Violent overthrow of legitimate governments had been obliterated from our political dictionary even long before we attempted the experiment with the current dispensation. No matter how brutish Rawlings’ Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) had become in the early 80’s to the 90’s, most Ghanaians thought it was unwise to overthrow the de-facto president through the means he imposed himself on us.
There were some momentary joys when the Corporal Halidu Giwas tried to torpedo the PNDC military regime. Although it was abortive, Ghanaians in their somber mood reminisced whether the best approach to nip off the Rawlings cruel regime was to replace it with another young “Abongo Boy” as the military was known at the time, on us.
Indeed, other attempts to overthrow the Rawlings military regime violently were initiated, although abortive, conversations in the aftermath of the failed uprisings, clearly demonstrated how most Ghanaians were tired and fed up with the intrusions of the military. Even at the time coups were fashionable in many African countries; most Ghanaians became tired and therefore swore: “Never Again!”
And why not. They’ve seen the bloody overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah; the bloodless toppling of Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia by General Acheampong; Rawlings’ bloody uprising of May 15th, 1979, and a replica of the 15th May act on June 4th, 1979. Most of us were not in tune for another psychological torture of sleeping at 6: 00 pm as we saw in the 31st Rawlings coup in 1981 and also the bodily harm that many of us were inflicted.
And so, no matter how our 4th Republic pans out, there is a certain consciously ingrained mindset that we would let it suffice and survive it despite the shortfalls some of which are largely inefficiency of those at the helm rather than the defects of our constitution. After all, it’s a periodic four-year renewal mandate and we have the right to exercise that right to curtail a potential continuation of any such bad government.
We may not have still gotten to the level of terminating the tenure of our civil administrations at the first four-year tenure. The last 2020 polls were however indications that we may get to that level very soon. We may have started with the MPs, some of whom lost their seats in inexplicable circumstances. Out of that election tornado, we have what political scientists refer to as Hung Parliament where there is equal split in number of parliamentary representatives. No clear-cut majority.
The next alteration to our previous rubber-stamp parliament is likely to hit the presidency by the voters’ revolution and not the known brutish and failed military interventions. It’s on the basis of the stated analysis that none should discount it, when one-time coupist who genuinely express sorrow about aspects of our governance structure tend to destroy the obvious worries and concerns of many with the caveat “where we are today, I will not be surprised if there’s a Coup De’ tat.”
Brigadier Benjamin Nunoo Mensah is a former Chief of Defence Staff in the PNDC regime that ruled Ghana from 1981 to 1993 and is the who is mongering coups since the administration was birthed. He made his recent coup comments on a popular radio station in Accra, the nation’s capital. This is a man who at a point, wondered when there were agitations from Ghanaians that the PNDC should hand over to a civilian regime, he impulsively retorted “hand over to who”.
That was at the prime of PNDC’s power hunger, including that of the Brigadier’s. We went into party politics and the Brigadier General joins the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and not Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress (NDC). Should we take that as the first of his routine history of betrayal of his political bedfellows? He again joins the Nana Akufo Addo campaign team as its Campaign Manager at the time the current President was contesting John Agyekum Kufuor for the NPP presidential nomination.
That was in the 1998 primary. Kufuor won and eventually went on to win the 2000 election to become the President of the Republic. The General will astonishingly leave the NPP at the time the party had won the Ghanaian election. Who does that? But he did. A part of his chequered political history? General Nunoo Mensah's anger was that the party did not protect him enough to win the NPP primary for the Effutu constituency in the Central Region and therefore decided to join his regional journeyman, Prof Evans Atta Mills who had lost the presidency to John Kufuor in 2000.
Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah would not spare Kufuor his anger and took him on at the slightest opportunity. That was when he had fully joined Prof Mills’ campaign team heading into the 2004 and 2008 elections. His accusation of Kufuor still bordered on threat of coups. As expected, the Brigadier pitched camp with Prof Mills where he became the security advisor to the late Professor of Law. The death of the then sitting President dealt a serious blow to Brigadier Nunoo Mensah; he lost his position in the subsequent NDC administration of former President John Dramani Mahama.
As his relevance in the NDC waned, the Brigadier has become more of naysayer than that patriotic soldier who once fought to protect the sanctity and the integrity of the Ghanaian geographical area. He may not necessarily be consumed in the act of coup making, but such utterances give impetus to the hungry young military officers to act contrary to their disciplinary code. As we urge the Brigadier to watch some of such unguarded words, we equally wish every Ghanaian including the establishment to also monitor the General closely. Rawlings was not given any attention; and in the end the entire country paid a huge price for our inaction on the utterances and movements of the former Flt Lieutenant.
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