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Opinions of Monday, 6 June 2016

Columnist: Abdul-Kahar Adam

Papa JJ Rawlings – My hero of all times

It is very sad when you hear people sitting in the media rooms and at times on social media, and try to lambast the former president of Ghana, Papa JJ Rawlings from (1992-2000).

Papa JJ Rawlings was also a former President under the PNDC time of governance. First of all, the reason why I am writing this article is to educate fellow Ghanaians about the word leadership.

I hope all will agree with me that leadership is not just about a head of a family, or a society but it is about how courageous one is in taking decisions that all is not willing to follow.

And that is the kind of leader the former President JJ Rawlings stands for. Among us all in Ghana who can match him in terms of a head of a nation? So, why will people abuse a system of technology by just sitting and talking against him when you as an individual have never achieved a quarter for the nation? I think you will all see that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is still ruling and who can speak against him. We as Ghanaians are blessed with a visional leader who gave us voice and freedom of speech, which in fact, is abused by most Ghanaians by disrespecting the elderly or gallant leaders of this country.

This means you cannot hate Papa JJ Rawlings just because he was a President before and you feel you do not like him does not make sense; for it to make sense, you should do like he did that is, you should as an individual become a military ruler and be able to present yourself to Ghanaians and become a democratic President for eight (8) good years before you can match him. It appears we are a group of talking professors in the media landscape ever since I was a child and up to date some Ghanaians are using media platforms as their job or business entity and still use it to talk and run commentary in the name of freedom of speech.

Compare this freedom we have in Ghana now to that of military rule, which one will bring more respect and due diligence in our society? Your guess will be as good as mind. Ask Ghanaians today about military rule and democracy which one will they prefer? Believe me, you would find reasonable people telling you they prefer military because it brings respect and calm with sense of humour to the society. Compare and contrast the dirty things in our type of democracy to that of military rule and you can understand that Papa JJ Rawlings did no wrong but did something as a process to give Ghanaians a history they would never forget.

Many people are regretting today because they never thought that democracy is like what we practice today. So, if you cannot take up a challenge to help your fellow Ghanaians then please don’t insult Papa JJ Rawlings, he is an important personality in our country history. Horrible things have happened in other African countries but live goes on, talk about Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe just to name a few. Even we don’t talk of Libya because after the brutality and killing of Muammar Gadaffi, what is the state of Libya today?

By in the name of democracy, do you know the kind of horrible things that occur in our society and economy? Those talking against the former President Rawlings should make comparison to current systems to that of the past military rules? You would come to a conclusion that military rule was about equality and bringing happiness and success to the poor. Today, is it the same?

In fact, the former President, Papa JJ Rawlings is someone that all Ghanaians should be respecting because God still keep him alive for a reason. If he was a bad leader in all these years he ruled this country then Allah would have taken his life longtime. He is a good man and a good former President who have good thoughts for the poor Ghanaians and the vulnerable because that is where he came from. He was not a rich man and he did not use the country to be rich, even some people see him as a poor former President. If he had wanted, he could have sold the country and be rich but he never did that but rather continue to work for the poor people in this country. But the funny thing in political leadership is that you can never do it all by yourself but with other people. Unfortunately, other people may disappoint you by not following ones ideas or laid down vision and rather become opportunist when you are out of leadership or power.

This is exactly what is paining Papa JJ Rawlings because his ideas are not continued as expected and hence, ruining his image as previous ruler in military and democracy. More so, he could have taken everything and who could have coughed in this country those days. He never did all this but rather propagated equality and sense of responsibility. But, let us put things into perspective, he has ruled this country many years more than any past President in Ghana, can one show how many story buildings or five star hotel he has? Can you tell what business he is doing to show that he has stolen Ghanaians money? Even recently, I read one article which stated that during President Kuffour time, former President Rawlings was treated like an ordinary person and not accorded the necessary respect as a former President. Upon all this, he is still surviving.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to advise my fellow NDC members that we should stand up and listen carefully to the former President, Papa JJ Rawlings as our father of the party, if not one day we will light candles looking for him like former first President of Ghana (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah). Of course, if you are in a good position today and can speak any how or not show respect to Papa JJ Rawlings, remember tomorrow you may be out of power and you would then experience what it means to be in no position or anywhere near power.

I also want my fellow NDC members to contrast, the fact that, we have been in government more than the NPP (they only had eight (8) years) since the 1992 constitution. But they have been fighting vividly against us (NDC). So, let assume that if we are out of power for more than 8 years to 12 years, how can NDC manage and who is going to be the icon of NDC? It is always good to have a father who is still alive to give you wisdom and courage like Papa JJ Rawlings.

Leadership is not all that about influence but rather how the person can endure the societal pressures and take the unpopular decisions that majority do not expect and at the end success would be celebrated by all. This is what we call good leadership. Are we not celebrating Papa JJ Rawlings for allowing 1992 constitution to have been established? At least, no more military rule will be entertained, hence, people have voice now but with its societal problems that it brings or generates. People should not be opportunist in politics because tomorrow it will come back hunting you. I will take this opportunity to greet the National Organiser of the NDC (Mr. Kofi Adams). I greet you from afar because this is how life brings us to; I mean the realities of life.

People in NDC should not think that Papa JJ, hate former President, Prof. Mills (late) or President JM. It is just that every party in government must have a collective agenda that will make the party stronger in a long term and not for a short term like to win power in just four (4) years and then return to struggle. But these days, some elections are based on sympathy and in an absent of sympathy what else? The youth of NDC must stand up and support Papa JJ Rawlings to help get us to the vision and ideals he stood for. How will NDC look like in the next four (4) years or eight (8) years? Therefore, Papa JJ is our father and he has the vision for us. At least everybody can see how he has been humiliated in this country. It is just because he is a strong man, if it were to be someone else; they would have buried that person. So, Papa JJ Rawlings enemies should shut up and stop the hullabaloo and also stop abusing the freedom of speech systems in Ghana. NDC, forward ever, backward never.

Finally, what people don’t understand is that, Papa JJ himself knew that, in as long as he continue to exist, he was not going to be President for life and that is why he wanted a person who can lead NDC with the vision and ideas so that the core values of the party will continue to be abide-by and work towards achieving it. But, deviations by individuals with selfish interest have ruined the future fortunes of NDC. This is what Papa JJ Rawlings wants us to rebuild and stand by it. All what Papa JJ is saying and putting into action is that only time will tell but should we wait till it is too late? If we NDC members vilify him today then tomorrow we will have ourselves to blame.

Papa JJ Rawlings is the one who brought peace, inclusiveness of the rich and poor to Ghanaian economic dispensation. That is, why we see people of all walks of life and characters in our political leadership. At least we all know what happened in other African countries in terms of power.

So, we should join hands in thanking Papa JJ because he brought us peace and still preaching peace and inclusiveness in Ghana economic decision making and policy directions. A word to the wise is enough. Papa JJ, ‘Naa tuma pam’, ‘Ayikoo’, Well done for mother Ghana!!!

Abdul-Kahar Adam