On February 24, 1966, the National Liberation Council (NLC) overthrew Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah and the Conventions People’s Party (CPP) in a military coup d’état while he was on a peace mission in Hanoi the capital of Vietnam at the invitation of the president, Ho Chi Minh to resolve the Vietnam War.
Lt-Gen Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, was one of the leading members of the NLC who staged the most talked about “Operation Cold Chop” coup.
“Fellow citizens of Ghana, I have come to inform you that the Military, in co-operation with the Ghana Police, have taken over the government of Ghana today. The myth surrounding Nkrumah has been broken. Parliament has been dissolved and Kwame Nkrumah has been dismissed from office. All ministers are also dismissed from office. The C.P.P. is disbanded with effect from now. It will be illegal for any person to belong to it,” Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka announced the successful overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah on Radio Ghana.
Kwame Nkrumah in his book, ‘Dark Days in Ghana’, wrote that the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A) of the United States of America aided the Ghana Army at the time to overthrow his government. He died on April 27, 1972, in Bucharest, Romania after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Today In History: Exactly 54 Years Ago Today, The Man Who Engineered Nkrumah’s Overthrow, Kotoka is Killed In An Abortive Coup
On April 17, 1967, Major General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka who was a member of the ruling National Liberation Council (NLC) which came to power in Ghana in a military coup d’état on 24 February 1966 was killed in an abortive coup attempt involving junior officers, in an operation which was code-named “Guitar boy”.
The abortive coup against the NLC was instigated by three junior officers of the Ghana Armed Forces; Lt. Samuel Arthur, Lt. Moses Yeboah and 2nd Lt. Osei-Poku. With the support of several senior officers, including Warrant Officer George Ofosu, and 119 soldiers of the 2nd Recce (Reconnaissance) Regiment.
The coup failed, however, Ghanaians were soon to learn, to their shock, a few hours later that Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka had been captured in the night, by the men and murdered in cold blood at the then Accra International Airport which today has been named Kotoka International Airport in his memory.
The operation was named “Guitar Boy”, after a popular song by Nigerian musician Victor Uwaifo, in which the West African water goddess, the “Mami Wata”, had given him a guitar and asked him to make good music. After the attempted coup, “Guitar Boy” was banned by the NLC from radio airplay in Ghana.
For their role in the deaths, Yeboah and Arthur were executed by firing squad at a military range near Labadi Beach. The other conspirator, Osei-Poku, received a thirty-year prison sentence, and the other members of the regiment also received prison terms.
It must be noted that Maj. Gen. Kotoka, together with General Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, with active support from the Police, removed Dr Kwame Nkrumah from office while he was on a working visit to Hanoi, in an operation codenamed “Operation Cold Chop”.
In 1969, the Accra International Airport was renamed Kotoka International Airport in memory of the late Lt. General E.K. Kotoka.
Today In History: Exactly 56 Years Ago Today, JB Danquah Died In Nsawam Prison After Being Detained By Kwame Nkrumah
On this day in 1965, Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah, a Ghanaian politician died at the Nsawam Prisons.
Dr Danquah who was a scholar, lawyer, and one of the founding fathers of Ghana died in prison while serving a prison sentence over his alleged involvement in an attempted assassination on the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, then President of Ghana.
Read details of his death as published by eaumf.org below:
Dr J. B. Danquah stood as a presidential candidate against Nkrumah in April 1960 but lost the election. On 3 October 1961, Danquah was arrested under the Preventive Detention Act, on the grounds of involvement with alleged plans to subvert the CPP government. He was released on 22 June 1962. He was later elected president of the Ghana Bar Association.
Danquah was again arrested on 8 January 1964, for allegedly being implicated in the Ametewee assassination attempt against the President. He was admitted to Nsawam Prison and placed in the Condemned Section (Special Block) in Cell No. 9 on the upper landing.
The cell is approximately 9 feet by 6 feet in area, secured by a solid door with small open grille in the top half of the door and barred window high up in the rear wall.
The cell contained no bed or other furniture other than a chamber pot. He reportedly suffered a heart attack and died while in detention at Nsawam Medium Prison on 4 February 1965.
After the overthrow of the CPP government in February 1966 by the National Liberation Council (NLC), Danquah was given a national funeral and his status was rehabilitated.
Today In History: Exactly 86 Years Ago, The Golden Stool Was Returned To The Asante People And The Kingdom Restored
Exactly 86 Years ago today, on January 31st 1935, the Asante Kingdom was restored to it’s glory with the symbolic return of the Golden Stool, making King Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, the first Asantehene to use the title, ‘Otumfuor’.
After several prior wars with British troops, Ashanti was once again occupied by British troops in January 1896.
In 1900 the Ashanti staged an uprising. The British suppressed the violence and captured the city of Kumasi. Ashanti’s traditional king, the Asantehene, and his counselors were deported.
The final outcome was the annexation of Ashanti by the British so that it became part of His Majesty’s dominions and a British Crown Colony with its administration undertaken by a Chief Commissioner under the authority of the Governor of the Gold Coast. Ashanti was classed as a colony by conquest.
The Ashanti lost their sovereignty but not the essential integrity of their socio-political system. In 1935, limited self-determination for the Ashanti was officially regularized in the formal establishment of the Ashanti Confederacy.
The Crown Colony of Ashanti continued to be administered in a scheme with the greater Gold Coast but remained, nonetheless, a separate Crown Colony until it became united as part the new dominion named Ghana under the Ghana Independence Act 1957.
In 1935, the Golden Stool, which had been lost to the British, after Asante lost the war, was finally returned to the Kingdom, signifying the return to glory of Asante.
The stool was used in the ceremony to crown Otumfuor Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II.
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