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Opinions of Thursday, 20 July 2006

Columnist: Kwamena, Ato

Born To Destroy: The Legacy Of Rawlings

(PART 2 OF 2)

Whilst you were away, we discussed, in Part 1 of the above article, the brilliant vision Dr Nkrumah had for our country. We saw how under his administration he embarked on a massive industrialization program. We then began to examine how majority of the industries that Nkrumah had spent his life building fared in the hands of the ‘destroyer’. We saw how chairman Rawlings, by the stroke of his pen, shut down the Tomato factory at Pwalugu and at Wenchi, and also the Meat Processing Factory at Bolgatanga. By the stroke of his pen, the livelihood of the farmers and the employees of these factories were taken away. The Born-Destroyer clandestinely set out to shut down all the industries that Dr. Nkrumah started. IMF had said ‘diversify State-owned companies’, they didn’t say ‘shut them down and let the equipment rust’. The NDC demigod rather preferred to shut those factories down. The few factories he didn’t shut down were sold to his cronies at marked-down prices, with some covert kickbacks taking place.

You may be wondering exactly what happened to other Dr. Nkrumah factories. What did chairman Rawlings do to them? Continental Hotel now Golden Tulip Hotel was sold to a partnership between the Libyans and Rawlings’ cronies as the Ghana-Libyan Arab Holding Co Ltd. for $3,578,125. GHACEM was sold to SCANCEM of Norway for $3 million. GIHOC’s Abosso Glass Factory was sold to the Togolese Opposition Leader, Gilchrist Olympio. West African Mills and GIHOC Electronics were sold to Kofi Kludjeson, former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI). Prestea and Tarkwa Goldfields were each sold for $3 million – The Statesman (October 23, 2002) . And as if to give us the finger and show us the impunity with which he regards us, chairman Rawlings virtually handed over Kwame Nkrumah’s Nsawam Cannery to his beloved wife, Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings. He dipped his filthy hands into our coffers, took all he could, gave a few to his wife as a loan to purchase Kwame Nkrumah’s factory. Today, Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings is crying witch-hunting. She says she won’t pay back the money or the interest on the principal. She is virtually telling us that Kwame Nkrumah’s Nsawam Cannery is hers! It’s only in Ghana that a woman who never held any paid job would be able to own Kwame Nkrumah’s Nsawam Cannery. For all we know, Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings’ husband’s industrialization policy was centered on the opening of more Gari Factories. How she realized that a Cannery is more desirable than Gari Factories only God knows! And why her husband didn’t establish such modern industries like the Nsawam Cannery but preferred Gari Industries, only she and her husband can tell. You closed down the few factories that our first President established and replaced them with Gari Processing Factories, and those that you didn’t close down you sold them to your cronies at a paltry sum, and then with impunity you claimed Kwame Nkrumah’s Nsawam Cannery for your wife. Then you tell us Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings is also a woman of integrity. Kleptomaniacs!

Did you know that even Accra Hearts of Oak, one of our national clubs, until recently was actually a personal property of Rawlings’ cohorts? “Ato Ahwoi, Board Chairman and Professor John Evans Atta Mills, a former Director of Accra Hearts of Oak, who are technically the owners of the club as they are the only living shareholders, have decided to relinquish their shares to pave way for a new floatation” – GNA (November 27, 2005) .How Ato Ahwoi and Fiifi Mills got to own Accra Hearts of Oak, only God knows! When was Hearts of Oak’s shares listed on the Stock Exchange? How Ato Ahwoi and Fiifi Mills managed to generate the funds to buy Hearts is a mystery for the ages. But I’m not shocked. If the (P)NDC government had lasted a decade more, I’m very sure that we’d wake up one day to find out that Ghana belonged to Ato Ahwoi, or chairman Rawlings himself or his wife!

And the manner with which the chairman went about the divestiture of Nkrumah’s industries show how corrupt and dishonest he is. His worshippers are going to rain insults, but dear reader I ask you to exercise patience for I will expose the facts and you’ll be the judge as to who’s speaking the truth or not. I also ask you, dear reader, that when you read the response of Rawlings’ cultists to this article ask yourself if they are contesting facts or just engaging in insults.

Now here are the facts. Over sixty (60) of Ghana’s State-owned companies were placed on divestiture and sold between 1989 and 1992. The Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) was the body set up by the PNDC junta to oversee this process. The law which gave legal backing to the DIC was not passed until January 5th, 1993. So in effect, between 1989 to the passage of PNDC Law 326 Emmanuel Agbodo’s DIC was an illegality which was selling Kwame Nkrumah’s companies. So what made the PNDC decide to legalize the DIC in January 1993 after it had operated for many years without any legal backing? The Fourth Republican Constitution (1992 Constitution) was about to become operational, so they needed to cover their backs. Friend, do not forget that although our current constitution is referred to as the 1992 Constitution it did not become operational until January 7th, 1993 after a constitutional President and Legislature had been sworn into office. We call that document the 1992 Constitution because that was the year Ghanaians accepted the document in a referendum. But after the referendum, the PNDC dictatorship was still in power till January 7th, 1993 when the (P)NDC’s Jesus, their Godfather, or better yet, their demigod, chairman Rawlings cloaked himself under civilian garbs and pretended to be a civilian Head of State. Hence, two clear days before the constitution became operational; the PNDC passed the Divestiture Law (PNDC Law 326) to cover their behind by retroactively taking effect from January 1st, 1988. Smart criminals!

In Section 15 of the same law they inserted another indemnity clause: “No action shall be brought and no court shall entertain any proceedings against the State, the committee or any member or officer of the committee in respect of any act or omission arising out of a disposal of any interest made or under consideration under this law.” That’s “justice” Rawlings’ style for you, folks! Everyone in Ghana can be prosecuted for an act of commission or omission, except if that individual is Rawlings or any of his cohorts. They are above the law. Yet chairman Rawlings continuously wastes the ears of Ghanaians saying that he only seeks justice. But ‘Justice’ would have demanded that all Ghanaians are equal before the law. But no! Rawlings is different. He is God to his NDC cult, so he must be made to enjoy an indemnity. You ask yourself, “If he were that clean as he likes the world to believe, why would he continuously hide himself under indemnity clauses?”

When the NPP came to power, the fraudulent handing over of Nkrumah’s Abosso Glass Factory to Togo’s Gilchrist Olympio (one of Rawlings best friends) was quickly abrogated. “Cabinet has decided that the lease of the GIHOC (Abosso) Glass Manufacturing Company Limited, to Tropical Glass Company Limited (TGCL), should be abrogated and the company returned to the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) for re-divesting.” – Accra Mail (May 18, 2002) .

In 1981, when chairman Rawlings came to power, Ghana’s Shipping Line, the BlackStar Line, had 14 vessels. These were ships that belonged to the Republic of Ghana. By the time Rawlings left power he had shut down the Black Star Line which Nkrumah had built, sold all of the 14 vessels, and rendered our fellow citizens who worked as seamen jobless! “The National Union of Seamen (NUS) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Monday appealed to Parliament to expedite action in passing the Ghana Merchant Bill which is before it. Mr. Ebenezer K. Ackah, Deputy General Secretary of the Union, said many seamen have remained unemployed after the 14 Blackstar Line vessels were sold” - BSL’s Demise Puts Seamen Out of Jobs - GNA . Yes, one man builds, only for another to destroy. Nkrumah built, only for Rawlings to destroy. Wonder why we haven’t progressed much?

Where are the GIHOC industries that Nkrumah started? Jerry shut them all down, and sold a few of them to his friends. One prized one – the Nsawam Cannery – was handed to the love of his life. He took a loan from Ghana to buy Nkrumah’s factory for his wife at a marked-down price. Then he and his ‘atiaa-adonko’ have refused to pay back that loan plus any interest. And when the Kufuor Administration decided to take them to court, they cry the popular NDC cry – “witch-hunting!” Other Nkrumah factories like the Jute Factory and also the Shoe Factory were left to rust. City Hotel used to be one of the premier hotels in the country. Today it’s more a forest than anything. It’s only now being rehabilitated by the Kufuor Administration to provide accommodation for the CAN 2008 which Ghana is hosting. One leader built, another destroyed, and yet another is rebuilding. Where does that leave Ghana? Square-one? You bet!

Take a good look at the Presidential Lodge at Peduase. This facility was built by Nkrumah as an excellent place for the highest office holder of our land to take a sabbatical at. It also served as an excellent place to host visiting Heads of State. By the time he left office in January 2001, the Presidential Lodge had become a mini-forest – it had been overgrown by weeds, and all the dangerous reptiles which come with it had taken refuge there. The Kufuor Administration decided to restore this facility back to its former glory. Yes, Nkrumah build, Rawlings destroyed, only for Kufuor to restore that facility. Even the very seat of government, the Osu Castle was being left to go into a state of disrepair until it was refurbished when the new administration came into office in 2001. Get video clips of how the office of Ghana’s President was before 2001, and compare it to how it looks today, and you’ll agree that a Born-Destroyer ruled this country for far too long.

Take if from me! There was a time that trains run between several cities in Ghana. As unbelievable as this may seem to some people today, trains did in fact carry passengers between many citizens in the southern parts of our country. Trains carried passengers and goods from Accra to Kumasi, to Cape Coast, Sekondi, Tarkwa, etc. Under chairman Rawlings watch, the Ghana Railways Corporation collapsed! Where is the Omnibus Service Authority (OSA)? Collapsed and destroyed under Rawlings’ watch! Today we have tried to rebuild what was destroyed via the Metro Mass Transit Service (MMTS). How would we, as a country, ever progress if all we do is destroy and then rebuild? Under Rawlings’ watch Ghana Airways underwent a debt of $130 million – GNA (August 2001) . When the Kufuor Administration finally restructured the company as Ghana International Airlines (GIA), those who share the same mindset as the Destroyer are hell-bent on making sure that GIA collapses. Sad, but true!

Now take a look at our education system. Our education system which used to be the envy of all our African sister-countries was left to dilapidate only for us to start rebuilding them. Ghanaian schools, in the past, provided quality education for future African leaders. Today our schools produce more dog-chain sellers than intellectuals. Enticed by an IDA loan offer of about $1.2 Billion to modernize our schools, chairman Rawlings introduced the JSS and SSS system. On paper, it wasn’t a bad idea at all. In fact, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia had foreseen the need for us to offer practical education to our children, and that’s why he started the Experimental Schools on a pilot basis. He had planned to extend it to all parts of the country. But then he was removed from power only after 2 years in office. So the JSS and SSS concept is not bad. But chairman Rawlings’ implementation of that program is the root cause of the increase in illiteracy rate in the country. It’s the reason why we have so many of our youngsters choosing petty trading over academic work. If one is not successful in obtaining SSS education from the likes of the Achimotas, Adisadels, Wesley Girls, etc, the chances of the person progressing academically is severely challenged because the disparity between the quality education from the likes of the above schools and the average school at, say a rural area, is very wide. But how many of our children can be so lucky to get a Wesley Girls’ education? Where does that leave the rest of the not so fortunate Ghanaian kid?

It’s interesting noting that after giving us the JSS/SSS system, and destroying our universities due to very poor funding and the gross disrespect for academic intellectuals, Rawlings sent all her kids to the UK to get quality education. He gave you JSS/SSS and poorly funded universities which produced dog-chain sellers, and university graduates who are inadequately trained, yet his own kids: Ezenator and her siblings were all educated in Scotland (land of their father’s ancestors). Today, Ezenator is a medical doctor, and your own kids, nieces and nephews are busy on the streets of Kumasi and Accra engaged in “apempem-store” (petty trading) – selling dog chains!

The Rawlings’ and Fiifi Mills’ generation benefited from Nkrumah’s education policy. In display of their appreciation for the good education they got they left the next generation with schools that yearly churns out educated-illiterates. I quite remember when during science periods at my National Service location, students had to retrieve the laboratory equipments (beakers) from an ice-chest that was kept safe under the Headmaster’s bed. The Ghana Education Service under Rawlings’ watch had distributed laboratory equipments to all JSS schools in a yellow ice-chest which had a green lid. And with these equipments Ghana was supposed to produce the next Albert Einsteins, or geniuses! The destruction that our academic institutions suffered under chairman Rawlings’ watch will affect this country for generations to come. No country ever developed without serious advancement in their academic institutions. But fortunately for the NDC the miseducation of the Ghanaian and the constant churning of semi-educated illiterates by our schools serve their party well. They have a constant stock of vulnerable people that are more susceptible to their propaganda of lies.

One of the most popular cry of Rawlings and his NDC is that ‘they are no jobs in the country’. In April 1999, a year before he and his party were to lose power, Rawlings personally supervised the bulldozing of Alhaji Yusuf’s newly completed, and fully furbished multimillion dollar hotel. Today, there are no jobs, and Alhaji Yusuf is justifiably suing the State for that act of Rawlings which was not supported by any court order. And Rawlings’ is a man that seeks justice! It was only out of sheer jealousy that the Alhaji’s hotel was destroyed by the born-destroyer. There are no jobs in the country, yet chairman Rawlings can call on the entire country in a campaign message that was picked up by the BBC to boycott Appiah-Menka Factory’s products just because Appiah-Menka (a full-blooded Ghanaian entrepreneur) belongs to a different political ideology than the NDC’s God – chairman Rawlings. There’s no point in going through the destruction of Ghanaian businessmen and women that the NDC and their Godfather meted to our people. Everyone knows it. And to a large extent that explains why there are not many businesses in Ghana and subsequently less employment opportunities. It’s easier to destroy than to build. And it will definitely take years for the NPP administration to rebuild the confidence of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in our own economy, which Rawlings worked hard in 20 years to destroy.

Now talk about the human lives that he destroyed! The infants who had to grow up without their mother’s breast milk and without the safe and assuring comfort of a mother’s arms all because Rawlings ordered and supervised the abduction, murder, and burning of their mothers. Remember Justice Koranteng? Remember the other Justices who were murdered and their remains burnt on orders from chairman Rawlings? Today, a Charles Taylor look-alike can accuse others of human rights abuses. I won’t even mention Giwa, who was so tortured that he had his manhood sliced off his body and shoved inside his mouth before his death. I refuse to recall the gruesome and disgraceful stripping of our mothers naked on the streets and the subjection of them to whips all because they had dared sold items for profit. Whatever moved those people was nothing but a demonic spirit. And time and time again, Rawlings has reminded Ghanaians that that same spirit which moved him and his people against our noble citizens still exists in him – that demonic spirit of destruction.

For the sake of fairness, I’ll credit chairman Rawlings with the tarring of lots of roads during his two (2) decades in power. Unfortunately for his cultists, President Kufuor has shown us that it shouldn’t have taken 20 good years to achieve that, for it could be done in 4 years. I also credit Rawlings with the implementation of the Self-Help Electrification Program under which many villages purchased their own electricity poles and got the ECG to extend electricity to them from Nkrumah’s Akosombo Dam. He deserves credit for these two programs. To those who credit Rawlings with our democracy, I say “not so fast!” If the PNDC had not forced themselves on us through a coup d’etat would Ghana have been under a constitutional government or not? Was Dr. Hilla Limann’s government a dictatorship? Wasn’t he popularly elected by the people? So without Rawlings’ PNDC Ghana had democracy. It was rather Rawlings who reintroduced dictatorship when he seized power again and abolished political parties, dissolved parliament, and ushered us into the Period of Silence where any word against the chairman of the NDC’s revolution was tantamount to being murdered. Democracy was restored to Ghana not because of Rawlings’ own choosing (unless if you don’t believe his own words, for he himself has often confessed that he doesn’t like nor believe in multiparty democracy). The democracy we now have is a result of constant agitation within our country by the then anti-PNDC group and also by the International Financial institutions who insisted that they’ll cut finances to our country if we don’t become democratic. So to those who want to give credit where it’s not due I have one other question: Should we thank the guy who stole our property and returned it only after he was forced to do so…should we thank this guy for returning to us own our property? Should we credit him with gifting us our own property? Such argument can only come from the NDC, for they are noted for illogical arguments.

But indeed, the evidence that chairman Rawlings’ true legacy lies in his acts of destruction is abundant and overwhelming to the honest and truthful. He was born to destroy. He destroyed Ghanaian Industries; destroyed our Transportation system, including the OSA, Ghana Railways, and Ghana Airways; he destroyed our academic institutions and turned them into institutions that churn out more dog-chain sellers than intellectuals; he destroyed the Ghanaian entrepreneurial spirit by actively working to collapse Ghanaian-owned businesses in their own land of birth; and finally he actively worked to literally destroy human lives by subjecting noble citizens to torture, murder, and gross human rights abuses. Today Rawlings wants to choose Ghana’s next leader so that that leader would pursue the ideals of his June 4th and 31st December murderous escapade. The blood of the people that he spilled and ‘drank’ on June 4th, 1979 was not enough…he needs more blood to quench or calm his insatiable thirst for the blood of the innocent. He wants to destroy again, so that another future leader would have the onerous task of rebuilding. The question I ask is: “would we ever learn? Would we ever progress as a country if all we do is allow the Rawlingses to destroy the little we have and then we hope to rebuild in the future? We should have no place in our country’s highest office for the Born-Destroyer and any of his anointed saints. Period!

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

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