You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2004 06 30Article 61633

Opinions of Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Columnist: The Lens

To reconcile or not to reconcile

There exists a real concern that at the end of the work of the NRC, Ghana would become a more divided country than it was before the NRC began its work.

This is not because Ghanaians are unwilling to forgive one another and forge ahead with the onerous task of nation building, but it is due to the fact that over the months, as the NRC?s work progresses, the perception that the NRC was set up principally to expose persons connected to the NDC, especially President Rawlings, to public ridicule and hatred, in order to destroy the NDC has grown stronger.

We are aware that persons who say these things are portrayed as persons who do not like reconciliation, and they are presented as trying to undermine the work of the NRC.

But the truth of the matter is that those who have undermined the work of the NRC are the media men and women who, since the beginning of the work of the NRC have kept on feeding the reading and listening public with reports deliberately slanted to make persons connected to the NDC appear in the blackest possible terms.

To illustrate, let us take the case of Captain Tsikata. In his statement and testimony before the NRC Captain Tsikata denied being in Ghana at the onset of the 31st December Revolution. Thereafter two persons submit statements to the NRC, which statements, at face value, contradict the testimony of Captain Tsikata.

While these statements were yet to be subjected to scrutiny, Captain Tsikata was presented as a liar in sections of the media with headlines such as ?Tsikata Exposed?.

It is instructive to note that those two statements that formed the basis of those media vilification of Capt. Tsikata were themselves contradictory of each other; yet neither of those two gentlemen was presented as a lair, but poor Capt. Kodzo Tsikata was presented as a liar. Why?

To illustrate further, let us take the case of Captain Nkrabea Effah-Darteh, a Deputy Minister in the Kufuor-led government, against whom an allegation was made at the NRC to the effect that he was actually planning to get all persons above forty years of age killed. Or take the case of another person who is said to be a Minister in the Kufuor regime, who we have reason to believe is Major Courage Quarshigah, on whose orders some people were allegedly extra-judicially executed.

Even though the allegations made against these two members of the Kufuor government are as serious as the allegations made against Captain Tsikata, that section of the media that appears bent on using statements and testimonies of persons at the NRC to attack people who are opponents of the Kufuor government appear not to have heard any of those allegations at all.

What about President Rawlings, what are the allegations against him for which he has been so lambasted in that particular section of the media? It should be instructive to note that in the entire hullabaloo, the only clear allegation that has been made against President Rawlings is that he may have misled the nation with his July 4 1982 broadcast to the nation. Beyond this, none those who gave statements and/or testimonies at the NRC has made any direct allegation about President Rawlings personal involvement in the murder of the three High Court judges and the retired army officer. Of course, there are the hyenas and the wolfs in the media who are also not making any allegation of President Rawlings? personal involvement in the brutal murders of those four eminent citizens, but are resorting to the use of innuendo and insinuation in name of ?raising legitimate questions? to mislead the public into believing that allegations have been made against President Rawlings to which he has failed or refused to answer.

The question has been asked as to why the NRC has never, in the interest of national reconciliation, come out to set the records straight whenever particular sections of the media deliberately twist statements and testimonies given before it? Do they not realise that even as they seek to heal the wounds of the past; they have a duty to ensure that no fresh wounds are inflicted, if they can prevent it?

When in all these, it is very clear that the persons involved in the spreading of these falsehoods and misrepresentation are agents of the government that set up the NRC, one need not be an Einstein to realise that the NRC process is being deliberately bastardised to serve parochial political interests. Another person who has by his speech and demeanour, especially whenever persons connected to the PNDC/NDC appeared before the NRC, has contributed in no small measure to reinforcing this perception is the chairman of the Commission, Justice Amoah Sekyi.

His confrontational stance, which manifests itself in his outbursts, and intemperate mannerism and speech, to the extent of using directly insulting words against a witness who was a key security officer during the PNDC/NDC era, have been well chronicled. Though it is to the chairman?s credit that when President Rawlings appeared before the Commission on subpoena he managed to maintain a posture of civility, both in his demeanour and his choice of words. Given these situations how can the process reconcile the nation? It is has been suggested that the whole process has, unfortunately, further accentuated the ?we against them? divide, leaving mother Ghana the worse for it.