day, Gold Coast news papers splashed their front pages with the headline:
“And Jantuah cried…..”

…it became a meme in the Gold Coast for a while.

Morale of the anecdote is…….often those who want to dig for Asante interest are cowed with the tag of being tribalism thereby defeating the cause.

By: Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa Akoto and Yaw Adu-Gyamfi

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