Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working With Rawlings – Amidu’s Critique IV
In my second critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings, I followed the qualitative research convention of making a full disclosure to the reader about my educational and career shortcomings, background, biases and possible conflicts of interest to aid the reader appreciate the particular position from which I was writing the critique. The author, a boastful Rhodes Scholar, intentionally failed or refused to make a full and frank disclosure of his educational and career shortcomings likely to affect his narratives, the research method of his qualitative work, his biases and possible conflicts of interest, to the reading public to appreciate the particular position from which the author wrote his so-called scholarly book: “Working with Rawlings”. (See Bodgdan, R. C, & Biklen S. K. (1998 at page 47).
The author states in the preface to the book (at page xxi) a laudable reason for writing it - “…to give present and future leaders some ideas about governance at the highest levels, the dos and don’ts of governance; the skills required for governance and the importance of human relationship as a leadership trait.” The author’s laudable purpose was, however, immediately negated by narratives showing a glaring lack of scholarship, leadership qualities of ethics, candor, keeping confidences and secrecy of official information, courage, character, and training as a trusted practitioner or lecturer on good governance and above all “the importance of human relationship as a leadership trait”. Any scholar learned in the philosophy and methods of scholarly research wishing to achieve the author’s laudable purpose would have done so ethically with the consent of the subjects the author writes about while at the same time protecting the subjects from any harm. Scholarly ethics is the first quality of a teacher of good governance and “human relationship as a leadership trait”. A critical reading of the book does not vindicate the author’s pretended laudable purpose.
Special Assistant, PNDC Secretariat – Breach of confidentiality and secrecy with Mr. Kufuor
The author states at pages 13 to 15 of “Working with Rawlings” that between 31st December 1981 and August 1982 the author operated at the PNDC Secretariat with no specific schedule or appointment letter. Instead of describing himself modestly as an errand boy he says that he “performed as a kind of Special Assistant” performing “some routine assignments like handling some of his mail, minuting on some of them and sometimes drafting replies to be signed and issued originally by Mr. B. B. D. Asamoah the first Secretary to the PNDC (see pages 13 to 14 thereof). It was in this position that he was chosen as part of a 5-member delegation led by Brigadier- General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, member of the PNDC to Nigeria to negotiate for the restoration of oil supplies to Ghana by President Shehu Shagari of Nigeria.
The author who writes for present and future leaders to emulate good governance skills was sent on a serious confidential state assignment by the PNDC to convince Mr. J. A. Kufuor who was a political detainee at Nsawam prison to be part of the delegation because of his friendship with the Nigerian President. The author was in a power position when he went on that state errand to Nsawam prison. Mr. Kufuor on the other hand was in incarceration there without any liberties whatsoever. Mr. Kufuor had every reason to assume that having been sent by the PNDC to him the author was under an obligation to keep their discussions confidential and secret for disclosure only on a strictly need to know basis to the PNDC Chairman and his approved cohorts.
The author, a scholar who wishes to teach present and future leaders the dos and don’ts of leadership and governance discloses what transpired between Mr. Kufuor and him at Nsawam prison to the whole world in his book. In the scholarly and considered view of this Rhodes Scholar, breaching the confidentiality and secrecy of the conversation with the incarcerated Mr. Kufuor is a good leadership quality for present and the future leaders to emulate. The author’s unauthorized disclosure of the content of that confidential and secret encounter in the book clearly demonstrate lack of leadership qualities in the author who touts long-service in public office as his qualification to teach others leadership and good governance. The author’s wanton breaches of confidences and state secrets with impunity is a recurring hallmark of the author’s narratives in “Working with Rawlings.”
CVC, NIC, PUBLIC TRIBUNALS and all that - The indispensable Kwamena Ahwoi
Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings appears as an attempt to demonstrate to the reader how indispensable the author was to the PNDC’s ability to create the necessary conditions for its survival during the early days of the revolution. The narrative is all about Kwamena Ahwoi negotiating with Mr. Kufuor so that Ghana could get oil, it is about how important the author was not part of a ministerial government delegation led by Dr. Obed Asamoah, PNDC Secretary for Foreign Affairs but on the Presidential delegation led by Chairman of the PNDC himself to an abortive OAU Summit in Tripoli, it is also all about the author composing a panel to interview persons for training as intelligence officers in Eastern Europe some of whom would rise to the highest levels of Ghana’s intelligence and administrative circles in later years. Mr. Prosper Bani who was serving with the UNDP abroad when he visited me in 2010 as the then Minister for the Interior and from which UNDP position he was invited to be Chief of Staff in the NDC 4 Government is dishonestly presented by the author at page 18 of his book as having risen through the Ghanaian intelligence and administrative circles to become Chief of Staff.
The author’s narrative evinces a mindset determined never to give credit to the leadership of the PNDC which enabled him to perform the errands assigned to him. Kwamena Ahwoi takes credit for the appointment of persons whose names he suggested to the PNDC for consideration. The author appears to be so self-conceited that he does not have the humility of telling his readers that most of those whose names he suggested were selected by the PNDC and appointed on their own merit after an interview to assess their competences and trust worthiness. The author so vainly takes credit even for those persons whose qualities and suitability for appointment were identified by the PNDC before the author was sent on the public service errands to contact them for their concurrence for appointment.
The author when he intends to fabricate or doctor data becomes blind to giving concrete dates for the events he writes about. Where he supplies some dates such as stating at page 13 of the book that between 31st December 1981 and August 1982 he operated at the PNDC Secretariat with no specific schedule or appointment letter, he contradicts himself soon thereafter in stating at page 24 that: “I was appointed Coordinator in July 1982, replacing Flying Officer Ebenezer Odoi who had occupied that position from January 1982 to July 1982, at that time coordinating the activities of the NIC only.” The author at page 24 of his book states that in March 1988 while he was in Zimbabwe he was relieved of his post as Coordinator. He does not, somehow, remember the date and does not also remember when he was appointed the PNDC Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development except to say 1988. By being evasive about the accurate date of events he disables his academic peers from being able to investigate his claims. No ethical and competent scholar writes a scholarly research work without rigorously collecting the qualitative data, including dates necessary for the enterprise. Our Rhodes scholar is an exception.
In a very few cases the author gets the date correct, such as the fact that on 22nd April 1985 the three members of the Regional Public Tribunal of the Upper East Region serving the Upper West Region died on their return journey from Wa in the Upper West Region. He, however, immediately doctors the data by stating that they were travelling by taxi and the driver of the taxi also died. I was still a PNDC Deputy Secretary for the Upper East Region when this narrated accident took place at Chiana. The late Mr. J. E. Sekyi (a retired A. C. P) was the PNDC Secretary with the late Mr. Simon Abingyah as the PNDC Deputy Secretary for the Upper East Region in charge of Operations. Mr. Joseph Yileh Chireh, Esq, who was the PNDC Secretary for the Upper West Region and his deputy can confirm that the deceased were traveling from Wa to Bolgatanga in their official saloon car after adjudicating cases in Wa when the accident occurred. One cannot travel from Wa to Bolga without by-passing Tumu in the Upper West and going through Chiana in the Upper East, otherwise they performed no duties in Tumu. I visited the scene of the accident immediately the news reached us in Bolgatanga. Edward Bukari Badusi, a Tribunal member, and a bosom friend of mine was the person at the wheels when the vehicle veered headlong into a tree at Chiana. The author, a self-acclaimed scholar fabricated the data, pure and simple! According to Bogdan, R. G. & Biklen, S. K. (1998, at page 45) writing on Qualitative Research for Education: “Fabricating data or distorting data is the ultimate sin of a scientist.”
The author who is enamored with public positions and titles narrates how he was appointed in July 1982 as the Coordinator of the Citizens’ Vetting Committee, National Investigation Committee and the Public Tribunals which he states were “collectively referred to as the judiciary and quasi-judiciary organs of the revolution.” He also narrates that other quasi-judicial organs were established and placed under the Office of the Coordinator (see page 24 thereof).
On page 22 of the book the author narrates the establishment of the Public Tribunal Board consisting of not less than five and not more than fifteen members appointed by the PNDC. The law required that at least one of them had to be a lawyer of not less than five years standing on the roll of lawyers. The Board functioned as the collective administrative head of the tribunal system. The first two co-chairmen of the Board, the reader is told, (who were lawyers), were Mr. George Agyekum and Kwaku Addo-Aikins (see page 23). What the author does not tell the reader is his own professional legal qualification as the Coordinator or the extent of his control over the Board of Public Tribunals chaired by two lawyers enrolled to practice law in Ghana. This omission is unethical as it disables the reader from judging the competences of the author as the Coordinator of such judicial and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution.
This intentional omission enabled the author to create the impression that the Public Tribunal Board presided over by two eminently qualified professional lawyers were mere appendages of the Coordinator’s Office chariot to which he could issue instructions as to how cases may be adjudicated. This omission also hid the fact that the author dared not to have conveyed any messages from Chairman Rawlings to either Mr. George Agyekum or Mr. Kweku Addo-Aikins on how to perform their judicial functions. The author by this disingenuous stratagem set the foundation for his narrative on “Stop the Executions!” in which he comes out as the guiltless hero with Chairman Rawlings as the blood thirsty villain.
But the contradictory nature of the author’s narrative will dawn on the patient reader who reads the author’s assertion of almost unregulated independence and liberties in assignments given to him by the Chairman of the PNDC/President of the Republic at page 233, paragraph 2, and page 242 paragraph 1. Speaking for himself, the author states at page 233, paragraph 2 of the book that:
“As Coordinator, Revenue Commissioners, Investigations and Tribunals under the PNDC, I had the freedom to put together the judicial and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution as well as the personnel to man them. I only approached him for his approval as required by law when all the necessary groundwork had been done, and he very seldom said no.”
The author reinforces his alleged self-importance and absolute control over the Chairman of the PNDC at page 242 paragraph 1 when he declares that it was in the area of the values of probity, accountability, integrity, equity, and transparency which Rawlings articulated every so often that: “..I worked very closest with him, using the judiciary and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution, such as the NIC, CVC (ORC), SHAPIC and Public Tribunals.” This is clearly what is commonly referred to in social discourse as importance by association. But one has to critically read this whole narrative of the author to objectively assess the credibility of the fragments of fabricated data and distortions in the narrative. It is with this unethical data fabrication mindset of the author that one can appreciate the author’s narrative from pages 34 to 37 of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings: “Stop the Executions”.
“Stop the Executions!”
I have tried various analytical methodologies in an endeavour to understand the rhetoric’s deplored by the author and the purpose of the narrative contained in his exposition entitled: “Stop the Executions”. I tried the symbolic interactionist perspective of creating and analyzing reality, Kenneth Burke’s guilt-redemption cycle as a rhetoric tool, including redemption through victimage, and Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm to locate, if any, the coherence and fidelity of the author’s narrative and to understand the author’s claim to scholarly work.
It was still a challenge to understand the author’s narrative on “Stop the Executions” for several reasons. The author portrays himself as the “Chief Justice” of the new Revolutionary Judicial System running parallel with the traditional Western democratic system of justice. Secondly, the author claimed profound influence over the Chairman of the PNDC resulting in the Chairman’s diffidence to the author’s proposals on judicial and quasi-judicial matters that ensured that his proposals are “very seldom” refused. Thirdly the Chairman of the PNDC is thus portrayed by the author as wholly dependent on the author for legal advice concerning the “the judiciary and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution, such as the NIC, CVC (ORC), SHAPIC and Public Tribunals.” The narrative, accordingly, makes it challenging to appreciate the guilt -redemption cycle and redemption through victimage rhetoric deployed by the controlling author of their relationship.
The author, the “Chief Justice” on whom the Chairman of the PNDC, for all we know, assumed was also a qualified legal practitioner, (I did not know he was not one until 1993), led the Chairman on to sign execution warrants for ritual murders, armed robberies, and white collar crimes, only to turn round to cast the blame for the executions on the lay Chairman. Characteristic of most of the narrative in Working with Rawlings the author redeems his guilt by casting the person who depended on his professional legal advice as the victim in the narrative.
The author’s narrative on “Stop the Executions” on deeper analysis for narrative rationality fails both in narrative coherence and fidelity. The reading audience who know and have lived through the same occurrences such as the Chairmen of Public Tribunals and panel members who adjudicated the cases the author used in the narrative disown the author’s narrative as irrational, fabricated, and incoherent within the context of the author’s own narrative.
Is does not make sense that any well qualified practicing lawyer holding the office of Chief Justice for the judicial and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution will act on the mere wishes of a Head of State, urging the head of state on to sign execution warrants not grounded in any rule of law. It also does not make sense that any ethically qualified practitioner of law will influence a judicial tribunal such as the Public Tribunal to convict a citizen and sentence him to death for ritual murder, armed robberies and white collar crimes just to satisfy the wishes of a head of state. Who has the blood on his hands? The ordinary lay Head of State without any training whatsoever in the law or the University law lecturer turned “Chief Justice” who without any qualification to practice as a professional lawyer convinces the ignorant Head of State that his wishes are legally doable?
The most worrying thing for any empathetic reader of such narratives should be the state of mental health of any scholar making such admissions and confessions in a scholarly work. I have just recalled the doctor in Macbeth saying at Act 5, Scene 1 that: “Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than the physician. God, God forgive us all!” But here am I critiquing an already published scholarly work of Professor Kwamena Ahwoi adjudged publishable by “the greatest interviewer of all time,” Professor (Mrs.) Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, PhD/FGA. God, God still forgive us all for this temptation put in my path.
The narrative definitely discloses to any critical reader the mental health problems such an author must be going through in imagining that he has the blood of his executed countrymen on his hands, the guilt of which he tries to redeem with fabricated data about a group led by Naval Captain Baffuor Assasie-Gyimah (Rtd.) as the advocate to Chairman Rawlings to “plaintively and politely asked him to let us stop the executions as it was` threatening the survival of the revolution.”
Naval Captain Baffuor Assasie-Gyimah has disowned this narrative as reported in the post scriptum to my third critique that he was not part of any such group, if it ever took place. George Agyekum, the tribunal Chairman who tried the Kofi Kyintoh ritual murder case, and the accused Flight Lieutenant’s murder case both at first instance before the cases went on appeal to the appellate tribunal disowns the author’s narrative on the powers of the author to fix cases on signs from Chairman Rawlings. I know as a matter of fact that George Agyekum who was called to the Bar in the United Kingdom and later enrolled in Ghana was a mortal enemy of the author and his self-confessed triumvirate of friends who could not be influenced by the author. The author has profound experiences of how difficult the bar exams were both in the UK and Ghana.
I was the only qualified lawyer and also the Deputy Attorney-General on a three-man administrative committee Chaired by the late respectable Mr. Nathan Quao, with the late then Col. John Kofi Attipoe (later Major-General) as a member appointed by the PNDC to investigate the bail from the Castle scandal in a narcotic case involving one Afiriyie an old student of Sekondi College in which Mr. Agyekum had remanded the accused and administrative bail was purportedly granted by letter from the Castle-Osu. Mr. Agyekum declined to continue to handle the Afiyie’s narcotic case any further. The Committee exonerated Mr. Agyekum of any judicial misconduct in insisting on the independence of his tribunal. The author could not have dared talked to George Agyekum about the Kofi Kyintoh or the Flight Lieutenant’s cases when it was pending before the Agyekum tribunal. Chairman Rawlings never interfered with the 3-man Committee’s investigation and recommendations which demonstrates that he was not part of the bail from the Castle scandal and secondly that it is not his style to send signals to interfere with pending cases.
But a critical and detailed analysis of the whole narrative on stopping the executions lacks coherence and fidelity using the method of qualitative content analysis as well.
The Sefwi Bekwai case of the ritual murder of Kofi Kyintoh and the execution of Nana Kwasi Adjei:
“Chairman Rawlings wanted to stamp out ritual murders which were becoming rampant in the country, especially in the Sefwi area of the Western Region and in the Volta Region. He wanted a deterrent and sent a signal to me that if the Public Tribunal sentenced any ritual murderers to death, he would authorize their execution, which he thought would be an effective deterrent.”
Then in relation to the alleged convictions and sentences to death by firing squad of armed robbers the author tells the reader that:
“Again, he sent a signal that he would authorize the execution of convicted armed robbers sentenced to death by firing squad. The signal was conveyed to the members of the Public Tribunals.”
The author then regales the reader with a signal Chairman Rawlings allegedly sent him about executing any person sentenced for white collar crime thus:
“Chairman Rawlings signaled that he would authorize their execution if sentenced to death.”
The author fails or refuses on each occasion to state the medium by which Chairman Rawlings conveyed his wishes of executing anybody sentenced to death by firing squad for ritual murder, armed robbery or white-collar crime to him as Chief Justice of the revolutionary judiciary, the Public Tribunal. Were the signals sent at a face to face interaction with the author, the acclaimed Chief Justice of the Tribunals, through agent(s) and who was/were that/those agent(s), or were the signals sent by any other secure means of communication? Were the signals sent to the author privately or in his official capacity as the Chief Justice of the judicial and quasi-judicial organs of the revolution? What were and are the impact of the States Secrets Act, 1962 (Act 101) on those conversations between a sitting Head of State and a public officer?
The author’s narrative when critically analyzed gives the impression of a deliberate one-sided self-serving narrative for guilt-redemption image of self and victimage of the other participant, Chairman Rawlings. Certainly if the signals were transmitted symbolically in a face to face interaction, then the reader ought to have been told how the author convinced the lay Chairman Rawlings to believe that his wishes were doable in law for him to require them of the author. If the messages or signals were transmitted through the agency of a third party or parties did the author as the “Chief Justice” of the revolutionary tribunals send a return signal explaining to Chairman Rawlings that conveying his wishes to the members of the tribunal interfered with the rule of law and the independence of the tribunals?
The author comes out as a person who without the requisite legal qualification to practice law imposed himself on the unsuspecting Chairman Rawlings who relied on him for legal advice to stop ritual murders, armed robberies and white-collar crimes. The author is not even forthcoming with the fact that he is paternally from Sefwi and had a vested interest in stopping ritual murders in that area. The author by the import of his own narrative, misadvised and let down the well-intentioned Chairman Rawlings into thinking that sending signals accorded both morally and legally with the rule of law and the independence of the judicial tribunals. The author’s narrative on this subject in “Working with Rawlings” lacks rationality regardless of whatever method of qualitative analysis and critique one uses to assess his narrative rhetoric. The author’s narrative smacking of such hollow and irrational confessions of knowingly colluding in the execution of accused fellow citizens on grounds of expediency puts his mental health in issue and represents a cry for assistance. This cannot pass for a scholarly transparent and accountable narrative upon which Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, PhD/FGA staked her integrity as a Ghanaian leader or lack of it in the foreword, and as a reviewer and editor who declared the acclaimed law professor’s scholarly work – “Working with Rawlings” - publishable!
The Public Tribunals: The Doctrine of “Autrefois Acquit” and “Autrefois Convict” side stepped
The author in his enthusiasm to display his erudition in the law bamboozles the reader with the words “autrefois acquit” and “autrefois convict” to demonstrate how those hallowed principles and rules of criminal justice administration were put asunder by Chairman Rawlings in his determination to achieve justice and fairness. Shamefully, the author’s narratives do not fit any of these hallowed principles of legality. In the words of the author:
“Rawlings was always very concerned about issues of justice and fairness. He always tried to avoid any perception of bias in his decision-making, but doing so he sometimes went overboard to side-step accepted principles of legality.”
The cases of Flight Lieutenant Kojo Lee his very close friend and colleague in the Air Force, and his half-brother’s son, Nii Amoo Addy both of whom were charged with the murder of different persons, tried and acquitted by different Public Tribunals are cited to support this point. Their acquittals were annulled and their retrials ordered. They were each convicted and sentenced to death and executed by firing squad. The true narrative is that no retrials were ordered in both cases.
The Ghanaian criminal justice system forbid a suspect who has been tried and acquitted or convicted of a criminal offence from being tried again on the same facts for the same offence or offences. The author appears to have deliberately fabricated the data or misrepresented it in his narrative or refused to tell the full story to enable the reader appreciate the true circumstances of the trial and the subsequent appeals to the appellate Tribunals.
The case of the Flight Lieutenant was tried by the Public Tribunal panel with Mr. George Agyekum presiding. The accused was convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence. He was executed while the appeal was pending. The author owes Ghanaians an explanation as the “Chief Justice” on how come the supporting documents were prepared and transmitted to the PNDC for confirmation of the death sentence while the appeal was pending. This case is available online in a google search. I have confirmation from the late Flight Lieutenant’s wife whom I know personally, and George Agyekum who presided over the case at the trial Tribunal that there was only one trial without any annulled trial and retrial ordered by Chairman Rawlings.
Richard Nii Amoo Addy’s case went on appeal upon the orders of Chairman Rawlings after he was acquitted of manslaughter. Africa Watch, (News from Africa Watch, Vol. IV, Issue No. 1, January 31, 1992), which is not a friend of the 31st December Revolution was more generous in its narrative of what happened when it states at page 23 thereof that:
“In August 1984, Flt. Lt. Rawlings’ nephew, Richard Nii Amoo Addy, was acquitted of manslaughter after shooting a man dead while policing a petrol queue…
As the killing is said to have happened in broad day light and because the accused was related to the head of state, there was public outcry that Nii Amoo had not been convicted of the more substantive charge of murder. The Tribunal reportedly ruled that the accused had not intended to murder his victim, but rather to enforce government price controls.
Reacting to the negative public reaction prompted by the accusation of favoritism by the National Public Tribunal, Flt Lt. Rawlings ordered the state to appeal. The Tribunal panel, who found themselves in an embarrassing dilemma, this time found Nii Amoo guilty of murder rather than manslaughter and passed a death sentence, but recommended that the PNDC should pardon the accused. In order to avoid charges of nepotism (Flt. Lt. Rawlings signs all death warrants on behalf of the PNDC), the PNDC was thus presented with little choice but to confirm the sentence of death, and Nii Amoo was executed by firing squad.”
The Africa Watch, an anti-PNDC body understood that the Chairman of the PNDC always acted on decisions of the PNDC that is why it states that the PNDC confirmed the death sentence. The PNDC regrettably confirmed the death sentences otherwise Chairman Rawlings who was under intense mob pressure and emotional pain to vindicate accusations of favoritism against him could not on his own have authorized the two executions to be carried out without being guilty of murder himself.
The author’s narrative was as usual intended to victimize Chairman Rawlings while the Africa Watch narrative presents him as a person under pressure of public opinion to demonstrate that he was not nepotistic on grounds of friendship or affinity of blood relation. It is amazing that the author who held himself out as a law lecturer and Chief Justice of the Tribunal system does not know the difference between an appeal from an acquittal and a retrial at a trial court again after an acquittal. Autrefois acquit does not apply to someone acquitted by a lower court and convicted by an appellate court such as the Nii Amoo case. Autrefois acquit or convict are pleas at the bar upon arraignment for one’s plea to be taken and not a defence on an appeal where no pleas are taken again from an acquittal or conviction by a lower court or tribunal.
The foregoing analysis and critique demonstrates that Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, the author of “Working with Rawlings” and Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, PhD/FGA, the writer of the foreword who was also the avowed lead editor, reviewer and “the greatest interviewer of all times” who declared the book publishable lack the ethics and integrity “ to be sincere leaders of Ghana intending “…to give present and future leaders some ideas about governance at the highest levels, the dos and don’ts of governance; the skills required for governance and the importance of human relationship as a leadership trait.” God, save Ghana!
MARTIN A. B. K. AMIDU
POSTSCRIPT: This critique will be followed by a sequel which is ready for publication, within the next few days, dealing with the author’s narrative on “Operation hawk” and “The Soussoudis Affair” to exhaust the theme of this fourth critique.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."