June 23, 2024
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The 1984 Coup That Rawlings & His Men Crushed

Ghana’s Former Military Strongman, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings and the junta proved how resilient they were as a coup led by Corporal Giwa in 1984 was finally quelled. The fomenters of the coup were pursued and some lost their lives in inexplicable circumstances.

The man who succeeded Col.S.B Baryieh as Chief of Staff at the Castle, then the seat of government, Nana Ato Dadzie had at one time dropped the bombshell that the Rawlings’ 19 year-rule overcame 77 coup attempts. His predecessor Col. Baryieh died of natural causes.

The Giwa coup stirred political debris into the skies for a prolonged time as the outcome of that coup remained hazy, but the intermittent radio announcements by Major Courage Quarshigah sought to calm nerves in the country.

The picture attached to this story spots Rawlings to the left holding a gun, in the middle of the picture the PNDC Secretary of Information, Miss Joyce Aryee, next to her is the Paratrooper, Major Courage Quarshigah. Behind them were some loyal forces.

It does appear this was a victory walk and a show of force by the impregnable PNDC military junta after the chirps had gone down. The 1984 coup against Rawlings came up for mention during Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission which sat between 2001 and 2002.

Rawlings became a fashionable reference point for most parts of West Africa and the rest of the continent, for using the military formula to restore social and economic discipline as well as political stability in Ghana. In later years as a democratic leader, he led the dialogue among Liberia’s warring factions. It was an intractable conflict but the step taken by Rawlings in Liberia opened the door to diplomacy in the fierce civil war.

At the height of Somalia’s war, he was appointed the AU’s Representative to help broker peace there.

On November 12, 2020, Rawlings died unexpectedly in Accra in what sources called a sudden moment. His legacy is now one of the main political traditions in Ghana.

Story By Napoleon Ato Kittoe

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