1981 Coup: Rawlings didn’t do anything about the economy – Zaya Yeebo

A former Youth and Sports Secretary of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), Zaya Yeebo, has downplayed the relevance of military uprisings in the development of countries across the world.

Contributing to discussions on Upfront on Wednesday, he stated that often, coups do not achieve their intended objectives, due to the lack of unity of purpose amongst the plotters.

Citing the instance of the 1981 junta in Ghana, Mr. Yeebo revealed that former President Rawlings’ coup was not focused on developing the country.

“Under the Limann regime, one of the things we usually complained about was the state of the economy. And yet when the PNDC came to power, the first year, basically we didn’t even touch the economy. Anytime you mention the issue of the economy, Rawlings and Kojo Tsikata will say, ‘oh no .. leave the economy alone to us’; but they never did anything, and that’s why there was so much hardship in 1983. They didn’t touch the economy.

Because they were so much interested in consolidating political power. So we spent a lot more time arguing amongst ourselves, fighting for control of certain sectors of the economy and society and so on.

So basically I think that military regimes are the worst periods for economic transformation.

Mr. Zaya Yeebo also added that the reason why many economies are affected after a coup is that, investors become skeptical about the country, and this adversely impacts the economy negatively.

The former PNDC member made these comments, while expressing his views on whether Ghana is at risk of a coup or not.

Meanwhile, the Dean of the University of Ghana’s Law Faculty, Professor Raymond Atuguba, has warned that the economy is heading for some difficult period if something radical is not done immediately to rescue it.

Speaking at a public lecture on a review of the 1992 Constitution and its impact on the economy, he noted that Ghana’s current financial state is a threat to its democracy.

He noted that studies have confirmed that an ailing economy facilitates all successful coup d’états in the sub-region.

“A big part of why certain coups succeed and others fail is the economy. What is the state of Ghana’s economy today? At the level of the most irreducible idiomaticity, Ghana is broke. Your nation is radically broke. So broke, the Speaker of Parliament has publicly warned, gavel in hand, that we may not be able to pay the salaries of public sector workers in the next three months,” the academic said.

But speaking on Upfront on Wednesday, Zaya Yeebo maintained that coups disintegrate the society, and therefore looking back at his experiences, it’s not an option that anybody should consider.

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