Just In: Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Alexander Erskine passes on at 84
Information reaching the editorial desk of newstodaygh.com can confirm that one of the illustrious sons of Ghana has been called home to join his ancestors this morning.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Alexander Erskine, the first Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has died at the age of 84 according to family sources.
Lieutenant General Emmanuel Alexander Erskine was a retired Ghanaian soldier and politician born on January 19, 1937 at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
He was a former Chief of Army Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces.
He was also a former commander of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine trained in various military institutions in the United Kingdom.
He had telecommunications training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in England, completing in 1960.
He was also at the Staff College, Camberley in 1968. He also trained at the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1968 and 1972.
Lt. Gen. Erskine joined the army in March 1958 with intake 10 of the Regular Officers Special Training School (ROST 10), the predecessor to the Ghana Military Academy (GMA), and was commissioned at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in December 1960.
He was posted to the Signals Regiment of the Ghana Army in 1961 and served in various capacities within the Ghana Armed Forces.
He was Commanding Officer of the Ghana Signals Regiment and later Director of Communications with the Ghana Ministry of Defence.
He later became Director for Operations and Planning at the same Ministry from 1971 to 1972.
He was the Chief of Army Staff briefly between January and February 1972. He again held the same position from February 1973 to April 1974.
His military career span a period of 26 years from 1960 to 1986.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force Two (UNEF 2) from 1974 to 1976 in Egypt.
He was then appointed as the Chief of Staff of UNTSO in Israel between January 1976 and April 1978.
He subsequently became the first commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) between 1978 and 1981.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine again occupied the position of Chief of Staff of UNTSO and was also the United Nations Secretary General’s Representative for Matters relating to UN Peacekeeping Operations in the Middle East from February 1981 to May 1986.
Preceding his UN days, however, Lt. Gen. Erskine was the Director General, Operations and Planning of the Ghana Army when General Acheampong staged his coup in 1972 and made him the Army Commander and a member of the Supreme Military Council, (SMC I) albeit briefly.
He left for the war college – the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) for a year and returned back to his position as the Army Commander in 1973.
He then left the army command in 1974 when the UN requested that a Ghanaian fill the position of Chief of Staff for United Nations Emergency Force Two (UNEF 2) established after September 1976 following the Yom Kippur War of October 6, 1973.
There, he worked under Lt. Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo as the Chief of Staff and Second in Command, and was later posted from UNEF to Jerusalem to head the UNTSO as the Chief of Staff (Commander) and then became the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in 1981.
Life After UNIFIL
Lt. Gen. Erskine completed his work at UNIFIL when he was posted back to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) to his former position as the Chief of Staff in February 1981 and given an additional job as the SG’s Representative for peacekeeping operations in the Middle East, and he retired from the army in 1986.
In 1992, he contested the election with four other candidates, former President Jerry John Rawlings (NDC – Progressive Alliance Party), Albert Adu Boahen, New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Darko, National Independence Party (NIP) and Dr Hilla Limann, People’s National Convention (PNC).
Lt. Gen. Erskine was one of the founding members of the People’s Heritage Party (PHP).
He was the party’s presidential candidate during the 1992 Ghanaian presidential election where he came fifth with 1.7% of the total votes counted.
The PHP later merged with the National Independence Party (NIP) to form the People’s Convention Party (PCP) in 1993.
The National Reconciliation Commission
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine was one of the nine (9) members of the National Reconciliation Commission which were appointed by the President John Kufuor in consultation with the Council of State of Ghana.
The commission was to investigate human rights abuses committed during the five (5) military regimes which had ruled Ghana since independence.
Lt. Gen Emmanuel Erskine died at the 37 military hospital on Thursday, May 6, 2021 after a short illness and he is survived by a wife and eight (8) children.
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May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.