26.08.2020 Feature Article

Both Ahwoi and Amidu Are Wrong on the Development of Ghanaian Democracy

Both Ahwoi and Amidu Are Wrong on the Development of Ghanaian Democracy
LISTEN AUG 26, 2020

I have read both the Parts I and II of Mr. Martin ABK Amidu’s very trenchant but indisputably masterful critique of Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s memoir titled “Working with Rawlings,” and it is quite obvious to me that impressive academic credentials, laurels, titles, Rhodes Scholarship and all, Prof. Ahwoi is absolutely no match for the Independent Special Prosecutor, both in the manner in which Mr. Amidu marshals the points for his arguments or, rather, counterarguments and the systematic methodology by which the critic deploys the same (See “Kwamena Ahwoi’s ‘Working with Rawlings’ – Amidu’s Critique II” 8/25/20). In essence, it is the contention of Mr. Amidu that Prof. Ahwoi has presumptuously bitten more than he can chew or, better still, literally punched above his weight. On the latter count, critic also accuses Prof. Ahwoi of never having either passed his Bar Exams or caused himself to be enrolled as a qualified legal practitioner, and yet smugly putting on the airs of a first-rate practitioner of the trade.

While I have absolutely no vested interest, one way or another, in the fracas or bone of contention between these two major players of the erstwhile Jerry John Rawlings-led extortionate junta of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and, subsequently, the faux-democratic National Democratic Congress, nevertheless, I am personally of the well-considered view that these two pieces or columns of the ice-cutting Amidu critique, my profound apologies to Virginia Woolf, the great British thinker, novelist and essayist, of Prof. Ahwoi’s “Working with Rawlings” are unquestionable masterpieces that ought to be eventually collected together in a book and published and made required reading for students of both political science and law, and even NDC and Rawlings Studies, in our nation’s leading tertiary academies. As a companion piece to the Ahwoi memoir, of course. I would also suggest that those revolutionary-era victims of the Kwamena Ahwoi-presided Citizens’ Vetting Committee engage the services of some crackerjack lawyers to ensure that the author of “Working with Rawlings” does not collect a pesewa in royalties from this book.

It is also very healthy for the development of Ghana’s intellectual culture that one of his own peers and fellow political truckers, and one with just as much inside knowledge of the Rawlings era as Prof. Ahwoi himself, if not even greater knowledge of the Rawlings years, or revolution, if that is how the Dear Reader prefers to term it, has decided to forcefully engage the former PNDC Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development. Indubitably, the respective statures, images and reputations of these two quite brilliant, remarkable and formidable men are highly unlikely to remain the same henceforth. You see, by his decision to boldly and actively engage Prof. Ahwoi, his apparent internal nemesis, Mr. Amidu has clearly demonstrated himself to have deserved each and every one of the high-powered portfolios or positions of great responsibility afforded him by the movers-and-shakers of the Rawlings dictatorship and the faux-democratic regimes of the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress.

I am also quite certain that Mr. Amidu is well aware of the fact that I don’t buy his rather parochial and grossly historically inaccurate attempt to cavalierly cede authorship of Ghana’s Fourth Republican Democratic Dispensation to the purported genius of the Rawlings Posse, that is, the key operatives of the infamous Rawlings-Tsikata Diarchy, even including former President John Agyekum-Kufuor, the first PNDC Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development. The truth of the matter is that contrary to what Mr. Amidu would have his audience believe, it was actually the Rawlings Posse that set back the clock of Ghanaian Democracy for some 20 years. Ghanaian Democracy, as we presently know it, has far more to do with the progressive forces of the vehement and relentless internal opposition to the Rawlings junta than any selfless willingness on the part of the Rawlings Posse to consent to the democratic sharing of power.

Rather, it was the indefatigable efforts of valiant Ghanaian politicians, human and civil rights activists and statesmen like the late Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, Messrs. B J da Rocha, late, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and, before the latter, Mr. William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta and, of course, the late Prof. Albert A. Adu-Boahen that brought about the beneficent change that Ghanaians are now enjoying. Even more significant to note here is the fact that the clearly convenient and opportunistic and strategic transformation of the Provisional National Defense Council into the faux-civilianized National Democratic Congress, and the call for the landmark drafting of a democratic constitution in 1991, was an integral part of the seismic global sweep of the massive collapse of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), culminating in the historic and salutary breakaway of the satellite states of Russia, or the latter’s colonies, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which could be aptly termed as the Eastern-European Summer or the latter’s equivalent of the much later and tragically short-lived Arab Spring.

And, of course, smack behind the success of Ghana’s democratic revolution is one Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and globally renowned formidable diplomat who is often forgotten, the immortalized Mr. Kofi Annan. Reliable legend has it that it was Mr. Kofi Annan who prevailed on the then US President, Mr. William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, to put the kibosh on Strongman Rawlings’ megalomania. At any rate, the very political and/or administrative concept of “Decentralization” is deeply embedded in Ghana’s indigenous cultures, especially Akan Culture and Civilization, which are inextricably aligned with the organic practice of Constitutional Monarchy and the devolution of delegated power from the center to the suburbs, the Royal Paramountcies or our Paramount Chiefs/Kings to our Divisional Military Commanders or Warrior Chiefs.

So, it is all Greek to me, that is, this at once weird and bizarre attempt by Mr. Amidu to credit the Rawlings Posse with our “Authentic Ghanaian Democracy,” as our Special Prosecutor proudly puts it. By the way, has the erudite but delectably mordant critic of “Working with Rawlings” read or critically studied the writings and constitutional scholarship of genius twentieth-century Ghanaian legal lights and thinkers like Messrs. John Mensah-Sarbah, Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford, Kobina Sekyi (aka William Esuman-Gwira Sekyi), and Dr. J B Danquah? Most probably not, because Mr. Amidu tells us that he woefully failed the African Studies part of his First University Examination (FUE). He, however, quickly rallied and sailed smoothly through the second time around. In other words, our man is no dunce-cap-wearing clown.

Ultimately, what is most significant to observe here is that there was democratic governance, however fragile, in Post-Nkrumah Ghana, before the political usurpation by the Rawlings-led junta of the Provisional National Defense Council. What Mr. Amidu smugly terms as NDC-1 and NDC-2 were practically no genuine or “authentic” democratic regimes at all, but a marginally blunted continuation of the same brutal and extortionate PNDC junta rejuvenated. But, of course, we are, each and every one of us, inalienably entitled to our own opinions.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

August 25, 2020

E-mail: [email protected]

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