Opinions Fri, 7 Jun 2013

‘W(h)ither’ Mr. Rawlings? A bit of highlights

By Sharif Mahmud Khalid,

Like him or hate him, JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS remains an icon of a true decisive, pragmatic and a courageous leader of the 20th century- fearless and candid; a voice of the voiceless. At home he stood above his peers, abroad he stood shoulder to shoulder with deserving global leaders.

Circa the early 90’s through to its twilight and the turn of the millennium, as a young boy growing up in WA, THE UPPER WEST REGION OF GHANA, quiet frankly, I couldn’t have been classified a ‘DADA B’, but tell you what? I wore the same DIGITAL CASIO BRAND CUFF STRAP WATCH as the first gentleman of the land did (MR. RAWLINGS). No matter how TRITE AND TRIVIAL this may be, to me it spoke VOLUMES; for me, it espoused EGALITARIANISMS; a modest leader with no interest what so ever for an ostentatious life style; in a bit of a sense, that to moi exhibited ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY as far as leadership was concerned. ROLEX, GUCCI, TAG HEUER, LONGINES ET AL were all invoke back then, yet MR. RAWLINGS wore that DIGITAL CASIO WATCH almost every time through out his presidency.

While others were almost every time cladded in bespoke SAYVILE ROW suits and customized JERMYN STREET shirts and shoes, competing for space with the like of MR. BUSH and BERLUSCONI on Forbes magazine ratings, MR. RAWLINGS as President, stuck to his ‘MODEST’ suits, shirts, local attire and military boots.

When President RAWLINGS as part of his holistic development of the country set out to extend electrification to the NORTH, what happened? The then boss of VRA enumerated how technically impossible it was to extend electricity to the NORTH; again what happen happened? The VRA boss was fired; President RAWLINGS defied all odds and went ahead to extend electricity to the NORTH and even went the extra mile to initiate RURAL ELECTRIFICATION.

Present day cosmopolitan Accra, Kumasi and the other 8 regions of Ghana erupted from the ‘architectural feats’ of MR RAWLINGS, most of the giant magnificent edifice in cosmopolitan Accra and beyond bares credit to Mr. Rawlings. They need no mention, for we know them all.

When the INTERNATIONAL DONOR AND FINANCIAL INSTITITIONS, proffered THEIR professional advice, positing how it wasn’t economically prudent to establish a University in the NORTH, MR. RAWLINGS again stormed through to get the UNIVERSITY FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (UDS) IN MOTION. Toady, UDS graduates thousands of fresh labor annually, with campuses sprawling and spanning the three Northern Regions.

I hear YAANOM make mention of the execution of ex-military leaders after June 4th and probably seeking to know why? I am in no position to either justify that OR defend it, but my simple question is; when same man, MR. RAWLINGS, overthrew LIMMAN, was there any BLOODSHED? Was LIMMAN sent to FIRING SQUAD? On that faithfully day, MR. RAWLINGS went on an aircraft with a megaphone chanting-“NO ONE SHOULD HARM LIMMAN…ALL MINISTERS OF STATES SHOULD REPORT TO THE NEAREST POLICE STATION [FOR THEIR OWN SAFTEY]”. May be if we are able to decipher why this happened, we might as well have a perfect comprehension of why the ex-military leaders were executed.

Nkrumah liberated us from the shackles COLONIALISM but Rawlings shepherd DEMOCRACY to us and exported it as far as Liberia.

I hear folks talk of human rights records. The question they should probably be asking is; under whose auspices was the COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTED?

Is again interesting, listening to YAANOM, immersed in Social Wealth PACKAGES in Europe and some parts of the world (WEEKLY STIPENDS AND HANDOUTS FROM GOVERNMENT) yet, have the confidence to speak disparagingly of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY. No need ‘picking a crow’ with them, for their plight is eminent before us all.

For time constraint, one needn’t say much, the above microcosm is just to serve as a teaser that, MR. RAWLINGS lived his believes and principles. Yes he did! Which is why he deserves an-‘ism’. Yes he does! I am one who believes in ‘RAWLINGSISM’ So, on in this month of June 2013, I assertively say; they are three political traditions in Ghana, Viz. ‘NKRUMAHISM; ‘DANQUAH-BUSIA-DOMBO’; and ‘RAWLINGSISM’.

If you care for a definition of ‘RAWLINGSISM’ here is what I offer: ‘RAWLINGSISM’ is a balance (d) cock tail of Mussolini’s totalitarianism, Marx’s Socialism, Nkrumah’s Scientific Socialism and Western Capitalism-pursuing Social Democracy with business dynamism. I DARE YOU DEFINE YOURS? Have a deep read of THE 1992 CONSTITUTION and tell us if you see no elements of ‘RAWLINGSISM’?

COMRADES, let’s not allow the pendulum swing dangerously away from the principles of ‘RAWLINSISM’, for is got a recognizable space in our polity as a nation.

June 4th might not be desirable to all, yet, has served as a conduit for the evolution of Ghana’s progress, as a people, we can’t afford another June 4th neither can we shift gears to retrogression, OUR actions and inaction should therefore be tailored at not cloning such tendencies that might trigger another June 4th; history must be history and not made to repeat itself. Ghana is ONE and we are ONE.


N/B: Await a full monograph soon…!

By Sharif Mahmud Khalid,

Reading, United Kingdom

Columnist: Khalid, Sharif Mahmud