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Opinions of Saturday, 19 July 2003

Columnist: Kwamena, Ato

Response to Casmed Ahmed's Article "The Kufuor Administration and ex-President Rawlings"


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Please kindly allow me space on your website to respond to the above article on your website by Casmed Ahmed. His article containted subtle misinformation that misrepresented facts which cannot be glossed over. Thanks for your time. ( the response is pasted below)

I appreciate your sharing of your views on the relationship between President Kufuor and Mr. Rawlings. Certainly you have every right to choose sides and that's the beauty of democracy. We certainly cannot all be NPP sympathizers or NDC, otherwise polictics would even be stale and not exciting.

I, however, disagree with the subtle manner in which you sought to input credibility into all the vituperative words that the Mr. Rawlings has said about President Kufuor and his government. There were also a few misrepresentation of facts which to the person not abreast with the happenings in Ghana could be deceiving. For one, you made it sound like the police "invaded" the house of Mr Rawlings at night, which is totally false. Rawlings was not staying at that house. What happened was that Odinga was staying in a State-owned house, and the police administration or government had gathered intelligence that his man was up to something that was not in the National Security interest. They had every reason to go to that house to investigate. Moreover, this man was not a Ghanaian and was living in the country illegally, but yet was residing in a State-owned building and driving a State-owned vehicle which was fueled by the Ghanaian taxpayer. Those in the intelligence communi! ty are very familiar with Odinga and his role in the Rawlings adminstration. We don't need to repeat the evils of the past 20 or so years!

Let's be fair, Mr. Ahmed, with Rawling's history which government will not be alert when dealing with him? Sometimes you need to put your shoes in another person's to understand whether certain actions are justified or not. If you were in President Kufuor's shoes you probably would have done something worse, something illegal. When Rawlings was in that situation we all know how far he went - how he brutally murdered Afrifa, the Judges, etc. President Kufuor swore to defend our constitution and secure our National Security, he has every right under law to summon someone he feels is a threat to the National Security for question, especially if the due process of the law is effected.

Now, on the question of the murdered women and Rawlings' allegations, we'll leave it to history to decide. I just wonder and am amazed at how any objective person who knows the relationship Rawlings had with the then opposition would believe Mr Rawlings if he wants to tell us today that he knew that members of the opposition were behind the killings but he chose not to do anything about it. This stands in stack contrast to the man Rawlings' temperament. How many opposition politicians suffered imprisonment for absolutely nothing! Now he wants us to believe him. The sad thing is that for a former statesman one would have thought he would be politically savvy enough to know when not to politicize things. Doesn't that go to reinforce the opinion that most Ghanaians have of him that he'll employ all means necessary to help his own image be it blunt lies or be it to the disadvantage of some people.

You also expressed surprise about the fact that the police administration has not successfully traced the background of 5 of 34 murdered women. I'm surprised at your expression of surprise. I do hope you come from Ghana, for you would know the condition of the police service and how over 20 years they were not resourced and were rendered incompetent. I hope you are not just being naive or mischievous, but for your information the Ghana police service has many murders on file that they cannot trace the background of the victims. This is not new to the service. Until they are resourced no one should expect them to function as efficient as their counterparts in other countries.

Now i quote you on your statement about the women's March for Truth "For the organizers to take such militant approach was not the best. Fortunately the demonstrators did not go to the residence of the former President as sympathyzers of the former president had also assembled there, only God knows what the outcome would have been should the two groups clash." Do you understand democracy, Mr Ahmed? What is so militant about a few women going on the street holding placards to petition Rawlings to come out with 'his truth'? Aren't you aware of the demonstration in Accra led by Rawlings against the economic hardships in the country? Would you call that too militant? This statement in your article is the most serious of all. I think it goes to show that it's really true that the NDC has not yet learnt what it means to be democratic. You people think you have the right to enjoy all the benefits of democracy such as free speech, freedom to demonstrate, etc but others do not have that same right and when they do employ th! at same freedoms to disagree with you then it means they are at war with you. This is indeed bad for democracy in Ghana.

I pray the Almighty God to keep you all in the opposition till democratic values become ingrained in your thinkings and your values. Until then, you will never ever come back to power by the ballot box and will never be a viable alternative to the government. We as a people are not going to go back to the violent past. We are through with it. We'll only move forward in true freedom and democracy. To all those who don't understand what it means to be democratic i say "leave Ghanaians alone".

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