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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Columnist: Akakpo, Joe

Nana Konadu's proposed march - what could be the real motive

On 30th June 1982, three High Court judges, one of them a woman, and a retired army major, were picked up in the dark of the night and shot in cold blood by marauding operatives of the infamous 31st December revolution.

The misguided revolutionaries dumped the bodies of their innocent victims at Bundase near Nsawam and set them ablaze, with the hope that they will be burnt beyond recognition.

As fate would have it, there was a downpour that night which doused the flames and put paid to their wicked intentions.

There was a huge outcry nationwide, when the half charred bodies of the three noble men and woman were discovered, some few days later.

Investigations later identified the perpetrators of the dastardly act as among some of the trusted lieutenants of then Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and chief architect of the discredited 31st December 1981 revolution who is husband of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

The sole motive for taking the lives of the four was apparently because the three judges had ruled against Flt Lt Rawlings during his trial for a failed coup d’tat on 15 May, 1979. The retired major’s crime was that he had stood up against Rawlings’ troops who had gone on a rampaging spree at the GIHOC Distilleries, where he was the Chief Executive.

Investigations also revealed that the keys to the vehicle used for the dastardly operation were lying on the dinning table of the Rawlings’. Nana Konadu Agyeman, wife of Flt Lt Rawlings, pointed out the keys to the hired assassins who picked them up to go and commit the murder.

It is significant that Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, founder and leader of the 31st December Women’s Movement has chosen 30th June 2007, to embark on a protest march which in her words is to draw attention to the plight of women in the country.

One wonders if the “plight of the women” she is now so concerned about includes Mrs Justice Koranteng-Addow who was killed in cold blood exactly 25 years ago to the day of her proposed march.

Or whether her concerns extends to that of the thousands of women who suffered harrowing experiences when they were stripped naked in public and whipped by intoxicated and drugged soldiers at the behest of her husband.

The only crime of these hapless but hard working-women, who were only trying to eke out a living for themselves and their families, was that they were suspected to be “hoarding essential commodities” or had sold goods above the artificially fixed “control price.”

Many of these very hard working women, mostly traders, sole bread winners of their families, died in the process. Most families were destroyed as children dropped out of school and their future put in jeopardy. Many of those who survived the brutalities are still traumatised and have been unable to put their lives back on track.

Mrs Rawlings’ march however appears misplaced because it is taking place a time when women are seen to be taking their rightful places in national affairs.

The first female Chief Justice has just been sworn in; the Judicial secretary, for the first time, is a woman; one of the deputy Inspector-General’s of Police is a woman, the first of its kind; the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice is headed by a woman; the list could be endless.

It is instructive to note that Mrs Koranteng-Addow, who was so cruelly murdered in cold blood under the watch of her husband, could have become the first female Chief Justice had she still been alive.

Mrs Rawlings’ real motive for the march, it would appear, is to draw public sympathy in the court case against her for her a role in securing a loan from the African Development Bank for the establishment of CARRIDEM run by the 31st December Movement.

Mrs Rawlings has said on numerous occasions that she was afraid to go to jail. This must be the real motive behind the proposed march. The public should not be fooled.

Ironically, most of those brutalized, maimed or killed under her husband’s revolutionary rule, did not have the luxury of having their cases heard in courts as she is now enjoying. Yet, Mrs Rawlings is dissatisfied.

The best many of them had was a Kangaroo court, hastily put together, and where the sentences were pre-determined, even before the case was heard.

If they had also had the benefit of having their cases heard in properly constituted courts, many of them would still have been living today and their homes would have been happier ones.

All of them, surely, would have traded having their cases heard in court to the brutalities and inhumane treatment that they suffered.

As Nana Konadu and her cohorts undertake their march on 30th June 2007, they can be sure that the dead will march with them wherever they are.

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