A junior air force officer proclaimed himself chairman of Ghana's new revolutionary council today and warned in a broadcast over Ghanaian radio that anyone threatening the council "will be shot,"
Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings, in a statement apparently designed to signal the success of yesterday's coup, underlined his determination to cleanse the Ghanaian government and military of corruption reported to be widespread at all levels.
In his 10-minute broadcast, Rawlings repeated earlier pledges from his spokesmen that elections to return the country to civilian rule will take place as scheduled June 18.
But, again drawing attention to his anticorruption aims, he added: "Those of you who will be elected . . . If you think you will be riding in fancy cars, you are sadly mistaken."
The statement, monitored here in neighboring Ivory Coast, gave no detailed explanation, however, of what changes Rawlings and his fellow council members plan for Ghana. The 92,100-square-mile former British colony, about midway up Africa's Atlantic-coast, has been under military rule since 1972.
A Ghanaian Army captain, in the same broadcast, read the names of those on Rawlings' 10-man Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. Most were sergeants, lance corporals or corporals, with only one officer of commander rank.
Rawlings first won notice when he tried to seize power in an abortive coup May 15. He was thrown in jail by the military ruler, Gen. Frederick Akuffo, but was freed Sunday night by his low-ranking followers. He led them in confusing and at times fierce fighting Monday.
In his broadcast this evening, Rawlings pledged not to "molest" officials of the deposed Akuffo government.
"We still need them, whether we like them or hate them," he said.
Rawlings' takeover marks the second overthrow of a military government by disgruntled junior officers in the bankrupt West African country in less than a year. In earlier Ghana Radio broadcasts today, monitored in Togo, the new rulers said the ousted Akuffo government had thrown Ghana economy into a shambles and "in these circumstances, we have no alternative but to take over the administration of the country."
Rawlings, in a statement after the coup attempt last month, reportedly attacked Lebanese and Syrian businessmen in Ghana who own large amounts of commercial property, run many light industries and own shops. Rawlings accused them of "ruining" Ghana's economy, a charge that has been leveled against the Lebanese-Syrian community by successive Ghanaian governments.
In the same speech, Rawlings also reportedly accused Akuffo's government of economic corruption that could only be eradicated by a "blood-bath" such as occurred in Ethiopia with the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.
Information reaching here was that the rebels, backed by military aircraft, fought a hard battle for the radio station during the takeover. No information on the number of casualties was available as communications with Accra were cut and airports and border entry points closed.
The new rulers also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Accra and warned in a broadcast that any act of lawlessness "would not be tolerated and would be ruthlessly crushed."
In July 1978, Akuffo with other Ghanaian Army officers led a bloodless coup against their commanding officer, military head of state Ignatius Acheampong, ostensibly because of economic difficulties and government corruption. Acheampong had overthrown Ghana's last elected prime minister, the late Koffi Busia, in a 1972 army coup, also for economic corruption.
The ousted government was scheduled to hand over power to a civilian government after the elections for which over half the 10 million residents have registered to vote. Six major political parties were formed recently. CAPTION: Map, no caption, By Dave Cook - The Washington Post