Major retired Kojo Boakye-Djan, the Ghanaian military officer and politician, known to have planned the coup that brought Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings to power in Ghana on June 4, 1979 with other junior officers has passed on.
He died Wednesday morning [Aug 30, 2023] at the 37 Military Hospital at age 81.
He was a former member of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) that staged the June 4, 1979 military coup and ruled Ghana from June 4, 1979 to September 24, 1979.
The AFRC handed over power on September 24, 1979 to President Hilla Limann, who was elected through a universal adult suffrage.
Major (rtd) Boakye-Djan, said to be the key architect of the June 4, 1979 uprising was the spokesperson for the group. The group however made the late Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings the leader of the uprising.
Boakye-Djan attended secondary school at Opoku Ware School in Kumasi for his Ordinary (O) Level certificate and Achimota School for his sixth form Advanced Level certificate.
He was also the best man at the wedding of Rawlings and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
He was with the Fifth Infantry Battalion prior to the June 4, 1979 coup d’état which replaced the Supreme Military Council government with the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
Boakye-Djan formed the Free Africa Movement with some colleagues in the early 1970s and they were planning to take power in the 1980s as senior officers in the army. Their planning was still at an early stage and the May 15, 1979 abortive coup attempt by Flight Lieutenant Rawlings forced them into initiating theirs as some of them were being arrested on suspicion of plotting against the military government.
It appears it was one of his members, Peter Tasiri who actually initiated the coup on the day. There appeared to be a lot of confusion and no clear leadership during the coup events.
In 2003 he said that the main purpose was to save Rawlings, who was facing a possible death sentence for planning a coup in the previous month. During an interview in 2017, he stated that he and Rawlings had grown apart and had not spoken to each other since the end of the AFRC rule.
Boakye-Djan went to the United Kingdom under a UNDP Fellowship for postgraduate studies. This was at a time when the Limann government sent most former members of the AFRC abroad. He is also affiliated with the National Democratic Congress.
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