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Opinions of Monday, 11 February 2008

Columnist: Manu, Bernard Afreh

Much Ado About Rawlings

"Beware! We hold the PhD's and do not see any good in you".

Only a few would treat this sentence with disdain. Indeed, it is the common refrain echoing from jeremiads some jackals have chosen to vomit in this intelligent arena. Ordinarily, I should not have dignified those bitter diatribes with comments, but the wind of hypocrisy, sweeping like tempest, seem to be fast eroding achievements of Rawlings.

The ex-president is not my idol but I would be an ingrate to turn a blind eye at his marks. I write not for the sake of mere argumentation but I feel the moment to transcend barren rhetoric, empty innuendos and bad-mouthing has arrived and we must summon courage from wherever it has deserted us to speak the truth and defend the truth in the name of nationalism. I often wonder why intellectuals would put on the blinkers of hatred and mischief to hurl invectives at Rawlings. Pray, when did consciences become so lifeless that they now wished for the singeing of a strand of the ex-president's hair? I try hard seeking answers but like croupier shuffling cards, the more I look, the more confounding it appears.

I do not intend to moralise issues greater than myself. Need I retell the story of Rawlings came unto the complex political terrain through the backdoor (coup d'etat)? Flip back the pages of the book of history and you will discover that when the nation was hurtling dangerously through the turbulent skies without any discernible purpose, it was Rawlings who came to rescue her from economic quagmire. It is no wonder he was hailed as ‘Junior Jesus’; an appellation the men in skullcaps must have not taken lightly. It is no contradicting the fact that Rawlings came around as a vacuum of ideas, and wanting to clear the mess he hung some generals to the firing-skates. I feel this does not in any way warrant his placement in that chilling league of rulers like Mobutu, Samuel Doe, Idi Dada Amin et al- emperors who decimated opponents and had scant regard for humanity. Matter of fact, when these rulers went down, they pulled their countries along with them. Consider DR Congo after Mobutu. How many had the guts to walk, drive or demonstrate on national streets?

While some died in unmarked graves, others stashed some much monies that hyper-inflation came to be known in national dictionaries. The fact that Rawlings maimed, killed and unleashed canons on opposition is common knowledge and it is not for some messianic historians to rewind our minds to those days when the nation got to the edge and nearly tipped over. The conscience is known to be an open wound and it amounts to festering it if we allow the hypocrisy lull us into complacency. It also mocks the rationale behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which came as a balm for aggrieved hearts. Must I state forcefully that Kutu Acheampong was a despot and those who profited by his rule or those naturally predisposed to tyranny can continue to shed bucketful of tears. We owe posterity and ourselves a duty to do an honest post-mortem on the dark chapter of the nation’s history when we were dumped into the abyss of infamy. Rawlings had on hands, the power and machineries to elongate his tenure, but something in his guts knew it could plunge the nation into chaos. I believe his shortcomings are atoned for by that singular act of upholding the tenets of democracy. Golden crowns must also be reserved for our fearless fellows who risked life and limb to sustain democracy in our society. It therefore becomes necessary for those humming a tune on the beauty of democracy to give some thanks to the ex-president. My travels to few other countries have opened my eyes wider to the force behind the ex-president's name.

Once foreigners identify you as a Ghanaian, with enthusiasm and spirit of camaraderie, they have always heaped praises on Rawlings and prayed they had such a ‘redeemer’ in their respective countries. Rawlings has seen two sides of the interesting coin; dictatorship and democracy, and I entreat young politicians to drink from his well of experience. I know it makes headlines when the ex-president belches or even farts. I must admit it gets me nerve-jangling to see how leader writers ignore the numerous burning issues to recycle tirades majored on Rawlings. We are witnesses to how they twist facts just to satisfy their ulterior motives. Tribalism is assuming new dimensions, where are those phony patriots who scream nationalist ideas but see no wrong with how issues are analysed and concluded along narrow ethnic lines? This piece is also meant for such! I advise they should start looking for their thinking caps, before nemesis beats them to submission. With this piece, the heavens know I have played my role. If those mudslingers choose to be intransigent, which they have absolute right to do, they should go the whole hog. They can continue to squirt acids on legacies of Rawlings and even defecate on whichever one catches their glassy fancy. They can with mortifying logic advance claims that seek to portray the ex-president's name next to evil.

They can finger the ex-president as architect of chaos in every part of the nation. Nobody would stop them! After all, they have the full complements of some hollow minded patrons. As sure as the Lord, truth, that ultimate unmasker of all deceptions would serve as the impartial judge and lift aloft in broad daylight the works of every mudslinger. The destiny is in our hands!

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