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Opinions of Thursday, 29 December 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

President John Mills To Be Impeached ?

Before the end of April, 1992, Ghana and Ghanaians were subjected to dictatorship from December 31, 1981. It was led by Chairman Rawlings and his bunch of inexperienced military cum civilians who thought western democracy was alien and that development in freedom was all that useless; generation and possession of wealth was nowhere to be found in their socialist-oriented dictionaries. No sane person would disprove the fact that the second coming of Rawlings after some three months stint of power as Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (June 4, through to September 21, 1979) that ousted the SMC II with the pretext that they had abandoned the military profession and assumed the frontline administration of the country was not based on envy, greed and power. They thought it was a preserve solely for politicians and which, to Mr. Rawlings, was the opposite of their professional trained career. Even though, he was an Air Force Officer, he personally could not make ends meet and many times resorted to crediting the commonest meal at the time i.e. garri and beans plus fried plantains. He then solicited the support of fellow ‘poverty-stricken’ soldiers who equally could not even furnish their apartments to also consent and conspired to overthrow their senior officers on one rainy Monday morning of June 4, 1979 because they were feeding fat while they starved themselves. Before then Mr. Rawlings, then Flt.-Lt. J.J. Rawlings, was arrested after he had attempted and failed in a mutiny with a handful of NCOs on one fateful Thursday, May 15, 1979.
He was court-martialed and arraigned before a high-powered military tribunal chaired by the late Col. Enningful. When the case was called, he undertook the blame and accepted the collective responsibility of the group’s military adventure upon himself and was prepared for any damnable consequences that might emerge thereafter. And as if by a stroke of accident, misfortune or whatever, the heavily armed military court adjourned the case after two or three sittings to Monday for more hearing from the defence counsel and possible sentence thereafter. And as luck would have it, Mr. Rawlings, who knew he would be pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad on that Monday and eventually killed was then cooling off in military custody at the BNI cells near the Immigration head office. Before daybreak that Jack could say where are you, he was hurriedly rescued at dawn on that Monday morning by a team led by Major Boakye Djan (now retired) and sent to the GBC studios to announce to the whole world that the SMC.II that was trying him had been overthrown to make clear nonsense of that trial.
Mr. Rawlings had regained his freedom. Readers should guess what must have happened to the trial judge. This revelation should not rake the wounds and inflame the passions and memory of the family members, friends and admirers of Col. Enningful during this yuletide. This colonel’s wife, family and even the housemaid who was alien to the household were annihilated and some even say that all souls including the pets in his residence were not spared their lives. The irony of it all was that five days after that dastard military adventure, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Major-General Utuka were killed by firing squad at the Teshie Military range one Saturday morning of June 9, and subsequently went on to kill six others they suspected to be enjoying the freebies of civilian lifestyles at the expense of the junior officer corps and the non-commissioned officers (NCOs). They thought they were rather the hewers of wood and drawers of water but denied the goodies all the time; not even the crumbs that fell under the dining tables of their masters (senior officers), as very often explained by pigeon English speakers as thus, ‘monkey de work and baboon de chop’. These well trained Ghanaian military top brass by the British included Generals Fred Willie Akuffo, Robert Ashie Kotei, Joy Amedume, Air Vice-Marshal Yaw Boakye, Col. Roger Felli, and of course Lt.-Gen. Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, who had then retired from active service and was holidaying in his native hometown village, Asante Mampong Krobo. Unfortunately, Brig. Nathan Odartey-Wellington, who was described by many as the only brave amongst the lot tried to counter the bluff of the junior officers who ousted them through the unjustified and infamous military coup d’etat met his untimely death. He was overpowered on an armoured vehicle that was purported to have run out of fuel and was killed in action at the Nima Police Station on that same Monday. The AFRC members who later organized for his ‘military’ burial must be ashamed of themselves to bury their heads in shame. Those they killed unashamedly included the eight other fine officers above mentioned; but later events showed that their deeds and action to topple them was purely based on envy, greed and power.
Gen. Afrifa’s inclusion on the hit list allegedly stemmed from the fact that he had previously written to Acheampong to ensure the ‘Oburoni’ who was a threat of instability and who could possibly cause havoc one day was eliminated. The other school of thought was to kill him because of his alleged mastermind of the killing of General Emmanuel Kwashie Kotoka, then leader of the NLC that ousted the Nkrumah regime. So to balance the equation, the AFRC top echelon convinced Mr. Rawlings for his acceptance and as a result, sent some platoon to travel all the way to his village to bring him to the Teshie range to be slaughtered as a sacrificial lamb alongside his colleagues. Others too thought that in order that the Council of State Chairman, Prof. Kofi Awonoor’s proposition, implementation and consolidation of the Ewe hegemony in Ghana as already outlined and prescribed in his ‘devilish’ book would succeed for his tribesmen, Afrifa must, at all cost, not live but be killed because he was a deadly threat to its success and moreover was the only Asante obstacle that stood in their way. This is history anyway for those who do not know this historic event but wish to know. The author does not want to sound tribal and mean any harm to anybody but wants the bare facts to be told as it were and known by the younger generation. Since then fear and panic grew and gripped the entire citizenry and law and order was thrown to the dogs. That was the era when some rich people parked and hid their Porsche vehicles especially the Mercedes Benz of all types in garages and the daring ones who ventured, tried to disguise themselves as women with wigs and/or head-kerchiefs on when driving.
World leaders attacked and hurled insults on the leaders of the unjustifiable coup d’etat and firing squad that ensued after which Ghana had lost as many as 8 brilliant Generals who probably would have been alive today. They stifled the inexperienced leaders with needed loans that they could use for the administration of this nation. The uncivilized manner they killed the generals infuriated many western countries and held on to the donor funded projects that could help improve the lives of the ordinary man in the street.
Ghanaians were lucky to go through the elections after the dastard slaughter of 8 gallant generals including some 200 or so civilians who lost their lives through diverse ways under the Rawlings military regime (courtesy, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. and his Insight Newspaper). President Hilla Limann however, emerged as the victor in the 1979 polls after the re-run with Victor Owusu. Little did Ghanaians dream of another coup d’etat by another set of inexperienced greedy soldiers after Prez. Limann had been sworn-in, and it was not surprising that not quite 27 months into office of the Limann Administration, the same man that handed and/or surrendered power to him (Limann) on September 21, 1979, canvassed for support from Sgt. Alolga Akata Pore and deceived him to overthrow the Republic one Thursday, December 31, 1981 to re-surface onto the political scene for a more pungent one that sent shivers shrilling down the spines of many bold persons. Inarguably, many sane and discerning people would agree with the writer that his second coming was needlessly genuine but purely due to envy and greed and nothing short of these two.
Ghanaians were ushered into a more devious experimental administration. We were ruled by the foreign ideology from Libya and the introduction of PDCs, WDCs, People’s Tribunals etc. to the effect that all fingers were in fact the same. For pretty 11 years, no sane person had any say in Ghana except those who sang their praises. That was the decade that actually brought the ultimate decay in the Ghanaian body politic. Law and order was thrown to the dogs and respect for authority was nothing to write home about. There was total break in the command structure of all the spheres of administration- the Ghana Armed Forces and all the security agencies completely lost their command modules. That was the era when the largest amount anybody apart from companies could withdraw from his/her personal account from the bank was Gh?0.20 or ?2,000.00 per week. And before any withdrawals could be made, special permission had to be sought or obtained from the ‘Almighty’ Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi, the Overlord and General Superintendent of the dreaded Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC). That was also the era the Account No. 48 was the conduit that received all payments from suspected enemies of the revolution; they had to extort huge payments of fines for their selfish interest and the cowards who could not afford military brutalities and humiliation obliged to save their lives and properties. As readers would notice, that was the period that Ghana and Ghanaians were in the hands of the Ahwois and the Tsikatas as an egg with Chairman Rawlings as the ‘Simpa Panin’of the moment. Messrs Ato, Kwamena and Kwesi Ahwoi and Kojo, Fui and Tsatsu Tsikata were persons who could make and unmake Ghana and trust me if you had any of them as a personal friend, then you should thank your stars while on the other hand, if you incurred the displeasure of any one of them, then, you better had to go into self-exile because it was better that way than to be a dead person in your own country or be ridiculed by the military riff raffs. How do you expect someone who had retired from the public service of Ghana to sustain his family with Gh?0.20 or ?2,000.00 per week? How do the proponents of that inimical action feel today as normal human beings? Judgment Day awaits such people if they never stole any money belonging to the State of Ghana in their lives or made use of the wealth created at the expense of Ghanaians. That was the time and period political persecution was at its peak. This is definitely something unknown to young Ghanaians under 30 years and my earnest plea to many parents is to educate their children to be abreast with current history of our recent past to avoid being drifted ashore to lose the events of the past and adore present day heroes.
In order that Ghana would adhere to the wishes of the western democracies, it was imperative and incumbent on those in authority to ensure democratic principles and measures were put in place. As a result of these pressures and in order that sanity would prevail in Ghana, the late Justice Daniel F. Annan then the general superintendent of the administration, was commissioned and saw to it that the country returned to normalcy. Some potent and democratic mechanisms however were put in place. Some committee members were drawn up from all over the place and notable among them were hairdressers, tailors and quite a few intellectuals also from the Association of Recognized Professional Bodies, the Ghana Bar Association, etc. However, consensus was reached and April 27, 1992 or thereabout was fixed for the polls to determine whether Yes or No Ghana should return to civilian rule in a referendum and the decisive polls simultane -ously accepted for democratic rule after 11 sordid years of dictatorial regime that saw Ghanaians being manipulated with remote control from Libya as slaves in bondage in their own country. However, in spite of the infamous insertion of some criminal indemnity clauses in the 1992 Republican Constitution (allegedly believed to be with the mastermind of Major (Rtrd.) Stanley Pierre) it later became the talk-of-town, but Ghanaians, peaceful as we were, forgot about it all and allowed the ‘greedy bastards’ to have a leeway and go away with their ill-gotten wealth and booty. Despite the unceremonious insertion of the indemnity clauses to indemnify themselves from prosecution and legal battles, tussles and hassles, et cetera, and sensing danger of reprisals and recriminations from the public and perceived enemies they have made for themselves; and furthermore, taking cue from other countries, thought faster and quickly advised their icon and idol to still metamorphose, put down the military garbs and take on civilian clothing to participate as contestant in the subsequent democratic elections that was won by him under strange and bizarre conditions with Mr. Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng as Electoral Commissioner. Whether or not the conduct of that election must have precipitated the sudden exit of the Electoral Commissioner from here to The Gambia is yet to be ascertained. But Students of Ghana history ought to know that within a week the opposition NPP hurriedly wrote a book entitled the Stolen Verdict to show cause as to why they abandoned and boycotted the parliamentary elections the presidential of which was fraught with unprintable words. That particular conduct on the part of the NPP never solved anything concrete nor frightened the NDC under Rawlings as they governed as if it were a one party state run parliament.

Curiously, he won and because we had not come of age in elections, we acquiesced and accepted the results though not in good faith we kept the democratic flame aloft despite some grieving, outbursts and press conferences etc. Meanwhile, there have been as many as three executive presidents namely, Jeremiah John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Evans Atta Mills. Luckily, the first two managed to have two terms of presidency with each term lasting four years. Mr. Jerry Rawlings, just before leaving office during the second term of office, was reportedly quoted as having lifted the hand of Prof. John Mills at an NDC conference at Agona Swedru and proclaimed with the loudest voice from the roof tops saying, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. I entreat all party loyalists to vote for him at the next crucial elections, but since Mr. Rawlings’ name had become distasteful household name to many and did not want to hear it any longer, showed him and his next of kin the ‘red card’ by voting them en masse’. Even though the polls entered into a second run, Prof. Mills was nowhere near victory. Mr. John Kufuor then ascended the throne of executive presidency. He too had his second term also coming to an end January 7, 2009 with John Mills winning the 2008 elections after a re-run. He won not with a wide margin but some 25,000 votes. One would have expected that he would pull the magic wand to do miracles for Ghanaians considering the numerous campaign promises he gave to the people especially the reduction of fuel prices drastically, but what do we see as a nation? We as a nation have totally rejected him and unless and of course there was an earthquake to change the fortunes of his party, there was no way they would win next year’s elections.
Unless somebody very seasoned in constitutional law and practices enlightened me about the ways and means an executive president like Mr. John Mills could not be impeached under the American constitutional system that Ghana practices. I say this with certainty, because the series of events that keep unfolding in the governance of this country clearly suggest that Mr. Mills should be impeached, otherwise, the law would be regarded as an ass but rather not an axe to grind; and would therefore crave the indulgence of any interested legal brain to help me achieve my aim to get the law to impeach him. Unlike Europeans, most African politicians behave as if they wash their faces upwards instead of the downward trend every morning; any little or trivial thing that should cause the exit of a white politician to honourably bow out of office in a civilized manner, would obviously and perhaps, be the threshold of the African politician trying to cast insinuation against his opponents. As many Ghanaians will bear witness, soon after the assumption of office by President Mills, the Transition Commission was said to have embezzled some colossal sum of Gh?1.6m or ?1.6bn on tea party alone. If that were not true, the Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor would not have attested to that fact. Subsequently, the employment of some 1.6 million jobs to the needy Ghanaians that was amplified by the juvenile minister of information but quickly refuted and rebuffed by the substantive Minister clearly showed how incompetent and ineffective government we have. Neither the minister nor the president bowed out of office. Come to think of the Stan Dogbe’s Gh?1.6bn press soiree that could not be accounted for and justified in any sense, and the $20m NDC Headquarters building at Adabraka in Accra are all glaring examples. This article would not pass the litmus test without the mention of the genuine admission by Mr. Kwame Pianim’s (of Any idiot can hold a flag fame) confirmation that a couple of persons brought parcels of envelopes suspected to contain ‘bribes’ to corrupt the incorruptible Mills but were turned back by the president. Hope Ghanaians do not have short memories to have forgotten so soon. Are you there, Sister Akua? What about the inexplicable World Cup Accounts (South Africa 2010) that Hon. Akua Sena Dansua woefully failed to account for at the floor of the Parliament? When does the reimbursement get paid into the Consolidated Account? Could that fishy deal of hers be the cause that precipitated her reshuffle to the Tourism Ministry? As for the BMW 720 Series, the less talk about them, the better. Hons. Joe Gidisu and Alban Sumaila Kingsford Bagbin – how come that a Road Contractor on the Achimota-Ofankor Road and T.D.C. should purchase BMW720 series for you? What did you do to merit such an offertory? As for Hon. Bagbin, the holier than thou Pope Benedict XVI, how come the acquisition and purchase of a brand new BMW720 series by the Tema Development Corporation for you? The series of by-elections at Cherepone, Akwatia and Atiwa and the attendant atrocities by NDC apparatchiks, including Anita de Souza’s car that ran over opponents in the full glare of the police; the partisan stance of the Ghana Police with the Agbobloshie daylight hatchet of opponents under the nose of the Rose Atenga Bio, the DCOP in charge of Greater Accra, and the incarceration of opponents in Tamale as well as the brutal murder at Gushiegu near Tamale that is still unresolved, are just but a few of the catalogue of events that could be listed to have the president impeached but who will bear the cat, one would ask? Time will definitely tell. If this kind of ineptitude had been exhibited by any European politician, the best option available for the presidency was to resign, but here we are again in this part of the world; it is rather the opposite. The author can go on and on to cite many, many examples, but for space and time. Just look at the time when the president travelled to China and was to have continued to Japan but decided to return home for him to be enumerated by the NIA. Was he really serious and justified to come home and return within a matter of three days to Japan? Ghanaians should be the better judges. Then again, having absented himself from home for about a month or so on holidays, was it crucially necessary and prudent to return to Ghana at all if he never arrived to give assent to a very important law or counter-sign with his vice a very pressing law or let alone meet with the Diplomatic Corps? Does he really know that he could be facing the charges of causing financial loss to the State of Ghana one day? What about the Muntaka Gate Scandal of the Century that he quickly and arrogantly retorted furiously and dared any Ghanaian politician to pick a stone and attempt to throw at Hon. Muntaka if he Muntaka were the only and in fact the first politician to travel abroad with a girl friend. Listen to such a cheeky and infantile statement coming from someone like Mr. Mills, an Associate Tax Law Professor. Then the last, but not the least, the straw that has broken the camel’s back and crown Prez. John Mills’ Year of Action’ was the unprintable and unimaginable by all standards -the ‘Woyome Gate Scandal of the Millennium, where according to the revelations by the Auditor-General’s report, amplified by Hon. Ken Agyapong, the Assin North M.P. was Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a ‘dyed-in-wool’ die hard NDC supporter and leading member who took a cheque for a whopping figure of Gh? 5.8m or ?580bn judgment debt which, no doubt, Madam Betty Mould-Iddrisu cannot in anyway whatsoever absolve herself from blame without apportioning the greater part of it on the president because no Attorney-General of Ghana has ever taken any action without first consulting with, or making reference to the presidency at the seat of government for advice. Then also, the president should be held account -able for the broken down of the oil floating meter for measuring the quantity of oil at the Jubilee Oil fields. Any dignified western politician worth his salt, would quickly and readily bow out of govern -ment but not stick to power as obtained in Africa and for that matter, Ghana. So, for our president to arrive home from the month-long sojourn in Canada, the U.S. and Cuba to appease Ghanaians with another committee of enquiry (the first ever head of state in Africa to be prized or tagged with committee setting) is not only a sham but purely a farce and/or a hoax. He shouldn’t have tried to pull a fast one on us by behaving as if he were an ostrich to bury his head in the sand because he knew everything about it. Countrymen and women; believe me that he knew the A - Z about the whole episode and decided to throw dust and sand into our eyes and return to the United States like whirlwind to save face and condemnation. Did he actually know or not know that he would have to return to the U.S. within a week but chose to come to Ghana for what? The Ghanaian taxpayer would like to know and demand explanation from the Information Ministry what actually prompted him to come home with the large retinue, only to return within one week perhaps, with the same entourage. Koku, the bull or bully, please concoct another piece to pacify us. Those who fancy with the list of causing financial loss to the state should arm themselves with the salient points above.

By Kofi Appiah