“As we know we shall win. As we are confident in the victory of good over evil.” Bob Marley – WAR(1976)
Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi is a law lecturer and an Oxford University Rhodes Scholar. He is a prominent member and a transitional player from the revolutionary regime of the PNDC to the NDC democratic, civilian government of the Fourth Republic. In his book Working with Rawlings, Prof. Ahwoi explores the “ups and downs” of their(John Jerry Rawlings and Prof. Ahwoi) joint commitment to building a better Ghana. Working with Rawlings is among my African Collections of books but first to be reviewed. This book stands a chance in history because it is the only book ever written on Ghana’s political history spanning from 1979 to 2000 and beyond. This review of Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s book Working with Rawlings will appraise his writing abilities and critique few issues. Working with Rawlings is a controversial book because of the authors relationship with John Jerry Rawlings(the Father of both NDC and Democracy in Ghana).
Rumors have it that this book shames former President Jerry John Rawlings which is not true. This book rather shines light on his charismatic relationship. Charismatic relationship/leadership is the process of encouraging certain behaviors in order via force of personality; persuasion; and communication. A charismatic leadership inspires followers to do things well. No wonder he(Rawlings) was able to win back the author when he decided to resign from his post. The account of this story is in page 59 of the book. Professor Kwamena Ahwoi boldly writes at beneath of the account these words “ I think Rawlings is clearly skillful in dealing with the human factor in relationship” Also in page 239, the author writes “It is ironically also truthful to say in his conduct of human relations, Rawlings could be very accommodating and charming. The two instances of how he used the route of my wife and daughters to get me to rescind my decision to resign from the PNDC system(page 59) as well as how he used the avenue of the award of the state Honor of the Officer of the Volta to get me to agree to continue to work with him in the Second Government of the Fourth Republic.”
The personality of Rawlings has always been a topic in the history of Ghana politics. Sincerely, I bought a copy of this book because of Rawlings. As a little boy, I’ve always looked for avenue to learn more about Rawlings – A MAN OF THE PEOPLE. I can boldly describe the personality of Rawlings and the people of NDC in just two words “THE VISIONARY” The book narrates an account on how Rawlings succeeded in the political transition from revolution to constitutional rule starting from the District level in 1987 by NCD on the political slogan “POWER TO THE PEOPLE” The idea of “Power to the people” magically gave birth to constitutional rule after a decade of its enforcement. The future of Leadership is empathy and John Jerry Rawlings and the PNDC/NDC understood that.
“ No matter how an individual views Satan, whether they believe that he is a real character or that he is just the product of literary scholars and imaginations, no one can deny that each one of us has an aspect of the devil within us. By studying the character and nature of Satan, we learn about ourselves; and the more we know about ourselves, the better we can fight our own personal demons – metaphorical or otherwise in order to create a better tomorrow.” Nwaocha Ogechukwu.
The legacy of John Jerry Rawlings cannot be told in years; it will take a life time to completely tell others. Before June 4TH 1979, the country’s economy had become a near basket-case. Instead, the government was perceived to be plundering the resources of the country through venal maladministration as the author puts it. “The corruption or Kalebule of the Acheampong period, beginning in mid-1974 has stood out as a pinnacle of decadence, which ranged from over-charging for goods and services to a system whereby top officials issued chits(giving loans or import licenses) to young women who paraded the corridors of power offering themselves for libidinal pleasures in return for favors” Donald I Ryan. I’m not afraid to say John Jerry Rawlings took the nation from darkness into light(Jesus of Ghana Politics). The process of political change in the history of Ghana begun after the 1981 revolution – the revolution to end all revolutions. The PNDC system of government was a “bottom up” strategy but however it worked for the people of Ghana. The “bottom up” strategy ensured the involvement of citizens in nation building. This stance resulted in the declaration of the 1992 Constitution, holding of District Assembly election for the first time in history. The words of Rawlings in 31 December 1981 coup forming the basis of his second coming states "Fellow Ghanaians, as you will notice, we are not playing the national anthem. In other words, this is not a coup. I ask for nothing less than a REVOLUTION - something that will transform the social and economic order of this country. Fellow citizens, it is now left to you to decide how this country is going to go from today. We are asking for nothing more than the power to organize this country in such a way that nothing will be done from the Castle without the consent and authority of the people. In other words, the people, the farmers, the police, the soldiers, the workers you - the guardians- rich or poor, should be part of the decision-making process of this country.” This was the speech that inspired the people to look at the future with hopeful eyes.
The book contains some revealing episodes of the NPP government. In my 2019 article post on modern Ghana entitled “The Power of Pre-suasion – The little Secret of NPP” I made mention of the psychological trick played by the people of NPP. This book also reveals the violent side of the NPP(angelic face but a devils heart.). The book narrates in page 98 on how the NPP killed Alhaji Imoro Andam, an innocent NDC Chairman of the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis on the account of alleged electoral fraud. Also assaulting and destroying properties and imposing a dusk to dawn curfew on Kumasi. Another account of violence is recorded in page 104 led by Nana AKuffo Addo(2020 presidential candidate of the NPP) with code named “KUME PREKO” leading to the death of four demonstrators while several others sustained injuries. Another violent account is recorded in page 185 by the same NPP people leading to attacks of innocent motorists and smashing of windscreens as a demonstration of their “all-die-be-die” campaign. Recent voter registration exercise in the Volta Region of Ghana, where the NPP government deliberately acts violently against citizens of the region with the aim of intimidating them from registering for a voter’s ID card.
Prof. Ahwoi’s book Working with Rawlings is an interesting book and there is no doubt about that. My sincere gratitude to PAPA “J” for your outstanding legacy and system of government but I critique your judgment of paying wrong with evil (judgement by firing squad). Also, in the Preface the author writes “This is not a book about Jerry John Rawlings. It is not a book about Kwamena Ahwoi. It is not a book about the PNDC. It is not a book about NDC. It is a book about Kwamena Ahwoi working with Jerry John Rawlings; our working relationship; our ups and downs and our joint commitment to building a better Ghana than the one we found it” I think the author is deceptive and does not fulfill his aim of objectives as stated clearly in the preface. This book is clearly about Rawlings(a memoir of John Jerry Rawlings) and no scholar can dispute that. On that note I also think, John Jerry Rawlings should have been among the early reviewers of the book and the best person among your circus to write the forward to the book.
In my view, working with Rawlings is a well written history book. It should be popularized and be read by leaders of organization, schools, government bodies, religious groups, etc. Thank you for reading. Ayekoo Professor Kwamena Ahwoi
MPhil Pure Mathematics
KNUST – KUMASI
email: [email protected]