23.02.2000 General News

The fall of Nkrumah

23.02.2000 LISTEN
By kwame dwamena dakwa

by kwame dwamena dakwa (Culled from Okyeame)

34 years ago tomorrow, February 24th 1966 the Ghana Armed forces and the Ghana Police. Overthrew Dr Kwame Nkrumah. It began at 5 am and by 10am members of Nkrumah's soviet-led security guard were beginning to surrender. At 6am this was how Col. Kotoka addressed Ghanaians on their radios: "Fellow citizens of Ghana, I have come to inform you that the military, in co-operation with the Ghana Police, have taken over the government of Ghana today. The myth surrounding Nkrumah has been broken. Parliament is dissolved and Kwame Nkrumah is dismissed from office. All ministers are also dismissed. The Covention People's Party is disbanded with effect from now. It is illegal for any person to belong to it.. we appeal to you to be calm and co-operative; all persons in detention will be released in due course. Please stay by your radios and await further details".

The following is an extract from a commission of inquiry set up for one of the unfortunate ones who died in jail.

Note: Obetsebi-Lamptey was a member of the "Big-Six" which included Danquah, Ofori-Atta, Ako-Adjei, Nkrumah & Akufo-Addo, these were the leaders of the UGCC who fought for Ghana's independence. Two of them Danquah and Obetsebi-Lamptey died in Nkrumah's prison cells, where earlier, all six had been locked up by the British. both were jailed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah because they did not agree with his Marxist ideology.

Extract from the report of the commission of enquiry into Ghana prisons during Nkrumah's regime. ##

Mr. Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey was detained on the 5th of October 1962 and was held in confinement (9ft X 6ft cell) in the condemned section (special block) of Nsawam Prison. He was a sick man at the time of his detention and almost certainly was in great pain and distress while in the cells. His condition deteriorated rapidly until he became so ill that he had to be transferred from his cell in the condemned block to the Nsawam prison hospital on 11th November 1962. Mr. Lamptey's condition continued to deteriorate and the medical officer called in the physician specialist, Dr. F.T. Sai. As a result of his report on his examination of Mr. Lamptey on the 9th December 1962, which diagnosed his complaint as carcinoma of the stomach, Dr. Sai recommended his transfer to Korle Bu Hospital.

Mr. E. Obetsebi-Lamptey remained in Korle-Bu Hospital where is condition continued to deteriorate until he was ordered to be released on medical grounds on the 7th January 1963. Although the warders were withdrawn and he was no longer CHAINED to his bed, security guards remained outside. Mr. E. Obetsebi-Lamptey must have known he was dying and finally, and finally after a period of about two weeks in hospital, he asked to be allowed to go home. He was taken home by his family. Three hours after returning home, security men were sent to re-arrest him; but finding Mr. Lamptey so weak they felt he could not be taken away there and then, and, returned to their superiors for advice, leaving guards. Three days later, the 28th, the 28th January 1963, Mr. Lamptey was removed on a stretcher to Nsawam Prison where he was taken to the prison hospital. At about 9pm that evening the officer in charge of the prison, Mr. L.S. Pipim, received a telephone instruction to remove Mr. Lamptey to the condemned cells. This was done, and Mr. Lamptey died in his cell at approximately 9am on the 29th January 1963. The commission finds that whatever justification there may have been for the detention of Mr. E. Obetsebi-Lamptey, his treatment, when it was known he was dying and could not possibly engage in any subversive activity, can be described only as an example of gross inhuman callousness by those in authority at that time.

No authority for a post-mortem examination was obtained from the prison authorities, the relatives were not asked, and no inquest was held, as the prison authorities are required to do by law. There is no doubt that Mr. E. Obetsebi-Lamptey's death was due to natural causes; but the conduct of affairs before and after his death by those concerned was highly irregular. His relatives did not even get to see his dead body, he was buried by prison authorities.

Some more extracts:

Chairman: Did you go to the hospital to see him?

Witness (victim's younger sister) yes, we visited him. we found him to be very weak indeed.

Chairman: was there a warder by him in the hospital?

Witness (victim's younger sister): no, there was no warder there, but he(Obetsebi-Lamptey) told us that it was on that very day that chains were removed from his hands and the warders were withdrawn.