Ignatius Kutu Acheampong

Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.jpg
6th Head of state of Ghana*
In office
13 January 1972 – 5 July 1978
Deputy None – (1972 – Oct 1975)
Lt. Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo (1975–1978)
Preceded by Edward Akufo-Addo
Succeeded by Lt. Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo
Personal details
Born (1931-09-23)23 September 1931
Gold Coast
Died 16 June 1979(1979-06-16) (aged 47)
Accra, Ghana
Spouse(s) Faustina Acheampong
Profession Soldier
Religion Christian
Military service
Allegiance  Ghana
Branch/service  Ghana Army
Years of service 1951–1978
Rank General
Unit Royal West African Frontier Force
Battles/wars Congo Crisis
*Head of State of a military government

Ignatius Kutu Acheampong (/əˈæmˈpɒŋ/ ə-CHAM-PONG; 23 September 1931 – 16 June 1979) was a military head of state of Ghana who ruled from 13 January 1972 to 5 July 1978, when he was deposed in a palace coup. He was later executed by firing squad.[1]

Early life

Acheampong was born to Catholic parents of Ashanti origin. He attended the Roman Catholic schools at Trabuom and the St Peter's school (also Catholic) at Kumasi, both in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. He attended the then Central College of Commerce at Agona Swedru in the Central Region of Ghana.[2] He was commissioned in the Ghana Army in 1959, and served as a member of the UN peacekeepers during the Congo Crisis.[citation needed]


Acheampong led a bloodless coup d'état to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Progress Party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busia on 13 January 1972.[3] He became head of state and chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), which was later transformed into the Supreme Military Council on 9 October 1975, with Colonel Acheampong (promoted to General) as its chairman.[4][1]

Notable historical changes and events introduced or implemented in Ghana during the period under Acheampong include: the change from the imperial to the metric system of measurement, change from driving on the left to right-hand traffic in "Operation Keep Right", "Operation Feed Yourself" (a programme aimed at developing self-reliance in agriculture), "National Reconstruction" (aimed at promoting employment and skill for workers), face-lift projects in cities, and the reconstruction/upgrading of stadia to meet international standards.[citation needed]

There were, however, widespread accusations of both the encouragement and endorsement of corruption in the country under his rule.[5]

A few months after Acheampong came to power, on 27 April 1972, former president Kwame Nkrumah died in exile. Power in Ghana had changed hands several times since Nkrumah was overthrown, and Acheampong allowed Nkrumah's body to be returned and buried on July 9, 1972 at the village of his birth, Nkroful, Ghana.


Acheampong was court martialed and executed along with General Edward Kwaku Utuka by firing squad on 16 June 1979, ten days prior to the execution of two other former heads of state, Akwasi Afrifa and Fred Akuffo, and senior military officers Joy Amedume, George Boakye, Roger Joseph Felli and Robert Kotei, following the 4 June military uprising that brought Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings and the AFRC to power who were young officers.[6] The AFRC brought Ghana back to civilian rule in September 1979.[1]

Personal life

Acheampong was married to Faustina Acheampong. His grandson is an American football player Charlie Peprah. His other Grandson is 6’9 Fulham FC striker Yakini Acheampong[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Ignatius Kutu Acheampong | chief of state, Ghana". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  2. ^ John S. Pobee (1987). "Religion and Politics in Ghana, 1972 -1978. Some Case Studies from the rule of General I. K. Acheampong". Journal of Religion in Africa XVII (1). BRILL. 17 (1): 44–62. doi:10.2307/1581075. JSTOR 1581075.
  3. ^ "The Security Services" (PDF). Report of the National Reconciliation Commission Volume 4 Chapter 1. Ghana government. October 2004. p. 36. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  4. ^ Times, William Borders Special to The New York (14 January 1972). "Ghana's Parliament Is Dissolved by Leaders of Coup". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  5. ^ El-Alawa, Razak. "Remembering General Kutu Acheampong (1) – Graphic Online". Graphic Online. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Review of Petitions E. 4th June, 1979 – 23rd September 1979 (AFRC REGIME)" (PDF). Report of the National Reconciliation Commission Volume 2 Part 1 Chapter 6. Ghana government. October 2004. p. 176. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  7. ^ Crouse, Karen (6 February 2011). "To the Super Bowl via Ghana: A Packer Family's Journey". The New York Times. p. SP1.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Akufo-Addo
Head of state of Ghana
Succeeded by
Fred Akuffo
Head of state
Preceded by
Kofi Busia
Prime Minister
Preceded by
J. Kwesi Lamptey
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Joseph Henry Mensah
Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs
Succeeded by
Amon Nikoi
Preceded by
T.D. Brodie Mends
Minister for Information
Succeeded by
Colonel C.R. Tachie Menson