The sudden change in political administration in Ghana last July has resuscitated freedom among Ghanaians and has alleviated much of the political uncertainty. Lt. Gen. F. W. K. Akuffo released at least thirty-two political detainees, lifted the ban on party politics, and has promised to restore civilian government by this July. Elections for a new president and parliament are slated for June 18.
Since winning independence from the British in 1957, Ghana has been under two civilian governments and two military administrations ushered in by coup d’etats. Over the past seven years, under military administration, the country experienced its worst inflation and depression, food shortages, and labor unrest.
Only a year ago, there seemed to be little hope for peace, agreement, and reconciliation between the armed forces and civilians. The former military ruler, Gen. I. K. Acheampong, had declared that his proposed union government concept (armed forces, police, and civilians forming a cooperative government) had received overwhelming approval from Ghanaians in a March 1978 referendum.
Most Ghanaians greeted the general’s announcement with suspicion since he had violated referendum stipulations. The electoral commissioner had instructed that all ballots be counted in public at each polling station, but Acheampong (when his plan was believed to be falling behind in the tally) disregarded the commissioner’s regulations and ordered that all ballots be counted in army barracks.
Opposition from top civilian politicians intensified. The division between the army and police and the civilians grew wider, making a clash appear inevitable. Alarmed at that prospect, some military officers within the government demanded and obtained the big general’s ...1
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