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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

The arrest of alleged coup plotters: The flashing memories of ‘79 and ‘81 coup d’états

Dr Mac-Palm and two others were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime Dr Mac-Palm and two others were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime

We have recently read and heard how the security agencies have been tracking and retrieving arms and munitions from a group of men who were allegedly plotting to destabilise the peace and security of the country.

The alleged attempt to disturb the ambiance of the country reminds me of how the firebrand NDC’s former Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, was arrested and charged on his alleged treasonable statement.

The former NDC Deputy Secretary emitted somewhat carelessly: “On January 13, 1972, a certain Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a movement that removed the Progress Party from power. Busia was the Prime Minister and Akufo-Addo’s father was a ceremonial president. Somebody should tell Nana Akufo-Addo that history has a very interesting way of repeating itself.”

Nevertheless, the Ghana Police dropped all charges against the former Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho, after the Attorney General and Minister of Justice made it clear that the state was no longer interested in the case (See: Koku Anyidoho walks free as State drops treason charges;, 20/08/2018).

Interestingly, subsequent to Anyidoho’s ostensive effusions, a friend apprehensively drew my attention to a publication which was being circulated on social media and other electronic news portals, captioned: “Exposed!!! NDC has set January 13 2019 as date for coup”.

Unsurprisingly, my pal appeared extremely disturbed about the alleged coup plot, albeit I tried desperately to allay his fears. I put it to him: “do you honestly believe that NDC faithful are capable of staging another coup d’état in Ghana?”

My friend, however, lamented apprehensively and somewhat sonorously: “well, mate, if we do not know how death feels like, we can obviously take a cue from sleep”. “After all, wasn’t NDC founded on the ideals of coup making enthusiast J. J. Rawlings?”

To be quite honest, I was indifferent upon perusing through the said story. On one hand, I soliloquised: ‘this could be fake news’.

And, upon a second thought, I murmured, though ambivalently: ‘was Anyidoho actually telling us about the NDC’s alleged fiendish plot?’

I continued gingerly: ‘After all, who are we to call Mr Frog an inveterate liar for coming out of the water to announce the untimely demise of Mr Crocodile?’ ‘How could we have known the happenings under the water then?’

In retrospect, the statement by the former Deputy General Secretary of NDC, Koku Anyidoho was without doubt, sounded ludicrous in the ears of discerning Ghanaians.

But the fact of the matter is that coup d’états are synonymous with NDC. Indeed, Koku Anyidoho was only mimicking the ethos of NDC.

Back then, I reminded discerning Ghanaians to be mindful of the fact that the NDC has abhorrent track record of coup making.

Apparently, Anyidoho was heard on Accra-based Happy FM, ranting plangently and illogically: “history had an interesting way of repeating itself and that President Akufo-Addo will end up like his dad who was forced out of government via coup d'état in 1972.”

In a way, my pal had every reason to be worried because there is widespread impression that NDC is synonymous with coup d’états. Indeed, we can take a cue from history.

Evidently though, NDC was founded on the ideals of their coup making founder J. J. Rawlings (detailed in Article 6 of their party constitution which their founder Rawlings autographed with his blood).

Obviously, the NDC loyalists would never agree with some of us for persistently analysing the current affairs through the lenses of the past. But I am afraid we cannot make sense of the present happenings if we refused to take stock of the past events.

The story was told, in a historical perspective, that after deposing General Akuffo and his Supreme Military Council2 (SMC2) government on 4th June 1979, the founder of NDC, Rawlings and his coup making friends went ahead and formed their own government, which they called as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and appointed Flt. Rawlings as their chairman.

The coup makers transferred power to Dr Hilla Limann and his PNP following the successful election in 1979.

Anecdotally, it was reported that the Limann government assumed office at a time when the economy was stagnant; all credit lines to the country had diminished and were finally blocked due to brutalities and confiscations at the harbours and other points of entry into Ghana by the coup making founders of the NDC.

However, Rawlings and his cohorts did not give Dr Limann and his PNP government the breathing space to govern the country, as they relentlessly breathed down the neck of President Liman.

Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters, as a matter of fact, unfairly kept criticising Dr Limann’s administration for what the coup makers perceived as economic mismanagement, until Rawlings and his jailbreaking geezers decided to depose Dr Limann.

Subsequently, J. J. Rawlings and the other obstreperous jailbreakers took arms and succeeded in deposing the democratically elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981.

And, Rawlings and his friends formed a government which they called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed Rawlings as the chairman.

Apparently, some of the current NDC apologists were brought from their hideouts to form all sorts of paramilitary groups, whose collective mandate was to defend the revolution by hook or by crook.

The story was told, though vividly, that in their desperate attempts to defend their illegitimate power and lay the foundation for a supposedly true democracy in Ghana, the founders of the NDC officially set up paramilitary organs such as the People’s Defence Committee (PDC), the Civil Defence Organisation (CDO), which was popularly known as the Militia and the Workers Defence Committee (WDC), where the last two organs were later reorganised and renamed as the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR), whose collective mandate was to defend the revolution by hook or by crook.

The CDRs were established in villages, urban communities, and workplaces and intended to be the organs of popular power and political initiative.

In addition, Forces' Defence Committees were established in the armed forces and the police service.

The June Four Movement was a militant mass revolutionary movement dedicated to keeping alive the ideals of the June 4 1979 uprising that Rawlings had led. It sought to arouse the population at large to assist in establishing so-called people's power within the avowed objectives of the revolutionary process.

“The PDCs and the WDCs (Workers Defence Committees) had their own courts and "meted out justice according to no established legal procedures” [Amnesty International, 1983).

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the PNDC's political opposition back then vehemently contested the democratic nature of such organs and saw them as nothing but state-sponsored vigilantes engaged in intimidation and human rights abuses (Source: U.S. Library of Congress).

Starvation, so to speak, visited the vast majority of Ghanaians, and hence developing revoltingly ugly collar bones which the humorous Ghanaians renamed as “Rawlings Chain”. That was indeed the pernicious extent of the hunger.

After imposing himself and despotically ruling the country for over 11 years, J. J. Rawlings retired from the military, formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and bizarrely metamorphosed into civilian president in 1992.

Whichever way you may view the issue under discussion, going forward, the authorities cannot and must not entertain any treasonable actions and inactions by coup making enthusiasts.

In sum, the security forces must be ready to thwart any conspiratorial plot by the enemies of the state.

K. Badu, UK.