Humanity, bravery, self-control, and conviction of purpose are some of the few traits that make a good soldier, and for over three decades that he served in the Ghana Armed Forces, General Kwame Anyidoho exhibited such beyond reproach.
Born on July 13, 1940, General Anyidoho graduated from the US Marine Staff College in Virginia and the Ghana Military Academy and was commissioned into the Ghanaian army’s Signal Corps in 1965.
He has since served in various capacities in the Ghana Armed Forces, including a Commanding Officer of the Ghana Military Academy and Commander of the Northern Command of the Army, as well as numerous UN peacekeeping missions.
Despite his sterling record on the domestic military front, the retired senior officer is best remembered for his exploits in international peacekeeping missions, especially during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
General Anyidoho at the time led a Ghanaian contingent deployed to serve in UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) under Canadian General Roméo Dallaire.
General Anyidoho, who had experience in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Cambodia, and Liberia, served as General Dallaire’s Deputy Commander in addition to his role as head of the Ghanaian contingent.
In a book titled “Shake Hands With the Devil” written by General Roméo Dallaire, he singled in various instances General Anyidoho and his men for plaudit for their courage and resourcefulness and goes on to give them credit for sheltering thousands of Tutsis and Hutu moderates, saving them from certain death.
Beyond that, General Anyidoho is more remembered for his act of bravery which recently saw the current President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, honouring him and his colleague Major General Joseph Narh Kwame Adinkrah (retired).
During the height of the Rwanda Genocide, the Belgium government decided to withdraw its UNAMIR quota from the peacekeeping operation in the country. The decision by Belgium which had the most operational numbers was a result of the assassination of ten peacekeepers, on 7 April 1994.
This caused the United Nations leadership to instruct General Romeo Dallaire to prepare to withdraw the UNAMIR. However, when he consulted his deputy, General Anyidoho informed Dallaire of his decision to maintain his Ghanaian contingent in Rwanda to save the lives of the under-siege Tutsis.
This single act of bravery led to thousands of Rwandan lives being saved at a time when the entire world left a civil war thorn country to its fate.
On Monday, July 4, 2022, President Kagame in Kigali honoured retired Generals Anyidoho and Adinkrah for their outstanding bravery back in 1994.
President Kagame “on behalf of a grateful nation” decorated the Generals with Rwanda’s highest award the “National Order of Bravery.”
In a speech during the ceremony, President Kagame underscored that Ghanaian peacekeepers remain the only ones who stayed in the nation’s greatest time of need. The president said the bravery of Ghanaian peacekeepers under the command of then Lt Col Adinkrah the Battalion Commander, and the Deputy Force Commander, then Brigadier General Anyidoho saved thousands of Rwandans.
General Ahyidoho who is currently in retirement has authored a book titled “Guns Over Kigali” and has also contributed to several books on international peacekeeping.
In his book, General Anyidoho who is appreciative of his men for surviving the dark days of the Rwandan genocide underscores the role of teamwork.