General News of 2014-01-29

Jerry Rawlings should just give us a break - Kweku Baako

“Ghana is made up of very tolerant people and he is the luckiest Ghanaian walking on the surface of this earth. He’s caused more damage…elsewhere, there could be a mob unleashed on somebody who keeps provoking them (relatives of military officers executed). Jerry Rawlings should just give us a break. He is creating problems for all of us and he should watch it…” Kweku Baako admonishes Rawlings.

The Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper was reacting to a statement issued by children of Major General Edward Kwaku Utuka (Rtd), an army officer who was executed during the 1979 military coup led by former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Former President Rawlings, about a month ago told students at the regional camp of the International Youth Fellowship at Adidome Senior High School in the Volta region that the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) needed to execute Generals Afrifa, Acheampong, Utuka and other senior Military Officers in 1979 to save the country from implosion.

According to him, “we had no choice. We thought - let two go: Acheampong and a certain Utuka, very corrupt Generals. They were sacrificed. It was not enough…10 days later, we had to sacrifice another 10 and some of the Commanders were innocent, good people but it had to be done because the rage in the country was too high, too much”

However, in a statement issued Tuesday, the children of Utuka described the comment as adding salt to their injury, and accused the former President of ‘unfairly’ killing their father.

"Our father was murdered without any semblance of proper and fair trial by Rawlings and his cohorts...Rawlings has shown no sensitivity in his comments and actions to the widows, children (including the orphans he created) and families of the deceased over the years yet continues to make provocative statements which are meant to incite hatred and anger, thus re-opening wounds," the children stated.

Speaking to the issue in a solemn reflective mood on Kokrokoo, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, said as the “leader of that revolt” it was a mark of insensitivity for the former President to have made those comments especially while talking to students.

“Jerry Rawlings, Jerry Rawlings… what happened was completely unavoidable even though regrettable; but for the leader of that revolt to rub it in… where are the proceedings of the Special Court of AFRC? As the leader of that revolt, you should be the first person to be worried that up to today; 35 years down the line, you have not been able to produce any documentary proof of the proceedings…”

Kweku Baako asked Mr. Rawlings to be mindful of his statements because there are those who were around during the coup and are still alive ‘today’ including himself; but have put those days behind; focusing on the future.

“He keeps bringing the old wounds up and because he does not have serious philosophical understanding of what happened that time, he keeps on saying things which is putting all of us in trouble…There are many out there who have regretted for whatever the reasons. The execution was a collective responsibility of the AFRC; they have to take the responsibility and those of us who supported also have a certain line of responsibility…as young as we were, as militant as we were…” said Kweku Baako who was once an activist of the AFRC.