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Opinions Sat, 28 Nov 2020

Tribute to former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana

In life, we give new titles to every page we open in the book of life, but when a man sees his end, the old says, he wonders whether there was a purpose to his life.

However, history is not always kind to its subject because the flow of time chooses people who deserve to live, and for that reason, men of power at the later stage of their lives wonder what people will say about them once they are gone.

The question is, were these thoughts the last thought of Rawlings before his sad departure as a statesman? Rawlings, an illustrious son of Ghana, came into this world through a Scottish farmer and a Ghanaian mother on June 22, 1949, in Accra. As a flight lieutenant, a military dictator, and a democratic President, he gave stability to the turbulence of Ghana's politics after the 1966 coup detat. As a leader, he opened Ghana to democratic rule, free market, and capitalism, culminating in Ghana's current economic development.

Most people refuse to believe what they do not understand, and most believe their limitations are the only proper limitations. However, as a political leader, Mr. Rawlings showed no limitations when his military administration properly and successfully transitioned Ghana into a democracy in 1992.

One weakness of most men is to measure everything and everybody by their impressions and beliefs, and for that reason, many people saw Rawlings as a dictator. As a political leader, he plucked the thorn of military interventionism and planted a rose of democracy in Ghana, and for that, thank you, sir, thank you very much.

Life is a just employer; it gives people what they ask, and for this reason, your dream and aspiration to see a stable Ghana finally resulted in the first smooth transition of power in the year 2000 to J. A. Kuffour, the first in our history. A man’s choices determine his life and character, but sometimes, desire outwits mother nature, and to catch a tiger, one must enter the tiger's cage, and for this reason, in 1979, Rawlings took the risk to jump into the turbulence of military adventurism by attempting a coup detat in Ghana, and he received a baptism of fire in the religion of chaos.

Since success is a mixture of preparation and luck, it nearly costed his life. Although he failed, he did the wrong thing for the right reason but later did the people realize that it was a speck of dust compared to the coming storm. Since hypocrisy and casualties pave the road to power, Rawlings made friends and enemies by deciding to jump into the tiger's cage.

Since life is all about problem-solving, and faith is, after all, another name for a reason, he continually played an important role in Ghana's democracy till his demise by given support base and electoral power to the National Democratic Congress, a party founded after his heart and ideals.

An African proverb says that if the cockroach wants to jump over the chicken, it must first hire the fox as its bodyguard, and as a political bodyguard, his campaign and support put Professor Mills into power in the 2008 elections. Even after his term of office, he still held his political magnetism, which made him a unique leader in our political history. It is sometimes complicated to understand the mortal coils of life because the apple never falls far from the tree. Sadly, grief demands an answer, but sometimes, there is none since those obsessed with life are only obsessed with their place in it but not their role in forging it.

Faith cannot change with a man's desire alone, and the heart area's affairs are naturally much harder to recover from, so sometimes we are forced to wash our face with tears. Indeed, humankind can achieve great things anytime, but changing a person's passing is very difficult because nobody can fathom God's most profound thoughts. To Mr. Rawlings' family, especially Mrs. Rawlings and Ezenator Rawlings, please remember that a bird cannot change its feathers because the weather is terrible; no matter the situation, you will always be a Rawlings, and that counts to every Ghanaian.

The family should remember that motivation and goodwill are like bathing; we all need them every day. I know you all have a picture of good health because the quality of its fruits measures a tree; since President Rawlings was strong and healthy, I know his blood will give you the firmness and fortitude to overcome these strenuous times. However, the first step to feeling good is looking good. In politics, you cannot turn a No into a Yes without a maybe in between, so politics is a concert that reveals our limitations.

As a family, you cannot change the past, but the future is firmly in your hands because sometimes, the present fills the past shadows, and peace is a dream for a world that praises the dead than the living.

People may read this piece full of cryptic questions. This idea is because intellect is the question, but not the answer. The role of a scholar is to polish knowledge and wisdom. Confucius say trust does not come from mere words but positive action. Since the hero is not a fixed tool, there must always be a winner and a loser in any situation, but this time, all Ghanaians are losers since we lost our greatest statesman. To Ghanaian politicians and party foot soldiers, please remember that he who urinates in the political river must know that his family will drink from it one day.

People say that Ghanaian politicians have made their brand of morality; this is because political lies, immorality, double standards, social media insults, the emerging slay queen phenomenon, and the rise of political violence have broken Ghana's mirror morality's politics.

Sadly, elders and opinion leaders like the Christian council, Muslim council, and traditional authorities have lost their roles as the arbiter of morality since some have become the worst culprits of these indecent normalcies which have taken over Ghana's politics. Please beware; these insignificant unacceptable behaviours in politics led us into the darkest part of our political history. Please remember the turbulence that nearly led us to the brink of civil instability.

Please, political leaders, restore probity, accountability, and political morality, for we are always surrounded by the fires of rebellion and stop the political party corruption, which is unchecked and unchallenged when parties are in power. Please let us use President Rawling's death to reflect upon who we are and how far we have come.

Finally, to the spirit and soul of chairman Rawlings, in the shadows of our hearts, we have not emptied ourselves of grief since leadership is not a pleasure but a deep and heavy responsibility, for, in the end, we start thinking about the beginning and the realm of the dead is beyond us.

A wise person can acquire more information from a stupid question than a nerd can learn from an intelligent answer.

To Zenator and Mrs. Rawlings, please remember that parasitic human beings always surround every great family, so please keep yourselves well and your family secrets.

To Mr. Kwaku Baako, please, sir, forgiveness cannot change the past, but it can certainly change the future since we cannot alter the fabric of reality. Sometimes, it is hard to look at the picture when you are in the frame, but to most Ghanaians, President Rawlings will always remain a political titan who brought stability and continuity to Ghana's political space.

As Ghanaians, let us learn to live in peace and prosperity through freedom and justice. God bless Mother Ghana!
Columnist: Kitch Mensah Bonsu
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