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Opinions of Friday, 2 December 2011

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Excellent, abolish the Indemnity Clause

...to Humble Rawlings, Boakye Djan and the likes.


The "Indemnity and No Accountability Clauses" were entrenched in the 1992
Constitution at the behest of Former President J. J. Rawlings. It was a sort of
indirect condition set to convince him to re-introduce democratic rule in Ghana. It
was to grant him protection from prosecution and persecution for his tyrannical,
murderous acts and omissions during his frenetic military rules - Armed Forces
Revolutionary Council (AFRC of 4th June 1979) and Provisional National Defence
Council (PNDC of 31st December 1981). He was not the sole person to avail himself of
the benefits to accrue from the cocoon-like protection granted by the clauses. The
entire opportunistic military officers with whom he planned and executed his two
military usurpations of power, thus, revolutions, were also beneficiaries. Without
the Indemnity clause, Rawlings might not have re-introduced democracy in Ghana but
continued as a tyrant Head of State in military uniform.

Anyway, I support the removal or the abolition of the crime-supportive and
crime-inciting clause(s) from the Constitution. The Indemnity clause has somehow
contributed to Rawlings falsely seeing himself as the sole strongman in Ghana.
Without it, he would have humbled himself and would not have become the bitterest
enemy of his own party, as it is the case now. The indemnity clauses like any other
medication, has its own side effects. Rawlings thought the Constitution had encased
the indemnity clause in a metal that was never going to suffer wear and tear. As it
is now from the Constitution Review Commission's point of view based on public
clamouring and aspiration, the indemnity clause is about to be ripped apart.
Rawlings is now shivering from head to toe as if suffering from a bad fever.

I have come to pity Rawlings as a person. He now seems to be a changed person for
good because of how he sees the noose closing in upon his neck. His own NDC people
would have him dead. They find his public candid criticism of President Mills and
his administration quite distasteful and injurious. The greedy bastards as Rawlings
calls them think they will have a peaceful mind and a vast space to embezzle funds
if Rawlings was not around breathing down upon their neck; craning his neck to see
the evil acts of corruption they are committing.

However, the abolition of the Indemnity clause will serve a warning to would-be coup
plotters. It is a perfect deterrence signalling that all those seizing power
unlawfully (military usurpation of power) can run but they cannot hide. The law will
one day catch up with them. They will end up victims of their own evil machinations.


There was no justification for the abortive coup of May 1979 and the successful one
in June 1979 because both took place during election period. The Supreme Military
Council II (SMC II) headed by General Akuffo was barely to hand over the reins of
government to a civilian government. The PNDC of 31st December 1981 also occurred
when a civilian administration headed by the Late President Hilla Limann was in
place. Akuffo and Limann regimes had committed repugnant acts of corruption, but
those of Rawlings were worse and outweighed that of Akuffo and Limnan combined.
The AFRC and PNDC regimes exterminated innocent lives. The mentioned regimes did not
only kill but robbed some people of their property and then forced them into
political exile. All these happened under Rawlings' military regimes. He personally
endorsed the killings of many people. He is now shamelessly seeking cover and
protection under the Indemnity clause. What is normally good for the goose is also
good for the gander. I will stop short of saying he killed others so he must be
killed. He is now a changed person. He is remorseful.

To dissuade other military personnel from going down the same path to acquire wealth
at the expense of the masses, I will side with those asking for the abolition of the
clause. However, the President of Ghana can pardon Rawlings and the likes of Boakye
Djan but not without issuing them and anyone entertaining the idea of overthrowing
elected governments a stern warning.

I warn our corrupt politicians who by their annoyingly corrupt acts give cause for
military interventions in our politics. Ghanaians should take cue from the ongoing
Arab Spring. That is what is a popular people's revolution but not a hungry lanky
soldier in search of wealth taking up arms to overthrow a government only to enrich
himself overnight. Real people's power can make it difficulty for the army to dabble
in politics. Look at what is happening in Egypt where people's power has forced the
military to quicken their exit from government.

Do I finally support the abolition of the Indemnity Clause? Yes! Do I support
Rawlings ever facing trial? Yes! Do I support future incarceration of Rawlings for
overthrowing governments and executing both past Heads of State and innocent people?
I will not comment on this. Ghanaians can pardon him for the evils he committed
against the nation as long as he continues to show remorse. He can continue to share
his views like any other Ghanaian but not in his usual style of intimidation.

Cast indemnity clause down the sewers. Ghana as said by Dr Kwame Nkrumah is free
forever. With the indemnity clause consigned to the refuse bin, Ghana is free
forever from the insults, intimidations and the divisive tribalism by Rawlings.

Rockson Adofo