June 9, 2023

On this day in 1978, Ghana’s Head of State, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, was forced to resign.

This came about after there was a palace coup initiated by several senior military commanders during a time when Acheampong was being accused of economic mismanagement.

He also voluntarily resigned from the Ghana Armed Forces.

Why Acheampong was stripped of military honours by the Akuffo-led SMC II

Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a bloodless coup d’état to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Progress Party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busia on 13th January 1972.

He became head of state and chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was later transformed into the Supreme Military Council (SMC) on 9 October 1975, with Colonel Acheampong (promoted to General) as its chairman.

During his era, Ghana saw some major significant changes, thus, Ghana changed from driving on the left to right-hand traffic dubbed “Operation Keep Right”, there was an “Operation Feed Yourself” initiative and the repudiation of Ghana’s foreign debts with the ‘yentua’ slogan.

In fact, the 1970s per Ghana’s history could be labelled as the Ignatius Kutu Acheampong era, given that it defined the period that the career military officer seized political power in 1972. He was ousted by the same means in 1978 and executed in 1979.

But did Acheampong enjoyed his military privileges as a General of the Army?

According to Abdul Malik Kweku Baako in a post on his Facebook timeline, on 1st May, 1979, the Supreme Military Council II government (SMC-2) came out with a form of “punishment” for Acheampong alone, apparently in line with the cock and bull story earlier sold to Ghanaians-which they rejected- that Acheampong staged a one-man show between 1972 and 1978. By the fiat of a Decree- Armed Forces miscellaneous provisions Decree, 1979-The SMC(2) divested General Acheampong of all honours acquired by him during his tenure of office (but this did not affect those conferred on them by Acheampong).

“He was to forfeit the privilege of the use of any military rank and was prohibited from entering any military installation or establishment. Even though the government ordered the release of Acheampong from custody, the General was to be restricted to his hometown, Trabuom, in the Ashanti Region,” the post indicated.

After saying that Acheampong would lose all retirement benefits, the Decree set out a long list of acts of economic; administrative and other misconduct which the General committed against the State and the people of Ghana while in office as follows:

(1): Personally interfering in the economic and financial management of the country.

(2): Interfering with the normal operations of the Bank of Ghana thus causing the over-printing and over-issue of cedi notes.

(3): Indiscrimatory, personal and arbitrary issue of import licences to favourites and close associates and awarding contracts to incompetent contractors.

(4): Taking dubious foreign loans to the detriment of the state.

(5): Personally granting undeserved concessions to favourite business houses in contravention of existing government policies and regulations.

(6): In furtherance of his inordinate ambition for political power, he manipulated and vested all executive powers in his own hands for his own advantage.

(7): He disregarded with impunity the principle of collective responsibility of colleagues in the SMC and NRC.

(8): He reversed decisions in the name of the NRC and SMC without prior consultation with any of his colleagues.

(9): He employed at the state’s expense the services of numerous unofficial personal advisers and aides of dubious competence, character and intentions who only saw to their good in government to the detriment of the nation.

(10): He brought the armed forces to the brink of disintegration.

(11): He showered generous favours on certain officers and men known to be closely associated with him to the disadvantage and annoyance of other officers of merit and the rank and file, thus contributing to the breakdown of discipline in the armed forces.

(12): He displayed immorality not befitting an officer and a gentleman and much less a Head of State.

The motive of stripping General Acheampong of his rank and titles, Baako stated, was to reduce him to Mr Acheampong.

“The reasons given for stripping General Acheampong of his rank and titles and reducing him to Mr. Acheampong were so grave, fundamental and touched on matters which had such traumatic effect on Ghana-socially, economically, politically and morally-that exercise should have been done with thoroughness, propriety and with regard to due process of law.

“It was also difficult to appreciate how Acheampong alone could have committed all these offences all that long without the connivance, condonation or support of his colleagues. if currency notes were “over-issued” without the knowledge of other SMC members, whilst the SMC was the highest legislative and administrative authority in Ghana responsible for the direction and administration of the government of Ghana, then one is bound to ask: were the other SMC members too ignorant to know, or were they just irresponsible or were they connivers and collaborators?” he quizzed.

Read below the full post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *