Opinions Wed, 13 Jun 2007

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Keeping Them Honest

I almost swallowed my tongue when I read recently that , former First Lady Mrs Agyemang Konadu Rawlings was complaining about harassment from the Government . Such hollow outbursts coming from Mrs. Rawlings amazes and annoys me in equal measure .

First , lets separate facts from fiction. The back story here is that , Mrs Rawlings is facing trial for the improprieties in the divestiture of the State owned Nsawam Cannery and other State properties . This is the first time in our history , that Government has guaranteed a loan for a non- government organization (NGO) . Remember the name , NON-GOVERNMENT !!!

Not only did she default on the original loan , but she also refused to pay the interest on the outstanding balance . It is worthy to note that , there was no competitive bidding in this transaction as demanded by their own PNDC Divestiture Act of 1988 .In short , the NDC Government gave a State property to the First Lady on a silver platter !!!.

Even after this bizarre transaction , the NDC Government continued to provide the 31st December Movement with generous funding ( more than $2.5million by 1999). The law demands that any NGO that benefits from public funding must be audited by the Auditor General, who did his work with due diligence and found discrepancies in the movements accounts. This is not a witch hunt or harassment, but a legal oversight activity , mandated by law. There is a clear and compelling case to be answered by Mrs. Rawlings and her movement .The underlying reality is that , the whole transaction does not pass the “ smell test “ , and the Government has every right to investigate this sordid affair , especially when public funds were used !!!. During the reign of her husband , people were butchered for far less crimes !!!.

As of today , she continues to have her day in court , a democratic privilege her husband refused hundreds of Ghanaians during their bloody regime . Mrs. Rawlings should indeed thank President Kufuor for the way she has been treated.

It is amazing how she has completely forgotten the criminal enterprise (AFRC/PNDC)she and her husband supervised from 1979 to 1992 , when hundreds of Ghanaians were arrested without cause , tortured , brutalized and some disappeared to GOD knows where !!! The families of Kyereme-Djan , Goka and others only wished their loved ones were only harassed !!

Even though she was not an elected official , Mrs. Rawlings wielded so much power,Ghanaians were simply afraid to cross her path . She was indeed the poster child of ruthlessness, arrogance and vindictiveness !! . Ask Selassie Djentuh , who was thrown into the dudgeons at the Castle and given an “ identification haircut “ for rubbing the first daughter Ezenator Rawlings the wrong way !!! Mrs. Rawlings recently justified this maltreatment calling it a “ mere identification cut “ !! What vacuous nonsense !!!!.

Ghanaians suffered torture and innumerable indignities that almost every Ghanaian family has a story : stories about how our aged fathers were humiliated and our mothers and sisters were stripped naked and beaten in full public view. For all her grandstanding, nobody has any sympathy for her, because during their 20 years in power, she and her husband were judge, jury and executioner all rolled in one. Mrs. Rawlings talking about human rights abuses and harassment ( when in fact there is none ) , is like Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine , speaking on chastity !!!

Those of us who are old enough do remember June 1979, when the AFRC headed by Mrs. Rawlings’ husband , carried out public executions of three (3) former Heads of State and other senior military officers WITHOUT TRIAL !! We still groan in our soul when we remember that dark day in June 1982 when three (3) High court judges and a retired Major, were abducted under a state supervised curfew, brutally murdered and their bodies burnt beyond recognition As if GOD Himself could not turn away from such senseless slaughter, the rains came down to reveal the grisly spectacle of man’s inhumanity against his fellow man . I still remember that day ( June 18th, 1982) when the whole country took on a post apocalyptic stillness that engulfs a place when something terrible has happened !!! On that day , people moved slowly and sorrowfully as if they were wearing something heavier than their skin !!! Religious and quasi-religious leaders were not left out. Odeyefo Asare , Leader of the “ The Lord is my Shepherd Church “ in Kumasi was shot to death and his body burnt in full public view for saying uncomplimentary things about the Government . Akakpovi , alias Yeye Boy , a fetish priest was shot to death and his body burnt ( same modus operandi) for performing rituals through juju , allegedly aimed at killing then Chairman Rawlings . I would refer Ghanaians to read the report of the National Reconciliation Commission, which gives a first hand account of the sadistic and barbaric treatment of Ghanaians by the AFRC and PNDC : regimes led by Mrs. Rawlings husband !! They are gruesome and macabre , to say the least !! Oh , how quickly and conveniently Mrs Rawlings has forgotten other orgies of violence and thuggery that made the lives of many Ghanaians a living and breathing hell .

Both of them ( Mr and Mrs Rawlings ) as partners are cut from the same mold . For all their grandstanding, there is always a method to their madness . Mrs. Rawlings and her husband love to nail themselves to the cross, and play the victim. This couple did so much evil , and caused so much pain in the country that they have forfeited any right to complain about any harassment , real or perceived. !! It is hard to imagine that a regime that left a trail of terror, horror and bloodshed should now complain about a legitimate case being heard by a court of competent jurisdiction.. Mrs Rawlings thinks she is above the law. She needs to be reminded that nobody is above the law , and nobody is below the law .We are all slaves of the law in order that we may be able to be free .( Cicero ) .

Running corollary to her nonsense is her husbands continued call for coups in Ghana. Every chance he gets , Rawlings has called for a violent change in government. If he thinks there is a need for a change in government, why should it be by ”force”. Why can’t it be by the ballot box ?? Why can’t Mr Rawlings and his NDC operate like everybody else and engage Ghanaians in the political process : the political marketplace of ideas, where modern elections are lost or won . Their morbid obsession with coups and violent overthrow of constitutionally elected governments is amazing !! Anybody who continues to rant and rave like Rawlings cannot be a happy camper. Encoded in his very DNA is anger, resentment and unbridled hatred for this Government. Rawlings and his goons would readily and heartily organize a coup in a New York second if they could. There is no doubt about that fact !! His feeble denial of any coup attempts is laughable .Most Ghanaians do not believe him even if his tongue came notarized !! Listen to another dark minded NDC hothead Tony Aidoo : “ Ghana is ripe for ten more coups “’: Amazing !!! They are hopelessly frozen in 1979 days when they launched a bloody crusade that made the Taliban look like boy scouts.

Somebody please remind this delusional group that Ghana has changed significantly . We are not the same community we were in 1979 , and Ghanaians certainly do not share their mindless sadism and perverted sense of justice .

Mrs. Rawlings may be the Life President of her 31st December Movement , and her husband may be the Life Patron of his cult ( the NDC ) , but for the majority of Ghanaians , the era of the Pharoahs is long gone !! Ghanaians have spoken loud and clear since 1992 . WE THE PEOPLE , prefer to change our governments through the ballot box , and not through the barrel of a gun !!!

After 20 years of horrific human rights abuses and economic mismanagement , putting the country back together will be a marathon , not a short sprint. We have made mistakes as a nation , but getting its history wrong is part of being a nation . We shouldn’t listen to the echoes of the painful past . I pray that GOD would grant us the serenity to extend a healing balm of friendship to all Ghanaians . Together , we can build a better tomorrow !!!


Kofi Asamoa-Baah.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Asamoa-Baah, Kofi

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