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Re: Kweku Baako Is A Hypocrite For Crying Out Loud

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 Source: Baako, Kweku

SOURCE: Kweku Baako Jnr

An article titled as above and authored by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoof, Jr., Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City is under reference.

I read the said article with some amount of amusement because it was clear to me that the author who is also a member of the Governing Board of the Accra-based Danquah Institute, had not bothered to double-check on the political track-record of the subject of his highly critical piece which was apparently based on a purported interview I, Kweku Baako had granted a Kumasi-based radio station, Hello FM.

In the first place, I have neither granted any such interview to Hello FM nor declared any personal animosity for the Chairman of the erstwhile Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). There has been no public confession of venom towards Rawlings by me. I have never said anywhere that “I hate Rawlings”. I have always clearly stated that it is ‘the politics of Rawlings’ that I detest, and NOT his Personality or Person.

Perhaps it will be useful if Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe will contact his associates in the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) for further insight into my political track-record and what he will be told, I believe, will make him know that Kweku Baako, though a declared adherent of the principles which motivated the June 4 insurrection of 1979, has NEVER advocated its celebration and/or commemoration as a public or national event. And NEVER will!

The records show that the Movement On National Affairs (MONAS), an organization founded on September 22, 1979 of which I was a founding member, publicly campaigned against the open celebration of June 4 by Rawlings and his June 4 Movement (JFM). This was before the unconstitutional disruption of the 3rd Republic and the advent of the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

The MONAS was of the view that September 24, 1979, the day the AFRC handed over power to the Limann-led PNP, was the Day which ought to be celebrated and not June 4. There are numerous accounts of this position in the Ghanaian media of the 1980s.

Again when the PNDC assumed power and made June 4 a statutory public holiday, members of MONAS most of whom were arrested, detained and exiled for years, continued to oppose that regime’s celebration of June 4 as a public holiday.

Indeed after ‘serving’ two years (1982-84) in prison for opposing the December 31st coup, I teamed up with the late Tommy Thompson, the publisher of the FREE PRESS, and Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere in 1985, to re-activate the FREE PRESS with which we vigorously campaigned against the PNDC dictatorship and agitated for restoration of constitutional normalcy. We wrote editorials and articles against the PNDC’s celebration of June 4th as a public holiday. The records are available for all who care to look for them! My second arrest and detention for nearly 7 months in April 1986 led to the Management’s decision to suspend publication of the FREE PRESS until further notice.

Again, as a member of the Movement For Freedom and Justice (MFJ), led by the late Professor Adu Boahen, we collectively campaigned for restoration of constitutional normalcy and publicly opposed the celebration of June 4th and December 31st as statutory public holidays. When the PNDC was forced to repeal the newspaper licencing law in mid-1992 and the ‘Sports GUIDE’ became The GUIDE, I. as its Editor-In-Chief continued the campaign for the banning of June 4 as a public holiday. We wrote editorials and stories to that effect.

Throughout my political and professional life, I have never “publicly affirmed the imperative need for Ghanaians to keep observing the so-called June 4 Revolution” as articulated by Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe. As an active member of the Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ), the Cordinating Committee of Democratic Forces (CCDF) and the Democratic Alliance of Ghana (DAF) the latter two groups led by the late Komla Gbedemah, the late Dr. Hilla Limann, and the late Kojo Botsio which included personalities like J.A. Kufuor, Adu Boahen, K.S.P. Jantuah, Johnny Hansen, the late Dan Lartey, Akufo Addo, etc., we passed resolutions crying out loud for democracy, national reconciliation and the banning of the celebrations of June 4 and December 31 as statutory holidays.

As Editor-in-Chief of The Crusading GUIDE, I continued in the same tradition, crying out loud against the celebration and/or commemoration of June 4th during the term of the First Parliament of the 4th Republic when the NDC-led Progressive Alliance sought to ‘legalise’ it as a statutory public holiday. My paper publicly championed the cause of the government and the majority side in Parliament when controversy ensued in Parliament in May/June 2001 over the decision to delete June 4 from the list of statutory public holidays. I was in the frontline of the public debate which accompanied that decision and I fully supported the decision to unmake June 4 as a public holiday. Prof. Okoampa-Ahoofe could ask his associates at the Accra-based Danquah Institute for the evidence!

I have had to provide this lengthy historical account of my consistent opposition to the celebration of June 4 as a public holiday just to set the records straight in case there are any more doubting Thomases out there.

However, from the tone of Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe’s article, I suspect he may also have problems with my declared commitment to the principles of June 4. To be fair to Ghanaian history, those principles were not originated by June 4 or its architects or members of the erstwhile AFRC. But they (principles) became associated with that regime in its 112 days of administration, and some of us, then young and militant, found ourselves supporting the AFRC as it launched its house-cleaning exercise after the insurrection.

I really don’t have any issue with anybody including Prof. Okoampa-Ahoofe who disagrees with my appreciation of the AFRC era or how and why June 4 came about. That is ok with me. What I have said since February1980 when the issue of ‘AFRC Accountability’ became an issue for public discourse and scrutiny is that even though June 4 was necessary and justifiable, its conduct of operations left much to be desired. The MONAS held press confabs and fora during the life of the 3rd Republic and publicly advocated the need for the nation to come to terms with the AFRC era by seeking constitutional settlement to cases of miscarriage of justice as well as investigation into allegations of personal misconduct on the part of any AFRC member or associate. It was this stance of MONAS that made Rawlings and his June Four Movement (JFM) chaps label us ‘traitors’, ‘CIA agents’ and ‘MI spies’ who were allegedly out to destroy the gains of June 4th.

It is obvious to me that Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe is unaware that, I have in the last 31 years publicly tried in my little way, to hold Rawlings and his associates to account on basis of the principles of probity and accountability. I have always contended that the December 31, 1981 coup d’etat effectively destroyed one of the principal objectives of the June 4th insurrection which was to seek the permanent disengagement of the military from civil administration.

At least that is what some of the key originators of the insurrection had made us believe days before June 4, 1979. Some of us had been agitating for the “return of the Zombies” to the barracks since 1974 and the June 4 message of ‘no more military involvement’ in civil administration sounded sweet to us, and so June 4 won our hearts and minds. Prof. Okoampa-Ahoofe may contact Nana Akufo-Addo for some tit-bits on this score. I was a frontline activist of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) in the late 1970s. Nana Addo was then the General Secretary of the PMFJ.

Some of us may have been driven by youthful exuberance and the spirit of adventure to endorse June 4 but how about those matured, well-read, educated citizens of the land like Prof. Adu Boahen and Prof. Mike Oquaye?

Ten (10) years after the June 4 insurrection, a historian and politician of great repute like Prof. Adu Boahen argued that “not only was June 4th absolutely necessary and justifiable but it was also most opportune. It was necessary and opportune because the society especially the upper crust in general and the Armed Forces in particular urgently required that house-cleaning exercise prior to the return to civilian rule…And it was justifiable because it was not against a civilian but another military regime that did not have the mandate of the people to be there in the first place. Nor did it infringe or abrogate any constitution that was in existence. Above all it set itself very limited objectives, pursued them with military and revolutionary zeal and handed over. Indeed June 4th did set a precedent which it was hoped would be followed subsequently”.

The great historian and politician had had the benefit of hindsight of a decade, and yet this was his judgement on the essence of June 4th as an insurrection within the Ghana Armed Forces.

It is within this historical context that I speak of June 4 anytime the occasion demands. I have never sought to romanticise it. I have publicly asked Ghanaians to challenge any and all AFRC members to a test on the principles of probity and accountability. I have always insisted that the December 31, 1981 coup constituted a betrayal of June 4, and that is the core departure point between me and the ‘politics of Rawlings’. I remain a ‘June 4 adherent’ to the extent that I detest military overthrow of civil administrations, and will, as inspired by Chapter 1, Article 4 (a & b) of the Constitution of Ghana, be part of any effort to resist coup makers, and where and when they succeed, do all in our power to restore the Constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown, or abrogated as referred to in Clause (3) of Article 3. That for me is what is left of the June 4th message, the personalisation of June by Rawlings notwithstanding. Indeed in the face of the law, Rawlings is strictly speaking a “walking illegality”.

Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe also wondered why Kweku Baako has failed to systematically document “the foregoing instances of corruption on the part of the imperious Chairman Rawlings and fully backed them with forensic evidence”, adding that had he (Baako) done that, “Sogakope Rawlings would have been effectively humbled and perennially silenced”.

Of course, I do not claim to be a ‘modern day tarzan’ but all those not affected by the associate professor’s “quarter-century’s geographical and geo-political separation from Ghana”, would bear witness that Kweku Baako has contributed his fair share to the crusade to get “Sogakope Rawlings” “effectively humbled and perennially silenced”. It has been a protracted process with many players and stakeholders, and Kweku Baako has done what he could to the best of his ability.

Whether in the area of corruption, probity and accountability or in the field of human rights violations and abuse of office for personal gain, there are well-documented exposures and undertakings by Kweku Baako and his newspaper(s) which will meet the standard of commitment and proof set by Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe. I am very sure the Danquah Institute of which he is a Governing Board member will be a useful and ready source of information to him. But for the purposes of this rejoinder, I will provide just a few for the attention of the good associate professor.

*(1) *It was Kweku Baako who led his paper, The Crusading GUIDE’s investigative efforts into the expenditure outlay on the overseas education of the children of ‘the Rawlingses’. We identified the schools, took pictures of them and published the details of the fees being paid as well as the expensive high class residential facilities the children were residing in. ‘The Rawlingses’ response was that some friends were responsible for the expenditure involved.

*(2) *It was Kweku Baako and his newspaper that first exposed the fraudulent nature of the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery to the December 31 Women Movement-owned Carridem by the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) before the Office of the Auditor-General took up the case and conducted a comprehensive audit which eventually ended up in the Court of law.

*(3) *It was Kweku Baako and his team who exposed the fact that Rawlings as a sitting President, had received a car gift from a businessman whose company had business dealings with a public agency, a classic case of conflict of interest which the erstwhile Serious Fraud Office (SFO) took up for further investigation.

*(4) *The same Kweku Baako and his team of investigators exposed a Swiss bank account belonging to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings. She threatened legal action, the challenge was accepted but she changed her mind and went to the Media Commission. Baako and company declined to go to the NMC and insisted on the legal challenge which never came on.

*(5) *Kweku Baako and Gabby Otchere-Darko, upon the revelation made in the Norwegian newspaper, Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), travelled all the way to Norway, to conduct further investigations. That trip helped bring to fore the fact that the names of Mr. & Mrs. Rawlings and Mr. P.V. Obeng had been mentioned in court as some of those who received ‘bribe monies’ in Ghana in the course of the divestiture of Ghacem to Scancem. Subsequently, The Crusading GUIDE and The Statesman exposed an illegal donation of £116,000 from Scancem to the NDC’s Election 2000 campaign. That donation was a clear violation of the political parties Act 574.

*(6) *With regards to human rights violations, it was The Crusading GUIDE edited by Kweku Baako which exposed the abduction of Sellassie Djentuh by Castle-based Commandos and his subsequent forced shaving with a broken bottle and rusty blade. Remember the infamous identification hair-cut gaffe by former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings?

*(7) *Kweku Baako appeared at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) as a witness for Christian Goka, and publicly narrated the traumatic prison experiences of Mawuli Goka, Kyereme Djan and others. This was part of the process of exposing our gloomy past and helping to reconcile and heal wounds. I told the story of the filming of the extra-judicial execution of Lance Corporal Sarkodie Addo of the erstwhile AFRC and others at the Air Force Base which was one of the reasons why Rawlings was subpoenaed to appear before the NRC.

I could go on and on to give more instances of specific contributions I have made since 1980 to help demystify the ‘Rawlings phenomenon’ but really is it necessary at all?

I have been compelled to provide the preceding examples because of Prof Okoampa-Ahoofe’s apparent lack of information on my role or track-record relative to the ‘Rawlings palaver’. I sincerely hope I have succeeded in persuading the good Associate Professor that even though I supported the June 4 insurrection in 1979, and still do believe in one of its cardinal principles (disengagement of the military from politics), I have never been an uncritical, fanatical advocate of June 4th. And this is a PUBLIC RECORD; known to all who have followed my politics and career since September 22, 1979!

Need I say more?

ABDUL-MALIK KWEKU BAAKO

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

THE NEW CRUSADING GUIDE

ACCRA, GHANA

JUNE 19, 2011

Columnist: Baako, Kweku