Ghana’s 2000 elections and the subsequent peaceful transfer of power from the NDC government, headed by former president Rawlings, to the NPP, headed by Mr. Kufuor came to many the world over as a surprise. This does not in anyway suggest that the NPP was not ready to govern Ghana at the time, nor Jerry Rawlings bent on hanging onto power. Few people really expected a smooth transition by way of the ballot box, having been accustomed to martial law and violences that characterize most African countries at such points; that is when the defeated incumbent refuses to concede defeat.
A cursory look at events unfolding in the two and half years into the new administration shows a worsening relationship between the Kufuor administration and former President Rawlings, this could even be transmitting into the general populace considering, the passion for politics in this country. Where did things get wrong?
After the handing over to the Kufuor administration, opinions begun differing when the issue of replacing and reducing the security guards of the former president was brought forward. There were arguments to the effect that, while NPP supporters argued that it was the prerogative of the new administration to determine what form of security were to be given to the former president, sympathizers of the former President expressed fears that any variation in the security arrangement for him (the former president) was not the best. The issue of cars at the office of the former president also made news headlines and did die without accusations counter accusations and expressions of mistrust from the offices of the President and former President.
Perhaps the turning point in the relation between the former President and the Kufuor Administration was the expulsion of June 4th as statutory holiday from the country’s calendar. Not only the expulsion but also the manner in which it was done was an indication of things to come. The manner in which it was rushed and pushed at parliament, as June 4th impended. It is alleged people who even had nothing to do with parliamentary proceedings were mobilized to support in the shout of a big NO or YES, which ever one was to make the June 4th go. The June 4th which over the years can be liken to a baby to the former President, which he has natured all the years was bruised, (not at the heel, least some theologians give a different interpretation). This certainly did not go down well with the former President Jerry Rawlings, and the reaction was spontaneous which also coincided with the June 4th.
Then came police invading the residence of the former President at night. Up till date, there are still varied interpretation to that ‘visit’, I have even head some people say it was to assassinate the former President. I just hope that it was not. A Blimez man named Odinga became the center of that operation.
The former President in his speech in Kumasi at an NDC women’s gathering said the Kufour administration is the worse in the history of Ghana and called for a positive defiance stop the rot that was going on in the Kufuor administration. Official of the Kufuor administration reacted. In the words of the former athoney general Nana Akuffo Addo to the BBC, the speech contained treasonable statements and that the penalty was death. Former President Rawlings was invited by the BNI for interrogation and his speech forwarded to the athoney general’s office for study. Had Nana Akuffo Addo’s assessment been confirmed, Jerry Rawlings would have been gone forever.
Some media men have also contributed in no small way in widing the differences. One such person is, Mr. Kwaku Baako. For instance, for some reason, the Kufuor Administration had chosen to pass on to Mr. Baako and his ‘Crusading Guide’ newspaper, medical transactions that were undertaken by the former President abroad, in which he used the name Paul Gyamfi (which initials P. G. and could also have been President of Ghana). Mr. Baako also made a couple of trips abroad including Swaziland and South Africa to investigate the Rawlings accounts . I think the findings of that investigation is yet to be made public. Much as the Paul Gyamfi issue was explained from the office of the former President that, it was for no other reason other than security, the intent and purpose of such material being passed to media men other than, to dent the image of the former President is yet to be established.
Then came the establishment of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), the searchlight is on the Rawlings regime, though not restrictive. Events in recent times at the NRC and comments from even casual chats from ordinary Ghanaians seem to suggest that, the Rawlings’ are the focal point apparently in reference to the murder of the judges in 1982. People believe that’s the ultimate purpose of setting up the NRC. Who knows, some of the recordings at the NRC could one day be party campaign material.
The conflict of utterances, accusations and counter accusations continues. During the NPP delegates’ congress in Sekondi/Takoradi, the President Mr. Kufuor decided to go on the former President. People expected a reaction from the Ex-president, surprisely it did not come, or perhaps not at that time.
On June 4, 2003, Ex-president Rawlings during a public lecture to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Jun 4th uprising, claimed he could mention about 15 people of the present administration who ‘masterminded the killing of 34 Ghanaian women’. He goes on to say some of the women were ‘imported’ into the country. In reaction, the police dismissed the claim that some of the women were actually brought into the country dead. They (police) claim 85% of the women has been identified by relatives. I decided to work out 85% of 34, and came out with 28.9 women. Women may pardon me. I decided to run to the nearest whole, as was taught by my elementary mathematics teacher. That brought the figure to 29, which means 5 women have so far not been identified. 5 women out of 34 is certainly significant. The next question is, could theses have been the ‘imported’ ones as claimed by Ex-president Rawlings. If they were brought from elsewhere, then where?. Considering distance as a factor, it is most unlike they were brought from Burkina Faso, Cote D’ivoire is also not very likely. They could not come from the sea. Dear reader, do not get me wrong, I am not in the least playing with a serous issue as murder. The last alternative place is Togo, and the most likely in terms of proximity to the capital Accra.
But why is Former President Rawlings very particular about this issue? We will recall all the politics that were made around these serial killings. In particular the one after the first run of the 2000 presidential election. Undoubted the issue did had an effect on election outcomes. I would not go into who benefited from it, since there is no benefit greater than life. I pray as an individual and suggest all Ghanaians, religious as we are, join hands and pray that the truth come out some day.
Recently ‘The Statesman’ a mouse piece of the NPP since in opposition, said they were conducting a survey to decide on whether the former President was mentally sound. Who reads ‘The Statesman’?, they are certainly people who dislike the former President, and so the paper should have known that the outcome is 100% against him (the former President). There are certain surveys that needs not be carried, since the outcome is obvious. If we are to be truthful to ourselves and not resort to lies, nobody, nor group of people or tabloid can dismiss the transformation Ghana went through under Jerry Rawlings. I hope we have honest historians who are capable of writing the truth that can serve as records for posterity.
Last Tuesday 15th, a group of women, certainly NPP sympathizers decided to demonstrate and march to Former President’s residence to DEMAND the names of the 15 people alleged by the former President to be behind the serial killing of women. Much as I sympathize with their concerns, I think the approach was not only dangerous but lack any reason. Even though the former President claimed he could mention the names, he has refused to mention them not even to the police. For the organizers to take such militant approach was not the best. Fortunately the demonstrators did not go to the residence of the former President as sympathyzers of the former president had also assembled there, only God knows what the outcome would have been should the two groups clash.
I respect the Kufuor Administration as the force that has the mandate to govern the country, and admire the former President for his strong character. My advise to both are that, lets tread this path of politics cautiously especially, on a continent where ethnicity continues to plague politics and politics can be devastating as any natural disaster; we may disagree on the values and interests that put us in different camps. To the Kufuor Administration I say, the very style of government can be a contributory factor in nation building; how interest groups are equally accommodated in the day-to-day affairs of the state could be the best of security to the state. To the former President, I say I admire you as a person who has done so much for this country that may not be appreciated by all manner of people, which is natural of mankind. Even Jesus after healing 10 lepers only one returned to thank Him. Well, whether you believe it or not there is a significant section of the population who are concerned about you and events around you, and the peaceful existence in this country to some extent also revolve around that. My humble appeal to you is cool down for the seek of all that you have toiled for all this years, that is identifying yourself with the cause of common people. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.