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Opinions of Saturday, 28 June 2008

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

The Illegitimate Presidency of Rawlings Justifies - Part 3

The Illegitimate Presidency of Rawlings Justifies the Parliamentary Election of Dr. Amoako – Part 3

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Many of us grudgingly accepted the drastically modified parentage requirements for the Presidency because of our own situation as Diaspora Ghanaians. The massive migration of Ghana’s best and the brightest implied the certain possibility of the Diasporans forging significant conjugal alliances and other forms of affinity across cultural, ethnic and racial lines. It was for this reason that back in 1991, for example, when Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution was being drafted by the Constituent Assembly, this writer registered both his elation and approbation for the modified parentage requirements for prospective candidates for the Presidency.

By 1997, this author would beget his first child, a daughter, by a Nigerian woman; today, however, and at the time of this writing (6/21/08), this writer has two sons, in addition to his daughter – one, a toddler and, the other, a half-year-old – by his Ghanaian wife, who still retains her Ghanaian citizenship. Through no fault of my children’s, but purely an accident of destiny, my daughter, Abena Anin’waa, for example, finds herself with the possibility of being possessed of three nationalities or national identities; for Abena Anin’waa has a legal right and claim to both Ghanaian and Nigerian passports, whenever she so decides, the privileged outcome of having Ghanaian- and Nigerian-born parents. Abena Anin’waa’s citizenship as an American, a bona fide “African-American,” or is it “West-African-American,” is a given, an incontestable reality. Likewise my two sons reserve the right of Ghanaian citizenship if they so choose during the course of their lives. And like their elder sister, the American citizenship of both Nana Kwame III and Osofo Yaw(be) Sintim-Aboagye is incontestable.

Still, the curiously stultifying fact that the 1992 Ghanaian Republican Constitution was singularly drafted in order to hermetically ensure that an illegitimate Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings would “peacefully” hand over the legitimate and constitutional reins of governance to President Jeremiah John Rawlings, is primarily and incontrovertibly evinced from the fact that no transitional caretaker government existed between the consecutive reigns of Mr. Rawlings’ so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC). A legitimate political arrangement, which guaranteed a proverbial level-playing field would have ensured the creation of a neutral transitional, or caretaker, government – one lasting, perhaps, six months to a year – while the various presidential candidates, or contestants, readied themselves for the 1992 General Elections. Such caretaker government, it has been widely and routinely suggested by avid students of contemporary Ghanaian political history, could have been headed by the extant Chief Justice of the Ghanaian Supreme Court, with executive assistance coming from a body democratically established for the purpose. Needless to say, none of the preceding happened, and it is precisely the latter which renders palpably illegitimate the two-term presidency of ex-Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings.

The timorous appending of an “Indemnity Clause” to the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution, aimed at ensuring that Monsieur Rawlings and his criminal accomplices escaped the deliberate tentacles of condign justice, further vitiated both the validity/credibility and the legitimacy of this modern instrument of democratic governance. But that it cannot, in anyway, whatsoever, be gainsaid that Mr. Rawlings is a political criminal and a criminally culpable traitor of the collective destiny of the Ghanaian people, stems from the inescapable fact of his so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) having undemocratically ousted the constitutionally elected government of the People’s National Party (PNP), spearheaded by Dr. Hilla Limann.

Needless to say, a legion number of arguments have been advanced by fanatical supporters and sympathizers of both Monsieur Rawlings and his PNDC junta, virtually none of which passes judicial muster. The overriding thread undergirding almost every one of these arguments regards the purportedly gross administrative incompetence of the Nkrumah-leaning People’s National Party. Even so, there remains the immutable and indisputable fact of the 1979, Third-Republican Constitution having made a legitimate and democratic provision for the removal of grossly incompetent and/or under-performing governments. And on the latter score must also be added the fact of the 1979 Constitution’s absolute proscription of any attempt to unwisely privilege the political grievance of any individual Ghanaian citizen over and above the inviolable interest of the Ghanaian polity at large; not even the individual interest of a former military strongman who had supervised the drafting of Ghana’s Third-Republican Constitution!

In essence, the facilely populist argument that the PNDC had ridden on the supposedly auspicious crest of general discontent has absolutely no place in any well-measured and legitimate national discourse on this subject. As was widely witnessed even during the last eight years of Mr. Rawlings’ tenure, the mere expression of discontent with perceived gross administrative incompetence does not, in any way, whatsoever, automatically legitimize any radical attempt to oust a “democratically” elected government. And on the latter score, the allusion is to the “Kume Preko” (Finish Me Off, Now!) demonstrations of the late 1990s. And so precisely what justifies the argument of those who appropriate the hollow pretext of widespread national discontent in approbation of the violent advent and entrenchment of the Provisional National Defense Council junta?

In any case, if the mere acquisition of Dual-Citizenship renders the subject of such acquisition an untrustworthy person with double-loyalty then, perhaps, no Ghanaian stands more guilty than the man for whom Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution clearly appears to have been drafted.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 17 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/, 2008). E-mail:

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