Tue. Oct 19th, 2021

Throughout its first twenty 5 years of independence Ghana suffered 5 profitable coups and several other tried coups and lesser disturbances. Not like in different growing nations the place coups and tried coups have usually led to civil warfare and nice lack of life and limb, in Ghana its coups have been nearly cold. The one exception to this rule was the coup of 4 June 1979 which introduced Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings to energy for the primary time. It’s straightforward accountable the perpetrators of the coup for the violence that occurred however some individuals known as for much more excessive measures. What follows is an eyewitness account of the event shortly after the June 4th coup when the younger flight lieutenant and chief of the revolution visited the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Know-how in Kumasi.

I used to be stunned to seek out that there was nice enthusiasm amongst the scholars for this coup. Individuals had grown bored with the Acheampong period with its hardships and widespread corruption they usually have been comfortable to see it swept away. Rawlings, named at start Jeremiah, owed his eventual identify, like Kwame Nkrumah, to a mistake, on this case on enrolment within the Ghana Air Pressure. A younger and charismatic determine with a curiously brilliant orange complexion, Jerry John Rawlings promised to cleanse Ghana of the corruption that had blighted earlier regimes. He introduced that he would clear out the corrupt components after which maintain the elections promised by Akuffo to return the nation to democratic rule.

Three weeks after the coup, Rawlings confirmed the cleaning course of with the abstract execution of some twelve people, together with three former heads of state: Afrifa, Acheampong and Akuffo. Many Ghanaians have been horrified by these executions as that they had previously claimed that their coups have been cold. Rawlings’ violent behaviour was attributed to his part-foreign ancestry. His mom was from the Ewe tribe of the Volta Area however his father was a Scotsman. Ashantis have been significantly shocked on the execution of Afrifa. What had he performed to deserve such a destiny? He had returned Ghana to democracy in 1969, handed over as Head of State to a ceremonial president in August 1970 and vigorously opposed the Acheampong regime from the time of the coup in January 1972.

If many Ghanaians have been already doubting Rawlings’ suitability to steer the nation, this doubt was not shared by a lot of the college college students. Quickly after the executions Rawlings got here to Kumasi. Standing on the roof of his automobile beside a really nervous Vice-Chancellor, on the college sports activities subject, surrounded by two thousand college students, Rawlings forcefully declared his goals. He needed nothing lower than a revolution. There was in Ghana, he mentioned, an intensive community of people that manipulated the economic system for their very own profit. Included have been businessmen within the import-export commerce, Ghanaians, Lebanese and Syrians, in addition to excessive officers in authorities ministries and departments and the heads of many establishments, together with colleges, schools and universities. He solid suspicion on all individuals {of professional} and managerial standing and mentioned that staff and college students ought to act to show the responsible individuals. “You recognize who these individuals are,” he shouted, “Assist us to root them out!”

A lot to the Vice-Chancellor’s alarm, the scholars now began to shout for all these individuals to be executed just like the twelve who had simply met this destiny. Rawlings mentioned that it might be impractical to go that far. The corrupt individuals needs to be punished however he couldn’t conform to execute all of them. The scholars nonetheless insisted on the execution of all their corrupt oppressors and the assembly deteriorated right into a state of impasse. It was late afternoon and the shadows have been lengthening throughout the sports activities subject so the Vice-Chancellor recommended persevering with the controversy within the Nice Corridor of the college. Little question he was relieved to desert his precarious perch on the roof of Rawlings’ automotive.

Nothing that Rawlings or the Vice-Chancellor might say might dowse the scholars’ passion. They insisted on howling for blood. Ultimately, to deliver issues to a conclusion, Rawlings issued a problem. “You recognize the corrupt individuals on this college. Carry them to me right here at 08.00 tomorrow morning and I’ll have them executed.”

That night time many professors, lecturers and directors didn’t sleep of their beds on the college campus. Conferences went on within the college students’ halls of residence all through the dead nights. However the subsequent morning Rawlings waited in useless. Coups and revolutions in Ghana are, or needs to be, cold.

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