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Today in History: 13 January, 1972 – Ignatius Kutu Acheampong overthrew Kofi Abrefa Busia

Today marks the 48th anniversary of the coup d’etat against the government of Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia when the military under the leadership of Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong seized control of the government of Ghana for the second time on 13 January 1972.

On 13 January 1972, Lieutenant Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, then commanding the First Infantry Brigade of the Ghana Armed Forces in an acting or temporary status, led a bloodless coup d’etat against the democratic government of Prime minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia while he was in London for medical treatment.

This happened to be the second successful military coup by the Ghana Armed Forces in Ghana, despite the first coup d’état occuring just after six years.

In view of this, the first military coup d’état occurred on 24 February 1966 when Col E.K Kotoka and his Brigade Major, Maj. A.A. Afrifa, overthrew the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

In spite of this, in London, where the Prime Minister Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia had arrived for medical treatment, there was dismay and confusion at the Ghanaian diplomatic mission.

At the end of the day, there was a plainspoken statement from Dr Kofi Busia condemning the coup d’etat and declaring it might not succeed.

He said: “I believe the people of Ghana will resist this selfish and senseless coup d’etat, and overthrow it. The people of Ghana know how sincerely we are trying to establish democracy and human dignity, as well as coping with our grave economic problems in order to raise our standard of living.”

Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia was accused of economic mismanagement and arbitrary arrest – both characteristics of the former Nkrumah regime which was ousted by an army coup in 1966.

The Kotoka International airport was closed to incoming flights, telephone and telegram links with the rest of the world were cut.

After the coup, Lieutenant Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong became commander of Ghana’s first army brigade.

He therefore announced in a radio broadcast on January 13, 1972, “Dr Kofi Busia had been dismissed and the army had taken power”.

Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia was a Ghanaian political leader and academic who was the Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972.

As a nationalist leader and Prime Minister, he helped to restore the civilian government to the country following military rule.

Source: www.ghanaianmuseum.com

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