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General Afrifa’s Warning To Gen. Acheampong On The 1979 Power Transition, Military Generals’ Slayings

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General Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa’s prescience was evident as he accurately foresaw the potential fate of the senior military officers who comprised the National Redemption Council and Supreme Military Council (SMC 1 and 2) during the years spanning 1966 to 1972, should they relinquish power.

This observation is rooted in a letter penned by General Afrifa to General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, the then leader of the nation, in 1977.

In this correspondence, General Afrifa cautioned General Acheampong against transitioning the country back to civilian rule, citing concerns about its ramifications for the former military rulers.

General Afrifa prophetically envisioned a scenario where the military generals would be subjected to a sham trial, leading to their execution. Excerpts from the letter read, “I feel deeply troubled about the aftermath of your government. I have heard rumors from certain quarters within the C.P.P. about threats they intend to execute after 1979. Perhaps, they may line us all up and execute us one by one to deter future military coups. However, I am resolute in not wanting to be apprehended, subjected to a trial, and executed. These are my genuine apprehensions. All members of the N.L.C., including General Joseph Ankrah, are implicated. I remain without remorse for my role in the events of 1966.”

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He further expressed heightened unease upon reviewing the Koranteng-Addo Report. General Afrifa expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed Union Government outlined in the report, deeming the political opposition to be insurmountable.

The unsettling anticipations and predictions of General Afrifa materialized in 1979 when the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), led by Rawlings, orchestrated a bloody yet successful coup.

As predicted by General Afrifa, the Rawlings-led AFRC arrested numerous senior military officials, subjecting them to trials, imprisonment, and even death.

Those fortunate enough to leave the country were compelled to seek asylum in foreign nations before eventually returning to Ghana.

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The full text of General Afrifa’s letter is as follows:

Okatakyie Farms P.O. Box 89, Mampong-Ashanti 18th Dec, 1977

My Dear General and Friend,

Although I have written to you since you assumed office, I have not received any acknowledgement. While I would normally refrain from writing again, this matter concerns my life and that of a few others.

I am deeply troubled about the future after your government. I have heard of threats from certain elements within the C.P.P., which they plan to execute after 1979. In order to dissuade the military from orchestrating future coups, they might consider lining us up for execution one by one. Subsequently, the Ghana Army would be disbanded. However, I am resolutely opposed to being apprehended, subjected to a trial, and executed. These concerns are sincerely mine. All members of the N.L.C., including General Joseph Ankrah, are implicated. I still hold no regrets for my role in the events of 1966.

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My anxieties have intensified upon reviewing the Koranteng-Addo Report. I find the proposed Union Government unappealing in their report. The opposition to this proposal is formidable.

I genuinely wish to convey my profound concerns regarding the future. Many unpleasant things were said about me by the people of this nation when they had the opportunity, these same individuals who once praised me in 1966. Consequently, I resolved that politics would be my last pursuit in life. However, I would be an imprudent General if I were to idly await the retribution that is poised to be unleashed upon us.

I am uncertain about my security within the Union Government. Similarly, I do not perceive your security within this government. Koranteng-Addo’s assertion is that if a soldier wishes to join this government, he must take a leave of absence from the Armed Forces. You are a soldier, and I trust you are aware of the repercussions that follow such a leave. Have you forgotten that I was made to sign the 1966 Constitution, which disqualified me based on age?

I have resolved to serve in the upcoming Parliament in 1979 to safeguard myself and those associated with the 1966 coup. The risk is that independent individuals within Parliament, operating under the Union Government, may swiftly coalesce into a political faction. Consequently, the Political Parties Law may be enacted for the trial of soldiers involved in coups.

Dear friend and brother, these concerns occupy my mind. Thus far, you have shielded us all, including John Harley. I have found great contentment on my farms and have maintained a low profile. I had hoped that when you decide to restore civilian rule to the country, you would privately seek my perspective, given my past experience and subsequent imprisonment.

However, the Almighty God reigns supreme. We must pray to Him ceaselessly. He alone can provide absolute protection. I will implore Him to alleviate the fear and confusion that currently weigh on my mind. I wish you a joyous Christmas.

Yours sincerely,

_____________________ Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa (Signature)





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