Exactly 41 years ago today, Ghana’s former Head Of State, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong was executed by firing squad after he had been convicted of squandering government funds.
The 47-year-old former army general, who ruled the country for more than six years, stood trial before a revolutionary court set up by a group of junior officers who seized power in a coup 12 days ago.
Another British‐trained officer, Lieut. Gen. E. K. Utuka, former commander of the border guards was found guilty of the same charges and executed with him.
Acheampong led a bloodless coup d’état to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Progress Party and its leader Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia on 13 January 1972.
He became Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was later transformed into the Supreme Military Council on 9 October 1975, with Colonel Acheampong (promoted to General) as its chairman.
The executions, the first by the new regime, came two days before Ghanaians were due to vote in elections for a President and civilian government.
Acheampong was treated to the last dinner of fufu brought to him by his 25-year-old daughter Elizabeth Nana Serwaa. His last words to her were “Tell everybody I was a good man and pray for me.”
The next morning, Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and General Edward Kwaku Utuka, the major general who had served as the Commander of the Border Guards, were driven to an Anglican Church situated in Camp Burma, the seat of power for successive Ghanaian military governments. Both men prayed for a short period before being taken to the firing range in Teshie that was to serve as the place of execution.
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong smiled and waved a white handkerchief to the reporters as he was driven off to his death. He and General Edward Kwaku Utuka both had red hoods drawn over their heads before being shot.