As long as we continue to have in power governments whose movers and shakers are fond of rallying around rascally and nauseatingly self-righteous personalities like Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, the country's sociocultural, moral and economic development is likely to be at a standstill for the foreseeable future.
The problem, of course, is not the man himself but, rather, those who are scandalously willing to carry the decidedly effete bag and baggage of the jaded Butcher-of-Sogakope, even as the entire nation recently witnessed during the conferral of an honorary doctorate on the one Ghanaian leader who has done far more than both his predecessors and successors in regressing the country's academic calendar and the quality of its educational system, by the politically compromised operatives of the so-called University of Development Studies (UDS).
Anyway, in his acceptance speech, which I just finished reading (See "Dr. Jerry John Rawlings Booms at UDS" MyJoyOnline.com/ Ghanaweb.com 10/13/13), as usual, the former leader of the defunct Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) attempted to take undue liberties with canonical Ghanaian history by disingenuously claiming to have chaperoned the AFRC with the primary objective of restoring constitutional democracy to the country.
Once again, as in the past, we find ourselves compelled to refer our dear readers to the well-documented fact of the slain Gen. F. W. K. Akuffo, chairman of the Supreme Military Council (SMC-II), having already prepared and implemented a time-table for democratic elections and a peaceful return of the country to civil governance, when the murderous Kalashikov-festooned Flt.-Lt. Rawlings burst onto the national political scene. He had been incarcerated on treason charges and was being court-martialled.
Mr. Rawlings would reluctantly yield to popular demand by sticking to the Akuffo Plan of promptly returning the country to civilian rule with minor modifications. At the time of his maiden emergence onto the national political scene on June 4, 1979, the prior ban on political party activities had been lifted by Gen. Akuffo, with general elections scheduled to shortly take place, if memory serves this writer accurately. The interrupted Akuffo Plan would delay our return to constitutional democracy by a couple of months, or so, while Flt.-Lt. Rawlings and his associates, largely frustrated junior-ranked officers of the Ghana Armed Forces, spent the brief interregnum brutally settling scores with their professional superiors, the leaders of the Akuffo-led Supreme Military Council. The year before, Gen. Akuffo had ousted Gen. Acheampong in a bloodless palace coup.
The roundly humiliated Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, completely stripped of all his military honors and titles, would be rudely brought out of involuntary retirement and house arrest and be summarily executed along with at least eight of his former colleagues.
That Mr. Rawlings has never believed in democratic governance, except only where his own interests and those of his Anlo-Ewe clansmen and women were concerned, would first be proven by his hotheaded decision to flagrantly violate our national sovereignty by ousting Dr. Hilla (Babini) Limann's People National Party (PNP) government and the latter's replacement by the Anlo-Ewe-dominated Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), which would in time morph into the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) by 1992, in order to perpetuate what their foremost guru, the recently slain Dr. Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, pontifically termed as a necessary "Ewe Hegemony" over Ghana's Akan ethnic majority.
And so, really, when Mr. Rawlings rather hypocritically and disingenuously decries what the infamous Butcher-of-Sogakope mischievously terms as the morbid affliction of Ghanaians by an "Ostrich Mentality," a disease that causes its victims to either unwisely condone and/or deliberately look the other way while rank corruption is being wantonly perpetrated against them and their interests by high-ranking officials in government, he is simply being obliquely autobiographical.
For, it goes without saying that Mr. Rawlings is veritably the proverbial "Elephant in the Room" that nobody wants to talk about, obviously for the well-founded fear of being witchhunted. Indeed, at another time in the not-too-distant past, while Mr. Rawlings played the divinely ordained Ghanaian Nero, or strongman, anybody who mustered the convicted courage of his/her conscience to inveigh against rank corruption under his stewardship, may well have been lobotomized and incarcerated; and that is mildly putting matters.
And so it is quite instructive to hear the man counsel ordinary Ghanaians into engaging in the very conscientious and progressive political activity which he vehemently and publicly abhorred on the turf and tenure of his successors.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Oct. 13, 2013
E-mail: [email protected]
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