I’ve held that in Ghana’s political history, beyond Kwame Nkrumah’s peerless leadership, the next Head of State to take pride of place is Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, the military Head of State who ruled from January 13, 1972 to July 5, 1978 when he was overthrown in a palace coup. Acheampong’s fate would take a further tragic turn with his execution via firing squad on the orders of Jeremiah John Rawlings of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) military regime.
Agyemang Duah Kweku Jr. distills even further feats which made Acheampong great supported by Fred Yirenkyi-Smart but it appears his overthrow of the Busia regime has led to a narrative which obscures the monumental contributions of the Kumasi native.
Please find below Agyemang and Fred Yirenkyi-Smart’s insightful posts:
Fred Yirenkyi-Smart is right, history did not treat General Acheampong kindly. When i was gathering my points to debate Akwasi Perry on GHone my findings on the man was an eye opener, yes it left me in shock especially when only negativity was associated with him. For starters the man executed a bloodless coup and was the only Military leader who wasn’t known for human right abuses under his regime.
Did you know that the Dansoman SSNIT housing project, Teshie-Nungua Estates as well as most of the housing projects in rural areas for teachers and other government officials which our parents and grandparents called “low cost houses” were General Acheampong’s initiative?
Did you know that the irrigation projects located at Afienya and Doryumu were implemented by General Acheampong to effect his operation feed yourself policy?
Did you know that General Acheampong was the only Head of State who refused to contract foreign loans when he was in power? All the numerous projects he executed were done with local resources. Even though he purchased a presidential jet, he never travelled in it. In fact, for the seven years that he ruled the nation, he travelled only once outside the country. He went to Togo by land and returned the same day by land.
Did you know that the change from the imperial to the metric system of measurement, change from driving on the left to right-hand drive in were introduced by General Acheampong?
More than eight coups were launched against General Acheampong but all those arrested in connection with the coup were not executed. Even those who were convicted and jailed were released from jail after serving a few months in jail. Ironically, General Acheampong was tied to the stake and shot like a common criminal without trial when Rawlings seized power from the SMC II.
These are some things I think we should know. Most of the things that happened then, my brother, we cannot relate. I, until recently couldn’t understand why Nkrumah of all people was overthrown. However, I realised that those things happened at the time where THE PEOPLE were calling for it. People called the vilifiers of Dr. Nkrumah HEROES and sang their praise wherever they went.
Same as Colonel Acheampong, he did marvelously well bro. He, until today, is to me the father of housing and farming. He is the one who established the SSNIT we all are dependent on today (it used to be a department in SIC). He brought the famous OPERATION FEED YOURSELF and OPERATION FEED YOUR INDUSTRY.
However, he started goofing when his He and His people initiated the infamous FA WO TO B3 GYE GOLF. Where people’s wives, young women and even teenagers, for the fun of it traded their bodies for sex (it may sound funny today but I believe the morals and values of Ghana at the time weren’t so light compared to today).
To wit, all the happenings were masterminded by THE PEOPLE. Do not forget the popular slogan at the time-JJ LET THE BLOOD FLOW.
History indeed, has not been kind to General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. Apart from the “Ɔkafoɔ didi” (a debtor deserves to eat) or “Operation Yentua” (we will not pay), he also introduced the self-reliant policy of “Operation Feed Yourself” (Grow what you eat and eat what you grow) which has been adopted now as “Ghana Beyond Aid”. Apart from his like for young ladies, Acheampong remains one of the best Heads of State Ghana has had. At the time, the June 4th Revolution gained prominence and acclaim because of “economic difficulties”. Ironically, we had the most difficult economic times in the regime of the supposed saviour (Junior Jesus) in the early eighties and have faced economic difficulties even in the Fourth Republic.
Get the following:
1. Historical dictionary of Ghana – David Owusu
2. Voice from Conakry – Kwame Nkrumah
3. The battle continues – Kwame Nkrumah
4. Kidnap and the Murder of the judges & rtd army major: Rawlings and Kojo Tsikata ordered killings – Chris Asher
5. Dark Days in Ghana – Kwame Nkrumah
6. Politics in Ghana – Mike Oquaye
7. 50th Anniversary Compilation – Graphic Communications Group
8. Ghana: Founding Fathers – Mike Oquaye
9. Working with Rawlings – Kwamena Ahoi
Etc. There are many, many others
The big uncompleted building at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital was by him as well. 40 years this, still uncompleted.