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Opinions of Thursday, 5 April 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

How the truculent coup d’état that gave birth to NDC derailed Ghana’s progress

Ghana’s revolution days under the founders of the NDC, so to speak, could be likened to: “in the China of “the Great Helmsman,” Kim Il Sung’s Korea, Vietnam under “Uncle Ho” , Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah”.

Back then, the NDC founders unfavourable Economic Recovery Programme culminated in a catalogue of hardships, and, on top of the harsh programmes and policies which threatened the economic fundamentals, the population had to brace itself for food shortages, a situation which was comparable to the Ethiopian famine that resulted in millions of deaths.

The vast majority of tangible national assets, including the state owned enterprises were allegedly sold to friends and families for pittance.

Perhaps, more than anything else, the initiation of the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) did nothing to improve the unfortunate situation as untold hardships permeated many households.

Starvation, in all honesty, visited the vast majority of Ghanaians, and hence developing revoltingly ugly collar bones which the humorous Ghanaians renamed as “Rawlings Chain”. That was indeed the pernicious extent of the hunger.

In fact, identifying one’s self as a revolutionary enthusiast or an exponent of transparency, probity and accountability, is not a bad idea. But it becomes extremely disturbing and hypocritical when a group of people who claim to be the exponents of such ethos would then turn round and dip their hands into the national coffers as if tomorrow will never come.

Unsurprisingly, however, the NDC loyalists abhor the idea of assessing the current affairs through the lenses of the past. But I am afraid we cannot make sense of the present happenings if we refused to take stock of the past events.

Why won’t some of us squall, criticise and highlight the revoltingly risible tendencies of the so-called devotees of the 31st December 1981 revolution?

In retrospect, Dr Hilla Limann’s People’s National Party (PNP) came to power in the middle of 1979 when the economy was in the throes of economic collapse. All credit lines to the country had gradually dried up and were finally blocked due to brutalities and confiscations at the harbours and other points of entry into Ghana by the coup making founders of the NDC.

But upon careful negotiations and the implementation of pragmatic programmes and policies, Limann’s government managed to stabilise the economy.

Besides, credible sources have it that commendable efforts were made to repay our short-term debts, and Limann’s government demonstrated the seriousness and commitment to meet our debt obligations.

As a result, Dr Limann’s government managed to restore virtually all traditional credit lines within 18 months (Source: PNC).

However, despite PNP government’s great efforts, Rawlings and his cohorts did not give Dr Limann and his PNP government the breathing space to govern the country, as they relentlessly breathed down the neck of President Liman.

Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters, who were later to become the founders of the National Democratic Congress, as a matter of fact, unfairly kept criticising the then president, Dr Limann’s administration for what the coup makers perceived as economic mismanagement, until Rawlings and his jailbreaking geezers decided to depose Dr Limann.

Subsequently, J. J. Rawlings and the other obstreperous jailbreakers took arms and succeeded in deposing the democratically elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981.

Rawlings and his friends formed a government which they called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed Rawlings as the chairman.

Although the PNDC and NDC administrations back then paraded some seasoned politicians, the vast majority of the military personnel who headed important Ministries were novices in the political scene.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Rawlings’s administration adopted a seemingly calamitous Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), which was introduced under the auspices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In their weird attempt to get rid of sleazes and corruption, many Ghanaians were unjustifiably murdered or tortured mercilessly for apparent infinitesimal offences.

Regrettably, however, some market women were stripped naked in the public and whipped for either hauling their products or selling on high prices. While their male counterparts were wickedly shaved with broken bottles and whipped for offences that would not even warrant a Police caution in a civilized society.

As if that was not enough, three eminent high court judges and a prominent army officer were barbarically murdered by PNDC henchmen on 30th June 1982 for carrying out their constitutionally mandated duties.

The PNDC apologists callously murdered the three eminent high court judges because their judgement did not go in their favour. How cruel?

Even though Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters supplanted power under the pretext of acting as a peripheral Panacea, they slyly spent a little over eleven years before lifting the ban on political parties in 1992.

Rawlings, as a matter of fact, succumbed to internal and external political pressures for him to step down and allow multi-party democracy.

Subsequently, he lifted the ban on political parties in 1992 and resigned from the military simultaneously so as to contest election.

Following his retirement from the military, Rawlings and his jailbreaking cabals went ahead and formed a political party, which they named as the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a progeny of PNDC.

To the amazement of discerning Ghanaians, the power intoxicated founder of the NDC, J. J. Rawlings appeared as a chameleon by idiosyncratically metamorphosing into a civilian president in 1992.

Disappointingly, however, former President Rawlings memorable achievement was to send us to the membership of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).