My First Coup d’Etat


On February 24 1966, military officers in Ghana toppled President Kwame Nkrumah, who had led the country to independence nine years before. Nkrumah was exiled to Guinea and never returned. Senior government officials were rounded up and detained. John Dramani Mahama was seven at the time and attending a prestigious boarding school in the capital, Accra. Though his father was a minister in Nkrumah’s government, Mahama received no word that anything was wrong until the end of term that April, when nobody came to pick him up. The next day an “auntie” – as dormitory matrons were called – put Mahama in a taxi and together they went to his father’s house, where they found policemen and soldiers. Asked where the honourable minister was, a soldier with bloodshot eyes replied gruffly: “He no longer lives here.”

more from Xan Rice at the FT here.