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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Columnist: Adu, Kwesi

Rawlings: In Search Of Enemies And Traitors The Roll Call

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*By Kwasi Adu*

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After the menu of insults and verbal abuse served by ex-President Rawlings
and his wife on certain people in the NDC, that they are “greedy bastards”,
“ungrateful bastards”, etc; while some of the ladies are described as
“money-grabbing whores”, etc, the tagging has recently graduated into people
who are and who are not “true blooded NDC”.



At the recent event to launch his wife’s bid to be Presidential flag bearer
of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), ex- President also
referred to "enemies and traitors”, etc who are allegedly trying to derail
the “original” values of “June 4”. In a campaign document on the eve of her
launch, Mrs. Konadu Agyeman Rawlings also bemoaned what she stated are
people who have suddenly joined the NDC with the intention of turning it
into the CPP. Her document included an impressive list. However, what she
did not do was to start her list from the beginning of her husband’s
political career.



I will, in the near future, discuss the matter of the “values of June 4”.
However, for now, I wish devote this piece to the issues of “enemies,
traitors” and late arrivals to the NDC” who are displaying ingratitude by
wanting to hijack the party and turn it into a CPP.



An attempt to find out the true enemies and traitors of the “values of June
4” should take us to the period before June 4 1979. The historical context
of Ex-President Rawlings’ forage into politics should start from 1979. At
the height of mounting agitation against the General Kutu Acheampong regime
by students, Flt. Lt. Rawlings, flew a jet fighter plane over the Korle-Bu
Hospital aimed to frighten medical officers who had gone on strike against
the SMC government, as part of the anti-government protests.



Even before this time, he had been invited by Captain Boakye-Gyan (now Major
Rtd.) to join the Free Africa Movement (FAM), a clandestine group of radical
soldiers with the objective to pursue what Major Boakye-Gyan called, an
African approach to African unity; and “to restore democratic control over
public officers, public resources and policy direction”. According to
available information, one of the objectives of FAM was to “hold to account
those who overthrew governments and constitutions since 1966 (in Ghana) and
those who profited corruptly from those regimes.



Rawlings, as a member of the FAM, “sponged” on the aims and policies of the
group and, on the sidelines, gathered a different group, mainly of
“other-rank” air force soldiers who had been peeved by the fact that they
were not being sent on peacekeeping missions overseas. They also included a
few others who had association with the FAM.



On hindsight, the aim of Flt. Lt. Rawlings becomes clearer. If his new group
succeeded in overthrowing the military government, he would come out as the
undisputed leader and the originator of the fight for probity and
accountability within the military; an issue that was already part of the
objectives of the FAM.



It is therefore fair to say that when, during his trial (following the May
15 failed mutiny), he talked about the need for probity and accountability
and fight against corruption, Flt. Lt. Rawlings was only parroting what he
had learnt about the aims of the Free Africa Movement, founded by the then
Captain Boakye-Gyan.



It is note-worthy that the wife of Leading Aircraftman Osei Tutu was
pregnant when he (LAC) a member of Rawlings’ May 15 1979 mutiny, was shot
dead in action. At no time, after the release of Flt. Lt. Rawlings on June 4
1979, did Flt. Lt. Rawlings even visit this woman to commiserate with or
support her. So much for gratitude or “ungrateful bastards”!!!.



It is also pertinent to note here that Captain Boakye-Gyan, leader of the
FAM, is a Kwame Nkrumah adherent who had great respect for Nkrumah’s CPP. At
the time, Flt. Lt. Rawlings did not have a problem dealing with such a
pro-Nkrumah-CPP group.



On June 4 1979, the soldiers who led in the overthrow of the SMC II
government, including Lt. Baah Achamfuor, Lance Corporal Peter Tasiri
Adongo, L/Cpl Ansah Atiemo, the late Lt. Agyeman Bio, WOII Harry Obeng,
Leading Aircraftman Newton Gatsiko, Peter Tamakloe, late Commander Apaloo,
Mensah Gbedemah, Mensah Poku, , Mark Atinga, Lance Corporal Sarkodee Addo,
Corporal Sheikh Tetteh, Private Owusu Adu, Staff Sergeant Adjei, etc are
not known to be rabid anti-Nkrumaists. This is because, they were either
members of the FAM or were related to it. In spite of this, Flt. Lt.
Rawlings was prepared to work with them on the AFRC.



One Corporal Acheampong was part of the group that rescued and transported
Flt. Lt. Rawlings from MI guardroom on June 4 1979. He was shot and maimed
in the pinzgauer in which they were carrying Rawlings. However, he was later
never recognised nor acknowledged by Flt. Lt. Rawlings. He still lives as a
disabled person because of his injuries.



When the AFRC was about to hand over power to the Limann PNP government, a
group of young persons, who had been active in the student movement and the
anti-SMC agitations in 1977/78, formed an organisation which they named
after the June 4 event. The young men who founded the June Four Movement in
August 1979 were all avowed Kwame Nkrumah adherents. They included Nyeya
Yen, Nicholas Atampugre, Sakkua Agambila, Taata Ofosu Kwadjo, Kwasi Adu,
Napoleon Abdulai, Joe Cudjoe, Gariba Shaibu, and Zaya Yeebo. When he was
invited to join the group, Rawlings did not decline it in spite of the
pro-Nkrumah orientation of the leadership.



Mr. Zaya Yeebo, one of the founders of the JFM , wrote in his book, *Ghana:
The Struggle for Popular Power* (1991) that following the hand-over to the
PNP, “Rawlings felt rejected and betrayed by the PNP and colleagues on the
AFRC…. He maintained a vitriolic rhetoric in interviews with the foreign
and local press,… The BBC described him as ‘a rebel without a power base’”.




In April 1980, in the wake of sustained media attacks on Rawlings and the
AFRC, the leadership of the June 4 Movement (JFM) decided, in good faith, to
invite Flt. Rawlings to join the Movement. This was meant to offer him a
“cushion” in the sense that whenever he was attacked by the press, the JFM
would respond in a more measured way than Mr. Rawlings could do with his
outbursts. When he joined the JFM, Rawlings was left in doubt that the
totality of the members of the organisation were either devotees or admirers
of the Kwame Nkrumah political philosophy and agenda.



According to Zaya Yeebo (1991), “When the security agencies threatened
Rawlings and (Capt. Rtd) Kojo Tsikata, it was the rank and file members of
the JFM who rallied to their defence”. Yeebo continues, “His anti-Nkrumah
stance, and later his refusal to abide by the JFM’s collective decisions
were alarming signals which should have led the founders of the JFM …. into
making a (more) critical analysis and appraisal of their relationship with
him”. Even at the time, Rawlings himself realised that his anti-Nkrumah
stance was jeopardising his relation with the leadership of the JFM. Yeebo
continues “To convince members of the then National Steering Committee of
the JFM, who questioned Rawlings’ anti-CPP and anti-Nkrumah posture, he
became receptive to left-wing and revolutionary ideas and took steps to show
this. …. Displaying his apparent appetite for revolutionary literature, he
even talked of joining Marxist study cells. The books which he seemed to
read and talk about most in that period included Frantz Fanon’s *Wretched of
the Earth *and* *Paulo Freire’s *Pedagogy of the Oppressed. *



Later in 1982, when he became a powerful Head of State and decided to get
rid of his friends in the JFM, he even claimed that he was the one who
founded the June 4 Movement. (Now it is obvious that the status of being
“founder” is of crucial importance in the Rawlings psyche.)



In the course of 1982, and as part of his plan to cast off his friends in
the leadership of the June 4 Movement, he called them to a crunch meeting in
Gondar Barracks where he threatened them. At some point during the
threatening session, he was so angry about the fact that JFM leaders were
criticising his government that he snarled “you have the pen, but I have the
gun”. When a soldier gives you that sort of message, it is like a snake
shows you its bare fangs. That alone is enough to send anyone into permanent
silence. In the end, those among the JFM leadership who were not fast enough
to run into exile were arrested and some were later shot dead.



The ingenuity of Rawlings in finding catchy adjectives for his victims came
to its fore immediately after this event. Suddenly the JFM leaders were
described as “super-revolutionaries”, “dreamers”, “extremists”, “bows and
arrows carriers” etc. The “bows and arrows carriers” bit was meant for the
31st December soldiers, most of whom were of Northern extraction. This was
their “thank you” for helping him to overthrow a “Northern” President. Soon
after, he proclaimed an “all hands on deck” policy by which the “oppressed”,
“the masses” and the “ordinary man” for whom he claimed to have staged the
coup, were to welcome their oppressors on the ship of state. At a time when
the hands of the “masses” had not been strengthened enough in the art of
governance, the hands of the oppressors would be more formidable on the
“Deck” of this ship of state. And that is what eventually happened.



It explains why the current NDC has become a motley multitude, with people
maboth de up of Nkrumaist adherents of the old CPP and UP traditions. In
this cauldron of people with different political orientations, the only
thing that unites them is to be in power. Once the power is attained, and
without a uniform political goal, they cannot move with a common political
purpose. What then happens is that some of them believe that the only
purpose of belonging to the NDC is to fight for political offices for
themselves, leaving the national interest to fend for itself. On the
contrary, those among them who want to do something for the national
interest are cut down by the individualists, with the ferocity of a butcher
chopping into tough bones.



While some of the Ministers concentrate on building their own little
empires, the masses within the party, without jobs, are left to fight for
the control of toilets. The irony is that the situation of joblessness was
created Flt. Lt. Rawlings, who, who during his nineteen year reign, sold
off most of the state enterprises, most of which subsequently collapsed. Now,
the same person comes to complain about the lack of jobs for
“foot-soldiers”. What a turn-around.



The soldiers and civilians, on whom Rawlings relied to prepare and execute
the 31 December 1981coup, were mostly devoted Nkrumaists. Among the
civilians included Joachim Amartey Kwei and Chris Atim. They provided the
political orientation to the soldiers who also included Sergeant Alolga
Akata Pore, Corporal Matthew Adabuga, Sergeant Awal, Corporals C.C. Addai,
Halidu Gyiwa, Issaka Braimah, Albert Gbafa, etc.



Among the people who came to work with Flt. Lt Rawlings at the beginning of
the PNDC rule in 1982, included Kofi Totobi Quakyi and the three Ahwoi
brothers, who after nineteen years of working with Rawlings in several top
positions, are now considered “greedy bastards” by him. It is intriguing,
how President Rawlings did not notice this trait in them for nineteen years
while he worked with them.



If Rawlings wants to be taken seriously about his suspicion of pro-Nkrumah
people in his government or the NDC, then what the hell was he thinking w
hen he had people such as Ebow Tawiah, Mrs. Aanaa Enin, P.V.Obeng, Chris
Atim, Amartey Kwei, Captain (rtd) Kojo Tsikata, Mrs. Susanna Al-Hassan (a
Minister in the Nkrumah government), Brigadier Joseph Nunoo Mensah, Sergeant
Daniel Alolga Akata Pore, etc at various stages as members of the PNDC?



Why did he have Dr. Don Arthur, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, Mr. Johnny Hansen, Dr.
Emmanuel Hansen, Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo, E.T. Mensah, Mohammed Ben Abdallah, Ato
Ahwoi, Kwamina Ahwoi, Ato Austin, D.S. Boateng, J. H. Owusu-Acheampong, and
J. R. E. Amenlema etc. as PNDC Secretaries (Ministers)?



Even before the NDC came to power in 1993, he could not have been ignorant
that Kow Nkensen Arkaah, (his Vice-President 1993-1997) was an Nkrumah
adherent.



When Rawlings and his wife talk about CPP people trying to hijack the NDC,
they do not make clear which “CPP” they are talking about. One does not know
whether they are referring to the current group that calls itself CPP or the
original Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP. This is because in actuality, the only
similarity between Nkrumah’s CPP and the current Dr. Nduom’s CPP is in name
only. In substance, there is a wide difference.



It is also interesting to note that, at no time, in these periods, did Flt
Lt. Rawlings raise the issue of some “CPP” negative influence on his P/NDC
government. If he had that idea in mind, he kept it closely to his chest.
However, with dyed-in-the-wool pro-Nkrumah people such as Captain (rtd)
Kojo Tsikata with him, Flt. Lt. Rawlings could not have been unaware at the
time that those with whom he worked were Nkrumah admirers.



As for the origins of the 31st December Women’s Movement, it is laughable
that Nana Konadu Agyeman should claim to have been its founder. The founders
of the Movement included Mrs. Obinnim, Yaa Asiedu, Gertrude Zakaria, Cynthia
Nuama, Leefua Asiedu and Ama Kuta Dankwa. When they formed the organisation,
they approached Nana Konadu to ask her to be the Patron. Many of those close
to the events are still alive today to testify to this. Later they were
almost all to be chased out, (with Cynthia having died in mysterious
circumstances) leaving Nana Konadu as the only woman standing. She then
became President, and for 29 years, we have not heard of this NGO having an
AGM to properly elect new officers. When people are made to leave the
organisation, they appear to be replaced by appointments, not elections. What
a democratic NGO!!!



All said and done, it may be fair to say that the original “values of June
4” were mostly those that were developed by the founders of the Free Africa
Movement, (led by then Captain Boakye Gyan) These values were borrowed on
May 15 1979 by Flt. Lt. Rawlings. When he failed in his attempt to topple
the government, others came to his rescue.



It is very strange that Rawlings does not celebrate May 15, which was his
baby. The irony is that he has rather latched unto June although almost all
the soldiers who rescued him from death on June 4 1979 are now considered as
“cowards” or having “betrayed the values of June 4”.



It is a strange world indeed, when all the people with whom Flt. Lt.
Rawlings associated politically over the last 32 years have all turned out
to be either “traitors”, “bastards” (ungrateful and greedy), “usurpers”,
“upstarts”, “climbers”, “super-revolutionaries”, “extremists”,
“bows-and-arrows-carriers”, “dreamers”, “cowards”, “corrupt”, “greedy”,
“snail-pacers”, “whores”, “little minds” or “lesser beings” . The only
“good” ones are those who were picked up along the way in very recent times.




Some of these latter-day Rawlingstas, who, in 1979, had not even born, stand
in front of the now “bad guys” to ask them “where were you during June
4?” Gripping
stuff!!



The roll call is long. However, it will surely grow even longer in the
future, as some of the current “good guys” will surely be cast aside as the
years go by. Ask Victor Smith.



The political story of Rawlings looks very much like a Kakaiku song. The
lion got caught in a trap pit and was wailing for help. On seeing the rat,
which was passing by and had been attracted to the wailing, the lion begged
the rat who took action to rescue him. The rat did this by cutting a twine
(rope). He tied one end to a tree, and threw the other end into the pit to
enable the lion to climb up. When the lion came up, he told the rat that in
order to hush up the information about his rescue by a mere rat, he would
have to kill the rat. “Okusi n’ani nsuo waa! Aboa Okusi n’ani nsuo waa”.


Kwasi Adu
kwadu@hotmail.com
Krunzi Consulting
P.O.Box 10470
Accra North
Accra, Ghana