Feature Article of Friday, 4 October 2002

Columnist: Kaytu, Kwame Atta

Dear Mr. Rawlings, Mr. Kufuor and Ghana

I am deeply humbled to post this letter to you. I do so as a proud patriot and my unburning desire to see what you want Ghana to be. Please read below:

I have recited the national anthem of Ghana with nostalgia and reverie. Our message to the world telling them of who Ghana is and want to be since 1957. My somber reflection justifies my fear and optimal despair:

    1. God bless our homeland Ghana = +
    2. And make our nation great and strong = ?
    3. Bold to defend forever, the course of freedom and of right = ?
    4. Fill our hearts with true humility = +,?
    5. Make us cherish, fearless, honesty = +,?
    6. And help us to resist oppressors rule = +
Over forty years and we still have come to no where of our focus. Our determination and priorities are individually centred, leaving the mass of hard working Ghanaians stranded in the sea. Military rule and democracy have not made so much impact. We seem to be bragging and making noise in democratic rule but has never been the best. If we can conduct a referendum today, it will be shocking that Ghanaians will probably prefer to stay outside and help defend another nation than Ghana. That should be understood. For, Ghanaians have been struggling over time and again and the usual pad is ?be patient?. I am sorry to say we have been left in the sea by our leaders as Head of states from one to another and okay through to worse.

Mr. Rawlings,
I was only 9years when I heard your name. At 15, I personally saw you at Samreboi where you once visited. I have admired you most in spite of your long rule and mistakes, either in PNDC/NDC. I still admire your integrity, fearlessness, dedication, charisma and many other things. I have a different opinion about you different from many. You are still a cherished former president. I personally rate you after Kwame Nkrumah as a good president. However, I stand to disagree on many issues at the same time with you.

We are in a new day in Ghana and in our quest for growth and development. Perhaps, to bow disappointingly adding our economy. This new day requires a re-assessment of ourselves, goals and missions, good leadership and dedicated effort from all and sundry. In doing this, we need peace, the much sort for ingredient in solitude. Peace we need even in poverty.

I am saddened by the recent developments in Ghana as I read from internet, which still put us far from moving forward. Nonetheless, the world is not waiting for us. Yes, you are right as you said, as a Ghanaian and has the right to talk as any of us will do. That is true. You were surprised as to how your comment on ?positive defiance? will be a talk in Ghana. Why you said, Ekow Spio-Garbrah and Kwesi Pratt go freely when they make such comments? Well, you should not be taken aback. Remember where you have come from, long years of rule mixed with hate. Ghanaians are right to react if you will understand them. As a person, you stand to be responsible of your actions through the path you take. I will not be happy to see you being humiliated however, you have the right to shape you own dignity in the best way possible.

If it will help you, may I offer you this advice:

1. Show leadership: as a former president, you can do many things. Not even your affiliation to NDC should prevent you from helping to build the democracy you helped to establish. You can do any of these:

    A) Hold a talk show and invite opinions on how to build sustainable democratic society in Ghana. This you do to demonstrate your desire for tolerance.
    B) Go round Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges, giving lectures about governance, democracy and the things you so cherish.
    C) Use your networks to pull resources and form an NGO devoted to poverty, street kids, women etc. Jimmy Carter, a former US president formed the Sasakawa Global 2000, an NGO which you were once invited thru satellite at the Castle to talk about.
    D) Decide to remain quite.
2. Respect and tolerance: as a former president of Ghana, so you shall be. Do not see those who have different judgement from yours as enemies. Set an example of tolerance, your desire of peace and meekness will put you above reproach. You should not have waited for Obed Asamoah, Mary Grant and others (as I read on line) to be the first to come to you. If they did, these are the implications: A). Mr. Asamoah and Mrs. Grant are far older than you. B). They showed the Ghanaian wisdom of the elderly, threw away their pride and came to your house. That effort makes them leaders! Kindly try to emulate their example. Invite President Kuffour to your house, eat with him, talk to him as a brother (and ?senior?) and a Ghanaian who seeks the welfare of Ghanaians. Forget about politics! If Mr. Kuffour will not come, go there (the Castle) and wait till he comes out. That is the mark of a good leader and a former president.

3. Peace: Peace is the mark of life and a good leader should seek. You are still in the position to help Ghana a lot. Please reduce your public affiliation to NDC, some utterances and see yourself as one of our fathers. In such a way, you will continue to live in peace. Brute force, says Napoleon Bonapart can never be used to achieve anything durable. The posterity and we will still judge you even when you are dead. I never saw Kwame Nkrumah, but his mark of excellence is still a joy. I may not be able to list all our former presidents, but I still remember Nkrumah who died a year after I was born. Remember that Ghana will still go on without you, Mr. Kuffour and those creating the hurly-burly out there. The best you can do is when you are alive and kicking.

I will still continue to urge you to do a lot more to reduce the tension in Ghana. Never see yourself as untouchable and willing to die if necessary (that will a childish talk from any responsible being. After all, one can still die without being killed by anyone. You will only need a rope). That the current government is witch-hunting you and your colleagues. If so, then I am sorry to say that that is the wishful thinking of a poor child. Advice your secretary, Mr. Smith to refrain from making pronouncements that will add up to the tension. That is not good for your peace and safety. You can personally call, write and talk to Mr. Kuffour, while respecting them as leaders of the day if your security is threatened. They have been voted and have the wisdom too to lead the country Ghana.

I am sending you this message Mr. Rawlings as a loving Ghanaian, determined to see a better Ghana. I have the strongest believe that you can still do a lot, even more than during the time in office. At 31, I am ready to work to uplift the image of Ghana however, the present climate is a threat which deter many residents outside to come home. This is my humble plea to you as your son, junior brother and a Ghanaian.



Mr. Kuffour,
I congratulate you for winning the last election. I am hopeful that you will pursue your service with all the zeal and diligence.

I have the deepest respect to some members of your party who held and practiced democracy, employing the due process of laws and waited patiently to win the elections. Ghanaians voted you with great anticipation. For sure you may not be able to achieve much in 4years but that is the trust Ghanaians have given you and which you have sworn to do your best. Your little efforts would be appreciated.

It is too soon to judge you, but there are ample evidences of your track marks, which we can infer where we are heading. Presuming that such inferences are wrong, I wish to point out certain things to you with all respect and humility.

1. I read your reaction to an article in the Daily Graphic when you were in Malaysia, claiming of what according to you, you never said. Good to react but that is not your job. It is the job of the presidential secretary or the communications Minister to react and comment on such issues. If they are not good to express your point, then they should not be there as public officials who should be paid by Ghanaians for their work.

2. One big mistake you ever made was to form a cabinet on tribal line. Ghana as a country supercedes tribes. A government is formed on merit and the ability to deliver. It should never have matter most even if you appointed unconsciously, all your ministers on merit from say one town or village. You will be judged by their work and not their tribal marks. Will you sack a Minister and go back to his tribe and look for a replacement? Assuming you get one, will that person fit for the job? Or to avoid all the headaches, you will overlook the inefficiency of such a Minister?

3. You will always be the best if you will have the heart to sack some people in your government. You should not to please them as NNP members. They are not. They are supposedly well educated Ghanaians who qualify to be leaders. If you overlook your inefficiencies, the wrath of Ghanaians will be on you and not them. For example, Mad. Theresa Tagoe as reported by a local newspaper refused to obey simple request to hold a congress. She had the gust to insult one John who wrote the letter on behalf of NNP to postpone the congress. It should never take you a day to go into this and fire her immediately. She has no moral grounds to be a Minister.

4. Kindly divert your energy to building Ghana than devoting much attention to statements by Mr. Rawlings alone and other personlities. You are not there for any individual. It will take all of us to send you out of office and not any particular person. Mr. Rawlings also has the right to talk as a Ghanaian but he cannot convince all to do otherwise.

5. Show leadership and tolerance by bringing the former president to your table as a friend. He is not an enemy. He only holds different opinions and that should be respected. You can help by treating him to dinner, showing love and respecting him as a former president. If it takes you Mr. President and Mr. Rawlings to create tension and bring Ghana to a stand still, then God help our homeland Ghana again. We cannot afford to look back.

For sure, we are still marking time after all these years. We want to see a new day come upon our education, health, economy etc. We are watching carefully with eagle?s eyes but very objective to give you the credit as due you. We shall hail you as Nkrumah or Busiah on what you will do and not otherwise. It is for this reason that I encourage you to review your cabinet and sack some prominent people.

There are more brilliant Ghanaians in Ghana outside who are willing to come home as you told them in USA. They will come home when they do not see that old system still hovering round Ghana. Great change will force them to come home. But they will reasonably not come into what forced them outside. That may be too irrational thinking from them.

In spite of this, I am hopeful you can do your best first in the 4years given you and Ghanaians will ask you to continue on your performance.

Fellow Ghanaians,
We are being held to ransom by those who claim to be leaders of our beloved country Ghana. The change, which is going on around the world has no meaning to some of these self-styled pocket politicians. They have long worked on our intelligence and that is the more reason why Ghana is back trotting.

Dr. Mahama at the Nkrumah?s birthday forum was making his statements and caused the displeasure of a colleague. There they stand in limbo. In NDC, autocratic Mr. Rawlings, who is never ready to listen to others, is now happy because some people have convinced Dr. Obed Asamoah to go to him. No one dare talks. In the same way, he stood his stand and beat poor Mr. Arkaah and no one in NDC dares to talk. Mr. Kofi Wayo, who claimed to be a millionaire and has all the American accent in his hard-to-hear English, can storm a radio station to attack someone who criticizes him. No discipline. He claims Ghanaians should give him the chance to become the president. Oh huh!

When Rawlings talked of ?positive defiance? there is a great wisdom in that statement. May be, it should not have taken him to say that when he can import 4 cars for himself and his wife alone. If his friends bought the cars as he said, that is a good reason. But does he really need 4 cars? As young as I am, I would have told my friends to buy at most 2 cars since all my children are schooling outside. Okay, did he not get the car because he was a former president? An image carved at the expense of Ghanaians? Or the friend sensed that after many years, he now needs 4 cars badly? Should we all have to become former presidents before we can get 4 cars from our friends?

See, we do not have to change a government by any coup. We as civil society possess all the power to reject, be in the streets and refuse all those hardships people are driving us to. It has taken this civil energy to change governments in the Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji and still doing great in Latin America. That I believe was the wisdom in positive defiance.

It is time we wake up and reject all those people who claim to be politicians. All those old faces. We should never make an attempt to vote any of them into office. They are not the only one who hold wisdom in Ghana. It is time we stand up and give the young brain of Ghana a chance. People like Goosie Tando, Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Akuffo-Addo, Kweku Sakyi Addo, Kweku Sintim Misa, Kwesi Pratt, Akuffo Addo, Mrs. Nuamah Amissah (former Minister of health) and not Tony Aidoo should be given the chance. Yes, I see Atta Mills as more potent person for contesting as independent candidate.

Even though I have been saddened by Ekow Garbrah?s capability, I still see in him one of the few people we need as leaders today. He stands with vision and wisdom but in the wrong place. He has the energy and the management skills. Instead of standing up and reject the dirty pond, he has sometimes kept quite to the powers that be. That is my regret.

Dear reader,
just use the internet, search for ?scholarships for Ghanaian Students?. After that, do the same for countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria and Egypt. You will always weep for Ghana. We do not have people who could turn our education around. Mr. Kofi Wayo, an aspiring president is still talking about free education at this time. Simple, we can influence a lot of NGO?s, foreign supports and a move to revive our Universities to introduce scholarships which students can pay after schooling. That is how we can build capacity. This is not the time for teaching classical history and ancient music to University science students in Ghana and compare our cherished ?intellectual image? and standards to foreign ones. Not the time to import cars for showing off and for protection.

We simply lack people of vision. That vision which Nkrumah saw many years ago ahead of him. That we still enjoy electricity from Akosombo (which has helped Wireko-Brobbey to get a job, courtesy some internal energy knowledge and buy luxury cars while bragging thru the press. He cannot look forward to expand operation to curb the power rationing due to scanty water. No! Vision, we lack!), Tema Highway, secondary schools built in every corner of Ghana where I graduated from one of them. He died like a pauper without any property. But Nkrumah stands tall in our minds hearts; our source of pride and the father of the nation indeed. My 80 year old father keeps saying ?during Nkrumah?s time??. How can we forget him ? Nkrumah, when some of our so-called leaders or Ministers, get positions they do not deserve. I remember so well about 3years ago, of a guy who got a ministerial post because he could storm the airwaves and talk rubbish to opposition members. A real dirty stamp in our democracy. When we have leaders who run around the world looking to force people to come and invest in Ghana. When we in Ghana are only interested in buying many rickety buses and Urvans cars for tro-tro; buying bullet prove cars; building two-bed room houses from Kwashieman to Odododiodio to brag. If we set our priorities right, we can create a change and others will run after us too.

I am pleading to you all fellow Ghanaians, that it is time we take up the challenge and cry foul to some of our people. Procrastinating will deepen our social crisis and poverty that has engulfed Ghanaians everywhere today.

My heart bleeds but there is still hope for Ghana. That hope begins from us. God bless our homeland Ghana.


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.