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Pathetic: The wicked hidden history of a Ghanaian Head of State

General Ignatius Kutu General was Ghana’s Head of State from 13th January, 1972 to July 5th, 1978. He led the coup d’etat that overthrew the Civilian 2nd Republican administration of Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia and Ceremonial President, Edward Akufo Addo.

He first established the National Redemption Council (NRC) as the highest Executive Military command to rule the country. NRC was however transitioned to the Supreme Military Council (SMC) on October, 15th 1975. It was the same day that Kutu Acheampong promoted himself from Colonel to a General.

Kutu Acheampong would carry the Four-Star General till he suffered a Palace Coup on July 5th, 1978 when his colleague members of the SMC forced him to resign and stripped him off his military ranks. He was then placed under house arrest.

After the internal coup, the SMC, was reconstituted as the SMC 2 with then Chief of Defence Staff and the number two man in command, Lt. General Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo assuming the position of Head of State and Chairman of the SMC 2.

With the growing agitation among civilians, civil society groups and other identifiable bodies, it became obvious that the SMC 1 had overwhelmingly lost its popularity rating. Coupled with that Acheampong had grown extremely unpopular with his Union Government (UNIGOV) concept.

By UNIGOV idea, the General had wished for a unity government of civilians and the military with him (General Acheampong) as the president of the novelty model. There was the general belief among majority of Ghanaians that the referendum that preceded the UNIGOV was heavily rigged to favour Acheampong, the SMC and his cohorts.

It was the said referendum that Justice Isaac Kobina Abban refused to acquiesce to the orders of the Head of State (General Acheampong) to rig it in his favour. The stoical stance of the then Justice of the High Court, resulted in Justice Abban abandoning his post to seek refuge with then Archbishop of Cape Coast, John Kojo Amissah.

One Justice Quaye, who was appointed in Abban’s stead declared victory for Acheampong and his SMC. The SMC was reported to have won 62 percent approval of the UNIGOV concept, as against the 38 percent garnered by those opposed to the idea. That obvious thievery galvanized individuals and civil groups to maintain their sustained protests and picketing against Gen Acheamong and his military junta.

Eventually, Acheampong caved in to the pressures of his own colleague members of the SMC. He was ousted from power. His successors immediately prepared a time-table to return the country to a civilian administration or the Third Republic. Then the blow of the Rawlings-Boakye Djan siren sounded in succession.

First was the abortive Rawlings coup of May 15th, 1979 and later, the successful one of Captain Boakye Djan on June 4th, 1979. The two events, especially the later, jolted the country’s political calendar. The intended handing over to a civilian administration in July 1979, was shifted later to 24th September, 1979.

In-between, Rawlings who was on trial for leading the June 15th abortive insurrection, was released from jail to become Chairman and Head of State of the Armed Forces Revolutionary (AFRC) that toppled the SMC 2 regime of General Akuffo on June 4th. The AFRC then embarked on what was described as House Cleaning Exercise.

The special exercise consumed General Acheampong, Lt. General Akwasi Amankwaah Afrifa and General F.W.A Akuffo who were all executed by firing squad. Acheampong and his Border Guard Commander, Major General E.K. Utuka were the first to be executed on June 26th, 1979.

The other top military officers executed by the AFRC included, Real Admiral Joy Komla Amedume, Major General George Yaw Boakye, Major General Robert Ebenezer Abossey Kotei, and Colonel Roger Felli. The mandate of the AFRC was to purge the sulking image of the Ghanaian military before returning the country to a civilian administration.

It was the contention of Rawlings and his ilk that the hierarchy of the military has not only messed up with the military force, but also caused a major degeneration to the Ghanaian society. It was a time that corruption and moral degeneration were commended and institutionalized. The only means to survive at that period was to join the looting cabal, Rawlings and his people alleged.

But was Kutu that bad? Indeed, there were some achievements he chalked that till today, remain very outstanding in the annals of Ghana's political history. General Acheampong did not contract loans as his successors did; and are still doing. He managed to fund all of his projects through local fund raising and never lived a luxurious life. Yes, he bought a presidential jet, but refused to travel in it.

Within his almost seven-year reign, Kutu travelled only to Togo by road and returned that same day. The most poignant one was the implementation of the change from the imperialist system of counting and measuring to the metric system of measurement; and also the transition from right hand driving to the left-hand drive that we currently, have in place.

Genereal Acheampong was passionate about Agriculture and therefore empowered his Commissioner for Agriculture- Colonel Frank George Bernasko to present to his government, a blue-print on Agriculture. The first recommendation in that blue print was for every Ghanaian to be self-sufficient in Agriculture.

That gave birth to the all popular Operation Feed Yourself concept, where every Ghanaian household was encouraged to own a farm or garden at their backyards. This resulted in a bumper harvest of food within the first three years of the exercise. To the extent that even the heavens approved of the programme.

The Seas and the Oceans smiled on mother Ghana. Fisher-folks caught so much fishes that they were advised to dump some of their catch back into the Sea. Within that adversity, Kutu became wise and therefore built cold stores throughout the country to store all of the excess fishes.

The General also had in place the National Reconstruction Project that led to the restoration of many street lights, the upgrading of stadia, including those at the districts to meet international standards. That’s how come the Swedru, Oda, Koforidua, Tamale, Mampong, Tema, Techiman and other districts managed to host first division football matches at the time.

He upgraded the Accra and the Kumasi Sports stadia to international standards to be able to host the 11th African Cup of Nations. It's instructive to note that it was during Kutu's time that Ghana became first country to win the Cup of Nations for the third time and for keeps.

He also built the Tiger Pito factory at Bolgatanga for the people of the Upper Region and established the Regional Development Co-operations in all of the nine regions of the country at the time to provide various services to the people. He built public estate houses in Accra, Kumasi, Ho, Takoradi through his State Housing project.

It’s well documented that more than eight coups were plotted against General Acheampong, yet none of the perpetrators was executed. Today, most Ghanaians seemed unaware of such monumental achievements of Kutu because of the bias and the jaundiced manner our historians have tried to bury the Acheampong legacy under heap of lies.  

Content created and supplied by: RKeelson (via Opera News )

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