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18.11.2003 General News

AFRC petition statement by Boakye Djan

By Osahene Boakye Djan
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Osahene Boakye Djan E-mail: [email protected] Dr. Ken Attafuah Secretary National Reconciliation Commission Old Parliament House Accra, Ghana. October 13, 2003

Dear Sir, Petitioning National Reconciliation Commission(NRC). 1. Please find the attached formal petition on behalf of the former AFRC and on my own behalf. 2. You may also note that this advance copy, without the joint signatures of the available members, is being sent to you now and signed by me in my capacity as a member who is submitting it to you. It is also to authorise you to begin work on the petition before the copy with joint signatures arrive. 3. This is also to inform you that most of the members and functionaries of the former AFRC have expressed the wish to participate in the formal hearing proceedings in Accra; and that any of the hearing dates within the week beginning Monday, 17th November 2003 will offer the best opportunity for most of us to be present at the hearing. 4. We shall therefore be grateful if you could fix a date or dates within that week for the hearing proceedings. 5. This is to thank you in advance for your attention and cooperation. Yours sincerely Osahene Boakye Djan Former Deputy Chairman and Spokesman, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council(AFRC) June 4th to Sept 24th 1979 THE STATEMENT OF AFRC PETITION TO THE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION 1. Introduction We, the former members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) listed below, are petitioning you for a formal hearing at your commission on four main grounds. 1.1. We want to lend weight to the petition already lodged with you regarding the fate of our former colleague on the AFRC, the late L/C Sarkodie Addo. 1.2. We would intervene on behalf of other victims of failed counter coups in the history of Ghana. 1.3. We would also be asking for compensation, as the surviving members and functionaries of the AFRC, and under Chapter one , article 3, (4)-(7) of the 1992 Constitution, for our losses and suffering incurred during and after successfully carrying out the provisions in defence of the constitution of Ghana. 1.4. We also intend to make a contribution to the efforts of the Commission, first, to establish accurate, complete and historical record of any violations and abuses of human rights under the short reign of the AFRC June 4th through to September 24th, 1979 and in any of the periods to be investigated by the Commission as provided for by section 3, (1) , (a) of the Act setting it up ; and in doing this cooperate with the Commission to investigate the context in which and causes and circumstances under which any violations and abuses occurred as it is also provided for by section 4 (b) of the Act. Our presentation will therefore be made under the following as headings: the context, causes, circumstances, conclusions, and recommendations to identified issues and facts likely to be of interest and help to the Commission. 2. The context The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, was our formal response to the existing run of anti-constitution coup governments and their continuities in Ghana between 24th February 1966 and June 3rd 1979 which by the laws of Ghana then and now are illegal. Before 1979 Uprising these laws were provided for in the 1960 Constitution, 1960 Criminal Code, and the 1969 Constitution. The 1979 Constitution reinstated them. And these laws have been codified by the current 1992 Constitution and re-enforced by an authoritative 1993 Supreme Court ruling that declared against the public celebration of the 1981 31st December anti-constitution coup. It is in that context that we submit that the AFRC was a de facto government of a counter coup first to terminate an existing run of anti-constitution coup governments, to hold to account under the law, all those with the responsibility for destroying the constitutions and governments under them within that period and then to restore the constitution. It used an insurgent counter coup of Junior Officers and the Ranks in the Armed Forces as a method of achieving these objectives. It did not overthrow a constitution and a civilian government under it. It did not dismiss a parliament of the peoples' representatives and their mandate. It targeted mainly the members of the Armed Forces in search of justice, peace and stability. The ARFC, in fact, is the only successful counter coup in Ghana's history. In the context of coup making it stands alone. It cannot therefore be ranked as an unconstitutional government and then be placed at the same level as the anti-constitution coups of 1966, 1972 and 1981. And that any act of human rights abuse and violations during our reign, occurred while pursuing acceptable ends of justice in Ghana completely different from the objectives of anti-constitution coups especially those of the PNDC . And that any such acts or omissions may be accepted as miscarriage of justice committed in good faith. AFRC was no PNDC, although both had links with on person. 3. The causes By June 3rd 1979, the sponsors of the June 4th counter coup, uprising in popular language, had identified the nature of human and other rights abuses and violations in Ghana to one single, persistent and underlying cause. It was the cycle of politically motivated violence sponsored more often than not by local political factions, in concert sometimes with their allies abroad, to achieve and maintain state office and power in Ghana against the run of existing constitutional regimes. It has taken on many forms. It includes, the provoked person to person and direct murders during political arguments and confrontations in the pre-independence era; mass murders and maiming with bombs thrown or planted at mass political meetings; assassination or attempts at assassination of targeted political leaders with bullets and bombs; use of detentions without trial as preventive measures in the post independence era before 24th February 1966; and post 1966 anti-constitution coups with their own brands of public humiliation of individuals; of torture trials, fringe methods of trials, selective and denied justice; killings, executions, disappearances, and ordered confinements; confiscation of properties, etc. This is the use of political terrorism as a means of resolving civil political conflicts in Ghana. The June 4th Uprising as the only successful insurgent counter coup in Ghana's history stands alone from this underlying cause of using political terrorism for political end in Ghana. And therefore its human rights record is also different from the pattern of human rights abuses and violations associated with civil political conflicts and their resolutions by civil insurgent methods and anti-constitution coups. June 4th counter coup was on the long term caused by the need to prevent anti-constitution coups as the means of resolving problems of our society. On the short term it was caused by the need to terminate an existing run of anti-constitution coup governments and their continuities and then hold to account under the law, all those identified to have the responsibility for creating, managing and profiting illegally from all anti-constitution coups in Ghana since 24th February 1966. It was essentially directed at the military institution and its personnel. These unique causes of the AFRC also underline its unique circumstances and human rights record. 4. The circumstances To help an understanding of the circumstances leading to the 1979 June 4th Counter Coup and the consequences flowing from it, we offer for your consideration the following five phases of its operations. These are: the preparatory phase, the fire-fight phase, the administration phase, the disengagement phase, and the post-handover developments phase. 4.1. The preparatory phase This was the phase between 24th February 1966 and 15th May 1979. This phase was instigated by the first anti-constitution coup in Ghana in 1966. The main instrument of this phase was a clandestine organisation in the Ghana Armed Forces called the Free Africa Movement (FAM), and not Africa 70 or Africa 84 or any such exoteric names by some commentators, set up by a group of young officers on 31st October 1970. The purpose of the organisation was fourfold: one, to prevent anti-constitution coups from taking place; two, if they take place to prevent them from succeeding; three, when they do succeed and go on to form illegal de facto governments to take steps to reverse them and hold its perpetrators to account under the then existing laws; and four, to popularise in the Armed Forces, the idea of persuading civilian constitutional governments to put the economy on emergency war footing as a way of developing our country out of basic poverty and then be in a position to threaten or initiate "unity wars" in Africa to create free maximum zones for development and resistance against external interests. This objective was to seek to reverse the harmful effects of enforced division of Africa by the European colonisers in the 18th century. The Free Africa Movement used both open and clandestine methods of networking to spot, recruit and develop members, consciously or otherwise. There was no time limit to its activities until the 13th January 1972 anti-constitution coup, the second in Ghana's history then. There was then reckless but earnest talk of the Armed Forces remaining in office and power for more than twenty years stretching to 1992. It was at this time that members decided to put some time frame on the activities of the organisation. The members of the Movement decided on 1984 as the year of action first as the appropriate time to begin to undo the harmful effects of the Berlin Conference in 1884 and as the time when most of the young officers will be in effective command and control of armed forces resources to make the move succeed. The preparations continued steadily until 15th May 1979 abortive and unauthorised counter-coup led by one of the members who had apparently decided to break rank to initiate action to forcibly drag the members into it. As it turned out, he failed in his bid, was arrested and arraigned for trial leading to a predictable conviction and execution. It was at this stage that the movement decided to switch gear and mount an operation first to rescue him and then set up an administration to act out on some of the beliefs and objectives of the organisation relevant as at the time. 4.2. The Fire-fight The armed fire-fight which started on June 4th 1979 at about 3 am lasted until about 7am June 5th 1979, a period of about 27 hours in an operation called "Bottom Up". The account of who did what in this phase is hotly and openly contested by almost all the key players here including those who were either under secure custody or close arrest then. The fluid nature of uprising, a tactical method we had to use, has made this possible. What must matter for the purposes of the commission is that a number of service personnel were, in military terms, killed in action (kia). This included three Officers and six NCOs all of whom were caused to be buried by the AFRC with the appropriate military honours irrespective of the side they fought for. They were considered casualties of war and therefore killed in action. The death of the late Lt Agyemang Bio, as a key casualty on our side, has a significance that must be explained. He was a senior platoon commander in the D Company at the 5th Battalion then based in Accra. D Company was at the time under the command of then Captain Boakye Djan. Agyeman Bio had been detailed to lead troops to rescue Rawlings, Gatsiko and others from jail and also rescue Lt Baah Achamfour from close arrest and then bring them to a makeshift headquarters for a link up with Boakye Djan and some key players that included WO Harry Obeng, the only Senior NCO involved both in the Free Africa Movement and the close core group planning of the counter coup. Bio had additional orders first to arrest the late Col Enningful, the chairman of the court martial then trying Rawlings and then place him under protective custody from an anticipated possible danger of an attack on him from soldiers. Our information is that on his approach to the Colonel's house a soldier detailed to enter the house first was shot dead by troops guarding the Colonel and under the prior orders from the Colonel. In the ensuing exchange of fire between troops under Agyemang Bio and the Colonel's guards, the Colonel and a number of people died. Then he quickly retreated with the remnants of his soldiers to arrest for protection, the then Air Force Commander near by. Bio was a former air force rating who had joined the Army as an officer. Alerted by what had happened close by, the body guards of the Air force Commander shot Bio dead on his approach to the house of the Commander. The point here is that with Agyemang Bio dead, the order of planned events was thrown into confusion and a contingency plan had to be adopted. This was one but not the only factor that was to lead to Rawlings' premature announcement of the operations on the radio and his eventual emergence as the Chairman of the AFRC. 4.3. The Administration In administration the AFRC was preoccupied with three main areas: Governance, General Elections and Criminal Justice. 4.3.1. Governance. We adopted the name Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to signal our intention to make a clean break from all anti-constitution coups and their continuities before us. We devised a governance structure that we believed would help us deliver on our initial declared intentions. The structure was made up of: a. The Legislative Council to be headed by a Chairman as a ceremonial Head of State and a Deputy,

b. The Executive Council to be headed by the Deputy Head of State and assisted by a Liaison Officer

c. The Security Council to be headed by a senior member of the Council and assisted by a Liaison Officer,

d. The rest of the Officer members of the Council to be assigned Special Duties,

e. All the NCOs of the Council were assigned as ranking members to the officers on the Council. Some of the officers nominated for the initial waves of appointments were rejected by the ranks until we finally settled on a 15-member Council on or about 19th June 1979 before the second and the last of the sanctioned public executions on 26th June 1979. 4.3.2. General Elections. We took an early decision that the existing arrangements to conduct the general elections would continue. We also scrapped the policy of disqualifying politicians from standing for elections by reasons based solely on adverse findings made against them by previous commissions of inquiry. We were more interested in putting mechanisms in place that will restore democratic control of elected officers, democratic control of public resources, and democratic control of public policy direction. In any case we also believed that the best mechanism that must be allowed to disqualify a politician was the ballot box or a clear proof of crime against the state 4.3.3. Criminal Justice. Criminal justice concerns were by far the most crucial during our administration. This is because we knew all along that anti-constitution coups in Ghana and the consequences flowing from them were criminal acts that needed to be punished. And that the arrangements by SMCII to hand over to the incoming administration did not allow this condition to be met. In fact the need to hold to account all those with primary responsibility for anti-constitution coups before us was the primary motivation for the June 4th 1979 Counter Coup. In the initial euphoria greeting the uprising, there was this general outcry urging us to "let the blood flow" freely from all manner of people and institutions without any clear directions on how to go about it. Lists of names for summary executions were bandied about at our initial meetings freely. We were in uncharted territory with no precedents to guide us. That was the first time a counter coup to hold an incumbent military regime and its predecessors to account had succeeded. But we kept our cool while consulting widely on the issue. In the end and after diligent consultations we settled on the following criteria to guide our criminal justice administration. a. Parameters of punishment. In the line of the then existing constitutional provisions and statutory act, any person or group of persons who had taken part in the initial act of overthrowing the existing constitution and replacing a government under that constitution with others and by arrangements other than those provided for under that constitution, had committed high treason which by law, is punishable by death. That broad definition caught within it a large number of military officers, police officers, politicians and other civilian professionals for capital punishment. But the scale was not acceptable to us. And so we brought in custodial punishment to reduce the number of people to suffer death. Confiscation of properties and other gains acquired and used corruptly during the periods of anti-constitution coups since 1966, was the third element within our defined parameters of punishment. This last element was to cover all identified targets. b. Targets for punishment To reduce the large number of people technically caught within the broad definition of capital punishment then available to us, it was decided to whittle the target numbers down to the armed forces personnel only and on the basis that they had the primary responsibility for committing armed forces resources to carry out the anti-constitution coups before us. Even here, we found the number caught in capital punishment range, too large to implement. It is here that we turned to the Armed Forces Act 1962 and a useful formula called the Superior Order Rule. The provisions in the Armed Forces Act on substantive law include those on capital and custodial punishments. And so we adopted the distinction as a way of limiting the number of those armed forces personnel targeted for capital punishment. To achieve that distinction, we used the Superior Order Rule. It is a rule which, among other things, stipulates that subordinate officers do not take responsibility for carrying out the orders of their superior officers. On that basis, we were able to limit capital punishment to the Armed Forces personnel who served on the ruling councils as superior officers with the ultimate responsibility for all the anti-constitution coup governments and their continuities since 1966: NLC; NRC; SMCI and SMCII. Thus all those executed during the AFRC days were drawn from this class of officers only. All other officers who worked in subordinate capacities attracted only custodial punishments. Confiscation of properties and other gains as a form of punishment was made to cover all targets within and outside the armed forces that were adjudged to have acquired those properties corruptly and were using them corruptly to the detriment of others since 1966 anti-constitution coup. c. Trial procedure After defining the limits of the substantive law to be used, we suddenly discovered that we had on our hands, problems of trial procedure. Although the law was reasonably clear on the substantive law to be used by us, we had no useful guidance on trial procedure. There was no relevant precedence to guide us. For all the anti-constitution coups before us tended to use special civil courts to hold to account, only civilian politicians. These were the Commissions of Inquiry. Since we had mixed targets of military personnel, police officers, and civilians to hold to account, clearly Commissions of Inquiry were not suitable for our purposes. And so we turned to military court martial trial as a solution. Here again, we were confronted with two sets of problem. We found out that the range of those targeted to be punished was too wide to be covered by it. At best, it could only be made to cover military personnel. We also found out a serious limitation for that option when it was considered. A list of officers available to us before the uprising and prepared by the Military Secretary, had shown that since the 1966 first anti-constitution coup, only those with the rank of Major and its equivalent in the Navy and Air Force, and above, had been made to serve in civil political capacities. So when we took over we put all military personnel on the rank of Major and above on our suspects list. Now a vital requirement of Court Martial trial is that on the panel of members trying a suspect must be a member with a rank equal or above the rank of the suspect. Clearly we had a problem of meeting that requirement if we were to go through the court martial route even for the military personnel only. In our dilemma we turned to the available experts for advice. The advice acceptable to us was that since the AFRC was a de facto government of the only counter coup that had succeeded in Ghana by then, we could create our own court as a precedence. We settled on the Peoples Court since, we thought, in the final analysis, the crime of anti-constitution coup was a crime against the people. Basically, it stole the people's mandate. Like other special courts before us this special court was made to operate with its own appropriate procedures and structures and personnel. d. Instant Justice One aspect of our criminal justice operations that needs a brief mention here is the question of instant justice. It is about a cluster of cases around the market forces that had run out of control by our time. In popular language it was about trade malpractices such as hoarding and overpricing of goods and services in what had come to be called Kalabule. Inevitably, the ordinary people, the rank and file in the Forces in particular, were at the mercy of these rampant sharp prices and dealings; although and by some twist of irony it was these soldiers who were also at the receiving end of abuse from the agents of these market forces. There were numerous reports of market women jeering and throwing buckets of urine at these soldiers who went in uniform to the markets to shop. Therefore and perhaps predictably, the initial reaction to these inflated prices started with spontaneous looting, unauthorised arrest and spot punishment of suspects mainly traders and business people, and the destruction of market places like Makola as the symbol of market forces gone mad. Many of such cases may have come to your attention already. This is not an attempt to justify even those that have proved to be true. This is an explanation as to why they happened. The general relief here is that in the days of AFRC these incidents of instant justice did not include any extra-judicial killing and abductions and disappearances that we know of officially. And even where any other events outside this range did occur, we took appropriate steps to apply the relevant remedies. 5. Disengagement 5.1. Disengagement date. Such dates in the previous anti-constitution coups had been characterised by such evasive talks as "we shall not stay more than a day necessary" or "hand over to whom" at best. In some cases they were deliberately left open. In contrast we decided to make a commitment right from the beginning. We settled on a four month schedule: June, July, August and September, 1979. A meeting was caused to be held at the Arrakan Barracks Officers Mess, between us and the politicians, where our intention to begin to disengage by the end of September 1979, was made public with no open disagreements over our cut-off date. 5.2. The proposed transitional national coalition rule. Before the June 4 uprising, we had come to the conclusion that the real difficulties that multi-party democracies in Africa had faced were due to three leading factors. One was the practice of an old administration handing over office and power overnight to the new incoming administration. The other was the winner takes all principle of one party rule of multi-party democracies. And finally there was the domination of multi-party politics in Africa by such irrational factors as ethnicity, religion, money, and personalities. We identified and proposed a transitional national coalition rule of multi-party democracy as the arrangement that stood the best chance of providing the mechanism for solving Ghana's problems, on two separate occasions. First was immediately after the first round of elections in June 1979. And the second was after the second re-run of the elections in July 1979. The politicians, particularly the members of the victorious party rejected both initiatives with the arrangements under them. We had no option but to agree to disengage on the terms of the traditional handover/take-over arrangements with the usual pomp and ceremonies. The significance of that proposal is that we did believe as we still do today that its acceptance and implementation would have made it impossible for the 31st December 1981 anti-constitution coup to happen. It is now a known fact that factions within the democratic political establishment in Ghana then lent support to its plotting and did in fact rallied to support and consolidate it when it did finally occur. 5.3. The hand-over to one party rule Apart from the pre-occupation with the administrative handover to the incoming government, there were concerns over another issue and its resolution that was to cast a long shadow over the political future of Ghana right up to today. It was the transitional provisions of the constitution. The proposed coalition arrangement would have made them unnecessary. But the rejection of the arrangement by the politicians alerted us to a possible breach of faith by the politicians who could allow us to be pursued for all the wrong reasons when we were out of office and power even though the June 4 Uprising was known to be protected and encouraged by both the constitution and other legal provisions. On that basis, and in spite of tensions over the differences on the question of handing over itself, we managed to negotiate the insertion of the transitional provisions in the constitution with the politicians before handing over the reign of power to the incoming administration on the 24th September 1979. 5.4. Courses Overseas. Another part of the disengagement process was the offer of overseas courses to all AFRC members and its high profile functionaries. We were ordered to attend the interview of the then Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, who outlined to us on confidential basis the three options before us. These were that: members and other functionaries might proceed on overseas courses, retire and be resettled, or go on extended leave before rejoining their units. Some of us decided to go on overseas course for two reasons. One, we concluded that if we stayed in the country after the handing over, we could be tempted to constitute ourselves into unofficial opposition to the government, and therefore pitch ourselves on a collision course with it. And secondly we could be tempted to throw in our support behind the government. Those two positions were essentially political. And that we chose to avoid them because we could not see ourselves combining the dual role of loyal officers and political officers in uniform that any of the options would have forced on us outside a political frame work like the coalition proposal. 6. Post-handover Developments There have been two major developments since the AFRC handed power to the PNP administration in September 1979 with serious consequences for the AFRC and its members in particular and the country as a whole. These are the politicisation of AFRC records and the PNDC anti-constitution coup intervention. 6.1. Playing politics with AFRC records. Perhaps not unanticipated by some members of the AFRC, immediately after the handing over of power, some individuals and organised interests decided for both similar and different reasons, to attack AFRC records for adverse and not so adverse effects. 6.1.1. Courses overseas. The courses overseas provided an opportunity for serious misrepresentation to the members of the general public. For, they were fed with the lie that we had run away from the country in spite of the then existing official documentary proof to the contrary in the Ministry of Defence and in the form of clear orders issued for the courses. 6.1.2. AFRC monies. Another serious misrepresentation initiated against us after the handing over, related to what has now come to be called the "AFRC monies". The line of accusation was that we had failed to account properly for the monies we handled with the implied suggestion that we had run away with those monies and living good on them as loots abroad and had therefore broken our own commitment to accountability and probity we demanded from others. Through official lines we drew the attention of both the executive and parliament to the issue and began a process of cooperation with them to provide answers through parliament to the public on the issue. The process was on course to declare in our favour until it was interrupted by the 31st December 1981 ant-constitution coup. 6.1.3. The competing movements on AFRC In the beginning of the June 4 Uprising, political parties were busy vying with each other to fill the vacuum to be left by the retreating SMCII military regime. When we announced that the national elections would continue as previously arranged, the political party activities intensified. This created a political vacuum for us. We formed the Movement On National Affairs (MONAS), to weld a non-partisan national youth front from existing public and private organisations to fill the vacuum for us. It worked for us until towards the end of the AFRC rule. A new group with some of its members from MONAS then emerged to form a rival organisation called the June Fourth Movement (JFM). Roughly the two movements were aligned with the two emergent factions within the AFRC on the disengagement of AFRC and what to do with its legacy. The competition was on. Some of the human rights abuses to be suffered by the MONAS members during the PNDC era can be traced to this rivalry. 6.1.4. The public and private pronouncements on AFRC In the midst of all this, was what appeared to be carefully orchestrated efforts to discredit or promote the record of AFRC, and the reputation of its key members with private and public pronouncements from diverse interests in the AFRC itself. The media, the politicians, individual AFRC members and groups, members of other powerful groups targeted by the AFRC and by now the two competing movements all joined in the frenzy to discredit or promote what they all thought needed to be destroyed or defended. 6.1.5. The trial of AFRC trials By late 1980 and through 1981, the legal establishment in Ghana felt that the standing of the AFRC had been sufficiently softened to allow them to begin to question and in some cases reverse some of the AFRC decisions in clear breach of the transitional provisions in the constitution then. In the meantime, key members of AFRC on two separate occasions in 1980 and 1981 had issued public statements calling for commissions of inquiry into AFRC as a way forward for any efforts to undo any unjustified harm by the AFRC to any persons or group of persons. The press conference in 1980 was by then Capt Boakye Djan and Major Mensah Poku and the one in 1981 was by then Major Boakye Djan and Capt Baah-Achamfour. Their warnings about the potential personal dangers to those involved in questioning and dismantling the AFRC decisions by the backdoor were ignored as pleas from frightened souls. The point here however, is that it may be sheer coincidence but all the judges who were to be abducted and murdered in the PNDC days were involved in those cases. 6.1.6. The retirement and exile of AFRC members and functionaries. In May 1981, the then Government of Dr. Hilla Liman decided to retire all known and identified members and functionaries of the AFRC from the Ghana Armed Forces without any explanation. While we were in the process of adjusting to our new status as retirees, an anti-constitution coup was effected on December 1981 to compound our difficulties. The nature of the new administration automatically defined some of us as enemies. It also went on to cut off all our retirement entitlements that had been agreed by the Liman administration. Overnight, we became exiled retiree paupers, clearly victimized for our roles as members of the AFRC in violation of the law that protected and still do protect us from such losses and suffering. 6.2. PNDC: The anti-constitution coup regime When the anti-constitution coup of December 31st, 1981 was announced it took less than 24 hours for two key members of the AFRC then Capt Boakye Djan and Major Mensah Poku to denounce it on the BBC African service programme, as illegal and therefore unacceptable. They appealed to all Ghanaians to oppose the move and to take whatever means necessary to reverse it at the appropriate time. 6.2.1. The democratic resistance movements. In fact Boakye Djan an AFRC member took the lead in setting up the Campaign for Democracy in Ghana (CDG) in London in April 1982, the first resistance movement against the PNDC. This was to be joined later by politicians who had fled from Ghana into exile. Without bothering to find out the strategic and tactical objectives of the CDG and the work done by it already to have the PNDC regime removed quickly, they proceeded to set up their own parallel organisation called the Ghana Democratic Movement (GDM), arguing that soldiers were not fit to lead a resistant movement to bring democracy back to Ghana. We in CDG decided to maintain it as an independent organisation with a shift in emphasis in its efforts. This dual approach once again instigated by the civilian politicians led to the loss of vital momentum that in turn led to the delay in the efforts to restore democracy in Ghana swiftly. 6.2.2. Political terrorism by PNDC and human rights abuses and violations. That the use of political terrorism to acquire and maintain power is the major underlying cause of human rights abuses and violations in Ghana before the counter-coup in June 1979 has already been referred to. It was nothing new in Ghana before June 4, 1979. It started in 1954 in the era of the struggle for independence. It manifested itself in various forms. It was sponsored by the internal opposition and their allies abroad and countered by the ruling regimes with methods they thought fit. All of theses regimes committed serious human rights abuses and violations in Ghana before June 4th 1979. But in their degree and intensity PNDC went beyond all the previous records of human rights abuses and violations in the history of Ghana. First the internal political opposition, newly re-organised into All Peoples Party (APP), to contest the next general elections due in June 1983, actively supported the 1981 anti-constitution coup. Six of its key members were officially delegated to work with the PNDC in key ministerial positions until things began to get out of control. One or two of them did resign from it later, but the bulk of those sent have remained with the PNDC and its continuity NDC right up till today. It acquired new forms of abductions and murder, summary executions and disappearances which could have been prevented if the political class had decided to pursue, maintain and defend democratic contest for power and office within the arrangements under the constitution for Ghana that we the members of the AFRC gave to Ghanaians. 6.2.3. The late L/C Sarkodie Addo The summary execution by PNDC of an AFRC member: the late L/C Sarkodie Addo touches us profoundly. The circumstances leading to his summary execution at the Air Force Station are quite instructive in human rights abuses and violations under the PNDC. We are reliably informed that this former member of the AFRC was along with others said to have been implicated in the 1983 uprising against PNDC, arrested and caused to be shot at the Air Force Station. There are surviving witnesses to the gruesome end of our former colleague who may be willing to testify on this episode under the appropriate cover and protection of their identity. 6.2.4. Other victims of failed counter coups We have interest in the fate of the victims of other failed counter coups in Ghana's history and for a number of reasons. The only difference between us as members of the AFRC and them as members of organised attempts to overthrow sitting anti-constitution governments is that they failed where we succeeded and that they suffered death by way of punishment and we did not. We may never know but given the circumstances that led to their involvement in a counter coup, Lts Arthur and Yeboah against the 1966 anti-constitution coup and Majors Ocran and Twumasi Anto against the 1981 anti-constitution coup and many others, can be said to have set out to terminate a sitting anti-constitution coup; hold those responsible for it and its transgressions to account and restore the constitution. Lt Yeboah, a relative of SW Yeboah, a high ranking minister in the CPP regime overthrown by the NLC in 1966, had obvious interest in reversing that illegality. Major Ocran, a key member of Free Africa Movement that managed to cause him to be posted to the Junior Leaders Company in Kumasi to work on Junior Leaders for FAM was aware of the objectives of FAM and must have been sufficiently enraged by the illegality and antics of PNDC to have been moved to do something about it. 7. The conclusions We are offering the following conclusions that flow from our understanding of the human rights record of the AFRC in its special context, causes and circumstances for the use of political terrorism in Ghana. 7.1. The context The AFRC emerged and operated in the context of insurgent counter coup to pursue the acceptable ends of justice in Ghana. Its human rights record is defined by that special context. 7.2. The causes The emergence of the AFRC was caused by the need to end the cycle of politically motivated violence to gain and maintain office and power from constitutional governments in Ghana as at 1979. Its human rights record is therefore decidedly different from those caused by the use of such political terrorism for office and power during the periods under consideration. 7.3. The circumstances 7.3.1. The preparation and management In preparation and management the AFRC was entirely home-grown, and limited to the Armed Forces with no internal political factional backing or an external input. It had clear objectives and professional preparation. In fact we can confidently claim that it was nationalist in orientation and objective. 7.3.2. Criminal justice administration The criminal justice administration of the AFRC was based on a clear line of substantive law, although there were no appropriate legal procedures to guide us in their application. 7.3.3. Disengagement It was our determination to decree a coalition rule into existence as a pre-condition for sustainable national security and development and therefore human rights protection in all its forms. Although this was thwarted by the politicians during our time, we still believe it still provides the answers for our security and development concerns today. 7.3.4. Post-handover developments The three main post hand-over developments were: a. The open and active encouragement for unconstitutional methods of changing elected government as characterised by the readiness with which AFRC records were allowed to be subverted in clear violation of the constitutional order;

b. The victimization of members and functionaries of the AFRC in clear violation of the law; and

c. The readiness with which factions of the political class within and outside the ruling government moved to embrace the unconstitutional change of elected government proved that no lessons had been learnt from the use of politically motivated violence as a short-cut to office and power in Ghana as at December 1981 and perhaps even now. 7.4. In defence of the constitution. There is a clear distinction between the need to defend the constitutional order as separate exercise from the need to defend the interests of the government of the day, elected and guaranteed only under it. Evidence available during and after AFRC demonstrates clearly that Ghanaians as a whole, and particularly its political class, do not appear to appreciate nor understand that distinction. A defence of the constitutional order and stability tends to be confused with the defence of the government of the day. The restrictive and unwholesome parts of the constitution such as the transitional provisions pose serious problems for rule of law and human rights and political innovations like the concept of national coalition rule. 7.5. Victims of failed counter coups. In contrast to some members of the political class, all the victims of failed counter coups in Ghana's history, dead or alive, military or civilian, may be considered as having suffered in defence of the constitution and not to regain office and power nor for any personal gain. 7.6. Compensation All those who lost their lives during the fire-fight phase of AFRC operations were all unintended casualties on both sides of a 27-hour armed conflict in the national interest and that the victimization of the surviving members and functionaries of AFRC is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. 8. The recommendations 8.1. The context Any assessment of the human rights record of the AFRC must take into account the context in which the AFRC emerged and operated as an insurgent counter coup pursuing the ends of existing and acceptable justice in Ghana. And that any miscarriage of justice may be seen as having been done in good faith. 8.2. The causes The Ghanaian political class may be persuaded to end the cycle of politically motivated violence to gain and maintain office and power in Ghana as a vital pre-condition for ending the kind of human rights abuses and violations that we have experienced so far in our history. 8.3. The circumstances 8.3.1 The preparation and management The AFRC may be commended for its nationalist commitment in pursuit of clear objectives with professionalism and honour in sticking to its declared intentions and time-table with one week to spare. This approach did prevent the country from sliding into the kind of civil war and chaos that other African countries, in similar circumstances, have often ended up with. 8.3.2. The criminal justice administration The 1992 Constitution clearly endorses the action of the AFRC as a counter coup to restore the constitution when it is suspended or abrogated. But there are still no clear legal procedures for this national obligation. The time has come for parliament and the executive to provide for this legal loophole guided by the difficulties the AFRC experienced in confronting the problem. 8.3.3. Disengagement The political establishment may be persuaded to take another look at the possibility of forming a national coalition government after 2004 or better still 2008 elections as a sustainable and fast track approach to our security and development. This may be done by converting the parliament after 2004 or 2008 elections into a constituent assembly to purge the current constitution of all its unwholesome and restrictive parts such as the transitional provisions.

The way may be then clear to promulgate a new constitution with a provision for a national coalition rule. 8.3.4. Post-handover developments As a remedy for the post-handover developments that led to the emergence of PNDC as an anti-constitution coup product, with active encouragement and support from sections within the political class, any Ghanaian who in future, plays any role in initiating, promoting or handling any anti-constitution coup product or profiting from it, may be disqualified as being unfit to hold public office in Ghana. 8.3.5. In defence of the constitution. a. There is an urgent need to provide monuments, institutions, and organised activities that will seek to permanently remind Ghanaians that the best and only guarantee against human rights abuses and violations is the acceptance of democratic contest for power in a multi-party democracy by all of us as the only viable option for our individual and collective security and development. b. In this respect steps may be taken by parliament to decriminalise all acts in the past that were directed at sitting anti-constitution coup regimes and have been established to be intended to remove those regimes and restore the constitution. It is not natural justice to decriminalise the same acts in future while these same acts remain criminalised in the past especially by the current constitution. That state of affairs makes the constitution unsafe. We would single out the late L/C Sarkodie Addo who successfully fought for constitutional restoration in 1979 and died fighting against PNDC as an ardent constitutionalist in 1983 respectively, for special treatment. He deserves public honor and resettlement of his family. c. In the same spirit all those penalised one way or other for their roles in all failed counter coups may be decriminalised and honored by the nation for their sacrifices in doing what the constitution today enjoins all of us to do in defence of the constitution. In particular Lts Arthur and Yeboah who were executed by the NLC and Majors Ocran and Twumasi Anto who were executed by PNDC and many others for their roles in organised but failed counter coups, also deserve public honor and some form of compensation, however belated, for their families. d. We request that all the members and functionaries of the AFRC dead or alive, may be publicly honored for their example of carrying out the only counter-coup to have succeeded in the history of Ghana and along the lines as laid down by the law. This is a compensation in kind only. Although those who so wish, may choose to be fully compensated by other means and for their losses and suffering incurred while acting on the terms of the constitution and the law. e. But in our estimate, by far the most important remedy for the human rights abuses and violations of the past is to make our development efforts match the expectations of all of our people. For defeated and frustrated expectations have the potential of putting our country and people at risk once again. f. In the spirit of reconciliation, we would also ask that all the other casualties who fought against the uprising during the fire-fight phase and their surviving families may be given more than military burial honors. They may be compensated for their loss and suffering too. For these sons of Ghana died in line of duty. Submitted by Osahene Boakye Djan Deputy Chairman and Spokesman Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, June-September 1979. United Kingdom 13th October 2003

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