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Opinions of Friday, 10 July 2009

Columnist: Crystal Clear Lens

Thanks Rawlings For Bringing Obama

Nana Kwaning

"Hello Baba Rawlings, your enemies won't agree but that is the truth. You brought President Barack Obama to Ghana. We adore you."

Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings may not be a saint, and may not be loved by wicked minds like the loquacious Malik Kweku Baako Jr. and the hoodlum Kennedy Agyepong but nobody can take the credit from him for the rebirth of democracy and its entrenchment in Ghana. Today, Africa's democracy is measured by Ghana's standard and it was made possible by a soldier who did not have democratic credentials to flaunt about. But indeed democracy is not paper, it is an attribute, an inborn attribute. It is not found in the politician, nor in the journalist. Men are imbued with it.

Democracy is not pretentious. This is the more reason African leaders can't practice democracy without manipulation. We pay glowing tribute to his Excellency Flt.Lt Jerry John Rawlings for giving us so much respect in the eyes of the world. It is almost an abomination and unthinkable in Africa for a sitting president to hand over power peacefully wihout first tearing his nation apart and causing the deaths of hundreds of citizens. We have a host of examples here in Africa where despotic leaders have held sway over the years intimidating their people and putting the fear of God in them all in a bid to continue in power.

President Barack Obama is coming to Ghana because of our democratic credentials and such was made possible by a great thinker, a visionary called J.J. Rawlings who had envisaged this historic moment from afar and worked towards it. What a leader and personality! What stopped him from acting like Ghadafi of Libya who has ruled from 1969 to date? What hindered him from turning Ghana into Kenya if he had chosen that path or manipulated the constitution to stay in power like Niger's Mamadou Tandja? Barack Obama would not be here be if Rawlings had done any of the above. Great men are rare and this great thinker is a rare species par excellence. Rawlings, we salute you for your honesty, humility, love for Ghana and respect for the rule of law. You are a great thinker indeed.

Is there any man in Ghana whose clout and democratic credentials outweigh that of Rawlings here and in Africa? Barack Obama knows these facts and relishes them. We have every reason to relish the visit of this great American personality. The most popular person on earth. But how about the man who gave us the reason for that celebration? Let us just look at a scenario where Rawlings had manipulated the system and entrenched himself in power, would it be possible for us to even talk of a visit by Obama? It takes a man of vision to see today when Obama would finally surface and choose a small country like Ghana to showcase his African roots to the world.

It is important we appreciate what we have here in Ghana for others to do same. We have looked down on what we have and that is bad. Rawlings cannot be compared and the facts are there for all to see. In 1992, a military officer chose to respect the wishes of his people and turned the country into a democracy which has endured all these years. In 2000 when the constitution barred him from re-contesting, his then Vice President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills could have been imposed on or foisted on us but what did we see? We saw the unblemished Rawlings handing over power to John Agyekum Kufuor, winner of the election. Tell that to some African leaders and you will be a laughing stock.

All these and more ticked in Ghana's favour over the rest of black Africa. We know, sincerely that men like Kweku Baako know the truth if they will admit in their hearts. Rawlings' exploits and democratic efforts brought President Barack Obama to Ghana and not President Atta Mills who is only new in power. Yesterday morning, 7th July 2009, Radio Gold interviewed Dr Henry Owuor in Kenya on the phone and he said it all concerning the coming of Obama to Ghana. He did not think President Mills deserves any special commendation from President Obama, why because the foundation had been laid before his coming. Great talk. I say it without fear Rawlings is indeed the shining light of Ghana you can take it or leave it. You can even join Kweku Baako to paint Rawlings black, it won't change a thing. History has been made that he re-introduced democracy and entrenched it without manipulation.

No matter what his detractors say, Rawlings takes the credit for Barack Obama's historic visit. It is as sweet as that and we are proud of him. What a great man from our shores called Jerry John Rawlings, the one and only incomparable hero. BABA RAWLINGS, I throway salute o. Na you biko, baba. Make Almighty God preserve you o. You be special.