Politics of Friday, 1 January 2016
Source: Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy
This is New Year’s Eve. As has happened sadly every year for the last thirty-three years, many Ghanaians will celebrate Flight Lieutenant Rawlings and his associates as heroes. They are not.
The real heroes were those who tried to resist them, then and for years thereafter.
Let me tell you about a few of them. Captain Ben Duah was the Chief of Staff to the Chief of Defence Staff that day. He had been with General Odartey Wellington when he died in a hail of bullets on June 4th, 1979. His predecessor and his successor in that position would both retire as Generals. But that morning, he chose to side with democracy. He ended up in exile in Abidjan where we met. He was not alone. Alongside him were Col. Ofosu-Appiah, Captain Koufie, Cpl. Jones Ofori, Corporal Arhinful, Major Sulemana and many others. Cpl. Halidu Gyiwa would join them and die later in an abortive coup attempt.
Then there was Kwaku Darkwah, the SRC President of KNUST who pointedly told Rawlings at the Great Hall with thousands of students cheering him on that the coup was unnecessary and demanded to know when he would hand over. He is joined by the thousands of students who took to the streets to denounce “revolution sakabo”. These students were partnered by professionals like Sam Okudzeto and J.N.A. Attoh, as well as UTAG, led by Dr. Twumasi Boateng and others.
Then there were the religious leaders, led by late Reverend Essamuah, Bishop Sarpong and Reverend Asante Antwi.
To listen to Sam Okudzeto or Reverend Essamuah just made you feel proud to be a Ghanaian and a democrat.
Finally, the media was there. The Pioneer was a tower of strength and so were the Catholic Standard, Free Press and Chronicle. There were journalists, including Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt, Ebo Quansah, Haruna Atta, Ben Ephson and Kofi Coomson who were outstanding. Tommy Thompson and Kugblenu would pay the ultimate price.
When I think of 31st December and hear the words:
“And Help us to resist oppressors rule With all our will and might forever more” these are the heroes I think of. They are the true heroes of 31st December.
Join me in celebrating them.
Long live Ghana.