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Opinions of Sunday, 3 April 2005

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Gowan & Rawlings: A Study In Contrast -Rejoinder

While reading the article titled above, it never occured to me that the writer was a Ghanaian until I glimpse the end and saw Mr Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, a Ghanaian well versed in Nigeria politics but with very little idea, if any of Ghanaian political development. I will not fault Mr Kwame for his characterization of the ex-Nigerian military leader. For if anything at all, General Gowan fought the fight of his life to keep the Nigerian project togather. His strong leadership during the civil war in Nigeria will be in African history for a very long time to come. My problem with Mr. Kwame had to do with his views on Rawlings. While he is full praise for Gowan, he reduced Mr. Rawlings to nothing but a nation wrecker, and a lawless individual who can not come to terms with the fact that he is an ex-president and find something productive to do. Thus, down playing the whole contribution that Mr. Rawlings made to the economic and political development of Ghana.

Like Gowan of Nigeria, Rawlings is a hero in modern Ghanaian political and economic development. I have argued this case in several fora, and therefore do not intend to go in detail on the Rawlings on modern day Ghana. When Rawlings emerged in Ghanaian politics in the late 1970s, Ghana's economic was on the verge of total collapse, the country's infrastracture was totally in shamble. Ghana was in huge debt as result of years of coups and counter coups. The 19 years rule of Mr. Rawlings ended this vicious circle of misrule. Whether we like Rawlings or not, he supervised the most obvious transformation of Ghana both socially, politically and economically. It is therefore wrong to reduce him to a thug.

Mr. Kwame argued in his article that Rawlings was forced into handing over power to the current president. Unfortunately he did tell us which forces induced Rawlings in to handing over power to a constitution elected government in Ghana. The fundamental question is, why didn't the same forces induce Eyademah of Togo, Sani Abacha of Nigeria, and Mogabe of Zimbabwe to also hand over power? This kind of arguments are calculated at denying Rawlings his rightful place as the first Ghanaian head of state to hand over power through peaceful means to a constitutionally elected government. This rejoinder is not ment to impune Mr. Kwame's academic and intellectual abilities, but rather to point out the unfairness of his argument, and his calculated attempts to down his country's past leader while at the same time praise others for their contributions to their country. Whether we like him or not, Rawlings has a favourable place in Ghanaian history. No one could write it off. I have observe certain developments in Ghana that are very unhealth. Most of those writing against the former President are from a particular ethnic group in Ghana. Ironically, their regions were those that benefited the most during Rawlings rule. Let us not act like chickens, rob our mouth to the ground after we have eaten. We should endeavour to praise when it is due.



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