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Opinions of Sunday, 13 January 2008

Columnist: Acheampong, Owoahene

Rawlings, "The Junior Jesus" a Leader or a Socio-Political Predator?

I have listened to and read many speeches and statements from Rawlings since his AFRC through PNDC, NDC, to the present time as a former President and an opinion leader in Ghana. Most of his speeches and statements smack of nothing but division, reprisals, chaos, vendetta, and total disrespect for the Ghanaian populace and leaders, be it National or Traditional.

Rawlings feels in himself an aura of invincibility and indispensability to Ghanaians and thus speaks and acts with little moderation and reverence to the Nation and its leadership. I have read from some section of the media where some organizations, professional bodies, and some concerned citizens have urged Rawlings and President Kuffour to try and patch up their differences.Much as I admire such groups for their patriotism to Ghana I would beg to differ from such stance.I would rather suggest that these Bodies go and advise Rawlings and help him accept and respect whoever is in authority under the democratic dispensation the Nation is currently enjoying.Rawlings should be made to understand and accept that he is equally as important as any other Ghanaian and that if people respect and honor him, they do so given his status as a former president.In the same vein Rawlings should return such respect and honor to all Ghanaians and to their leadership.It is rather unfortunate Rawlings doesn't see himself and doesn't accept that somebody,today, is politically higher than he is and therefore he should accord such a personality the due respect,at least, in obedience to the Ghanaian constitution.

I will not take Ghanaians far away: Just before Kuffour took over from Rawlings as President of Ghana there was this serial killing (of women) going on in the country.This happened under the watch of Rawlings as the then sitting president of Ghana.After the elections and when Kuffour had assumed office as the president of Ghana, Rawlings turned around and told Ghanaians that he knew the perpetrators of such heinous crime but would not testify until he was given a polygraph test or he had sworn before "Antoa-Nyamaa." Unfortunately however, some gullible and malleable Ghanaians believed in him and this gave him a boost to exploit and exhaust all means at his disposal to make the State all the more ungovernable to the Kuffour administration. Where I fault the Kuffour administration on this issue is that he should have had the attorney General's office cause a court of Law to subpoena Rawlings to testify before a judge in that particular case since it bordered on national security.But what did we hear? After a few interrogations from the Police, whom Rawlings doesn't respect, Rawlings was let loose to make more loose talks.Again in some of his unguarded utterances Rawlings alluded to the idea that President Kuffour orchestrated the murder of Ya-Na, an issue with such great political connotations, yet Kuffour just looked on without any legal action.President Kuffour should not forget that some Ghanaians, out of poverty, illiteracy,sheer sycophancy,greed etc, are gullible and would remain so for a long period of time and therefore would take things as they are presented. A stitch in time saves nine.Another recent incident of which Rawlings has taken undue advantage to decimate the Nation along tribal lines was the incarceration of some Ga chiefs by a court of law. I believe all level-headed Ghanaians know that this was purely a matter of law and an issue assigned to the judiciary. And also given the facts of the case as we read in the media those chiefs breached the court's orders and showed contempt for the court and the constitution of Ghana.Yet Rawlings, believing that most Ghanaians don't know the differences between the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch of our political system, went out there to blame the government and the President for disrespecting some traditional leaders. So is Rawlings saying that our traditional leaders can do whatever they like in breach of the constitution and go scot-free? Or is he saying traditional leaders should be giving special treatment under the law when they violate them? How much respect has Rawlings himself for our traditional authorities?

Most Ghanaians still remember what went on when the current Asantehene paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu, some seven years ago.Where is his so-called respect for traditional leaders? Rawlings keeps throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians all because he knows he will always have the gullible ones on his side. Let Ghanaians know and be aware that left to Rawlings alone there would be chaos in this country in order for him to have the opportunity and the gut to tell Ghanaians that he is the only person who can salvage Ghana from its present predicaments.Rawlings believes in only one thing: the use of brutal force to achieve one's goals. He subjected Ghanaians to this form of leadership for almost 21 years ( from AFRC). He arrested all former heads of State and some of their ministers and advisers, gave them kangaroo trials, labeled them "evil-doers and source of Ghana's economic,social and political predicaments" and executed them that with their demise Ghana would become a paradise on earth and everybody would live in affluence. But what did we witness after their deaths?: tribalism, politicization of almost all institutions in the country, even religious institutions, commercial institutions ( even the GPRTU), social institutions (even the national soccer teams were politicized in such a way that a player had to come from some particular clubs before they were called into the national teams). Rawlings was alleged to have physically abused his ministers and anybody who differed from his ideology. Most Ghanaians are still living witnesses to the fact that Rawlings is on records in history as the only president of a democratic government to have physically assaulted his Vice-President (of Ghana), H.E.Ackaah. Have Ghanaians forgotten so soon how the former vice president died,( may his soul rest in the peace)? Or because he was not one of our family members we don't have to be concerned? In which civilized society can this go uninvestigated? Ghanaians, where is our sense of civilization and social freedom if we allow such foul deeds go unmarked?

What good does Rawlings have for Ghana anymore? Under his so-called eagle-eyed leadership four great Luminaries of our Nation ( three High Court Judges and a Retired Army Officer) were abducted from their homes, killed and their bodies dismembered. Do we know why they were killed and do we even know the actual perpetrators of this gruesome act? What kind of security can Rawlings offer again and what good is he to the Nation today apart from creating confusion and making the State ungovernable. He goes around complaining to the whole world that he is not being taken care of as a former president of Ghana. Let me ask Ghanaians; which individual Ghanaian, home or abroad, is richer than Rawlings and his wife? Yet he pretends to be poor and complains like a baby to the world. It is rather unfortunate that Professor Atta Mills should stoop so low to be tutored into politics by such a guy as Rawlings.Atta Mills should know that a truly level-headed Ghanaian would never align him/herself with this man let alone have his endorsement for his presidential bid.

Now again Rawlings has descended onto the Ghanaian political field already prejudicing some people's minds against the forthcoming general elections. Atta Mills has echoed these sentiments several times in his political campaigns - that he would not accept any results, (probably different from his expectations), when he senses any rigging of votes. Indeed nobody wants to accept any rigging of votes. But what is making Rawlings and Atta Mills so paranoid about the forthcoming elections if they truly have good hearts and intentions for Ghana's development? Are Ghanaians reading in between lines here? What I'm sensing here is that Rawlings and Atta Mills would not accept anything other than a victory in the forthcoming elections. If that doesn't happen they would call for mayhem, (let them prove me wrong).

My caution to all Ghanaians here is that Ghana is not the property of any one particular person or a group of people for which reason such a person or a group should prevail upon us to mutiny just because he/she did not have his/her wish. Whether NDC, NPP, PNC, CPP, DFP, or what have you, their interest, aspirations and importance are subservient to that of the Country, Ghana. None of these groups can help Ghana from their own pockets or resources. Instead, they are going to use our own resources, energy, time and expertise to manage Ghana.Let us not allow them to put us apart simply because they did not win in a particular election.They are never greater than Ghana. We are not a nation because of them, they are what they are because of us.



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