A lecture like “foreign policy” is pure study of national relations in accordance with the interest of each other. And there interest cannot be achieved without negotiation, bargaining persuasions and invasion (the four means of international relation (Dr. Nwankwo) which constitutes the major reasons of studying this course title “Problems and issues in international relations (His…371). I’m beginning to appreciate this university’s department more because of its vast knowledge reaching in international arena hence we study political, economic, social, religious, military, cultural and educational interactions among sovereign states.
In order to understand this topic proper we are going to limit ourselves to the foreign policies of Ghana under military, therefore we shall look at this topic from the following perspectives.
1. Short definitions of foreign policy
2. Brief Overview of Ghana and its Political History
2. Brief of Ghana’s foreign policy before military takes
3. The Military Uproar in Ghana
4. Different military heads of States of Ghana
5. Their foreign policies during the military regime and
1. Definition of Foreign Policy:
According to Keith R. Legg and James Merison, the term ‘foreign policy’ may be defined as “a set of explicit objectives with regard to the world beyond the borders of a given social unit and a set of strategies and factice designed to achieve those objects. It implies the perception of a need to influence the behaviour of other states or international organization”.2
Every sovereign state is an actor of her own. Her ideas influence all his administration and relation to other states. On this foreign policy is the objectives, aspirations and actions of that state with respect to other states as well as the domestic environment or conditions under which such actions and objectives are formulated and projected. Foreign policy limits its concern to state actions across state boundaries and their policy makes/actors are very conscious of it so as to represent the countries interest or purpose of such action hence policy, as a term, denotes planning which in turn suggests step-by-step procedure toward a known and defined goal.
To buttress further, foreign policy is the oil of national interest that lubricates or spurs a nation into a monumental and ideological debate in international arena. It is a policy of national achievement; it is a national interest vehicle that controls the actor’s willpower in her relation with other nations. In my own opinion, a foreign policy is the bunch key of national interest that influences and determines the actions of actor in international arena for its achievement and purpose.
Also, for foreign policy to be workable there must be a national interest. Therefore it is this national interest of nations that propels the formulation of her national interest. Therefore, it could also be said that foreign policy is the projection of a nation’s national interest pursued beyond the borders, or confines of her territory.
Foreign policy is being conveyed by a vehicle called Diplomacy. It is through acts of negotiation, bargaining and maneuvering that a nation’s foreign policy is pursued. Therefore national interest people’s foreign policy, diplomacy becomes the vehicle which conveys foreign policy.
It is a known fact that nation’s are the actors in the international system.
Brief Overview of Ghana and its Political History
Ghana lies at the heart of a region which has been leading sub-Saharan African culture since the first millennium BC in metal-working mining, sculpture and agriculture.
Modern Ghana takes its name from the ancient kingdom of Ghana, some 800 km. (500 miles) to the north of present-d Accra, which flourished up to the eleventh century AD. One of the great sudanic states which dominate African history the kingdom of Ghana controlled the gold trade between the mining areas to the south and the Saharan trade routes to the north. Ancient Ghana was also the focus for the export trade in Saharan copper and salt.
The coming of Europeans altered the trading patterns, and the focus of economic power shifted to the West African coast- line. The Portuguese came first, seeking the source of the African gold. It lay too far inland for them to reach; but on the Gold Coast they found a region where gold could be obtained, exported along established trade paths from the interior. Their fort at Elmina (“the mine”) was the first in a series of forts along the Gold Coast designed to repel the other European seafarers who followed in their wake, all struggling for their share of the profitable Gold Coast trade.
In due course, however, slaves replaced gold as the most lucrative trade along the coast, with the European slave buy- er using the forts and adjoining buildings for their own accommodation and protection, as well as for storing the goods, mainly guns and gunpowder, which they would barter for slaves. Some of the forts were also used for keeping newly acquired slaves pending the arrival of the ships sent to collect them.
The history of the various forts, given later in this guide, graphically expresses how the various European trading nations fought for our gold, ivory and later, slaves.
But while Europeans quarreled over access to the coastal trade, and despite the appalling depredations of the slave traders, which left whole regions destroyed and depopulated, the shape of modern Ghana was being laid down. At the end of the 17th century, there were a number of small states on the Gold Coast; by 1750, these had merged, by conquest or diplomacy, into two: the Asante Empire, and the Fantes. By the 19th century, the Asantes was seeking mastery of the coast, and especially access to the trading post of Elmina. By this time the British had won control of the coastal trade from the other European nations, and their interests could not tolerate further Asante expansion - more so since the Asante Empire was known for its sophisticated admin- istrative efficiency and would have been difficult or im- possible to best at trade. Nevertheless it took a series of military campaigns over some 50 years before the British were finally able to force the Asantes to give up sovereignty over their southern possessions. In a final campaign in 1874 the British attempted, without success, to seize Asante; they were however able to take Kumasi and exact a huge ransom for it in gold; and the vast Asante empire shrunk to the Asante and Brong-Ahafo regions of modern Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Fantes too had been uniting and organiz- ing, and in 1868 formed themselves into a confederacy under a king-president with a 15,000 strong army, a civil service and a constitution. In 1871 the British arrested the Fante leader for ‘treason”. They were however freed a month later, but the con- federacy never recovered from the blow. In 1874 the British for in Mali established the British Crown Colony of the Gold Coast, “legalizing” a colonial policy which had in fact been in force since the signing of the bond between the coastal Chiefs and the British in 1844, despite the fact that the Chiefs never ceded sovereignty to the British under the bond, though some of them allowed British intervention in judicial matters.
The Asante and Fante traditions of education and organization, and their urge for autonomy, remained throughout the years of British colonial rule. The Gold Coast was regarded as the showpiece of Britain’s colonies: the richest, the best educated, the first to have an elected majority in the legislature and with the best organized native authorities. The Gold Coast riots in 1948, which marked the start of the people’s agitation for independence, were instrumental in changing British policy and drove home the point that colonialism had no future.
But a long struggle still lay ahead - and the man who was the catalyst of that struggle was Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
Born in 1909, Dr. Kwarne Nkrumah trained as a teacher at Achimota College in Ghana and then in the United States and Britain, where he obtained his degrees.
He became prominent as a leader of West African organizations in London and was invited to return to Ghana as general secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention. In 1949 he broke away to from the Convention People’s Party with the slogan Self-Government Now.
In February 1951 the party swept to victory in the polls and became the leaders of Government business in the colony’ first African government. The Gold Coast had become the first British colony in Africa to achieve self-government.
On 6 March 1957 Ghana achieved independence - again, the first British colony in Africa to do so - with Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as its first Prime Minister. On 1st July, 1960 it became a republic with Kwame Nkrumah as its first President.
Ghana spearheaded the political advancement of Africa and Dr. Nkrumah laid the foundations for the unity later expressed in the formation of the Organizations of African Unity (OAU). He was a firm supporter of the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned movement.
On 24th February 1966, the government of Dr. Nkrumah was overthrown by the Ghana armed forces and the police. A National Liberation Council (NLC), headed by Lt. General Joseph Arthur Ankrah, was formed to administer the country.
General Ankrah was removed from office in April 1969 and Lt. General Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa became the Chairman of the NLC, which later gave way to a three-man Presidential Commission with General Afrifa as chairman. The Commission paved the way for a general election in 1969 which brought into power the Progress Party government, with Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia as Prime Minister and Mr. Edward Akufo Addo as president.
The Ghana armed forces again took over the reins of gov- ernment on 13th January 1972, and Colonel (later General) Ignatius Kutu Acheampong became the Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC). The name of the NRC was later changed to the Supreme Military Council (SMC). General Acheampong was replaced by General F.W.K. Akuffo in a palace coup in July 1978.
The SMC was overthrown on 4th June 1979, in a mass revolt of junior officers and men of the Ghana armed forces. Following the uprising, an Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) was set up under the chairmanship of Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings. The AFRC carried out a house-cleaning exercise in the armed forces and society at large, while restoring a sense of moral responsibility and the principle of accountability and probity in public life. The AFRC was in office for only three months and, in pursuance of a program already set in motion before the uprising, allowed genera elections to be held. On 24th September 1979, the AFRC handed over power to the civilian administration of Dr. Hilla Limann, leader of the People’s National .Party which had won the elections.
In the wake of the continuing downward plunge of the country, the Limann administration was overthrown on 31St
December 1981, ushering in a new revolutionary era of far-reach ing reforms and rehabilitation at all levels. Flt.Lt.Rawlings became the Chairman of a nine-member Provisional National Defence Ruling Council, (PNDC) with
Secretaries of State in charge of the various ministries being responsible to the PNDC.
Immediately on assumption of office, the PNDC set up a National Commission for Democracy (NCD) charged with formulating a programme for the more effective realisation of true democracy. The Govemment of the PNDC also provided for the establishment of elected District Assemblies to bring local government to the grassroots.
Ghana’s Foreign Policy before Military Overthrow
Ghana upon her independent in 1957, unlike Nigeria, committed or made the center of her foreign policy to benefit her neighbor’s nations in Africa, which is “Africa Must Unit” as her foreign policy in Africa. Looking at the symbols of her nation, a star and the name black stars of Ghana as a name of her national team pursued a policy of freeing other Africa nations still under the apron of colonialism.
Her foreign policy since independence has been characterized by a commitment to the principles and ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism as first enunciated by Kwame Nkrumah in the early 1 960s. For Nkrumah, nonalignment meant complete independence from the policies and alliances of both East and West and support for a worldwide union of so-called nonaligned nations as a counter to both East and West power blocs. PanAfricanism, by contrast, was a specifically African policy that envisioned the liberation of African peoples from Western colonialism and the eventual economic and political unity of the African continent. The PNDC, like most of its predecessors, made serious and consistent attempts at the practical application of these ideals and principles, and its successor, the NDC government, promises to follow in the PNDC’s footsteps. Under the NDC, Ghana remains committed to the principle of nonalignment in world politics. Ghana is also opposed to interference in the internal affairs of both small and large countries. This is a departure from Nkrumah’s foreign policy approach; Nkrumah was frequently accused of subverting African regimes, such as Togo and Côte d’Ivoire, which he considered ideologically conservative. The NDC government, like the PNDC before it, believes in the principle of self determination, including the right to political independence and the right of people to pursue their economic and social development free from external interference. Another feature of NDC rule carried over from the PNDC era is faithfulness to what a leading scholar of Africa has called “one of the most successful neoclassical economic reform efforts supported by the IMF and the World Bank.”
The broad objectives of Ghana’s foreign policy thus include maintaining friendly relations and cooperation with all countries that desire such cooperation, irrespective of ideological considerations, on the basis of mutual respect and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs. Africa and its liberation and unity are naturally the cornerstones of Ghana’s foreign policy. As a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), NDC policy is to adhere faithfully to the OAU Charter.
Another important principle of Ghana’s foreign policy involves the closest possible cooperation with neighboring countries with which the people of Ghana share cultural history, ties of blood, and economics. The results have included various bilateral trade and economic agreements and permanent joint commissions involving Ghana and its immediate neighbors, sometimes in the face of latent ideological and political differences and mutual suspicion, as well as numerous reciprocal state visits by high-ranking officials. These measures have contributed significantly to sub regional cooperation, development, and the reduction of tension.
The Military Uproar In Ghana
For every action there must reaction. And when there is reaction there will be an effect. In Ghana like every other nations in the world especially the Africa states, the reaction and the situation prevalent in Ghana under its first Republic in 1960 with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as its first president and former prime minister caused the Kaki boys and other military and Para-military boys with guns to move into action of challenging the existing authority and its policies.
At the appointment of Nkrumah as the president of the Republic, Economy starts to turn bad and Ghana’s debt is rising at high speed. Nkrumah started a great number of expensive and ambitions projects, but most of them give no direct profit in return. The more basic Agricultural sector to as reflection the end of the optimistic years results in a change in the political climate. He suspended the democracy by suspending the constitution Ghana officially becomes a one – party state and Nkmmah gains the power of a dictator. Criticized by the west, he turned to the Soviet Union and other communist countries. The economy went out of control and the population is getting poorer. Nkmmah turned against any opposition and arrested and imprisoned many without count order. With this political situation, injustice and impurity, dictatorship of Nkmmah, the men of Kaki was provoked into action having termed and justified his government with official corruption, on February 24th, 1966 the first coup ( without blood – shed) took and ended the rule of Nkmmah’s government. This development brought the first military Head of State of Ghana, lieutenant General Joseph Ankrah of National Liberation headed council by Joseph Ankarah after 3 years 37 days handed over power to an elected civilian, Dr kofi Busia of progress party. Under his region, the economic reformation and transformation for proper development expected of him dropped down totally in 1971, also his government devaluated the cid: leading to increase prince and general unrest on the population. With this unfavorable economic situation prevalent under his regain in the second republic, the military boys throws sign of lack of confidence in his government and by so doing, in January 13,1972, the military stroke again under the National reclamation council with colonel Ignatius Acheampong as the second head of state of Ghana.
One of the noticeable characteristics of the military group is the clash o f ideas and the desire to test power loy all means. This played a role very well in Ghana especially in second. Evidence is that apart the success of Acheampond as Head of State of Ghana, there was another group in July 5th 1978 headed by lieutenant – general Fred Akufor of supreme military council and also another in June 4th 1979 headed by fight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings under Armed focus revolution council, on 24th September 1979, power was handed over to a civilian elected president, Hilla Limann of people’s national party but his government castled only 2 years and, 98 days before he was deposed by another military Junter headed by Flight lieutenant Jerry John Rowlings on the assertion that ‘‘ official corruption has eroded public confidence in the government and has tarnished the image of the armed forces’’ Rowlings also charged that Syrian and Lebanese business men living in Ghana has gained control of the country’s economy at the experience of the of the African majority. With this he justified his action of coup.
It was on these grounds and practical modes that military became involved in Ghana’s administration and government from 1966 to the end of the third Republic in January 1993 with the last military Head of Estate that handed over to himself as civilian president by election in the fourth Republic (Jerry John Rowlings).
3. List of Ghana’s Military Heads State from First to last
First Republic 1966 – 1969
Under this Republic Ghana had two Military rulers ( Joseph Ankra and Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa), but we are discussing only Lieutenant Joseph because Brigadier Afrifa did not made much achievement as his office lasted only 154 days likewise others in the second and third republic. So we I limit myself in discussing about only those that made significant contributions in the foreign policy of Ghana under the periods in invoke
i. Lieutenant-General Joseph Ankrah
Born on the 18th of August 1915 in Accra. He studied in military defense academy and in 1961 was promoted to Brigadier and out of excellent performance he was promoted to major General and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff.
When the drum beating of the military boys in 1966 resulted to power change ever, and following his position in military rank, Joseph Ankrah, however became the Head of State and chairman of the National Lberation council. This situation brought him to power as the next in command after Dr. Kwame Nkmmah and the first military head of State of Ghana in the republic. His office lasted for 3 years and 37 day and he was deposed on April 2, 1969 and was succeeded by Brigadier Akwasi Africa on September 1969.
ii. Brigadier Akwasi Afrifa
Born in 1936.
When the Army of National liberation council took over, for that three years, Akwasi Afrifa and others who were members of that government went a series of rapid promotion Afrifa raised from major to lieutenant general. He took over office on 2 April 1969 when Joseph Ankrah was accused of a bribery sandal with the Businessman (Frances Nzeribe) as a matter of fact this was the only opportunity Akwasi Afrifa had under the National Liberation Council as Ghana’s Head of State that lasted for only 154days before matching in to second republic with another election
Second Republic 1972 - 1979
iii. General Ignatius Acheampong
Having seen the political challenges facing Ghana and as a witness of the two coup d’etats in the first Republic, he dreamed of presenting his own ideas and transformation. To him, having attained such status and rank in the army, with the red eye and not becoming comfortable with the prevalent situation in Ghana became provoked and spurred by action. He opened the military door administration in the second republic.
General Ignatius Acheampong was a military head of state of Ghana, who ruled from 13th January 1972 to 5th July 1978, when he was deposed in a place coup.
Acheampong was born to catholic parents of Ashanti origin in September 1931. He attended the Roman Catholic schools at Trabuom and the St. Peter’s school at Kumasi, both in the Ashanti Kegion of Ghana. He was commissioned in the Ghana Army in 1959, and served as part a member of the U.N peace keepers during Congo crisis. He led a coup d’etat to overthrow the democratically elected government of the progr5ess party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busia on 13th January 1972. he became head of state and chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was late transformed into the supreme military council on 9th October 1975, with colonel Acheampong (Promoted to general) as its chairman.
As Ghana launched in to the new republic (second Republic) in September 1969, the change of music with tone of violence continued that made them to have three presidents within three years, the unsuitable ground gave lieutenant General Acheampong the opportunity to overthrow the elected president under the progressive party. He led a coup d’etat on the 13th of January 1972 which overthrowed Dr. Kofi Busia and took over power as Ghana’s Military Head of state under the National Redemption Council. His administration lasted from 1972-1978 before he was deposed.
iv. Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo He was born on the 21st of March 1937 at Akropong in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He the Ghana’s Army in 1957 and was trained in the Royal Military Academy. In 1975 he was appointed a member of supreme military council. in 1978, he led a place coup to overthrow the then head of state general Acheampong. His government lived very short from 5th July 1978 – 4th June 1979 (just a year and 28 days) when he was deposed and overthrown by junior rank officer J.J. Rawlings.
Third Republic (1979 – 1981)
v. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
He was a very young ambitious man that brought a lot of changes in the Ghana’s government. He fought very well and to the last. Born in 1947 he led the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council to overthrow the government of Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo in 4th June 1979 under the supreme military council. His military regime under this second republic did not last long only but 112 day (i.e. from 4 June 1979-24 September 1979) when he handed over to a democratically elected president Hilla Liman from people’s National party.
His dream to change things in Ghana continued to blow the writtle of championship for him which compelled him to lead a coup d’etat in 1981 that deposed the government of Hilla Limann. This move brought the young man flight lieutenant Jerry John Rowlings to power again as military head of state in 1981 in the third republic and as a matter of fact he became the last military head of state of Ghana as his office lasted from 31st December 1981-7 January 1993. Also he became the only head of state that stayed 11 years in the government of Ghana though it did not get him certified as he letter became the president of Ghana.
4. Foreign Policies of Ghana under Military Region
In this era, the heads of states consentrated much in domestic policies so as to change the degrading state of Ghana in all areas that was own looked by the presidents and prime ministers and also to restore confidence in the administration.
Also many of the head of states were short lived in office and their stay was characterized with the way forward to return government to civilian rule.
Among the heads of states that ruled Ghana, we are going to discuss three of than that had time to have an international relation which includes:
1. Lieutenant General Joseph Ankrah
2. General Ignatius Acheampong
3. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rowlings
Under Joseph Ankrah, when he mounted office in 1966 and Kwame Nkrumah was sent to exile the new leadership accepted to play Ghana’s traditional role of liberation in the affairs of African continent and continued with the anti-colonial struggle in Africa. Nkruma’s foreign policy was accepted but the idea of Ghana being the initiator for African and third world leadership was dropped. They stopped using their finance to pursue those dreams of Nkrumah
Also the government under Joseph Ankrah had a political foreign policy that terminated its relation with Guinea because its president Sekou Toure did not recognize the government of Joseph Ankrah and granted Kwame Nkrumah the same right of a president in his country.
The government in order not to be isolated instituted a foreign policy of friendly relations with neighboring countries by opening the borders with cote d’ lvoire, Togo and Burkina Faso. Ghana under Ankrah in a bid to maintain his foreign policy of neighborliness and unity among African countries which is the idea of Nkruma he mediated over Nigeria and Biafra in 1966.
The government also embarked on a pro-western European foreign policy by expanding relations with the market economics of Western Europe and North America. Under general Acheampong he instituted a policy of operation feed yourself (OYF) and Operation Feed your industries. This policy happen to be a domestic policy but it played a role of foreign policy because through this medium Ghana under Acheampond stopped the dependency of importantion from North America and Asia which help to shape their economy.
Also under the operation feed your industry the government of Acheampond instituted a foreign policy of indegenalizing all foreign companies owned by its and other European countries. With agreement with U.S and others, the foreign companies operating in Ghana transferred authority to Ghana government and some was subsidized to boast the economy of Ghana, example the African Manganese company, African Timber and firewood.
The government also embarked on a foreign policy of debt free from World Band, Washington D.C and USA and borrowing stopped totally during this regime.
Ghana under Lieutenant John Jerry experienced a new total economic revival called “Economic Recovery Programm (EPR)” he had a foreign policy to use the World Bank and international monetary fund to improve the lives of Ghanaians. Through the support of World Bank and international monetary fund, the pragmatic economic program reversed Ghana’s collapsed economy and subsequently revived the financing health of the country and this move restored the international confidence in Ghana.
Ghana’s Economic foreign policy under Jerry John Rawlings made relations with countries like Western nations, Asia and African countries. His economic investment tours in these countries boasted the Ghana’s economy that today Ghana is economically rich.
Summarily, to solve the increasing demand for electricity, Ghana’s foreign policy include its relation with Togo Dahomey. The two countries under Acheampong commissioned the Togo-Dahomey transmission line which made it possible for the two to enjoy electricity supply from the Akosombo hydro-electric dam.
All these and more were the achievements and foreign policies of Ghana under the military starting from 1966-1993 when the last person (Jerry John Rowlings) transferred to democratically elected president in 1992.
Ghana yesterday, Ghana today and Ghana tomorrow in terms of political and economic development was as a result of military overthrown in Ghana from 1966 – 1990. in as much it doesn’t ensure democracy and freedom of human right it is still helpful. The situation of Ghana before this time did not postulate hope or ensure a good level ground but the re- awaking and the reaction of the Army or Karki boys with gun and red eye brought hope and light to Ghana and other West African countries.
The bloodshed in Ghana all through the military junters became a blood of serice for good governance and economic development. It is obvious that in a course of such magnitude and promising further many things are expected come up which includes positive and negative. For power to change of hands by force somebody go down, office must shake and there must be exchange of power, might and prestige.
What happened in Ghana or the military overthrown and their policies presented to Ghana the further it is enjoying today, the transformation, change of government from military to democracy, and back to military with different ideologies and policies ( foreign and domestic) was a good one that should be enjoyed and emulated by other nations. In my opinion, coup d’ etat should be encouraged if their will be absence of bloodshed in it and promise of handover when the purpose of such mission is accomplished, because Ghana became politically sanitized by the reaction made by the Army in different occasions that later ended up in civilian handover in 1992 by Jerry John Rowlings former military Head of state and Heroically president at the end of the military rule that ushered in fourth Republic of Ghana.
General Ignatius Acheampong was a military head of state of Ghana, who ruled from 13th January 1972 to 5th July 1978, when he was deposed in a place coup.
Acheampong was born to catholic parents of Ashanti origin. He attended the Roman Catholic schools at Trabuom and the St. Peter’s school at Kumasi, both in the Ashanti Kegion of Ghana. He was commissioned in the Ghana Army in 1959, and served as part a member of the U.N peace keepers during Congo crisis. He led a coup d’etat to overthrow the democratically elected government of the progr5ess party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busia on 13th January 1972. he became head of state and chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was late transformed into the supreme military council on 9th October 1975, with colonel Acheampong (Promoted to general) as its chairman.
v E. F Okoli, Concepts in international relation and politics…… The dynamic of diplomacy, 2003
v James Rosanau, International Politics and Foreign Policy ,The Free Press N.Y, 1969
v Ghana’s Foreign Policy Journal, 2003
v Ghana’s Foreign Policy Journal, 2008
v Journal of Pan African Studies, vol 2, no 3, March 2008
v Kwasi Adu, History of Ghana’s Foreign Policy, 1996
v Edward Luttwak, A practical Handbook
v Advanced Oxford Dictionary, 6th Edition
By Cletus Chinedu Agubosim