By Badu, K
It is rather unfortunate that a whole president of Ghana can opine that Ghana could go back to the NDC Party founder, Rawlings’s era (dictatorship), if Ghanaians voted Nana Akufo Addo into power ; (see: ‘Akufo Addo is a dictator, don’t vote for him’-Mahama ; classfmonline.com ; ghanaweb.com, 24/08/2016).
Let us remind President Mahama that in a constitutional democracy such as ours, our presidents powers are guided by the constitution and their limits are clearly stated.
Of course, our 1992 Constitution is not without absolutistic powers such as the one which allowed President Mahama to free the Montie boisterous brats. Nevertheless, that cannot even be referred to as dictatorship. Or if you like, call it ‘a Constitutional dictatorship’.
All the same, 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 in a contemporary Ghana politics.
Moreover, a supposedly dictator can only exhibit his/her shenanigans in a constitutional democracy that has weak and frumpish laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws which were used excessively by the founder of the NDC Party and former president, Jerry John Rawlings.
It is also worth mentioning that the NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings is a quintessence 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. So, the NDC Party was born out of violence.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Rawlings imposed himself onto Ghanaians and ruled like ‘God’. Indeed, he had no respect for the rule of law. He even imposed the then flagbearer, the late Mills on the NDC Party. That was a typical example of dictatorship, I must admit.
Yes, Rawlings defied all the opposition in his party and ‘enstooled’ the late Mills on the throne. That was what we call a dictatorship, so to speak.
Besides, it is worth emphasising that it was power intoxicated dictator and NDC founder Rawlings who managed to import the Article 72 into our constitution which allows our successive presidents to free convicted criminals.
NDC founder 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 collaboratively 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, therefore, ironic that a historian like President Mahama could distort the facts and opine that someone who had worked strenuously to repeal the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws is a dictator. How bizarre?
The fact of the matter is that Nana Akufo Addo spearheaded the fight against dictatorship during the NDC founder, J. J. Rawlings’s despotic rule.
For example, in 1995, Nana Addo 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 told the teeming demonstrators 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 refer to this intrepid patriot as a dictator, President Mahama?
You cannot be serious about your dictatorship tag, President Mahama.
K. Badu, UK.