I have not read Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s book, “Working with Rawlings” but I have read enough snippets of its content to form an opinion of Kwamena Ahwoi and his thought processes and is actions; and to make a value judgment of Rawlings, his personality and his leadership. Everything Kwamena Ahwoi has stated in that book is true. But none of it is surprising. For those of us that witnessed the Rawlings interregnum of nineteen years, whatever Kwamena Ahwoi said of himself, Rawlings and that era falls in tandem with our own impressions and thoughts, of what we knew of the epoch and the foolishness, foibles and follies of the era. So of the accounts and anecdotes revealed in the book, and the themes and tropes of leadership expressed of Kwamena Ahwoi, Rawlings and all their other cronies, we have not been surprised in the least. We already had our judgment of how Ahwoi worked with Rawlings, and the judgment is not a pretty picture.
That judgment is an ugly picture of political opportunism and dangerous chicanery, characterized by selfish interests, political gamesmanship, knee jerk and guess-work leadership, incompetence, and complete absence of national direction and basic ideas in governance. And of all this national malaise, Kwamena ahwoi was an inextricable part.
Now some of us grew up thinking that our leaders were superhumans with good intentions for building a prosperous nation, and that whatever actions they took, no matter how excessive or decadent, were all for that sacred national good. And that they were forced to take those decisions on account of the general good. As a matter of fact, when I later studied law in my mature years, I had validation in my study of Business Law in which the executive is assumed to make decisions in the interest of his or her establishment, guided by the notion of good faith and fiduciary trust. The thrust of the argument is that if he makes a mistake in the exercise of power under these considerations, he cannot be found liable.
But the sad revelation after reading all these snippets of accounts in Kwamena Ahwoi’s book is that there is enough evidence on Rawlings and his part to let anybody conclude that these people; or any other person in the P/NDC, had no good faith or any fiduciary responsibility for the nation. They were all in because of their greed: Rawlings staged a coup because of his greed. Kwamena Ahwoi was in because of his greed. Totobi Kwakye was in because of his greed. Tsatsu Tsikata was in because of his greed. Kwadwo Tsikata was in because of his greed. Kwasi Botwe was in because of his greed. Justice Annan was in because of his greed. Obed Asamoah was in because of his greed. And all those who joined the bandwagon of the revolution were all in because of their greed. Nothing else.
And of all of them, Rawlings is the least culpable because at least he knew nothing and had achieved nothing in his life. He had never headed anything nor maintained anything in his life. He was young and clueless and could not even provide for his own family. In his house was a single chair which he had unhooked from an old helicopter. He owed money to the yoke-gari sellers and had no discipline prior to joining the Air Force. As a matter of fact, he had left a substantial record of indiscipline in Achimota College and in the military to make him a virtual monster and unbalanced individual. There are those who alleged that he was heavily into weed smoking and the abuse of other drugs.
This was his known dossier when he staged his coup, and there was not a single one of his followers who did not know this dossier. And so why blame a tiger for showcasing his tigritude? Rawlings did everything in pattern with what Rawlings does. And so why was anybody surprised?
The only surprising thing was the cabal of educated citizens that massively followed him and made it possible for him to be Head of State of this noble country for nineteen years. Maybe if they had all pulled their efforts together to pull down Rawlings, it would have been impossible for him to hang in for that length of time.
The only consolation is that almost all of the Rawlings cronies eventually broke ranks with him and are enemies with him to date. The due punishment of all these traitors and collaborators is that most of them ended up dead or totally destroyed, mostly killed or destroyed by Rawlings himself. Meanwhile Rawlings sits in just solitude of all his sins, suffering the poetic justice of all those like him.
And so what is Kwamena Ahwoi trying to tell us with his book? That he was the honest or sincere or brave or knowledgeable or well-intentioned and patriotic one?
We know something about Kwamena Ahwoi. We heard about Kwamena Ahwoi’s exploits in the university where he used to prance around naked in Commonwealth Hall as a student, just to make himself relevant as a veritable vandal. We heard of him prancing around in the University of Ghana as a lecturer in Jesus-like sandals and growing a long beard to demonstrate his understanding of socialism which he applied as a convenient theory to cloud his destitution.
So in the beginning were two failed individuals conjoined by their frustrations and their destitution and their anger, together with their ambitions and mischief. Following In verisimilitude was a long line of like-minded people who got together, not to save the nation but to plunder its wealth. Rawlings staged a coup which all these people lined behind. And so they are all culpable in a treasonable and criminal enterprise, and none of them is guiltless. And this is a cute and tidy summary of the collective culpability of Rawlings and his minions.
And all discerning minds know exactly what happened in the details. So what else can Kwamena Ahwoi add to our body of knowledge with his book? How does this book contribute to the advancement of the national agenda or our aspiration as a people? If he had any smidgen of conscience left at all, he would rather give up everything he gained through the so-called revolution like his houses, cars and investments, and put on his old Jesus-like sandals and grow his beard and don a sackcloth and come let us discuss all his sins and evils and the victims he helped to destroy. He will then do a penance for his sins “which can the multitudinous sea incarnadine, making the green one red.”
That is how to properly repent and regret. Because he entered government with a monster at his head and never uttered a word against the monster…….until he has fleeced his fill. And now he is talking loudly because Rawlings is a spent force, left with his Parkinson’s disease and his vague or forged recollection of his role in Ghana’s affairs.
I was fifteen years old when Rawlings burst on the scene on June 4, 1978. When he killed all these generals, I also shouted let the blood flow. And I do not exculpate myself as innocent of any bloodshed on account of being too young: I knew much back then even though I was too young. And I should have protested against the pogrom when it occurred. Till date, I regret my role if any; and if there were any profit I gained from the persecution of my fellow citizens, I should have regretted it and made the necessary restitution for any harm done to anybody. I wouldn’t have written a book to rationalize and justify my actions while leaving all these victims in the lurch.
Fortunately for me, I saw the light early upon the second return of Rawlings in 1981, and never joined in any of the nonsense. Many people also knew Rawlings enough and refrained from joining in his madness. We don’t have any restitution for anybody except an apology to all the victims for whatever harm that occurred during the time when we should have known better than to shout, “Let the blood flow”……The time when we supported nonsense.
But maybe Kwamena Ahwoi is no man of depth or knowledge. When I heard him explaining that according to the law of hoarding, somebody who bought six tins of milk could be arrested and jailed for several decades, I knew he did not understand the principles of law. And when he explained in the same breath that a person who bought the one tin of milk left in a store could be arrested and prosecuted under the same law, I concluded that he was patently ignorant of justice. Yet he was the justicer for the incarceration of the many.
Those who joined Rawlings knew his nature and joined him nonetheless. And their claim that they joined to support in the building of the country is insincere and very disingenuous. How were they hoping to join a man who had built nothing in his life and who overthrew a government with no knowledge in nation building? Why didn’t they join the government with knowledge of nation building which Rawlings overthrew if they deemed themselves fit for nation building? They were all opportunists who saw an aperture out of their poverty and duly enriched themselves at the expense of the country.
And so what is Kwamena Ahwoi telling the country? That Rawling was bad and incompetent? When did he get to know this? Like Rip Van Winkle, he has just woken up from over two score years of sleep to tell us how we should look at our world and his role in it. And what are we supposed to do with that kind of information? Maybe it would have been better to tell us what he and Rawlings achieved in twenty years of rule, instead of bickering about anecdotes of Rawlings’ scrotal ball crushing, or him playing with his toys, or his misunderstanding of policies and politics, or his megalomaniacal tendencies or the petty jealousy of his wife. We all know about Rawlings and what he is capable of.
In 1988, when I was a student at Legon, I was put on a research program gathering data on the cost and standard of living of Ghanaians living in the East Legon area. Everywhere I went, there were very nice buildings in which people lived pretty well. Yet they were all complaining about the harsh economic conditions. I entered a particularly imposing white house with solid walls and concrete floor. I met a beautiful elderly woman who had this large bowl sitting in front of her. In the bowl were five fat chicken from which the old lady was pulling feathers. She politely told me that she was the mother of the Ahwois and that for political reasons, I could not conduct my research on their household income. I quickly left, thinking of those fat chicken and wondering whether I could have convinced the old woman to give me the legs or the wings for my soup on campus. Life was very hard in those days!
But Ahwoi had cleverly escaped from his own plight and poverty and finally graduated from his Jesus sandals days and beard-wearing days and finally put aside his scruffy socialist notions and dressing, transforming into a nouveau rich and eating rich and dressing rich and even shaving his beard to look more refined in all his richness. He had left everybody else behind except himself and his family.
But none of us can be deceived or confused, no matter what appearance he puts out. In fact, his book constitutes self-inflicted confessions of his own greed, disloyalty and utter incompetence as a leader…..An expose of his own lack of ethics and morality and treasonable tendency. His actions, thoughts and behavior as gleaned from his book are all intertwined and morphed with everything about Rawlings and his revolution, and he must be responsible enough to take the blame and fall for whatever evil deeds Rawlings performed on the people. Kwamena Ahwoi was part of all of it; and he, a maggot, should never separate himself from the excrement that made and nourished him. He and Rawlings, together with all these intelligent scoundrels and educated retards that followed his cause, are one and inseparable and must endure the calumny and shame together.
Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Esq.
Austin, Texas, USA.
Email: [email protected]