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Opinions Wed, 12 Jun 2002

Use of "Paul Gyamfi" was for security reasons -rejoinder

In a commentary posted on www.ghanaweb.com on June 3, 2002, on the above subject; the Ghanaian Voice sought to put a human face on what it called the ?astonishing' reaction to Jerry John Rawlings' medical bill. In so doing, the Ghanaian Voice sought to place the issue of Ghanaian leaders seeking medical care outside of Ghana in its historical perspective.

Readers will recall that published reports in Ghana have established that as president of Ghana, Rawlings did seek medical care in Berne, Switzerland. The report surfaced because the former president did not pay his medical bills, and apparently, that led to the matter becoming public.

An interesting feature of the report is that while at the medical facility in Berne, Rawlings chose to be treated under an alias, "Paul Gyamfi"! That is an interesting choice given the wide array of names that Rawlings could have used. My concern with Rawlings using the "Akan" name relates to an earlier incident when Rawlings said on national TV that someone using an Akan name had apparently belittled the culture of a non-Akan ethnic group. Did Rawlings use this Akan name to throw dust into Ghanaian eyes in a scenario where he could complain to this effect: "someone using an Akan name, had sought medical care in Switzerland, defaulted on paying for his bill; and therefore brought the good name of the country Ghana into disrepute"!!
For all I care, Rawlings could have used his other name that few people remember exist! I mean the one he was given, when he was made a divisional Chief in the Volta Region. The fact that I forget the name, confirms that even fewer people in Berne, Switzerland would recognize that name! Put simply, Rawlings dissed the Gyamfi name!
I agree with the Ghanaian Voice that Ghanaian leaders have sought medical care in overseas hospitals at public expense. Indeed, Ghanaians are not that mean to deny a president the medical care he needs, if such care is unavailable at home. What Ghanaians detest is hypocrisy and lies. And that is what the issue of Rawlings (Paul Gyamfi) seeking medical care overseas point to.
While still a half-starved Flight-Lieutenant in 1981, Jerry Rawlings decided to stage another coup to overthrew a Ghanaian leader. On December 31, 1981, he overthrew the elected government of the late Dr. Hila Liman. In so doing, Rawlings assailed all manner of problems faced by Ghana. Among other memorable phrases, he said that under president Liman, "the hospitals in Ghana had become transits to death camps"! Rawlings posed as Ghana's Knight in Shining Armour who had come to right every wrong; straighten our crooked ways; and usher in an era of "probity and accountability", in Ghana. Jerry Rawlings had nearly 20 good years to accomplish such goals as he claimed for himself and Ghana.
At the end of his nearly twenty years rule, our hospitals in Ghana had graduated from being transits to death camps , to being real DEATH CAMPS! Our schools had become ghettos; and our roads turned into ditches. It is this realization, that Rawlings came in as a con man who used Ghana's real problems to advance his own interests that aroused the anger and contempt of Ghanaians when they read that Jerry sought medical attention abroad. The report reminded Ghanaians of the hypocrisy inherent in the so-called June 4th tradition. Thus, if the Ghanaian Voice, detects any anger, it derives from the hypocrisy of Rawlings.
It is the same hypocrisy that makes Rawlings go around chanting the so-called virtues of June 4th, and laying wreaths to commemorate vanities. It reminds Ghanaians that the man who came in, to better their lives, merely buttered his own bread: He sought medical attention abroad; he educated his children in private schools abroad; he imported the finest and most expensive sports cars; and he abandoned the country to the vultures. Therein lie our anger and contempt at Rawlings.


Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.


Columnist: Ellison, Kofi