Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka

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Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka
Kotoka.jpg
Born 26 October 1926
Alakple, Gold Coast
Died 17 April 1967
Accra, Ghana
Allegiance Ghana
Service/branch Ghana Army
Years of service 1947 - 1967
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Defence Staff
Awards Ghana Service Order for Exceptional Bravery
Other work Member of NLC
Minister for Defence
Minister for Health

Lieutenant General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka (26 October 1926 – 17 April 1967) was a member of the ruling National Liberation Council which came to power in Ghana in a military coup d'état on 24 February 1966. This overthrew the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the republic.

Early life[edit]

Emmanuel Kotoka was born at Alakple,[1] a village in the Keta district of the Volta Region of the Gold Coast (British colony). He completed his basic education at the Alakple Roman Catholic School and later the Anloga Senior School in 1941.[1] He started training as a goldsmith but switched to a career in the military.

Military career[edit]

In July 1947, he enlisted as a private in the Infantry School of the Gold Coast Regiment at Teshie in Accra. He rose through the ranks, becoming a sergeant in 1948 and later Company Sergeant Major in 1951.[1] In 1952, he was among some west African soldiers selected for training at Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School[2] in the United Kingdom. In 1954, he was commissioned as a lieutenant[2] and seconded to the British army on the Rhine.

On his return to the Gold Coast (as Ghana was then called), he was made a Platoon Commander of the Second Gold Coast Regiment of Infantry. He rose to become the Second-in-Command and in 1959 became the Platoon Commander with the rank of Captain. He was promoted to the rank of Major later that year. In 1960, he attended the Company Commander's course at the School of Infantry in Warminster, England. In 1960, he was the commander of D company of the detachment of the Second Battalion of the Ghana army which made up Ghana's contingent in the United Nations Operation in the Congo deployed in the capital, Leopoldville, now Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[3] He was regarded as a national hero following this deployment. He was awarded the Ghana Service Order for Exceptional Bravery for Distinguished Service in the Congo in 1963.[1] He later became the Commander of the Second Infantry Brigade (now the Northern Command) of the Ghana Army) located at Kumasi.[2]

Politics[edit]

In 1965, the then Lieutenant-Colonel Kotoka was transferred to Kumasi where he met and became friends with then Major Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, an officer in the Second Brigade of the Ghana army.[1] The two are generally credited with being among the key conspirators behind the first bloody coup d'état in Ghana on 24 February 1966 which brought an end to the first republic. They codenamed it "Operation Cold Chop".[4] It was Kotoka who announced the coup to the nation early that morning from the Broadcasting House of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the official radio station in Ghana. The Central Intelligence Agency appears to have been aware about the plotting of the coup at least a year ahead.[5][6] Kotoka was promoted Major General and became a member of the ruling National Liberation Council and also the Commissioner for Ministry of Health as well as General Officer Commanding the Ghana Armed Forces.

Death[edit]

On 17 April 1967, there was an abortive coup attempt involving junior officers of the reconnaissance regiment located at Ho in the Volta Region. It was code named "Guitar-boy". It led to the killing of Kotoka by Lt. Moses Yeboah after heavy fighting. Lt. Moses Yeboah and another colleague were later tried and executed by a military tribunal.[7] The Ghana International Airport was renamed Kotoka International Airport in his memory. He was killed at a spot which is now part of the forecourt of the airport and his statue stands at that point.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lt-Gen Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka". Famous Ghanaians: Heads of State. Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Jon Kraus (April 1966). "Ghana Without Nkrumah - The Men In Charge". Africa Report. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  3. ^ Leslie (2004-09-16). "Kwame Nkrumah's contribution to the decolonisation process in Africa". Black History Month. Wellplaced Consultancy. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  4. ^ "The Security Services" (pdf). National Reconciliation Commission Report Volume 4 Chapter 1. Ghana government. October 2004. pp. page24. Retrieved 2007-06-11. [dead link]
  5. ^ "253. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/". FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES 1964-1968, Volume XXIV Africa. Department of State, USA. 1999. Retrieved 2007-03-19. "The plotters are keeping us briefed," .... "and the State Department thinks we're more on the inside than the British. While we're not directly involved (I'm told), we and other Western countries (including France) have been helping to set up the situation by ignoring Nkrumah's pleas for economic aid. All in all, it looks good." 
  6. ^ Paul Lee (2002-06-07). "Documents Expose U.S. Role in Nkrumah Overthrow". SeeingBlack.com. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  7. ^ "The National Liberation Council, 1966-69". Library of Congress Country Studies - Ghana: The Military and the Government. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, Peter (1969). Operation Cold Chop: the Coup That Toppled Nkrumah. Ghana: Ghana Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0-87676-065-5. 
  • Hansen, Emmanuel. 1968. Ghana: Background to Revolution. Transition, No. 35. (February - March, 1968), pp. 24–28.
Military offices
Preceded by
Major General Nathan Aferi
Chief of Defence Staff
1966 – 1967
Succeeded by
Lt. General Joseph A. Ankrah
Political offices
Preceded by
?
Minister for Health
1966 – 1967
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Kofi Baako
Minister for Defence
1966 – 1967
Succeeded by
Lt. Gen. J. A. Ankrah