You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2013 03 11Article 267247

Opinions of Monday, 11 March 2013

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

Where in Ghana’s History will Chairman Rawlings be?

Once upon a time, he was affectionately addressed as Chairman by his colleagues and all those who served under him in his PNDC administration that saw Ghana and Ghanaians through 4,389 days of military dictatorship. On 7th January 1993, the Chairman pulled off his military apparel in which he appeared for all or most public formal and ceremonial functions and wore civil clothes as he became Ghana’s first fourth Republican President. He was declared winner in a heavily manipulated Presidential elections that evoked a boycott of the Parliamentary elections followed by protest by the main and major opposition Party, the NPP. Not only did the Chairman shed his military uniforms, he did same to his military rank and title and adopted a Mister title. On the outside he was civilian in outlook whiles on the inside he remained regimental which often manifested itself no matter how hard he tried to keep it covert as civilian President. As Chairman of the then defunct PNDC, the same ‘Lords’ who surrounded him, advised and guided him through his governance appeared in the subsequent administration whose abbreviated name only dropped the first letter of a four lettered abbreviation PNDC of the ancient to become a three lettered NDC which he came to lead as President. This script will discuss whether indeed he had the needed and requisite conatus, -intrinsic or extrinsic- when he emerged as Chairman Rawlings. Whether those who surrounded him, advised and guided him through a total of 7,311 days did so in good faith, cherished what he stood for, -if any at-all- whether they sincerely honoured him then and now and continue to look up to him as a model and mentor or whether they played the subservience of hatched-impennate birds seeking for a miraculous transformation for fledging wings and be able to fly, that have now grown feathers with capabilities of flying and gliding in the sky.
Chairman Rawlings became Head of State through a coup d’état that toppled a constitutionally mandated and democratically elected administration of the PNP. Though the said administration was beset with squabbling, poor abysmal performance with naked inefficiency and corruption, his interference that decapitated a ‘toddling democracy’ was unwelcome and unwarranted yet who dared challenge when ‘drugged-crazy’ paranoid soldiers were set on rampage with the blind support of good for nothing ignoramuses in Ghana? What conative impulse motivated him to oust an instituted constitution? Was it out of an intended benevolence or he only dared it as sine qua non ambitious desperate means to achieve some eluded lifelong desires? Several negative events ensued including the murder of three High Court judges and an Army Major by some assassins whose deeds involved some never-mentioned high profile ‘Lords’ as complicities; disappearance of people from their homes; assaults and pudenduous molestation of especially women in public; gross social indiscipline; divestiture of State property to cronies; thuggery; oligarchic crony material and financial empowerment built around the Awhois, Tsikatas etc. Incident to his entry into civil ‘demonocratic’ NDC administration, the negativities as cited above had graduated into more sinister forms including immense electoral fraud such as pre-stuffing and snatching of ballot boxes, unrealistically compiled census and electoral register, hitherto unknown in Ghana and indeed many more. What had changed under a P/NDC rule that differed dramatically from an ousted PNP administration? Was it just a matter of name change and the regimental style that replaced the truly civil democratic rule?
If he had his own way, things would probably have been different -for better or worse- but since one man cannot rule a nation, unfortunately for the Chairman, the same corrupt ‘ancienne noblesse’ and sympathisers of the made-defunct PNP/CPP administration quickly flattered and hailed praises on him. The speed at which they were readily sequacious to him soon after their own Party in government was toppled by the new military ruler was amazing and jaw-dropping. They fawned for positions in government. These were the same who goaded Gen. Achampong on to his failure and disgraceful demise. In the new PNDC administration, opportunistically they had discovered a new lease of life through appointments occasioned by available vacant positions in governance and the public sector where they could settle to en-Lord themselves as usual. Full of what seemed to be selfless passion and confidence, he declared to Ghanaians and the world that he should be executed if he failed, -but who would dare lead him to the gallows or bell that cat? It has proved to be an insincere declaration that he didn’t really mean as his vow was only a populist appraisal.
Then as Chairman, he showed some passion and emotion –real or feigned. As a matter of truism expressed, he condemned corruption, laziness, dishonesty, insincerity, loss of national ethos, un-patriotism, defeatism, diffidence etc as the bain of Ghana’s progress. In his debut passionate approach to pertinent issues facing Ghana, either by his own volition or otherwise, he over-reacted in radically unimpressive populist propaganda fashion whereby at Goaso-Sankore in B/A, he carried and loaded cocoa stagnated in sheds into trucks. He jumped into gutters to remove pythogenic material and many more things he did merely for show. He was over-sentimental and would even weep in public and such conduct that exposed his weakness of purposeful leadership. I kept on writing and asking in my column in the Statesman if those were how best he could tackle, manage and administer Ghana’s numerous problems as Head of State. I remember watching him recently being interviewed in mid-2012 by Jon Snow on British Channel 4 TV on the Somali crisis situation where he ‘seemingly’ fought back his tears in empathy for Somalis in cruel hands, another instance of feigned overt sentimentality and double standards. In view of this, a question is worth asking as to how much he has been this much sentimental and compassionate on Ghanaian issues in his days as Chairman and also as President? Did the days when women were molested; the days when as President he inaptly retorted that the more people lament, the harder he would press; the days of shit-bombing newspaper offices etc, if these did not happen under his nose?
However, according him the benefit of the doubt, if he had only the extrinsic conative push, was he given the right advice and guidance in his endeavours by his so-called PRs, advisors and officials? Were his approaches and the things he did the right thing to do as Head of State or could he have done otherwise as a conscientious able leader? The Chairman, in his passion to uplift the image of the indigent in the hinterland communities of Ghana who lived in darkness, (probably) in consultation with his moguls did one good thing by extending the national grid power line powered by the Akosombo dam to most corners of Ghana. However, did they conscientiously assess the dam’s capacity to ascertain its capability of supplying power to the whole country? Were alternative plan ‘B’ contingency options explored to exhaustion before extending the national grid to all other nooks of Ghana?
It is approximately 11,757 days inside the 4th Republic as at today Monday 11/03/2013 and what Ghanaians take for democracy is rather demonocracy, replete with violence, indiscipline, tit for tat licence to insult banter in politics interpreted as Ghana’s version of democracy. At 56, over 70% of Ghanaians live in abject poverty yet Ghana sits on a huge chunk of wealth thanks to nature. Ghanaians live in thirst, darkness, filth and disease, malnourishment, high rate of illiteracy rated at over 70%, despondency and abject indigence. Ghana’s institutions remain dependent and functional only at the orders of the Presidency and his officers. Basic infrastructure and utilities remain in dearth across the country. One may ask how far democracy and national socio-economic development would have grown had the 1979 constitution not been subverted. Would there have been 4,389 days of wandering in the wilderness and would democracy not have grown to assume a better mature shape in Ghana by now? Ghana today sits miserably at the threshold of imminent cataclasmic implosion.
Assessing what history will hold for him, reference will be made to his achievements, both positive and negative vis-a-vis Ghana’s socio-economic standard attained to accord him either a hero or a villain status. Much will also depend on post-Rawlings performance of his Party in providing good governance and their enhancement accorded to the growth of democracy/demonocracy. His obsequious ‘admirers’ claim he is the trailblazer of democracy yet what we see can be better described as demonocracy -demon’s propaganda. The democracy that Ghanaians have ever briefly known in the late 60s/70s and late 70/80 is on its knees, over-burdened with the yoke of a culture of insults; a culture in which the bigger and squarer a mouth is to capacitate and bellow out insults on opponents, the higher a position one is promoted to occupy. Out of power, the Chairman seems to have been sooner forgotten even in his own Party. An Akan proverb states: ‘Okeanidos, whose providence waters the plains and fills the riverbeds is today excluded into aridity’ (Apumpuo a oboo n’asuo, ene oda asukakye) Not only is he constructively excluded from his own NDC, the culture of insults that he nurtured and encouraged to grow is sitting right at his doorstep, pinching him badly. Some of the impennates like Asiedu Nkatia for whom he tirelessly manufactured fledging wings refer to him as a disturbing barking dog that needs to be chained and encaged; an insulting and impudent unbecoming referencing remark, strong enough to instantiate extreme ingratitude.
If history has anything positive for him at-all, the signal is that, if his candle could be kept burning today as others are, so will it keep on burning in future. The Chairman is seen within his own NDC Party more as a controversial figure than an adulated admirer. His presence at NDC functions is ecstatic yet his ideas are jettisoned as soon as expressed. He claims seeing evil sitting within a Party he has ‘fathered’; he advises to get rid of what he sees and senses as ‘old evil dwarfs and babies with sharp teeth’ in government, but one may ask: ‘who made them; where have they come from and is this his first time of taking cognisance of them’? He chose John Mills to be his vice-President and unilaterally declared and imposed him on his Party as his successor at Sweduru, John Mills’ hometown. Mills became sequacious to him whiles bidding for political power and even promised consulting him 24/7 if he were elected President. On the event of his being elected President, Mills shockingly rebuked him and swore to Ghanaians that he was his own man after-all. After being sworn-in as President of Ghana and seeing the Chairman relentlessly pushing his feathers grow beyond bounds, he again angrily ‘snarled’: ‘There is only one President of Ghana - John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills’. A stalemate set in thence, occasioning cold-shoulders. The man he once adored as his only begotten son within the NDC, on his demise, at Ho three months later, Chairman Rawlings did not mince his words when he disappointingly gloated over his death as a ‘divine intervention’. Chairman today lives in quasi isolation, iced out from a Party he formed as its father and led for 1461 days as President of Ghana. Amongst critics of NDC misrule, he has persistently remained vocal against Mills/Mahama and Mahama/Amissah-Arthur administration and may even wish for their ousting as at today; cognisant of the fact that his place in history will be determined by the performance –good or bad- of his NDC and the objective judgement of patriotic Ghanaians of today and tomorrow.
Chairman Rawlings dismayed all who loved democracy on 31st Dec 1980. Most of the affected people in the PNP readily joined him with their own agenda hidden in their chest. John Mahama’s father, it is believed, suffered and died under the PNDC regime; John Mahama’s relation with the Chairman has been musty in outlook, top dry wet under. Col Gbevlo Lartey who is believed is the maternal blood-uncle of Gen. Utuka has his own agenda. Gen. Utuka of the SMC regime was summarily executed without trial, shot at the stakes at the Teshie Shooting Range on 16th June 1979. Maj. (rtd) Boakye Gyan of the AFRC has eventually crept into the NDC, probably to be closer to the Chairman, his arch-enemy, either to patch-up with him or as a means to get closer and rub shoulders with him after a long stalemate set-in between them, occasioning the execution of Kyeremeh-Gyan, his brother, for allegedly plotting to oust the PNDC. Who then will keep his flame burning today and into the future? The NDC, since its birth can be seen even under any ordinary lens as worse in performance than the PNP administration under Dr Hilla Limman which Rawlings toppled. So, where would Chairman Rawlings have picked Ghana and dropped it?
Adreba freely advises the Chairman that if he truly intended benefaction in his 7,311 as Chairman and President, as expressed in some of his emotions, sentiments and expressions and wished Ghana well when he interrupted in 1979 and 1981, it would do him good not just to play a backseat driver-critic in a mischievous and dangerously driven vehicle but to distance himself from it before it eventually runs into a ditch; show the world that what he intended remains different from that of his NDC; that he was misled into most of his atrocious actions by Ahitophelian advisors, only if he truly wants to be numbered among the greats in Ghana.
Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa; (London, UK)