When I appeared before the National Reconciliation Commission between 2003/2004 or there about, I made it clear, in no uncertain

terms that I was there to clear my conscience and to apologise to Ghanaians to the inhuman treatment meted out to them during and after the 31st December 1981 revolution.

I also called upon the head of the junta, Flt Lt Rawlings (who had then served his two consecutive term as president) to do the same. As I said at the commission, I was misled by Rawlings and took up a weapon to overthrow the legitimate and democratically elected government of Ghana. In the process many Ghanaians lost their dear ones and family.

In the aftermath of the revolution, realising that I have been deceived by Rawlings, I started questioning the lies peddled to us about the motive of the revolution.

We were told by Rawlings that the then president of Ghana, Dr Hilla Liman, had given his consent to the revolution and was the main person behind the coup.

Before the coup, Rawlings told we the junior ranks in the army from Northern Ghana that there was a ploy by the Fantes in Limann?s party, the Peoples National Party, an offshoot of Kwame Nkrumah?s Party, the Convention Peoples? party (CPP) were plotting to replace Limann with Dr De graft Johnson and Kankam Dacosta. This angered us greatly.

Being from the North of Ghana, I was furious at this development. My compatriots also felt this anger towards the Fantes.

I met with Jerry Rawlings, Chris Atim,? Alolga Akata Pore and others at the Achimota Forest where we met from time to time to prepare for the 31st December coup and to teach the saboteurs or miscreants in the PNP a lesson. During one of these meetings, a car passed by and we were told by Rawlings it was Limann. Accordingly, Rawlings, Chris Atim and Alolga Akata Pore left us to attend to our special guest. Upon their return they informed us that Limann had given his go ahead or blessing for the coup to take place. From then on we started making feverish preparations for the coup.

Are you saying you were manipulated by Rawlings to overthrow the Limann Regime?

Matt Adebuga: Yes, we were manipulated and later on dumped for daring to ask questions. I got to know Rawlings when I was only 17 years old. He was introduced to me by Jack Mahoney a non commissioned officer in the army. Rawlings took a liking for me and we always chatted when he came over to my unit for horse riding. He was a vivacious and lively and always endeared himself to the other ranks. He did that ostensibly to win their support and to hatch his grand design of taking power. In hatching his grand design he also collaborated with some of my colleagues from the Northern region to dupe us from knowing the truth.

The funny thing about Rawlings is that he is not as brave and macho as he portrays to the public. I had to virtually arrest him and I ordered Cpl Giwa to lock him up when we encountered stiff resistance from the bodyguards of the Chief of defence staff, General Odartey Barnor. He Rawlings chickened out and advised us to head towards the border through Lome to Benin so as to be able to live and fight another day. At the start of the 31st December coup, I led the attack with ten others, including Cpl C.C. Addai, Eric Asare and Babatunde. Officers who committed themselves to the operation but later failed to turn up included Brigadier Arnold Quinoo. The Brigadier hid under his bed when the situation became tough and we needed him most. I became angry and threatened to spray open his door to get him out of the house. It was at this juncture that Warrant Officer Albert Bafah also ewe by tribe told me he heard the Brigadier speak to his family in ewe so I should refrain from breaking in. I had pity on the family so left the brigadier unharmed. I am saying all these things to throw light on what happened before and after the revolution and to let Ghanains know the truth about the coup.

There were other things that made me regret my involvement with the revolution. One of them was the murder of the judges in Ghana. When it happened it was blamed on counter revolutionaries in and outside Ghana, only for us to realise it was an internal PNDC orchestrated.

MY particular anger was when I realised that the perpetrators of the heinous crime were dressed in northern Ghana smocks. What did they want to portray? Did they want to give the impression the crime had been committed by northerners? Jerry was at his cunning best again. Jerry executed what he believed was a perfect crime only for it to backfire and the culprits caught.

Before this time, I had great admiration for Capt (rtd) Kojo Tsikata who was a father figure in the PNDC and who gave us advice, cautioning us against excesses in the revolution. I was devastated when he was figured out to have played a pivotal role in the murders. How did I know this? All the three soldiers who committed the crime confided in me they were ordered to do that by the retired captain. Two of the perpetrators of the crime were my?boys? so to speak. They had been expelled from the army before the coup but I reengaged them again by bringing them back in to the army. They made it clear to me that the retired captain was involved and that he was the mastermind. I couldn?t believe it because I knew Kojo Tsikata was a good man. They told me the regime had made preparations to fly them out of the country to Bulgaria and Cuba respectively. Another person who also revealed that it was Tsikata who ordered the killings of the judges was Amedeka. So, I had three soldiers testifying to me that it was Kojo who ordered the muder of the judges. Of course, Tekpor and Gyandu were tried and shot by firing squad, Amedeka managed to escape from prison and made his way to Lome and then to Lagos. Dead men cannot testify, so is the case of Tekpor and Gyandu but thank God Amedeka is alive to testify to what he told me.

There were other disturbing incidents that happened at the barracks that needs mentioning. I was told by Rawlings to shoot dead W.O 1 Kingston but declined to do so. He then approached Cpl Kweku Boateng who is now domiciled in London to do the job for him. Rawlings claimed WO! Kingston harassed his family when he was arrested for his part in the 15th of May 1979 abortive coup. Kweku Boateng carried out the orders and shot dead warrant officer class 1 Kingston. The ewe soldiers led by Gatsiko threatened to retaliate by killing Kweku Boateng who escaped and hid under Rawlings? bedroom for months. Rawlings also ordered the assassination of Alidu Zanata of the airforce station by Sgt Omega. He was killed instantly by Sgt Omega. Assassinations were common place. It was carried out in Burma Camp and at the back of the airport.

Another killing that baffled me was that of Yeye Boy a ritualist and herbalist from the Volta Region. His was senseless. Jerry Rawlings used to consult him before the coup but fell out with him and ordered his execution.

After the execution of Yeye Boy, Rawlings employed the services of a powerful Fulani Jujuman who came to the castle many times, often bringing in human blood which was kept in Rawlings fridge and replenished every month.

I FEEL VINDICATED

I feel vindicated by recent developments in the country. The death of President Atta Mills and what he went through is worth mentioning. He Rawlings placed Mills at the helm of the party knowing very well he was a sick man and chastised people like Obed Asamoah, Frances Assia, Goose Tannoh, Kwesi Botchway who stood in his Rawlings way.

When Mills won the election and he Rawlings couldn?t get his way than the attacks started.? That was exactly what he did to us. The self styled Shogun is a power drunk fellow and will not change a bit. Just look at all those who have had the chance to work with Jerry Rawlings since 1979 and it would bring to mind his Shogun idea that he is the ultimate power and that power resides in him..


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