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Opinions of Monday, 28 July 2003

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Serial killings of women in Ghana: The flip side.

Prior to the 2000 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, I was rounding up my studies at Rutgers in New Jersey, when the editorial office of the school's newspaper -"The Observer", received an invitation to cover the visit of a first lady from Africa.

Tara Kane, the editor-in-chief, revealed during our editorial conference that the visitor was Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

A day after, Dianne Hill, director of the school's academic foundation program informed me, that I have been selected alongside three other students from Ghana to hold a meeting with Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings during her visit.

The meeting was to afford us the opportunity to discuss matters pertaining to the job situation in Ghana, democracy, human rights, justice and peace, women empowerment, cultural exchange program with Universities in Ghana, among other issues we may deem fit.

Kwame Kodua, political and human rights activist, and co-president of the All Africa Students Union on campus, Abena Mensah, women organizer of the All African Students Union, and Ms. Sarkodie-Addo, graduating information systems major, were the other students.

The later addition was Ms. Yvonne Boateng, journalism major from Union County College, who was covering the event for her school's newspaper.

At the Paul Robenson campus center, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings addressed a large gathering, during which she espoused women empowerment in Africa, and how the 31st December Women Movement "transformed" (?) the lives of Ghanaian women.

She spoke extensively like a politician; therefore, it was no surprise, that at the end of the forum she answered questions like a politician.

After her speech, four black students (not Ghanaians) were selected to ask questions well crafted by Dr.Holdbrook of Rutgers' African-American Studies faculty, the students confirmed.

At Rutgers, students do not normally keep secrets to themselves; as a result revealing that questions asked at that gathering were carefully "manufactured" was not a surprise.

"The Observer" editorial office receives many student visitors who always have stories to tell or present one for publication.

During our private meeting with Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Ms.Yvonne Boateng asked an important question I would like to bring to the attention of Ghanaians.

Ms.Boateng wanted to know what the NDC administration was doing to stop serial killings of women in Ghana, the outcome of Police investigations, and the arrests made so far.

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the former first lady of Ghana, replied: "The serial killings of women has become a major problem for government, and that the issue is a mystery. Some of the women are killed, let say, at Tarkwa in the Western region and brought to a place like Alajo in Accra, some are killed at Axim and brought to Mamprobi or Dansoman".

This, she said, makes it difficult to track the perpetrators, as well as identifying the dead.

She continued: "When we ask the Police to provide us with more information on the killings, they say it would jeopardize the information gathering process, and that they keep saying we should give them time to complete the investigation".

"But we are doing all we can to prevent such killings", she concluded.

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings did not give any indication that it was the work of the opposition party/parties.

The former first lady wanted to explain further, as more questions emerge, but "well-dressed men who have been sent from Ghana to New York to lie on behalf of the state"(consulate officials), prompted an end to the meeting.

Kobby Koomson, a gentleman, and former ambassador to the United States was around, but did not participate in the "dirty public relation" work of government. Others did.

After the meeting, Grace Omaboe (Maame Dokono), purposely stationed at the exit of the meeting hall offered us fresh tasty Ghanaian "Kingsbite" chocolate, "thanking us for coming", but that was not to settle our minds on the issue of serial killings of women in Ghana.

We kept asking ourselves: "How did the first lady know that the women were not killed in Accra, but are only dumped there?" Who gave her this information, why was that person not questioned to ascertain the truth since the matter relates to life and death of precious Ghanaian women?

We had to grapple with many questions after the meeting, the answers we could not find till date. Each time we meet at the computer laboratory or the school's cafeteria, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings' answers to the serial killings come up for discussion.

Strangely enough, ex-president Jerry Rawlings now claims he knows fifteen ministers of state in the NPP administration who were behind the serial killings of women during the NDC era of misrule and hidden debauchery.

Interestingly, a lie detector has been requested before the names are released. Where are we drifting?

Just some weeks ago, I was watching "CNN Headline news" when it was announced that using lie detectors would soon become a thing of the past, as there is a new technology in the pipeline.

The anchor man indicated, that research has shown some people have been able to pass lie detector tests through smart thinking, pointing out that the authenticity of the process is now being challenged, as people previously found to be innocent were in fact guilty, and some found guilty were, indeed, innocent.

These facts are being presented to the good people of Ghana to scrutinize, make their own deductions, and come out with questions for Jerry John Rawlings, and his wife, against the background of the account she gave at Rutgers.

The opposition's waywardness and lack of shame for past atrocities and decadence are gradually dusting the real problems facing Ghana . The next agenda: "Politicization of serial killings of Ghanaian women".

For the NPP government, it always has to find the time to rebut falsehood from an ex-president who is determined to confuse the vulnerable.

The best way forward, would be the emergence of new Ghanaian youths liberated cognitively, and supported by people (the educated and uneducated) who are gifted with "common sense" to erase this unending "Rawlings siege, of misinformation and frustration".

According to the grapevine, the NPP government has a bigger fish to fry, and descending with erratic frivolity made possible by an old guard (Jerry John Rawlings) would be a mistake.

The author, an alumni of Rutgers University was a former assistant at the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana. He now lives in Massachusetts.


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