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Opinions of Thursday, 15 March 2007

Columnist: Manu, Kwabena

Rawlings "Enka Ebeye Den Na Aye Wo Ya"

“How else could you be jealous?”

Nana Acheampong’s hit song to which Ghanaians have danced for so many years sums up the emotions surging through the restless body of former President Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings as he watches the ascendancy of Ghana that none of his “booms” can slow or stop. How else could he make a statement like: “ NPP is afraid of me” on the day that Ghana’s current President and leader of the ruling NPP, John A. Kufuor, is being feted as a special guest of the Queen in Buckingham Palace? And how else could he travel to South Africa four days before Ghana’s celebration of its fifty years of independence, to discredit the country that he professes to love so much that he will shed blood for it – others?

On March 2, 2007, the former President spoke on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s show “At a Glance” and let the vitriol flow- 100% condemnation of the current government and any organization or country that supports it and 0% acceptance of any wrong-doing on his part- ever. Is this a way to welcome the half-centennial of a nation’s life of which the same Flt. Lt. Rawlings alone had been in the driver’s seat for twenty of those fifty years? That is 40% of Ghana’s free life under the “ everybody is wrong and will ever be wrong except me- Rawlings”. Some of Jerry Rawlings’ banter in South Africa has appeared here and there. Let us look at the highlights and fathom whether these are worthy of one who is desperate for recognition as a savior of poor Ghana and father of its nascent democracy.

“Black leaders are oppressing and subjecting their own people and that is bad. Oppression from black leaders is despicable and tantamount to a betrayal of the people’s sacrifices in paying the ultimate price with their lives for the liberation of nations across Africa”

The only basis one can remotely excuse Flt. Lt. Rawlings from his own assessment of black leadership is that he does not put himself in that category because he does not consider himself black to begin with. When Ghanaians called him “Junior Jesus” and the Western press (that he now castigates as being too-Kufuor friendly) described him in 1979 as “Half-Caucasian” presumably Rawlings believes that he occupies a rung higher than the non-blended Africans and therefore he should be seen as above them. Does Rawlings know anything about the horrors of oppression, torture, murder, plunder and true despicable subjugation by Whites under Apartheid in South Africa that went on for almost as long as Ghana has been independent? Does he know anything about the horrors of slavery of the Africans by Caucasians both inside and outside Africa? Does he know who put the father of modern South Africa- Nelson Mandela in prison for 27 years? It sure was no Zulu.

Hardly had Rawlings been brought in on 4 June 1979 to lead other’s (the Black soldiers) successful coup d’etat than he, as Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, signed the death sentence by firing squad of several senior army officers, three of whom had been Heads of State- Generals Acheampong, Akuffo and Afrifa; and General Kotei, Rear Admiral Amedume, Major General Utika, Air Vice Marshall Yaw Boakye and Colonel Felli. - No trials, round them up, tie them up, cover their faces and shoot them! May Rawlings own words in South Africa convict him. The Junior Jesus and Half- Caucasian gives the order and the pure blooded Black Ghanaians perish and he lives to throw it all in our faces even in a land like South Africa that has made the painful decision to reconcile, forgive and move on. Oh yes – Rawlings does not know.

Lest we forget – a nursing mother and Judge was picked up in the middle of the night shot and burned under orders from very high up during Rawlings’s second coming on 31 December 1981 under a new incarnation as the People’s National Defense Council. Why would he not be jealous that after such extreme atrocity under his watch and with his concurrence, Ghana moves on and is beloved by the world even if it is still not perfect and he is left to watch from the sideline without the authority to command the end of anyone’s life. No Rawlings does not know anything about shedding blood for a cause because Mrs. Justice Cecilia Koranteng was not looking to be a heroine nor were the other Judges who were killed and burned with her on 30 June 1982 – Justice K. Agyepong and Justice Sarkodie plus Retired Army Major Sam Acquah. They were family people doing their job- their only crime being that some one close to Rawlings did not like the Judges’ decisions and that was enough to get an order- Weep for yourself and for Ghana if you will, Mr. Rawlings, but do not insult her.

“Ghanaians are disengaged and are much poorer under Kufuor and his NPP administration” – Rawlings said to the South African media. If Ghanaians are poorer under Kufuor’s administration they are poorer in wanting to move on and not seek revenge and not doing unto Rawlings what he did to former Heads of State who were alive when he came into power. If Ghanaians are poorer, they are poorer in allowing an outgoing Head of State to insert articles of immunity from prosecution in the country’s constitution. They are poorer by allowing unfettered travel and free speaking by one who muzzled everyone else. They are poorer by allowing a former Head of State to live in opulence with all the cars and dogs he fancies. Yes they are poorer and Rawlings is jealous and insecure haunted by his own past as the Head of State of 40% of Ghana’s life. South Africa is easily the best developed land in Africa but no one gives that as a credit to neutralize the abomination of apartheid under White rule– with its senseless killing and limitations on freedom of the Black African. Such is the living epitaph of Rawlings. He could wish that his accomplishments could be itemized and heralded. He could wish that he was the center of attraction on Ghana’s fiftieth. He could wish that he was staying at Buckingham Palace for four days and three nights – but no, not when innocent blood is crying for justice and shall not be “boomed” over in Ghana, South Africa, the US, UK, on CNN, VOA, SABC, anywhere- and the hand that caused their premature and brutal exit says to the world--- no regrets.

By Kwabena Manu of New York,
An aspiring MP for Nsuta Kwamang

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.