A Lady-in-waiting who served former first Lady Fathia Nkrumah has revealed chilling events she experienced after Dr Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka in 1966.
Madam Emma Florence Yaa Adinyira Amedahe, speaking to Benjamin Akakpo in an exclusive interview to be aired on JoyNews’ AM Show, Monday, June 14, said she was abused when the military took over the Flagstaff House.
According to her, she was stamped, slapped, burnt with a lighter and her belongings stolen by the military men who raided the residence after the coup d’état.
“The Coup cut short so many things, so the one who made the coup, General Kotoka, I don’t like to hear his name at all. Some of us suffered in that Coup. For instance, I was the only woman who stayed with the men in the Statehouse. I was slim by then, I looked like a little girl, and not how I am looking today.
“So when the soldiers drove to the Statehouse, they went to every room and brought all the workers and left their wives. I was the only woman worker. They beat me and the men workers mercilessly and kicked me too. Even when they slap me and I fell down they kicked me as if I were a football.
“They stamped my back, my waist and my lower abdomen. Ah! I suffered,” she exclaimed.
“One of the soldiers lit a cigarette with his lighter and then used the burning end to burn me. I was shouting, he slapped me again and told me not to shout. I really suffered.
She went on to indicate that “whilst some were beating us, some were also in our rooms packing our belongings.
“They took everything from us. They march you to your room and make you carry everything they see on your own head make sure you dropped them in their vehicle,” she said.
She stated that she was traumatised after the incident adding that “I have never seen a coup before, I heard about the Congo Coup and I witnessed one in Egypt too. That’s all I know, but when I saw this one it was terrible. I had diarrhea even I took water because I was afraid”.
Madam Emma served as a servant under Dr Osagyefo Nkrumah for 6 years before the coup d’état on 21st February 1966. She was recommended to the then First Family by Governor-General, Lord Listowell who served the country between 1958 and 1960.
Recalling interesting moments she had during her stay with the Nkrumahs, Madam Emma noted that her relationship with them was a friendly one.
“Madam took me to the children’s room the first day I reported for work, she hadn’t assigned me to anything yet. I bought storybooks for their 2 children, Gamal and Samuel. By then, they had a nurse who was catering for the children. After one month, Fathia asked me to be in charge of her room, that’s cleaning. She started drawing me closer to herself. When her hairstylist came she will call me to help him. Her hairstylist was a man by the name of Joseph.
“One day, Joseph finished styling her hair but madam didn’t like it she undid everything and later asked me to do it. She appreciated what I did and asked Joseph not to do her hair again because she liked it when I did it for her. She later asked Joseph to train me, he trained me for 3 months,” she added.
In addition, the former lady-in-waiting disclosed that the late Fathia used to confide in her to the extent that she told her (Emma) that Nkrumah was a womaniser.
“We used to talk, she even told me how her husband was treating her. I went to Egypt with her so I know a lot of her family members. Fathia saw me as a sister, and I was also like her sister. She once told me Osagyefo didn’t like her and that he was a womaniser,” she said.
Despite this revelation, she held the view that Kwame Nkrumah wasn’t a dictator but rather a jovial and non-autocratic leader.
“As for me, I never saw Nkrumah as a dictator, maybe outside, he looked like one but we that he was working with, he loved us, he never spoke English with us. He was always speaking Fante to us. And he loved laughing and playing. So I know him as someone who plays, he is not a dictator as people see him,” she stated.
On February 24, 1966, while Nkrumah was on a state visit to North Vietnam and China, his government was overthrown after a Ghanaian military officer, Major General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka who was a member of the ruling National Liberation Council (NLC) which came to power in Ghana in a military coup d’état.