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Kwame Nkrumah’s presidential guard is dead

Col. David Gbon Zanlerigu (retd)

The presidential guard to Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, is dead. Col David Gbon Zanlerigu (retd) died aged almost 85 on Thursday, May 4, 2016 at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital after a short illness.
He is survived by a wife and 12 children.


Col. Zanlerigu (retd) was born on July 1,1931 at Zanlerigu in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.

He was the presidential guard of Dr Nkrumah until the February 24,1966 coup during the First Republic.

He was on duty at the Flagstaff House when the coup occurred while Dr Nkrumah was away in Hanoi.

As a professional, well-trained and disciplined soldier, he stood and defended the nation to the best of his military tactics till he ran out of ammunitions and in the interest of innocent people losing their lives, he had to surrender to the dismay of the coup makers who knew very well the kind of person they were dealing with.

Political party activities

After the coup, Col. Zanlerigu was on the quiet until the ban on political party activities was lifted in 1979 when Nkrumaists forces re-grouped under the People’s National Party(PNP) with Dr Hilla Limann as the presidential candidate.

The former presidential guard contested on the PNP ticket as the parliamentary candidate for the Nabdam constituency and won the seat.

When Dr Limann subsequently formed his cabinet, Col. Zanlerigu was appointed the Minister of Works and Housing.

He was later earmarked for the position of Minister of Defence but Dr Limann’s government was overthrown on December 31, 1981.

As a politician, when the country was again returning to constitutional rule in 1992, the former Presidential Guard and others formed the People’s National Convention (PNC) with Dr Limann again as the presidential candidate.

He became national chairman of the party from 1998-1999.

He remained a committed member of the party until his death.by-graphic

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