Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has given insights into her role in some of Ghana’s historic events.
The wife of former President Jerry John Rawlings and Military Leader of the PNDC that committed the failed coup of May 15, 1979, and the successful coup of June 4, 1979, has revealed she had no hand in the planning and preparations prior to these events.
Nana Konadu detailed that it was only after the acts had been committed that she was informed in both instances.
Narrating the sequence of events as she recalled to the host of Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, the Former First noted that prior to the failed May 15 attempt, she came back home from work to meet her husband with some military friends assembling “something”.
She heeded to their request to prepare a meal for them after which they left the house without giving her a hint of what they had planned to do.
The coup, which was Ghana’s third military coup was planned and carried out by a section of junior officers and corporals led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings within the Ghana Armed Forces who were aggrieved by the governance style of General I. K. Acheampong.
After the failed attempt, Rawlings and his charges were arrested and imprisoned.
“He left home, came back with some of his military guys. They were doing something, I think to fix a table or something. I came home, it was one of those days I closed early and they wanted to eat so I fixed something for them and when they finished eating they said they will be back,” Nana Konadu recalled.
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings also gave an account of how she assembled a team of lawyers to represent her husband at the trial.
According to her, she had to reject a team of well-established lawyers arranged for her by her mother to defend Rawlings after the failed coup.
The Former First Lady explained she was convinced the only people who could defend her husband were people with conviction on the issue.
She then drove to the University of Ghana campus where Tsatsu Tsikata was a lecturer to convince him to step in as lawyer for the imprisoned Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
Subsequent events and on the advice of Tsatsu Tsikata resulted in the formation of a team of lawyers led by Senior Counsel and Ghana Bar Association President at the time, Adumua-Bossman.
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings said, “My mum and his mum went and got some of these big-time lawyers and my position as it is not these big-time lawyers that can get them out of this trouble. It needs lawyers that had a conviction about what they are doing. The two mothers were angry with me because they said they had already got these two lawyers. I took my car and drove all the way to Legon. I didn’t find him so I waited at his door, sleeping inside my car till he came and I told him what I wanted. He said we need a senior person to lead us but he has no problem been part of it but we need a senior person who has the name and recognition.”
“So we drove all the way to Adabraka and then he said I should wait in the car he would go up and talk to the guy, all the time I didn’t know who it was. He went up, spoke to him and came back and said the guy wants to see you. He is interested so let’s go and when I went it was Adumua-Bossman,” she added.
My mum told me about June 4
June 4, 1979, coup happened after some colleagues of the former President broke into the prisons and released him.
A public broadcast announcing the takeover of leadership was done at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to formally indicate a change of government.
However, just like the May 15 failed coup, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings says she had no idea the June 4 coup was going to take place and the subsequent public broadcast that followed.
“When the broadcast came I didn’t hear it. It was later my mother came to the house and said I had to leave the house. I had my daughter with me but she was too young to know what was happening. She was just a year old,” the former First Lady disclosed.
These details are contained in Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ book, “It Takes A Woman” which she recently launched. The book chronicles her political journey.