July 22, 2024

Corporal Matthew Adabuga, a retired officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, has provided insight into the extent of Jerry John Rawlings‘ unpopularity during his rule of the country in the 1980s.

Corporal Adabuga (rtd) disclosed in a JoyNews interview that JJ Rawlings’ popularity took a massive hit after the murder of three High Court judges in 1981.

He explained that in the aftermath of that incident, the Rawlings administration faced numerous coup attempts due to discontentment within the Ghana Armed Forces at the time.

The most popular and nearly successful coup attempt Rawlings faced, he recalls, was on June 19, 1983, where a group of soldiers with assistance from comrades in Togo almost toppled the Rawlings administration.

Providing details on the failed coup attempt, Corporal Adabuga (rtd) explained that the soldiers managed to secure key installations of the country and were on the verge of victory.

He noted, for example, that they had overpowered the guards at Gates 1 and 3 of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and were almost successful in capturing Gate 2.

However, the coup failed due to the lack of a central point of leadership and conflicting interests.

He noted that once people smelled power, they lost focus and decided to fight for their interests instead of pursuing the collective agenda of toppling the JJ Rawlings regime.

He said that the clashes between the various factions involved in the coup resulted in the improper application of basic military tactics, which allowed the Rawlings administration to reorganize itself and make a successful comeback.

“We used Circle and passed through Kanda, so we took the soldiers on guard duties by surprise. They were expecting us from the front, but we took them from the back. We took over Gates 1 and 3 of the Ghana Broadcasting Company (GBC), so it was just easy for us.

“Giwa and the others were chasing after the soldiers in a bid to capture Gate 2. As they were running there, they came across the studios and decided to announce it. Some group decided to announce on behalf of one Colonel who was far in Kejebi. Giwa and others were also surprised that the Colonel was not part of the plan, so they also rallied and wrote something to announce.

“A melee ensued because they were fighting among themselves in the GBC studio. They were fighting and preventing each other from announcing it, but Giwa’s brother won and announced it.

“The lack of discipline and leadership led to the failure. Those who were to take over Gate 2 of GBC failed to apply the basic tactics we had learned and ought to apply. They also failed to send a search party to mop up those that were cut off in the operations. They also failed to secure the area, and it was because there were vested interests,” he said.

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