Today in History, exactly 37 years ago, on 19 June 1983, Corporal Carlos Halidu Giwa led a group of rebels in an unsuccessful attempted coup d’etat which came very close to overthrowing the ruling Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) led by Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings.
On 19 June 1983, during an unsuccessful coup attempt, rebel soldiers, based in Togo, attacked two prisons in Accra and one at Naswam, it was Corporal Carlos Halidu Giwa who made the radio announcement asking Castle (Rawling’s residence) troops to surrender to revolutionary fighters. Halidu Giwa was reportedly part of the 31 December 1981 coup that brought Rawlings to power.
In an announcement that sought to counteract the coup and its associated accusations against the ruling PNDC, the then Captain Courage Quashigah demonstrated perhaps not only his spirit of courage and adventurism but also, a sense of foresight, loyalty and leadership when with force of authority, aired something which roughly read like this: “At about morning, a small group of dissidents managed their way into our national studio and made false announcement to disrupt the activities of the PNDC. I Captain Courage Quashigah, on behalf of the PNDC, want to assure the nation that the situation is under control and that those dissidents should report themselves to the nearest police station- or anyone seen in track-suit, entering military installation, should be fired on sight.”
The rebel soldiers were apparently led by a man who identified himself on Radio Accra as Ghana’s new ‘operational commissioner,’ Carlos Halida Gyuiwah – a lance corporal jailed in the attempted coup last November.
On November 23, 1982 armed men succeeded in capturing for a while, part of Gondar Barracks, Burma Camp. When the situation was returned to normal, several arrests were made: they included Sergeant Akata-Pore, Tata Ofosu – editor of the JFM’s paper The Workers’ Banner, Corporal Carlos Halidu Giwa and Kwame Pianim. The suspects were put on trial but some managed to escape from prison custody on June 19, 1983 as part of that day’s attempted coup d’etat.
After two hours of resistance, the rebels were over-powered by the combined force of loyal soldiers led by Warrant Officer Adjei Boadi and Captain Courage Kwashigah. Captain Kwashigah announced that the PNDC was back in control.
Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings ordered all of Ghana’s borders closed until further notice and advanced the regular midnight curfew to 6 p.m. This was to ensnare rebel soldiers who staged the fourth unsuccessful coup attempt against his military government Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).
He faced four coup attempts against his ruling Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).
Rawlings, a former Ghana air force flight lieutenant seized power in Ghana twice, 1979 against a military government and 1981, against a civilian government in a crusade against corruption.
Ghana was on a trajectory of prosperity in Africa when it gained independence from Britain in 1957 but sadly through such military upheavals and bad governance by civilian administrations, the narrative has changed.