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General News Wed, 6 Nov 2002

Rawlings was cruel and corrupt -Kwaku Azar

Minnesota (United States) -- A Ghanaian Professor and regular contributor to Ghanaweb discussion forum (SIL), Stephen Kwaku Asare, teaching at the University of Florida, US, has described the PNDC/NDC as a barbaric regime, in which a few identifiable people used their control of the security outfit to terrorise helpless civilians.

Such asymmetric barbarism, which he contrasted with a protracted feud between rival groups, calls for truth and accountability. He said a necessary condition for reconciliation is an ongoing feud, which is absent in the Ghanaian situation. Even in war time, he added, there are certain behaviours that can never be swept under the rug of reconciliation, as evidenced by the prosecution of war crimes.

The professor therefore noted that the ongoing National Reconciliation exercise, which seems to leave Rawlings a free man, is a sham.

In an exclusive interview with The Ghanaian Chronicle in Austin, Texas, Prof Asare described ex-Chairman Jerry Rawlings as one of the most corrupt leaders in Ghana’s political history. “Not only is he corrupt but he is also the most cruel leader in the history of Ghana. Whether it is blue-collar (eg., the presidential jet saga), the evidence against Chairman Rawlings is overwhelming and unassailable.

Let me make it very clear that ex-Chairman Rawlings lacks integrity and probity and that explains why he is so petrified by accountability.”


Commenting on how Ghanaians relate to ex-Chairman Rawlings, the professor said he found it both amusing and regrettable. Amusing, that a few people still believe that Rawlins is honest and, regrettable that the NPP government has shown little interest in holding him accountable for his two decades of unfettered control over the nation.

We cannot, as a nation, bury two decades of atrocities and financial chicanery in the coffin of reconciliation and expect the nation to have any long term stability,” he said. There is a compelling public interest in knowing exactly what happened to the funds of the Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC), the Confiscated Assets Committee, the loans to CASHPRO, the acquisition of the presidential jet, etc.,” he added.

We have to revisit the murder of the judges and determine what happened to Mawuli Gorkah, Kyeremeh Djan and many of the soldiers from the Boys Company (Aliu, Awal, Gyiwah, Adebugah, etc). “We must learn from our history to avoid repeating our mistakes. We must punish all evil and wrong doers to give meaning to our motto of Freedom and Justice.”

According to Prof Asare, any criminal conduct of ex-Chairman Rawlings is not immunised, in spite of the immunity clauses in the transitional provisions. “Acts done in his official capacity and acts done in his personal capacity can still be distinguished. The immunity clauses do not and cannot protect murders, tax evasion and other crimes. Further, he added, Rawlings’ victims and all of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights that no immunity clauses can rob us of.

Prof Asare expressed deep concern about some of ex-Chairman Rawlings’ pronouncements, especially those of the boom variety. He said the narrow immunity that he enjoys under the constitution is sustainable as long as he acts in a dignified manner. “Those who enjoy supra-rights also have supra-responsibilities,” he added.

Prof Asare was amused that Rawlings and his spokespeople were challenging Kwaku Baako Jnr to go to court to prove his allegations of corruption against Rawlings. Whoever heard of a media man going to court to prove his case?

According to Asare, he has followed the story very closely and found most of the allegations credible. He urged Rawlings to go to court if he feels the stories are false. There is a reason Rawlings cannot contest Baako’s allegations in court and the reason is “it is hard to argue with facts.”

Prof Asare also decried the level of intellectual dishonesty in the country. Take the case of Kwamena Ahwoi, Kwesi Botchwey, Tsatsu Tsikata, who are some of the brightest legal minds in the country. You will expect them to be avid defenders of human rights. But these were the same legal minds behind the PNDC decrees that tortured and dehumanised Ghanaians for the last two decades.

“I have no use for a legal mind that aids and abets dictators like Rawlings to torture and abuse the human rights of the same taxpayer whose taxes helped to create that mind,” he said. “Again a lawyer who aids and abets in the torture of his people is no different from a medical doctor who administers poison to his patients.”

Prof Asare echoed: “What’s aggravating the problem is that, the same so-called lawyers who helped Rawlings to rape this nation, are now coming back to ask the people to vote for them as presidential candidates. It is a big joke.”

Asare suggested the need for the Ghana Bar Association to seriously consider revising its code of ethics to debar any of its members who aids and abets dictators to cage Ghanaians.

To a question why Prof Asare never once referred to Rawlings as ex-president but rather ex-Chairman throughout the interview, he retorted: “Suppose someone steals your car, uses and abuses it for eight years and then offers the car as a prize in a lottery in which he sets up all the rules. Suppose this person buys an unknown number of these lottery tickets and “wins” the lottery. Do you call him a car thief or a car owner?”

Then, laughing, he added “ex-Chairman Rawlings committed treason in 1981, when he overthrew the Limann regime. From this illegal act, he manipulated the country and the governance structures until he was kicked out in 2000. you do not become my president by committing treason anymore than you become a car owner from stealing a car!”

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle