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General News of Friday, 4 July 2003

Source: The Heritage / Richard Asah-Asante


Mrs. Christine Afrifa, wife of the late Lt. Gen. Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa, former Head of State who was executed in 1979 by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), is set to appear before the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) next week. She would like to know why her husband was killed without recouurse to due process of law and also the basis for the continued confiscation of some of her husband's properties by the state.

Sources close to Mrs. Afrifa say her moral stand point is that the late General, who before his execution had been elected on the ticket of the United National Convention (UNC) led by Paa Willie, had earlier been cleared by the Sowah Assets Commission (SAC) of the charges of abuse of office, which the AFRC levelled against him.

Mrs. Afrifa has been living in London for sometime now. She is expected to ask the NRC to establish why he was the only person singled out from those military officers who appeared before the SAC and killed even though he had emerged clean from that public enquiry.

According to sources Mrs. Afrifa would also ask why the late Gen. was the only member of the erstwhile National Liberation Council (NLC) who suffered death in the 1979 military executions.

Currently there is talk in the air that Maj. Boakye Djan (rtd), former Spokesperson of the AFRC and Major Mensah Poku, another member of the AFRC, are coming to also testify before the Commission to give additional insight into why the officers, including Lt. Gen. Afrifa, were executed.

Over the years the woman has been battling it out with the leadership of the AFRC to ascertain the reason for the execution of her husband.

Sometime in 1979 she wrote to the Council to demand why the husband was killed. This letter was later published in the West Africa magazine on August 20, 1979, excerpts from which are quoted below:

"I CONDEMN strongly the senseless murder of my late husband, - Lt.-General Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa of blessed memory. By killing him you have made nonsense of the whole operation, if indeed your purpose was cleaning up the Army against corruption, because he risked his life twice against the very system you claim to fight against. Why did you kill him then? Was it a revenge for the C.P.P., which he toppled in 1966, or a personal vengeance on the part of some of you, or for some nameless country, or for some faceless people? Was it for personal preservation or mere childish adventurism? Was it fear of him? Please be bold and tell the reason why you murdered him. The whole world is eager to know why:

"I am rather ashamed of your cowardly behaviour in accusing him falsely. Good and mature officers do not tell lies. They are sober in thinking, knowing that their decisions always affect human lives. They do not take orders or condone orders from men of lower rank whose normal duties are to obey and perform orders. So it was very abnormal when you confessed that you could not control your men and that you had to satisfy them at all cost. You unfortunately put the cart before the horse. The breakdown of authority in your ranks shows how far you have deviated from your course, antagonizing defenceless citizens. Now your target seems more directed against wealth than corruption. Your men are envious of anybody driving a Mercedes Benz or any decent car. Is it crime to have wealth or have good taste? "When you stood at Mampong before public and civil servants and aspersed that some people got into power only to amass wealth, you forgot that some people also risked their lives for people to enjoy human liberties and self-respect. I am quite sure that you are unaware that Okatakyie Afrifa got his wealth out of sweat, careful planning and determination. When Acheampong suspended his pension from 1972-78 he left his house at Krobo and went inland to live with his farm workers on the farm. He was on his farm when the pressing duties of the nation compelled him to form the P.M.F.J. to challenge Acheampong. Notwithstanding the deterioration of his farm and the danger in challenging Acheampong he forged ahead a strong opposition to Acheampong's Unigov.

"Have you paused to reflect on what would have happened to you if you were not put to a proper court during your trial but to a court just like the one you have designed? You failed to put Okatakyie Afrifa to a proper and open court. You did not also allow him a press conference as you did to Acheampong, because in his case, his defence was unquestionable; he had done nothing to warrant the freezing of his assets or his detention and murder. Perhaps you do not accept the findings of the Sowah Assets Commission.

"I would like to know the connection between Okatakyie Afrifa and the S.M.C. members and the subtraction of him from the N.L.C. members. I get the impression that you were trying to push Okatakyie Afrifa through the back door to meet his death, If the gallant General had not displayed one of his rare and dramatic qualities of heroism even in the face of death, by shouting for more bullets to end his life from a display of shameful military decadence, I am quite sure you would have hushed up his death. You would have lied to the world that he was killed for attempting to escape as you falsely reported that he was trying to flee the country before the general elections. What for? Okatakyie Afrifa would never flee. He was picked by some armed soldiers from his house at Krobo, at dawn on June 18, 1979 after he had been campaigning publicly the day before.