Three editors of the independent media - Messrs Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt and Egbert Faibille, have condemned the lavish praise heaped on coup makers, especially the leader of the February 24, 1966 coup d'etat, the late Lt-Gen. E.K. Kotoka.
The comments were made at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the death of Gen. Kotoka at Fiaxor in the Volta Region by Mr. Osei Kwame Prempeh, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Minister.
All the three journalists believe in the Nkrumahist political tradition.
Speaking to The Daily Dispatch, Mr. Pratt said, "Gen. Kotoka was a complete disaster. He was an agent of U.S. imperialism and was no different from a mercenary. To glorify Kotoka now is to insult the intelligence of the average Ghanaian."
Mr. Faibille's anger manifested in his comments; "Those commendations were bogus, unjustified and unnecessary. It exposes a certain level of double talk. The NPP is a 'government which set up the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) to investigate all military governments between February 1966 and December, 1981. In Kotoka's case, many persons know that Kotoka moved against Nkrumah because he (Kotoka) was going to be investigated for alleged diamond smuggling once Nkrumah returned from Hanoi. Nkrumah was also going to investigate Kotoka's alleged relationship with a junior military officer. The NPP government has displayed double standards.
“The government exhumed the body of Gen. Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, who overthrew the constitutionally elected government of Nkrumah. Yet, it has refused to give the remains of Lt. Arthur and Yeboah, who attempted to overthrow the military government of the NLC to their families for re-burial."
Mr. Baako told The Daily Dispatch that the two Ministers of State and their likes "were entitled to their pinions and assessment of the contribution of Gen. Kotoka to Ghanaian history and the effect of the 1966 coup of which he was the principal actor."
Baako then moved to the next level, "these two gentlemen and others like them are entitled to that. In the same vein, I am entitled to make an observation as to how the Afrifa and Kotoka-led coup had affected Ghana. Persons who speak like these two Ministers are a bunch of political and ideological dinosaurs who are suffering from the nostalgia of cold war today. Modern Ghana will be better off without these views."
He added: "Comments like the Kotoka-led coup in 1966 was responsible for our democratic status today should be challenged. It is not just a fallacy but huge intellectual dishonesty of huge proportions.
Beyond the 1966 coup, Ghana as a nation, has suffered many dictatorships, including the National Liberation Council (NLC) dictatorship. The NLC re-christened Nkrumah's Preventive Detention Act (PDA), the Protective Custody Decree (PCD). Under the PCD, more people were detained than under the PDA this, was a fact acknowledged by Dr. K.A. Busia. Just like how under the PDA persons like Dr. J.B. Danquah died, many persons, including three CPP activists died under the NLC's PCD."
Baako then recounted how the "CPP, under the NLC, was proscribed as a political party. Its Ministers and leading functionaries were banned from taking part in the 1969 elections. An interesting point to note is that majority of members of the Constituent Assembly who okayed the disqualification of the CPP functionaries ended up in the 1969 Parliament on the ticket of the Progress Party. In so doing, they helped disqualify potentially strong parliamentary candidates.
"The Progress Patty (PP) was for example, intolerant of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), student leaders and even a former NLC member, Gen. Ocran, for reminding members of the PP government to declare their assets."
Baako then referred to a letter from Afrifa to the late Gen. Acheampong that they (coup makers) should be lined up and shot. He asked rhetorically, "if what they did was good, why was he afraid?"
"The NLC sowed a seed for coup-making ... " Baako explained further.