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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Columnist: Ababio, Akwasi Awua

24th February 1966 - All Is Well That Ends Well


For those who love true democracy, pluralism and freedom of association in Ghana body politic the date February 24 1966 remains a milestone in our country’s political history for which we will forever remain indebted to the brave men and women who dedicated their lives and helped restored to mother Ghana our freedom; freedom from our own countrymen who had assumed dictatorial tendencies and had lost the plot to steer the affairs of the country.

When all the avenues of protest and legitimate opposition had been removed and denied, there was no choice left to any group of people to belong to any other political party, there was the need to intervene. When all political association and opposition were illegal and Ghanaians could only belong to ONE and only ONE party, the ruling party, there was the need to intervene and thank God some were brave enough to take up the challenge. That today Ghana can boast of pluralism in our body politic is testimony to the accomplished objective of our Liberators. The brave men and women stood to be counted and refused to be part of the totalitarian system of governance which our own countrymen, working in consort with the communist allies had foisted on the country.

On the day of liberation not only did our soldiers and policemen have to battle the elitist presidential guard but they had to contend with the Russians and the Chinese who had turned the government into their puppet and were ready to use them to pursue their African agenda.

When people failed to realize that it was a privilege to lead and considered it their birth right, and removed all avenues for opposition, there was every justification to intervene constitutionally. For given any constitution, it is necessary that the provisions that are enshrined in it are based on tenets that are acceptable to all parties. A constitution is a sacrosanct document and is a covenant between the ruling and the opposition parties. Once agreed, any variation in the covenant if not done with tacit approval and cooperation of all parties, renders the document redundant and subject to overthrow. That is why today with all their differences all parties including NPP and NDC can work alongside each other, because as the current Constitution stands it has the tacit approval of all parties.

What the sitting President has to say is noteworthy, and I quote; “we have given ourselves a functional democratic Constitution, which is standing the test of time. The rule of law has become the order of the day and it underpins the good governance, which is giving meaning to our national motto of Freedom and Justice”


Today the political landscape is occupied by NPP, NDC, DPP, PNC and many more. The parties enjoy openly the freedom and democracy restored and they take all of it for granted. Hardly do we stop to think whether the rush to launch new parties nearly every few months would not have been possible if the one party state had continued. Never again will Ghanaians allow any group of people to enshrine monism into our Constitution. The ONE PARTY STATE IS GONE FOREVER and that is a measure of the success, the awareness and the legacy that 24th February coup gave us. It restored into the Ghanaian body politic pluralism, so much so that today, Ghanaians will never allow anybody or group of people to institutionalized individuals as President for Life no matter their individual contributions to our independence struggle; a struggle which was started by the toil and sweat of peasant farmers, policemen, chiefs and ordinary people.


The proponents of the one party system did not give up without a fight, they regrouped their forces in the form of military dictatorship headed by Colonel I. K. Acheampong and attempted to foist on Ghanaians for one more time a re-branded ONE PARTY STATE concept; the UNIGOV. The UNIGOV concept was a back door to the same principles and concepts practiced and espoused by the people who did not tolerate the pluralism and true freedom and democracy.

So it came to past, that brave men and women were called upon once more to be BOLD TO DEFEND THE COURSE OF FREEDOM, to organize, to revolt and to reject the mother-of-all ONE PARTY STATE - UNIGOV. Interestingly at the risk of lives and in the face of military might, some Ghanaians led not surprisingly by Okatatyie Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa and PMFJ revolted, which successfully culminated in rejection of UNIGOV.


Despite all the efforts, remnants of one party concept exist in the Ghana body politic, for given every opportunity to shape and guide the future direction of the country, these same monists have prescribed in various disguises the same old antidote, as for example the concept of local government representation. A watered down version of UNIGOV, in this format, representation is supposedly not organized along party lines. However, every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that is not the case.


Today you and I can enjoy the pluralism, the true democracy and the freedom we so much cherish. We look back today and forget how we could so easily have travelled the Zimbabwe road. Today, the people who had fervently worked to impose the ONE PARTY STATE are struggling to contain themselves in one party, and have formed a plethora of socialist parties i.e. NDC, CPP, PNC and many more. How ironic?

By continuously and consistently resisting the monist principle and doctrine, today we have a constitutionally enshrined provisions that enable us to organize and belong to a party of our choice. 24th February was the beginning of that expression of desire.

In 1992 just before the lifting of the ban on party politics, a couple of dedicated friends and advocates of the true democracy and freedom of association per chance met in a London Hotel. In that august assembly was none other than Mr. Kwasi Pratt. At the encounter we agreed to provide funds to Kwasi Pratt who had assured us that, he had a group of dedicated men (presumably in uniform who were on standby to topple the then PNDC government). As far as we were concerned our course was noble and legitimate because we wanted to overthrow a dictatorial regime; a course for which we had chosen to remained in exile even if voluntarily. The point here is that here is a guy who has always been vociferous in his condemnation of the event of 24th February, but was going to take the funds even though he did know where the funds were coming from: CIA, KGB or MOSSAD. What Mr. Kwasi Pratt ought to have known was, it was a setup to bring home to him the fact that when in arms “all is well that ends well”.

Akwasi Awua Ababio, London.

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