The six men who were with Nkrumah when 1966 coup occurred

Kwame Nkrumah's Philosophy66 Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was Ghana's first president

Sat, 3 Sep 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The story has been told countless times about how Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was away from home, representing the country at Hanoi in Vietnam, when he received the uncomfortable news of the toppling of his government.

The military coup led by Colonel Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka saw an end to the reign of the man who gave the country its independence from British rule.

Alex Quaison-Sackey, in his book, ‘The Makings of A Diplomatist: The Memoirs of Alexander Quaison-Sackey,’ detailed how the then Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Hua, communicated the first coup attempt and subsequent overthrow of the government to Kwame Nkrumah.

“The arrangement was that the official delegation should assemble at Osagyefo’s suit as soon as we had washed and unpacked, to discuss our meeting with the Chinese government officials and the banquet in the evening. As soon as we had washed and unpacked: No sooner had we assembled than the security officer, announced that the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Hua wanted to see Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

“At first, we were hesitant to open the door as we did not want the Chinese to prevent us, by an argument, from going to Hanoi. But on second thoughts, the President asked that the Ambassador be ushered in. With a shaky hand and a quivering voice, Ambassador Hua read from a piece of paper that contained a monitored message from the Chinese Embassy in Accra. The message read that ‘a section of the police and a section of the army are attempting to seize power in Ghana. There is fighting going on around Flagstaff House. The leader of the coup-makers is Colonel Kotoka,’" portions of the book said.

Quaison-Sackey further stated that even though Nkrumah dismissed that first message, believing the coup-makers won’t succeed, the Chinese Ambassador came back later with a different report.

It was in that report that lovers of history come to know the names of the other people who surrounded Kwame Nkrumah in that moment when he received the news of the overthrow of his government.

“Those of us present - Messrs. Dei-Anang, Okoh, Kwesi Armah, F. S. Arkhurst, Yaw Eduful, and myself - all showed surprise. But Osagyefo put up a bold front and said that this was nothing, it would fizzle out. The Chinese Ambassador withdrew but returned soon after with another message which confirmed that there had been a coup d'etat in Ghana and that Major-General Charles Barwah had been killed. There were demonstrations before the Chinese Embassy while there was still shooting at Flagstaff House.

“The rest of our delegation was waiting at the hall but, from their faces, it was evident that they had heard about the coup. Osagyefo told the group that ‘they say some people are trying to take our power in Ghana. Let them try.’ There was a discussion about whether we should go to the banquet that night. I had earlier suggested that we should get the Chinese government to give us a special plane so that we might proceed at once to Cairo and, if possible, from Cairo to Accra. I insisted that we should cancel our plans for Hanoi. Osagyefo pounced on me and said ‘What do you mean? As for you, Quaison-Sackey, if I follow you, I will get nowhere.’ He said this in the Fante language,” he recounted in his book.

On February 24, 1966, Nkrumah was deposed via a coup by the National Liberation Council in an operation dubbed “Operation Cold Chop”.

The NLC was led by Colonel Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka and Lt. Gen Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa.


Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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