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Opinions of Thursday, 25 March 2004

Columnist: Annor, Joseph

Is NPP master coup maker & election rigger ...

...as claimed by Ghana Palaver or NDC?

In a recent Ghana Palaver article by Julius Sago entitled ??[t]here are many rivers to cross?, the author claims that ?[t]he NDC must be aware that it is dealing with masters of election rigging and coup makers?.

Certainly, the allegation by the author (Julius Sago) and for that matter, NDC that NPP members are masters of coup makers and election riggers is entirely false and has no iota of truth in it. For instance, let us consider and analyse the political background of those Ghanaians who in the history of Ghana have overthrown governments in power and if anything at all, the necessity of their coups. For the sake of the accuracy of the data, we are only interested in successful coups as data on unsuccessful coups may not be reliable.

Summary of various successful coups in Ghana since independence

 Year   Govt in power overthrown         Leaders of coup makers 
1966 CPP ? Dr Nkrumah Afrifa & Kotoka
1972 PP ? Dr Busia Acheampong
1979 NRC/SMC/SMC1 Acheampong/Akuffo Rawlings/Boakye Gyan (in series)
1982 PNP ? Dr Liman Rawlings

Afrifa/Kotoka

As the data in the above table shows, there is only one instance that one can associate the coup makers with Busia/Danquah (UP) tradition and for that matter, NPP. That is when Afrifa and Kotoka overthrew Nrkumah?s government. However, it is probably not fair to accuse NPP of being masters of coup making, for a coup, which perhaps, none of the current NPP members had a hand in it all. Further, Dr Nkrumah had at that time turned Ghana into one party state and all forms of opposition was effectively banned and people were detained without trial, and under such circumstance, a ballot box could not have been used to change and get rid of detention without trial and one party system.

Further, Rawlings claims that Kotoka was his hero and for that matter, he appears to support the justification for Kotoka and Afrifa?s coup. However, this contradicts the fact that Rawlings later sent Afrifa to firing squad, an issue that the possible explanations for it are beyond the scope of this article. In addition, Dr Obed Asamoah the current chairman of NDC was known to have been a prominent member of the defunct UNC, a party that was co-founded by Afrifa and Paa William Ofori Atta, thus, he also appeared to have found nothing wrong with Afrifa.

In summary, while many Ghanaians appear to admire Dr Nkrumah for how he led Ghana to attain independence, his vision of Africa unity and his development projects; his systems of one party state and detention without trial effectively led to encroachment of the fundamental rights of a significant section of Ghanaians and history tells us that such systems would inevitably, be resisted in one way or the other.

Acheampong and Akuffo

As the second roll of the table shows Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia?s Progress Party Government was overthrown by Gen Acheampong just about 27 months or so after the government was installed. Gen Acheampong formed NRC/SMC and ruled Ghana for sometime until he himself was forced to step down from the SMC government in a palace coup organised by his SMC (cabinet) members. Gen Akuffo replaced Gen Acheampong as the Head of State and the Government after the palace coup. No one can associate the NRC/SMC coup with Busia/Danquah (NPP) tradition.

Rawlings/Boakye Gyan

As the third roll shows, Rawlings and Boakye Gyan overthrew the SMC government in a series of coups. Rawlings initially attempted to overthrow the SMC government and he was caught and arranged before a court. In the processes, Boakye Gyan and others successfully mounted another coup against SMC and overthrew it. They released Rawlings and mistakenly made him a leader of their government and Ghanaians have paid a heavy price for this at the hands of Rawlings including the later killing of the brother of Boakye Gyan himself.

Further, what baffles and astonishes all honest Ghanaians about the Rawlings and Boakye Gyan coups is the fact that SMC had already put measures in place to conduct elections and return Ghana into civilian rule. In fact, the handing over to civilian rule might have been one of the primary motives for the SMC government to stand aside Gen Acheampong from the Government in order to conduct general elections and do away with Acheampong?s notion of national union government (UNIGOV).

Thus, the fact that SMC 1 had already begun implementing plans to return the country into a civilian government indicates clearly that Messrs Rawlings and Boakye Gyan?s coups were clearly not necessary. If Rawlings and Boakye Gyan wanted to overthrow SMC, they should have done so long before Akuffo and his cabinet decided to return Ghana into democratic government. Where were they when Acheampong was burnt on introducing UNIGOV and Gbedemah even teamed up with Afrifa to fearlessly and relentlessly to oppose Acheampong.

Messrs Rawlings and Boakye Gyan killed some of the SMC leaders such as Acheampong and Akuffo, as well as Afrifa who had nothing to do with the SMC government they overthrew. They then conducted elections and handed over to Dr Limann and his PNP party, for winning both the 1979 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Rawlings

Strangely, Mr Rawlings had not whole-heartedly handed over power to Dr Limann and therefore, it was not long for Mr Rawlings to strike again to overthrow Dr Limann and his government, the constitutionally elected government, which Mr Rawlings himself had handed over power to. For the next 19 years Ghanaians were subjected to various forms of suppressions and this was particularly evident during the first 8 years or so of his leadership.

Clearly, like Mr Rawlings first coup(s) with Mr Boakye Gyan, there was no justification whatsoever for his second coup to overthrow Dr Limann, as if anything at all, Dr Limann would have accounted for the stewardship of his Government to Ghanaians through the ballot box. Thus, it was left with Ghanaians to exercise our constitutional rights to express our level of satisfaction or non-satisfaction with Dr Limann?s government by either voting to retain PNP government in power or replacing it with an alternative government. Despite, the simplicity and fundamentality of this matter, Mr Rawlings solely placed the onerous and the responsibility upon himself to decide for Ghanaians, just half way into the period that Ghanaians granted Dr Limann the mandate to rule Ghana. Mr Rawlings therefore disenfranchised all Ghanaians by his actions.

From the foregoing analysis, it is clear that Mr Rawlings tops the list of the coup makers and not only that. He is one of the only two Ghanaians, the other being Acheampong, who overthrew constitutionally elected governments who were going to account for their stewardship at the ballot box.

So why have Mr Julius Sago, NDC and Ghana Palaver have ignored all these obvious basic and not hard finding facts to deliberately tell lies about NPP. I believe that the time has come for NDC to stop telling lies as those days when people have no means to let Ghanaians to know about NDC lies are gone forever. We live in information technology age and a lot of Ghanaians have access to Internet. Further, there a lot of true speaking papers and FM stations in Ghana, unlike when Rawlings controlled all the state media and reported issues as he wished. Look at how NDC affiliated paper recently reported lies about the President of Togo that he claims to control Ghana with the effect of NPP coming into power, thus attempting to foment troubles between the neighbours.

Mr Sago?s (NDC) allegation that NPP members are masters of rigging elections is also false. NPP (Danquah/Busia tradition) until 2001, had been in opposition since 1972 and had conducted no elections on their own as government. Further, the 1969 elections which Dr Busia won was conducted by Gen Afrifa and his then military government and NPP had no hands in it, despite that Afrifa might have been more sympathetic to the course of Danquah/Busia tradition. If for the reason that Afrifa was more sympathetic to Danquah/Busia tradition means that he rigged the elections for Busia, then one may also argued that Rawlings might have rigged the 1979 elections for Dr Limann, as it is obvious that he would have been more sympathetic with Dr Limann of CPP tradition, than Victor Owusu of Danquah/Busia tradition. Further, despite the level of Ghanaians anger against him for his dictatorial rule, Rawlings managed to win two terms of government in the 1992 and 1996 elections. Is it not possible that Mr Rawlings rigged the elections and that 2000 elections turned against him and his party when the media, especially the private media were no more afraid and became circumspect in their reportage.

For instance, why did Rawlings choose to coincide the 1992 Ghana elections with the day that the United States was also having its presidential elections, despite that there are 365 days in a year, 12 months in a year and between 28 to 31 days in month. The obvious answer appears to be simple; Rawlings might have wanted to rig the 1992 elections and it was easy for him to do that when all the world attention was focused on the elections of the most important and powerful country in the world. This would have given NDC the chance to carry out their deceitful deeds.

In conclusion, Mr Sago?s report is entirely false and if anything at all, what he is accusing the NPP of rather lies in the doorstep of NDC.


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.