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Opinions of Monday, 13 June 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

What Capt. Baah-Achamfuor Is Not Telling Ghanaians

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

When Capt. Kwabena Baah-Achamfuor (Retired) laments the key role that he, allegedly, played as a member of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) in bequeathing Ghanaians with the veritable monstrosity that is the now-former President Jerry John Rawlings, he grossly understates matters (See “I Regret Rescuing Rawlings from Prison – Capt. Baah-Achamfuor” 6/9/11).

I have always maintained that its high-minded pretence to the staunch defense and promotion of democratic culture notwithstanding, the membership of the AFRC was largely composed of a cynical bunch of thoroughgoing opportunists who simply wanted to access the same perks and pelf that came with the sort of wanton political usurpation that they had witnessed their superiors enjoy since February 24, 1966. This, of course, is in no way to condemn the auspicious ousting of the neo-fascist Convention People’s Party (CPP) regime by Messrs. Kotoka, Afrifa and Harlley.

Still, it goes without saying that a constructive way ought to have been found to make the 1966 coup the first and last of its kind in Ghanaian political history, particularly once the Busia-led Progress Party (PP) government amply demonstrated, however imperfectly, that it more than any other government in our so-called Black Africa better understood the democratic rule of law and the imperative preservation of fundamental human rights.

Unfortunately, the quite admirable vacating of the national political scene by the National Liberation Council (NLC) junta had not effectively stanched the emergence of an inordinately politicized soldiery who, having tasted of civic political power and the perks that came with it, decided to initiate an open season of regressive intervention in a momentous endeavor for which they had acquired little or absolutely no training at all. Matters, of course, had not been meliorated by the fact that those who claimed to have been professionally trained for national governance did not seem to creditably acquit themselves of the same.

In the case of the National Liberation Council (NLC), however, the infiltration of their ranks by politically ambitious and, in retrospect, politically vindictive operatives like Col. I. K. Acheampong was certain to guarantee that civic stability would have to be delayed well into the future. The AFRC, therefore, was fundamentally no more than another bunch of rambunctious and self-serving faux-revolutionaries who opportunely met with and deftly appropriated the admittedly abject decadence of their superiors as a means of canonical self-glorification.

We see this effectively played out when shortly after the assumption of the civic reins of governance by the Limann-led People’s National Party (PNP), several AFRC key operatives were reported to have received handsome monetary packages – some media sources claimed about $ 100,000 (One-Hundred Thousand U. S. Dollars) – from the PNP to go into exile and seek greener pastures. The clear motive, of course, was to get rid of these “street urchins” and “trouble-makers” in order to guarantee a secure political environment for the Limann administration. Back then, it was widely reported that among those who had allowed themselves to be so readily “corrupted” were Messrs. Baah-Achamfuor and Boakye-Djan. There were two others, as well, that I cannot readily recall.

Whatever the real case may have been, what is factually indisputable is that by December 31, 1981 when a self-righteous and megalomaniacal Flt.-Lt. Rawlings overthrew the Limann government, none of those other key AFRC operatives who now claim to have launched their June 4th pseudo-revolution in defense of democratic culture and civic governance, including Messrs. Boakye-Djan and Baah-Achamfuor, were either in Ghana or prepared to force the hitherto unknown political upstart whom they rescued from military detention, court martial and possible execution by firing squad for sedition back into political retirement.

And so, really, when he solemnly and passionately calls on Ghanaians to regularly commemorate June 4th, in spite of the glaring exposure of the veritable lie that was this apocalyptic and downright barbaric event, it is not clear exactly what Capt. Baah-Achamfuor is driving at. Indeed, it is precisely because of his adamant refusal to go into voluntary exile and comfortable existence abroad when the cynical likes of Messrs. Baah-Achamfuor and Boakye-Djan did, that has effectively guaranteed today that Mr. Rawlings would almost be singularly associated with the saturnine and sanguinary events of June 4th, as well as loom much larger than the men who now wistfully and pontifically claim to have made the retired Ghanaian strongman and founding-patriarch of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who and what he is today.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: