What Rawlings said that 'saved' him from execution by ruling junta after failed 1979 coup

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Thu, 25 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

A veteran Ghanaian soldier, Robert Beckley 1, who served in the days of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in the 1970s, has recalled the words of the late president that perhaps, saved him from being executed by the Acheampong regime.

On May 15, 1979, Jerry John Rawlings was arrested after he led a failed military uprising in the country, when General Akuffo was Head of State.

According to the military veteran, Rawlings who was then being kept under scrutiny in maximum security was during the period sent to and from court over the case.

During one of such court trials, Rawlings addressed the court and explained his reasons for the attempted coup.

Robert said that Rawlings gave his reasons for the attempted coup as something that was occasioned by the lack of supporting working tools for the soldiers.

“He said that he attempted to do this coup because when he turned up at the office, he found that half the vehicles in his regiment; never mind the others, had broken down and there were no spare parts… the planes were not safe to fly because they haven’t got the right things and (all kinds of legitimate excuses) this was all going out and he found that some of the boots the soldiers were wearing, some of the soles were worn," he said.

Continuing to recount his memory of things, Robert Beckley 1 explained that at the time, there was a lot of fear in the barracks and among the soldiers because of how highly they admired Rawlings.

He added that it was in those moments that Rawlings was broken out of jail, culminating into his successful attempt at the coup a second time on a later date.

“And everybody was confused because he was locked up and people had given up on hope … everyone thought he was going to die; there was no way out because he was in maximum security – they take him to court and they bring him back and before we know it, in the early hours of June 4th, a mighty explosion – that was when they blew off the maximum security gates to get him out,” he told YouTuber, Aaron Ayiih, in a recent interview.

According to excerpts of an article on eaumf.org, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings staged his first military coup as a young revolutionary five weeks before scheduled elections to return the country to civilian rule.

When it failed, he was imprisoned, publicly court-martialed and sentenced to death.

Rawlings was part of an underground movement of military officers who planned to unify Africa through a series of coups. They were known as the Free Africa Movement (FAM).

After reading a statement in court explaining the social injustices prompting the attempted coup, Rawlings gained the sympathy of the civilian population, the report added.

Watch the full interview of Robert Beckley 1 below:

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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