Akufo Addo: A dictator who believes in the rule of Law?

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 Source: Badu, K

By Badu, K

I was really taken aback when I perused through some of the comments posted by the discussants on my previous periodical, captioned: ‘Mahama: A competent dictator is better than an incompetent and corrupt leader’ (See: ghanaweb.com; modernghana.com, 26/08/2016).

In fact, a critical assessment of the caption and the main body of the aforesaid article will reveal a hypothetical situation. Nevertheless, only a few discussants managed to grasp partially the import of the periodical.

Interestingly, some discussants stated audaciously: “there is not such a thing like competent dictator”; “how can you have a competent dictator?” “You don’t know who a dictator is; else you won’t say a competent dictator.”

To be quite honest, the discussants are partially right; because dictator like Jerry John Rawlings was incompetent. However, I would have liked them to tell me we cannot have dictatorship in a constitutional democracy like ours.

In any case, those discussants performed exceedingly better than a whole president who thinks Ghana could go back to the Rawlings era (dictatorship) if Ghanaians voted Nana Akufo Addo into power ; (see: ‘Akufu Addo is a dictator, don’t vote for him’-Mahama ; classfmonline.com ; ghanaweb.com, 24/08/2016).

As a matter of fact, in a constitutional democracy such as ours, our presidents powers are guided by the constitution and their limits are clearly stated.

Needless to say, it is only when the other two arms of government - the judicial and the legislative aren’t functioning properly that a supposedly dictator could survive.

Moreover, a supposedly dictator can only exhibit his/her impishness in a constitutional democracy that has weak and dowdy laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws which was used mainly by the founder of the NDC Party and former president, Jerry John Rawlings.

In fact, the NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings is a typical example of a dictator. Rawlings bamboozled onto the political scene through a series of coup d’états.

In hindsight, the NDC Party was founded by a dictator. In other words, the NDC Party was born out of violence.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Rawlings imposed himself onto Ghanaians and ruled like ‘God’. He had no respect for the rule of law. He even imposed the then flagbearer, the late Mills on the NDC Party.

Yes, Rawlings defied all the opposition and ‘enstooled’ the late Mills on the throne. That was a real dictatorship, so to speak.

It is worth stressing that it was power intoxicated dictator Rawlings who managed to import the Article 72 into our constitution which allows our successive presidents to free convicted criminals.

Rawlings also took delight in the neanderthaloid laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws and used them to silence his opponents and political analysts.

Rawlings actually hid behind the barbarous Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws and sent a large number of his opponents to prison.

Seasoned journalists like Kwaku Baako Jnr and Haruna Atta were imprisoned by the despotic revolutionary Jerry John Rawlings for voicing out their opinions.

Ironically, however, it was the supposedly dictator Nana Akufo Addo (former Attorney General ) who worked synergistically with the forward thinking President Kufuor and repealed the truculent and inhumane Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws in 2001.

“A memorandum on the bill presented to the House by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, stated, "the purpose of the bill is to fulfil the promise of repeal, and thereby demonstrate the Kufuor government's determination to make good its promise to the nation”.

“The memorandum said these laws have come to symbolize authoritarian, anti-democratic impulses within Ghana's body politics which the media have been virtually and vociferously unanimous in demanding their repeal”.

“According to the memorandum, such laws are unworthy of a society seeking to develop on democratic principles on the basis of transparency and accountability in public life” (https://www.modernghana.com/news/.../criminal-libel-law-repealed.html, 30/06/2001).

It is, however, ironic that a historian like President Mahama could distort the facts and opine that someone who has worked in valence to repeal the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws is a dictator. How bizarre?

The fact of the matter is Nana Akufo Addo spearheaded the fight against dictatorship. For example, in 1995, he led the Alliance for Change demonstration which was dubbed “Kume Preko", which provided a platform for Ghanaians to express their dissatisfaction with what was going on in the NDC government led by the despotic Jerry John Rawlings (www.modernghana.com/news/172/kume-preko-on-cnn-bbc.html).

Nana Akufo Addo asserted after the demonstration: “Ghana is still in the grip of people who have a very, very warped idea of a democratic system of government."

Do you call this person a dictator, President Mahama?

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: Badu, K