A retired military officer, Captain Joel Sowu has accused Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of working to politicize the military.
According to him, the politicization of the military coupled with worsening economic fortunes of Ghanaians led to Dr. Nkrumah’s overthrow in 1966.
“It was Kwame Nkrumah who began politicizing the military by asking the officers and men to hold CPP cards,” he alleged.
Speaking in an interview, retired Captain Joel Sowu recounted how Kwame Nkrumah allegedly tried to force military officers to take up Convention People’s Party (CPP) membership cards, an act he said was in a clear breach of the constitution.
“Before 1966, from 1964 (the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah) things were not going on well in the country, shortage of food items, things were terrible… An attempt on his life had happened, people were arrested on suspicion that they wanted to stage a coup against President Kwame Nkrumah.
“The military officers were also being arrested. We had the military intelligence, that was really very powerful they were separated from the regular military officers.”
Captain Joel Sowu further claimed that Ghana’s Dr. Nkrumah also attempted to replace country’s flag with that of the CPP, and established what was almost a private army for his personal protection.
“At a certain point in time, Kwame Nkrumah wanted to use the CPP flag to replace the national flag. They were going round the unit to ask officers to become CPP members and to me, that was the beginning of his [Kwame Nkrumah] downfall and the beginning of the split of the military into pro or against.
“And then you had the Presidential own guard regiment and they were only to protect person of Kwame Nkrumah and the constitution at that time said no one should have a private army so by extension Kwame Nkrumah had a private army which was against the constitution but not a lot of people didn’t know.”