1966 Cup against Nkrumah
In 1966, a group of officers did military coup, citing Ghana’s financial problems. Nkrumah, who was on a state visit to China, was deprived of power. He traveled to Guinea and lived in exile there until his death in 1972. Above all, four strong groups were behind the opposition to the Nkrumah regime. First, it was the army, and then the African bourgeoisie, who did not think it was given enough positions as senior officials and who opposed the restrictions imposed by the Nkrumah regime on economic activity. Third, the cocoa goods owners opposed the regime because the CPP supported the small farmers. Finally, Nkrumah came to stand in opposition to the old rulers – the traditional chiefs. The army took advantage of the dissatisfaction. In 1969 elections were held and the army handed over the regime to Kofi Busia, who became the head of a civilian government.
Busia came from the opposition to Nkrumah, and his politics were disastrous in the economic sphere. On the one hand, he tried to make friends with the international big capital, and on the other he tried to play on nationalist strings. During his regime, the large multinational corporations withdrew huge funds from Ghana, and despite the high cocoa prices, Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves fell constantly. According to Countryaah, the busier regime also expelled almost all other Africans from the country. Between half and a million people were forced to leave the country. He played on the ethnic contradictions in the country, interfering with democratic rights. A new coup had to come. It came in 1972 and was led by Colonel Ignatius Acheampong, who later became head of state in the country. Acheampong abandoned the last vestiges of the industrialization and development plans left behind by N’Krumah. They were replaced by an agricultural policy that was largely beneficial to the large cocoa farmers. Acheampong managed to survive eight coup attempts, but he had no luck in the economic field. In 1977, inflation in the country was 36%, a huge foreign debt, a devalued currency and hundreds of intellectuals and students sent to prison for their protests against government policy.
1979 Jerry Rawlings commits his first coup
In July 77, the so-called “interlayer rebellion” broke out. It triggered a series of social contractions, which in July 78 ended up forcing Acheampong to retire. He was succeeded by General William Frederick Akuffo, who the opposition claimed merely continued Acheampong’s policy. However, the regime was short-lived. On June 4, 79, Akuffo was overthrown in a coup d’etat led by Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings. He printed elections won by the People’s National Party (PNP), consisting of N’Krumah supporters. The deployment of a transitional government and the return to parliamentary democracy was promised.
On October 1, 79, PNP leader Hilla Limann was appointed president, supported by the Revolutionary Forces Revolutionary Council. The new president quickly abandoned N’Krumah’s political line and decided instead to follow the economic guidelines of the IMF in an attempt to overcome the economic crisis. In order to win the confidence of foreign investors and to offset the fall in revenues on cocoa exports, the government imposed drastic restrictions on imports – including food – but without limiting real workers’ wages. The consequence was a wave of strikes which continued into 80 and 81.
Rawlings continued to enjoy great prestige among the poorest in the community. He began to criticize government policy and its alliances with foreign capital. Inflation rounded 140%, unemployment 25%, which contributed to the unstable situation that culminated on 1 January 82, when Rawlings again took power in a coup. The first task of the officers was the implementation of a campaign against the corruption in the public administration. They promised to implement nothing less than “a revolution for social justice in the country”. Within a few months, they managed to increase tax revenue and drastically reduce the smuggling of cocoa to neighboring countries – known by the term calabule. People’s tribunals were set up to prosecute the irregularities of the former government.