General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Much as she knew his confidence and daringness to stand up for what he believed in, a part of her was still very much afraid; afraid of losing the love of her life and the head of her family, wife of former President Jerry John Rawlings, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has said.
Speaking to Metro TV’s Paul Adom Otchere regarding her apprehensions about JJ’s first coup attempt in May 1979, she revealed how panicky she was when her husband, J.J, had to face the court after a failed coup attempt.
The coup, which was Ghana’s third 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.
Sensing no support from any direction for her husband, her fears worsened she said.
“Of course I was afraid. Maybe I panicked, but I was afraid. I thought they were going to kill him, I did think so, it was a difficult time”, she admitted.
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 said, “My mum and his mum went and got some of these big-time lawyers and my position was 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.
She however alluded to the fact that she was oblivious of her husband’s plans as far as the coup was concerned. It was just one of those normal days when her husband returned with some friends and she had to ‘fix’ some food for them after which they left for some rounds.
“He left home, came back with some of his military guys. They were doing something, I think fixing 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.
My mum told me about June 4
The 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.