General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, born on September 22, 1931, in Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana), was a Ghanaian military officer and statesman who served as the head of state of Ghana from 1972 to 1978.
Gen Acheampong received his early education at the Roman Catholic schools in Gold Coast. He later joined the Ghana Military Academy, where he trained as an officer. His military career flourished, and he rose through the ranks, gaining recognition for his leadership abilities.
In 1972, Gen Acheampong led a military coup that overthrew the government of Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia and established the National Redemption Council (NRC). As the chairman of the NRC, he assumed the position of head of state and held significant control over the country's governance.
During his time in power, Gen Acheampong pursued a policy of nationalization and economic reform. He implemented the "Operation Feed Yourself" campaign, which aimed to make Ghana self-sufficient in food production. His government also introduced price controls and state intervention in the economy.
Gen Acheampong's leadership style was characterized by a mix of populism and authoritarianism. While his policies resonated with the masses and sought to address social and economic inequalities, there were also concerns about the suppression of dissent and curtailment of civil liberties.
In 1975, Gen Acheampong transformed the NRC into the Supreme Military Council (SMC) and appointed himself as the head of the council. However, growing dissatisfaction with his regime's economic policies, coupled with mounting inflation and corruption, led to public discontent.
In 1978, a successful counter-coup led by General F.W.K. Akuffo ousted Gen Acheampong from power. He was subsequently arrested and faced charges related to corruption and mismanagement of state resources.
After a period of trial and legal proceedings, Gen Acheampong was found guilty of corruption and executed on June 16, 1979.
Gen Acheampong's tenure as head of state remains a significant and controversial period in Ghana's history. His policies and actions continue to evoke mixed opinions, with some acknowledging his efforts to address social inequalities, while others criticize his authoritarian tendencies and economic mismanagement.
Date of Birth: Sep 22, 31
Place of Birth: Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana)