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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Columnist: Asante-Yeboah, Joseph

I salute you, Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka

It was on 17th April 1967 that one of the finest soldiers of the country, Maj-Gen E K Kotoka, was assassinated at the forecourt of the then Accra International Airport by junior members of the Ghana Armed Forces in a coup attempt. Col Kotoka, as he was then, was the leader of the coup that toppled the CPP tyrannical government on 24th February 1966.

In his latter days in Ghana, that is before he was overthrown and went to live in exile in Guinea, security around the then “life” President, Kwame Nkrumah, at Flagstaff House was indeed tight, like iron curtain. The same applied to places he visited. Therefore, it took a lot of courage for the Ghana Armed Forces and the police to have made the attempt to seize power.

Although he was credited to have led the adventure, a gentleman that he was – a scholar, cultured, modest, humble, unselfish and disciplined –Kotoka graciously agreed for a senior member of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lt Gen J A Ankrah, to be Chairman of the National Liberation Council. I salute you, Maj-Gen Kotoka, for these qualities that have helped to shape my life. What is even more, these are qualities we need to build our nation. Therefore, no matter how hard people try, your patriotism and act of bravery can never be washed away.

At this time when I look back on the day you fell from the assassin’s bullet, I want to remind our young men and women that they have a responsibility not to let the toil and sacrifice of our forefathers who fought for our freedom be in vain. The least they can do is to work hard in whatever area they find themselves, to be unselfish, humble and disciplined.

I salute you, Maj-Gen E K Kotoka
You restored my freedom
You have given me inspiration and motivation
I will continue to hold your name in my heart
The bravest of the brave
The most handsome of the handsome
I salute you!

Joseph Asante-Yeboah