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President Rawlings, A Man of missed opportunities

Wed, 21 Mar 2007 Source: Edusei, Eric Kwabena

The life of every person has moments of opportunities, successes as well as failures, which are linked primarily to the choices we make in life. Our ex-president, Mr Jerry John Rawlings, has certainly had his moments, many of which are known to this generation. However, his recent disdain to attend the 50th Anniversary of our independence, an occasion that attracted almost all manners of people over the globe, including Heads of States, showed his disrespect for Ghana and Ghanaians as a whole.
Instead of gracing the only 50th Anniversary of our nation with his presence, he chose to disgrace us by not showing up as a protest to the 6 year governance of President Kufour despite pleas from different angles. My brothers and sisters, it is a misnomer to attempt to characterize our ex-president’s behavior anything different than what it is, in view of the harm he has caused to the presidency and the reputation of our country. How do we explain or expect our dignitaries to understand us as a people, when the only surviving President, who has ruled the country for almost half of its 50 years, since independence, refused to attend our jubilee? It is imperative that we raise our voices loud and clear to let our former Head of State realize the harm he has caused to his reputation, the Presidency and our nation as a whole. Ghana’s democracy is relatively young, and if we want it to grow then we need to pay our allegiance first to our country before embarking on any other agenda. Similarly, we need to clean our house from traces of tribalism which is gradually dividing us and killing our spirit as a nation. This requires us to be objective in our thought process first as Ghanaians, by being honest and truthful in our dealings, as a measure of attaining peace, unity, growth and wealth.
In any way that we perceive our ex-president for his controversies and pitfalls, it is only befitting that we address his life then and now in a more objective way epitomizing a citizen of goodwill and a patriot. The ex-president came to power through a coup d’etat at a period when the socio-economic climate in Ghana looked very hopeless. The culture of corruption was endemic in our society and the economy had virtually come to a halt. Jerry, through his charisma was able to galvanize the populace towards economic and political recovery. It was a process that in part created animosity in view of the excesses and mistakes thereby creating a divided country. While many saw this process as a movement against the rich and the affluence, others saw it as period of re-aligning our non-functional and corrupt institution. It was a period characterized with some serious violations of human rights that we can not be proud of. All these withstanding, Ghanaians who are known to be very compassionate, would have forgiven our former Head of State for his excesses and mistakes, if he had carried himself well as a statesman after being in power and controlling us for 19 years. As a measure to curbing corruption and crime, his administration established structures like the Tribunal, the Vetting Committee etc to deal with the ills of the society.
What these establishments achieved in transforming our lives is up to us to judge, after all, corruption and other negative tendencies which they sort to eradicate are all still prevalent in our country today because of his failure to continue the drive to ensure accountability and transparency after turning into an elected government. Jerry during his 8-year democratic rule was the favor of many Ghanaian including students groups, government institutions, Trade Unions movements’ etc. As a leader, he had all the opportunities on earth to have delivered our nation from its economic woes but he did not and blew up his chance. He had charisma to mobilize which is a very important factor in any socio-economic development.
With all these factors in place, he was still not able to rise up to the occasion and thereby leaving Ghanaians to deal with their aged long problems. Jerry has had his moments and opportunities to translate his rhetoric into actions and deeds, consequently, it is appropriate to advise our former president to leave Ghanaians alone and stop chastising others in government for the same reasons that he ascended onto the ‘throne` and yet failed to deliver. It is important to note that leaders are always held answerable for the successes and failures, so if Jerry allowed others in his administration to control his agenda or vision, then it is his responsibility to answer for that. Jerry has controlled and ruled Ghana for almost half of its 50 years since independence, and by his record, he should be the last person to criticize the present administration which has been in power for only 6 years about killings, corruption and mismanagement.
I am not saying that the current administration has perform better, just that Jerry of all people does not have the moral right to judge them either, based on his own personal record for 19 years. Ghanaians are very peaceful and known to have a big hearts, and I believe strongly that all well meaning citizens would have forgiven our ex-President for the excesses in his administration with the passage of time and history would also have been fair to him, after all, he was instrumental in the genesis of participatory democracy, an embodiment of true democracy in the word. However, most of the things that he has done and continue to engineer after his presidency have helped to either create crises or subvert the unity and peace that we enjoy in Ghana, the same beliefs and ideals that he stood and fought for.
As I have indicated earlier on, the ex-President during his tenure of office was the delight of many world leaders. He had charisma, personality and was the toast of many leaders including the former US President, Bill Clinton. He could have used many of these leaders to project his agenda if any, yet he did not. After the revolution, he was consumed with so much power that the following 8 years of his democratic rule was a charade of what the revolution stood for in terms of ideal and principles. Simply put, he had a real taste of power and lost his bearings as corruption started showing its ugly head in our socio-economic system again. In the end, he compromised his ideals and lost track of his inherits agenda to streamline and align our corrupt institution. This explains why somebody like ‘Hon` Dan Abodakpi unfortunately found himself caught by the law for fraud and dishonesty, a trend that was the order of the day in all sectors of the economy.
It is unfortunate not because he did not commit the crime, but for the reason that many people including top government officials of our ministries who owe most of the estate in Ghana and have committed other similar crimes are walking in the streets of Ghana safe and protected by the law. Our economy was in a mess again during Jerry’s last term with so much money in circulation causing serious inflation and subverting the stability of our currency. Jerry as we know could not change the status quo very much as envisaged and it is incumbent on him to allow other people in governance to function freely without any undue interference to liberate our nation. He can at best create a forum with the current leadership to offer his advice based on his experiences and short falls. His attitude of always going to the press and trying to be in the spot light is not helping our young democracy and must be discouraged in the interest of Ghana. The ex-President is a statesman and the only surviving President of our nation who is known to our generation and it is very important that he lives and conduct himself in a way to reflect the status of our presidency for the growth of our democracy.
On the occasion of our only 50th Anniversary and the ‘no show” attitude of our only surviving President, represent an act that needs much to be desired. He snubbed the nation when he rejected our invitation through the Council of States (Council of Elders) and would not also listen to any advice from his friends. The government could have just sent a letter inviting the ex-President to the anniversary, yet it chose to send a high level delegation including members of the Council of State, the Christian Council of Churches, personalities like Rev Paul Fynn, the national Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Shaributu and Cardinal Turkson. We had representation of the nation’s best at the meeting, talking and pleading with him to attend and yet he turned his back on us. How does Jerry visualize the whole situation where members of his own party attended the anniversary without his presence? Countrymen and women, let us put politics aside and for once think like Ghanaians who have had exposure to the way things work in the civilized world where leaders bury their differences and act as one people when there is a national issue. We all know about the fall out between President Kufour and the ex-President, Mr Rawlings, but that does not give him reason not to attend our nation’s only 50 th Anniversary that witnessed all kinds of prominent leaders from the whole world including Heads of States. Jerry, as we know was a ‘no show` at the anniversary celebrations and Ghanaians for once did not miss him either. Quitting is not winning, and it is imperative that we let our leaders understand the true values of democracy by engaging one another, even though we might have opposing views. As a nation, we need to pray to God for his blessings in granting our leaders wisdom and understanding. This is the only way that they can see reason to function together like cells and organs in our bodies. The relationship between our ex-President, Mr Rawlings and President Kufour is not conducive for our democracy and efforts should be made by our religious leaders to deal with this for the growth of our nation. Jerry would have to learn how to accommodate people because he has by his own actions proved that he can not tolerate people who do not conform to his understanding of issues. The episode with our former Vice-President, the late Mr Ackaa and the motor bike rider who crossed his entourage are still fresh in our memories. Jerry by his own behavior has demonstrated to the nation, his innate qualities which will dent his reputation unless he starts a recovery process by working hard to re-group and re-establish himself as a true statesman. I believe that a lot of people like me are asking why a person with so much potential could not translate them to fruition to the benefit of himself and our nation. Can anybody in his imaginary mind envisage how the ex-President with all his charisma and looks would have appeared in the midst of the entire special dignitaries and Ghanaians as a whole during our 50th Anniversary? I believe that it would have been a special moment for him to redeem himself and get back into the hearts and minds of Ghanaians again. Surprisingly, he blew up this special opportunity again by not showing up at the anniversary, as we all know by now. Our ex-President has a decision to make, to leave the spotlight, which he enjoys so much and leave a respectable life of a statesman or risk living a life of rejection. He must adapt a new label and style reflecting a good statesman, and develop a new method in relaying his point of view on issues to the nation. With all his qualities and the opportunities that he had, he could have been a great leader if he had had the vision and drive of the likes, like our late President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be and it is only fitting and logical after 19 years of control of our life's, to leave Ghanaians alone and stop the growth of antagonism and animosity currently growing in our country. Our democracy is very young and it is in our interest to engage each other logically to advance its growth in a civilized way. We can not advance this course if we cannot tolerate each other or co-exist to ensure our growth, after all, we are all Ghanaians with a common destiny. The current situation demands that our ex-President forget about the past, bury his anger and establish a way to interface with President in the interest of Ghana, our motherland.
Our democracy is a country of laws and not men. It is a country that strives to uphold our dignity and pride. We pray hard to maintain the integrity of our nation and help to sustain its growth. Our nation which we love dearly is called Ghana and it will always be so, for it is in our interest that we make it prosperous through our guided efforts and our desire to make it so. May we see the development of Ghana as something larger than ourselves and help to make it blossom and fruitful. May God help our nation, Ghana.

BY ERIC EDUSEI.

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

The life of every person has moments of opportunities, successes as well as failures, which are linked primarily to the choices we make in life. Our ex-president, Mr Jerry John Rawlings, has certainly had his moments, many of which are known to this generation. However, his recent disdain to attend the 50th Anniversary of our independence, an occasion that attracted almost all manners of people over the globe, including Heads of States, showed his disrespect for Ghana and Ghanaians as a whole.
Instead of gracing the only 50th Anniversary of our nation with his presence, he chose to disgrace us by not showing up as a protest to the 6 year governance of President Kufour despite pleas from different angles. My brothers and sisters, it is a misnomer to attempt to characterize our ex-president’s behavior anything different than what it is, in view of the harm he has caused to the presidency and the reputation of our country. How do we explain or expect our dignitaries to understand us as a people, when the only surviving President, who has ruled the country for almost half of its 50 years, since independence, refused to attend our jubilee? It is imperative that we raise our voices loud and clear to let our former Head of State realize the harm he has caused to his reputation, the Presidency and our nation as a whole. Ghana’s democracy is relatively young, and if we want it to grow then we need to pay our allegiance first to our country before embarking on any other agenda. Similarly, we need to clean our house from traces of tribalism which is gradually dividing us and killing our spirit as a nation. This requires us to be objective in our thought process first as Ghanaians, by being honest and truthful in our dealings, as a measure of attaining peace, unity, growth and wealth.
In any way that we perceive our ex-president for his controversies and pitfalls, it is only befitting that we address his life then and now in a more objective way epitomizing a citizen of goodwill and a patriot. The ex-president came to power through a coup d’etat at a period when the socio-economic climate in Ghana looked very hopeless. The culture of corruption was endemic in our society and the economy had virtually come to a halt. Jerry, through his charisma was able to galvanize the populace towards economic and political recovery. It was a process that in part created animosity in view of the excesses and mistakes thereby creating a divided country. While many saw this process as a movement against the rich and the affluence, others saw it as period of re-aligning our non-functional and corrupt institution. It was a period characterized with some serious violations of human rights that we can not be proud of. All these withstanding, Ghanaians who are known to be very compassionate, would have forgiven our former Head of State for his excesses and mistakes, if he had carried himself well as a statesman after being in power and controlling us for 19 years. As a measure to curbing corruption and crime, his administration established structures like the Tribunal, the Vetting Committee etc to deal with the ills of the society.
What these establishments achieved in transforming our lives is up to us to judge, after all, corruption and other negative tendencies which they sort to eradicate are all still prevalent in our country today because of his failure to continue the drive to ensure accountability and transparency after turning into an elected government. Jerry during his 8-year democratic rule was the favor of many Ghanaian including students groups, government institutions, Trade Unions movements’ etc. As a leader, he had all the opportunities on earth to have delivered our nation from its economic woes but he did not and blew up his chance. He had charisma to mobilize which is a very important factor in any socio-economic development.
With all these factors in place, he was still not able to rise up to the occasion and thereby leaving Ghanaians to deal with their aged long problems. Jerry has had his moments and opportunities to translate his rhetoric into actions and deeds, consequently, it is appropriate to advise our former president to leave Ghanaians alone and stop chastising others in government for the same reasons that he ascended onto the ‘throne` and yet failed to deliver. It is important to note that leaders are always held answerable for the successes and failures, so if Jerry allowed others in his administration to control his agenda or vision, then it is his responsibility to answer for that. Jerry has controlled and ruled Ghana for almost half of its 50 years since independence, and by his record, he should be the last person to criticize the present administration which has been in power for only 6 years about killings, corruption and mismanagement.
I am not saying that the current administration has perform better, just that Jerry of all people does not have the moral right to judge them either, based on his own personal record for 19 years. Ghanaians are very peaceful and known to have a big hearts, and I believe strongly that all well meaning citizens would have forgiven our ex-President for the excesses in his administration with the passage of time and history would also have been fair to him, after all, he was instrumental in the genesis of participatory democracy, an embodiment of true democracy in the word. However, most of the things that he has done and continue to engineer after his presidency have helped to either create crises or subvert the unity and peace that we enjoy in Ghana, the same beliefs and ideals that he stood and fought for.
As I have indicated earlier on, the ex-President during his tenure of office was the delight of many world leaders. He had charisma, personality and was the toast of many leaders including the former US President, Bill Clinton. He could have used many of these leaders to project his agenda if any, yet he did not. After the revolution, he was consumed with so much power that the following 8 years of his democratic rule was a charade of what the revolution stood for in terms of ideal and principles. Simply put, he had a real taste of power and lost his bearings as corruption started showing its ugly head in our socio-economic system again. In the end, he compromised his ideals and lost track of his inherits agenda to streamline and align our corrupt institution. This explains why somebody like ‘Hon` Dan Abodakpi unfortunately found himself caught by the law for fraud and dishonesty, a trend that was the order of the day in all sectors of the economy.
It is unfortunate not because he did not commit the crime, but for the reason that many people including top government officials of our ministries who owe most of the estate in Ghana and have committed other similar crimes are walking in the streets of Ghana safe and protected by the law. Our economy was in a mess again during Jerry’s last term with so much money in circulation causing serious inflation and subverting the stability of our currency. Jerry as we know could not change the status quo very much as envisaged and it is incumbent on him to allow other people in governance to function freely without any undue interference to liberate our nation. He can at best create a forum with the current leadership to offer his advice based on his experiences and short falls. His attitude of always going to the press and trying to be in the spot light is not helping our young democracy and must be discouraged in the interest of Ghana. The ex-President is a statesman and the only surviving President of our nation who is known to our generation and it is very important that he lives and conduct himself in a way to reflect the status of our presidency for the growth of our democracy.
On the occasion of our only 50th Anniversary and the ‘no show” attitude of our only surviving President, represent an act that needs much to be desired. He snubbed the nation when he rejected our invitation through the Council of States (Council of Elders) and would not also listen to any advice from his friends. The government could have just sent a letter inviting the ex-President to the anniversary, yet it chose to send a high level delegation including members of the Council of State, the Christian Council of Churches, personalities like Rev Paul Fynn, the national Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Shaributu and Cardinal Turkson. We had representation of the nation’s best at the meeting, talking and pleading with him to attend and yet he turned his back on us. How does Jerry visualize the whole situation where members of his own party attended the anniversary without his presence? Countrymen and women, let us put politics aside and for once think like Ghanaians who have had exposure to the way things work in the civilized world where leaders bury their differences and act as one people when there is a national issue. We all know about the fall out between President Kufour and the ex-President, Mr Rawlings, but that does not give him reason not to attend our nation’s only 50 th Anniversary that witnessed all kinds of prominent leaders from the whole world including Heads of States. Jerry, as we know was a ‘no show` at the anniversary celebrations and Ghanaians for once did not miss him either. Quitting is not winning, and it is imperative that we let our leaders understand the true values of democracy by engaging one another, even though we might have opposing views. As a nation, we need to pray to God for his blessings in granting our leaders wisdom and understanding. This is the only way that they can see reason to function together like cells and organs in our bodies. The relationship between our ex-President, Mr Rawlings and President Kufour is not conducive for our democracy and efforts should be made by our religious leaders to deal with this for the growth of our nation. Jerry would have to learn how to accommodate people because he has by his own actions proved that he can not tolerate people who do not conform to his understanding of issues. The episode with our former Vice-President, the late Mr Ackaa and the motor bike rider who crossed his entourage are still fresh in our memories. Jerry by his own behavior has demonstrated to the nation, his innate qualities which will dent his reputation unless he starts a recovery process by working hard to re-group and re-establish himself as a true statesman. I believe that a lot of people like me are asking why a person with so much potential could not translate them to fruition to the benefit of himself and our nation. Can anybody in his imaginary mind envisage how the ex-President with all his charisma and looks would have appeared in the midst of the entire special dignitaries and Ghanaians as a whole during our 50th Anniversary? I believe that it would have been a special moment for him to redeem himself and get back into the hearts and minds of Ghanaians again. Surprisingly, he blew up this special opportunity again by not showing up at the anniversary, as we all know by now. Our ex-President has a decision to make, to leave the spotlight, which he enjoys so much and leave a respectable life of a statesman or risk living a life of rejection. He must adapt a new label and style reflecting a good statesman, and develop a new method in relaying his point of view on issues to the nation. With all his qualities and the opportunities that he had, he could have been a great leader if he had had the vision and drive of the likes, like our late President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be and it is only fitting and logical after 19 years of control of our life's, to leave Ghanaians alone and stop the growth of antagonism and animosity currently growing in our country. Our democracy is very young and it is in our interest to engage each other logically to advance its growth in a civilized way. We can not advance this course if we cannot tolerate each other or co-exist to ensure our growth, after all, we are all Ghanaians with a common destiny. The current situation demands that our ex-President forget about the past, bury his anger and establish a way to interface with President in the interest of Ghana, our motherland.
Our democracy is a country of laws and not men. It is a country that strives to uphold our dignity and pride. We pray hard to maintain the integrity of our nation and help to sustain its growth. Our nation which we love dearly is called Ghana and it will always be so, for it is in our interest that we make it prosperous through our guided efforts and our desire to make it so. May we see the development of Ghana as something larger than ourselves and help to make it blossom and fruitful. May God help our nation, Ghana.

BY ERIC EDUSEI.

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

Columnist: Edusei, Eric Kwabena