‘Coup against Busia unnecessary’

busiaThe General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Agyepong has said the overthrow of Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia some 43 years ago, was “totally unnecessary”.

“We were in a democratic dispensation; everything was going on smoothly,” he stated in an interview with Starrfm yesterday on the anniversary of the coup.

“He was not the one to trample on the rights of Ghanaians. He was just being realistic with the strength of our currency, he felt that as a country we should be truthful about our economic circumstances, and was taking pragmatic “decisions, and some didn’t like it.” They felt that just devaluing the currency was reducing the purchasing power of the ordinary Ghanaian, and the soldiers took advantage of it and launched a the coup, Mr. Agyepong said.

According to him, “it wasn’t a popular coup, and there were no general outpouring into the streets to celebrate his overthrow. Anybody who was in this country will attest to that.”

Professor Busia spent only 27 months in office as Prime Minister in Ghana’s Second Republican dispensation under President Edward Akufo-Addo, father of the NPP’s current flag-bearer Nana Akufo-Addo.

The country at the time adopted the Westminster system of government in which Busia’s Progress Party (PP) – a progeny of the UP tradition, and forebear of the current Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition of the current NPP, had the majority in Parliament.

While in office, Busia had half a million Nigerians deported – an action which was later be retaliated by Africa’s most populous country.

He also had the currency, Cedi, devalued by 44 per cent in 1971. The devaluation incurred the wrath of the Ghanaian public, and served as a crestwave for the military, led by Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, to oust the PP administration while Busia was in Britain for a medical check-up.

Prof. Busia died from a heart attack in 1978. Eulogising him in the interview Mr. Agyepong, described the Wenchi-born academic-turned-politician as a “true democrat” and a “true patriot”.

“He was a visionary: I mean the things that he espoused have triumphed the world over – the values of democracy, the values of market forces, the values of individual liberties”.

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