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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Columnist: Amo-Addae, Joe

Rawlings Confessions

I refer to the confessional statement of Jerry John Rawlings which appeared on (feature articles) of Sunday, 24 August 2008 on the Internet ( What concerns me as a patriotic citizen of Ghana is Rawlings finally confessing to have masterminded the brutal murder of the three high court judges and the retired army officer during the early part of ‘his revolution’.

Those high court judges and the army officer were innocent citizens of our nation who were performing according to the constitution of the nation. They never deserved to be murdered for the sake of ‘the revolution’. Their murder remains a crime against humanity and the State of Ghana and must be condemned in the strongest terms at all times. Any man or woman revealed to have had direct link to their murder must be brought to justice no matter how long it takes. On the watchword that, “no one knows what the future may bring”, it is important that justice be done always. While we exercise our freedom in our struggle to build our nation for the betterment of ourselves and our children's children, we need to do justice to serve as a lesson to all citizens at all times.

People who went on the run after committing crimes against humanity in the World War II before 1945 are still being brought to justice in the 21stCentury by the International Court of Justice regardless of their age or condition of health. Now that Jerry John Rawlings has given a narrative account of how they were murdered, I think it is time the State of Ghana brought him and his accomplices mentioned in his confessional statement to justice in the interest of Ghanaians. In a democratic world, it has been said that no one is above the law. In his confessional statement likewise his previous public statements, Jerry Rawlings talks like he created a country called Ghana and allowed the people in and so he has every right to do whatever he wants to do or say whatever he wants to say. He has proved to have no respect for rules and regulations as well as the dedicated leaders of our country. He has proved to have no limits to his actions. My question is, is there Law and Order in our country at all? And if so who is to exercise these? I think, no one can come from outside to run things for us and therefore it is time the accredited Leaders of our nation woke up and implemented their ideas. In a country where there is law and order, no one should be allowed to take the law into his owns hands like Rawlings has done.

In hisconfessional statement, the ex-Head of State refers to Akans as his enemies. I am not moved to write because I belong to the tribe Rawlings sees as his enemies but because I am a patriotic and a concerned citizen of our nation. I think, while we urge present and future generations of our beloved country to rise up to the challenges ahead in the twenty-first century, we do not need a leader who would take chances to motivate tribal and ethnic differences in the process of our struggle towards the development of our nation. We need a leader who will urge Ghanaians citizens to let barriers between tribes and ethnic groups fall forever. We need to encourage present and future generations to see ourselves as brothers and sisters from one nation first. Tribal and ethnic differences will only bring doom to our nation's future.

Rawlings refers to presidential hopeful Atta-Mills as his appendage, revealing that he was there from the very onset of his revolution. He states that Atta-Mills knew about the plan to murder the four innocent citizens and that, he is also holding a secret. Rawlings is today asking Ghanaian voters to cast their votes for Atta-Mills to please himself, something he would see as his Third Coming. Now that J.J. Rawlings is desperately seeking to win his VIP status back and defend it for life and also, continue his everlasting rule beneath the NDC party, how would they convince Ghanaian voters that they will not set forward their evil ideologies to secretly eliminate their prominent political opponents from our country?.

It would be recalled that soldiers were commanded to demolish privately-owned radio stations in parts of our country during his dictatorship era. Operators were molested because; one man felt they were trying to open people's eyes with comments that did not favour him. Today, we hear a mass of voices on local radios from home and abroad. In our daily lives in Ghana today, we hear voices of men and women who want to speak out their minds about the political process. We hear voices on the radio insulting the sitting President because he does not come from their tribe and is also not their favourite.

I recently met someone who was proud to have spoken out his mind about the political process through the local radio. I asked him what he thinks about his harsh words. He said to me oh yes! it is democracy!. It means government of the people, for the people and by the people. We have freedom of speech and so everyone has the right to exercise that. Then I asked him which one he does prefers. The era when a man signed his own death warrant to dare to pop his nose into one man's decision making or now that you can exercise your freedom of speech to let your voice be heard and face no charge? But then I got no answer.

My question here is where were all these bold voices? Where were all these intellectuals who take advantage of the information technology via the Internet today to raise concerns towards the process. Where were all these voices insulting the President because he is not J. J. Rawlings. If all these bold voices and intellectuals home and abroad cannot say that they prefer Rawlings's tactics of secretly eliminating our relatives, heroes and loved ones to silence Ghanaians for the sake of his permanent and unopposed rule, then they should rather commend men who stood up against the system to be changed. I think a person like Nana Akuffo Addo (endorsed by Rawlings himself as the most active and a peaceful protester) among others whose tireless efforts brought democracy back to Ghana deserve commendations. What wrong have Akans done to J. J. Rawlings to be seen as his enemies? Is it because the only individuals who stood up on behalf of the nation to end his unopposed rule and killings of our innocent citizens were mostly Akans? If so, does the people of the entire Akan tribe has to be his enemies? His hatred of Akans has no apparent reason. Lets not forget one thing. All along his revolutionary campaign, Akans including myself massively supported him. Akans including myself massively cast our votes for him to remain in power because of what he claimed he stood for. Especially for him, many Akans still support the party he founded and is still campaigning for. Now that he has voiced it out that Akans are his enemies, where does he leave some of us? What sense does it make for many, many Akans and me to vote for the party (which he is the brain behind) to come to power? It is now clear that Rawlings is obviously disappointed and frustrated about one thing, the end of his dream to rule Ghana for life.

People who celebrate with Rawlings today for revenging on behalf of his kinsman Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka to torture his enemies “Okatakyie” Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa till the end to pacify himself because rumours had linked him to the assassination of Kotoka should realize that, Rawlings is no one but an instigator of tribal tension in our country. Talking to students he calls his children, (the future of our nation) what important lesson does he want these youths to learn from this? Should children of today take their chances tomorrow to take similar revenge in our country? Should children, the future or of our nation utilize their chances to torture Rawlings or anyone of his group till the end because they killed their fathers or tribal heroes? Should children of today grow up and take their chances tomorrow in a revenge to meet Rawlings's child and blow his head off with a gun because his father killed their fathers or kinsmen? Or can Rawlings say he does not care what happens tomorrow because he has managed to secure the future for his children abroad? No, I do not think that future leaders of our nation should go that far by taking revenge on behalf of their kinsmen (let alone, based on rumours).

I think leaders who have the interest of our nation should judge people for their crimes based on facts to serve as a deterrent to all citizens and not by the tribes the belong to. Our country does not need a leader who will lead us with his heart and mind filled with hatred of particular tribes. I am glad wisdom has come from our leaders who succeeded Rawlings and decided not to retaliate against his evil deeds. Other wise, it is clear by now, who possess the power to silent the other permanently? Is Rawlings not taking their leniency to be their weakness after all? What did Rawlings redeem Ghana from? In a society where ignorance isa major set back, one who seizes the opportunity to rise up like he did can easily convince the poor majority that he can make them change positions with the rich. His uprising was an absolute sensation in the entire nation. Why? Because of the equality he stood for. In spite of the enormous pain people suspected to be rich in our country had to go through, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer after his nineteen years of rule. He could obviously not bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, not a millimetre closer. With his hatred of some tribal groups as a leader of a nation, how can equality be given true meaning?

There is a common problem of massive corruption that isaffecting our economy. But let us ask ourselves first; Are we Ghanaians ever willing to do without corruption? It does not take blood shed and discrimination against tribal and ethnic groups to combat this.

Let someone come out and prove that Rawlings actually instituted a programme designed to eliminate corruption from the Ghanaian society that has been wasted by his successors. He was also obviously not the solution he promised to be. All the human lives he wasted were meant to silence Ghanaians’ opposition to his intended permanent rule. Jerry John Rawlings will be remembered as a murderer of modern day Ghana rather than a saviour as he describes himself. He can continue to enjoy a worthless popularity, taking advantage of the ignorant society that we live in. It is only in such a society that he can get away with his barbarous regime. It ever remains a real shame for our nation that such a murderer maintains popularity.

“Exemplos decimos” is a Latin saying, meaning leadership by example. Rawlings has proved to have no good examples to leave Ghanaians. No wonder he linked Fidel Castro to his ideas to rule Ghana for life and probably hand over power to his son in the end. At the time when the state of Ghana could spend its secured foreign loans and revenues to invest in people with skills to go and learn modern technological ways in various fields from developed nations, he chose to invest in people to go to Cuba to go and learn the way to pinpoint the most promising commanders (outside his tribe) of our regular Armed Forces and take them in the implication of coup plots in order to eliminate them. “Out of sight does not mean out of mind” He has a price to pay himself for all those murders and false acts of crocodile tears shed on the national television to outwit the Ghanaian masses, something he claims to have learned from Fidel Castro. We in Ghana are lucky not to be in communist Cuba where Fidel Castro seized power in the year 1958 and handed over power to his brother Raul in 2007.

The fact that Rawlings cannot understand he is not the only man in our country with better ideas to lead us into economic success means he is a bad loser. He does not want to see a winner. His intention is to instigate disturbances deriving from tribes in our country. Let Ghanaians be warned at this juncture. The power-hungry Rawlings demoted from power over the last eight years is now like a lion put in the cage. A vote for Atta-Mills means voting to release the lion from it's cage. Let Ghanaians foresee the destruction he would cause us. Let us try to understand his game plan by now. He will surely make no mistake. His clever way of causing permanent disappearance of our prominent citizens will surely come back. People of our peaceful nation will bear the brunt. Atta- Mills cannot stop him. For, he was with him from the beginning but could not stop him from the many killings. It was time we Ghanaians opened our eyes. Let us all say together towards his divisive political rallies, “PAPA SOLDIER, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” Let people who believe in blood shed for Ghana's reconstruction waste their votes on them. After all, how many are they?

Does it really matterif Rawlings refuses to call Akufo-Addo Nana because he thinks he does not deserve the title? No, I do not think so. Who would pamper his enemy? The fact remains that he was born into a traditional family. As tradition demands, he has been chosen by his elders to inherit his ancestral stool and of course, to keep the responsibilities involved just like every other traditional Chief in our country. One thing is for sure, Nana Akuffo Addo's biography never reveals that he was born a bastard. He above all, has respect for humanity and their right to live as well as their freedom of speech. He also has values for tradition besides his leadership traits.

President John Agyekum Kuffour would never go on record as a man who came in the interest of the Ghanaian people rather than himself if he fails to exercise his power to bring J.J. Rawlings to justice following his confessional statement that he masterminded the murder of the three high court judges and the retired army officer.

The Chief Justice of our nation would never be there for justice if she fails to exercise her powers to bring Jerry John Rawlings and his accomplices mentioned in his confessional statement, Messrs Kojo Tsikata and Atta-Mills and his own wife Nana Yaa Konadu Agyemang Rawlings to justice.

Joe Amo-Addae