Executed Generals Remembered

Children of the late Generals
Children of the Army Generals who were executed during Jerry John Rawlings’ 1979 military putsch, yesterday held a memorial and thanksgiving service for their departed fathers at Christ The King Church in Accra.

The service, which was to commemorate the 35th anniversary of their executions, was attended by high profile personalities, including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his wife, Rebecca.

The children prayed for the souls of their departed parents who were never tried for any wrongdoing before being killed.

According to them, they were committed to supporting one another.

Rev . Fr . Andrews Campbell, Parish Priest at Christ The King, in a sermon entitled, ‘Love, Forgiveness and Thanksgiving,’ said    forgiveness is not human but divine, urging Ghanaians to learn to forgive.

He said, ‘When we learn to forgive, we will be at peace with God and with our fellow man. We should also love one another. The more we love, the more we forgive.’

Fr. Campbell prayed to God to strengthen the children and the families of the late Generals and also give them forgiving hearts.

In 1979, General I.K. Acheampong, Major General E.K. Utuka, Rear Admiral Joy K. Amedume, Major General Kotei, General F.W.K. Akuffo. Air Vice Marshal George Yaw Boakye. Lt. Gen. Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa and Col. Roger J. Felli, were summarily executed by firing squad at the Teshie Shooting Range in Accra amidst chants of ‘Let the blood flow’ by some disgruntled Ghanaians.

The execution was carried out by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), led by Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings.

Rawlings’ Justification
Former President Rawlings recently justified the executions, saying that the AFRC needed to execute Generals Afrifa, Acheampong, Utaka and other senior military officers in 1979 ‘to save the country from implosion.’

Delivering a speech at the regional camp of the International Youth Fellowship at the Adidome Senior High School, Rawlings said, ‘We had no choice. We thought let two go. Acheampong and a certain Utuka, very corrupt Generals. They were sacrificed.’

‘It was not enough. Ladies and gentlemen, 10 days later, we had to sacrifice another 10 and some of the Commanders were innocent good people, but it had to be done because the rage in the country was too high, too much.’

Utuka’s Children’s Response
Nana Akufo-Addo, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and their wives Becky ans Esther respectively at the church service yesterday

His statement greatly incurred the wrath of the children of the late Major General Edward Kwaku Utuka.

In a statement, they warned Rawlings ‘to be very circumspect in his future utterances about the injustices he committed’ against their father and his colleagues.

According to them, ‘such provocative statements incite hatred and anger, thereby re-opening wounds of widows, children (including the orphans he created) and families of the deceased.’

They lamented the fact that although the former President keeps preaching ‘probity, accountability and justice all these years, Rawlings has never subjected himself to any of these principles and has characteristically hidden behind constitutional indemnity clauses to protect himself.’

The statement continued, ‘We say to the self-righteous Rawlings that no precious human life is worth sacrificing, even during the overthrow of a government. The so-called ‘excesses’ that took place during the June 4 coup d’état were human beings – people’s fathers, husbands and siblings.

‘We advise him to learn to be very circumspect in his future utterances about the injustices he committed against our father and his colleagues.’

The AFRC was a military junta from June 4, 1979 to September 24, 1979 when elections were held and the administration of this country was put into the hands of the late President Hilla Limann.

Rawlings – who had two weeks earlier been rescued from near execution after his detention in a botched May 15, 1979 coup plot – railroaded his way into power through a bloody takeover that toppled another junta – the Supreme Military Council.

The regime’s so-called ‘House cleaning’ exercise against corruption led to the execution of the Generals.

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By Cephas Larbi

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