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30.05.2004 Feature Article

“The Conviction of Self Deceit”.

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I do commend the writer of a recent rejoinder published on “Ghanaweb.com” on the topic under discussion. Though the rejoinder did rebut the ex-President's irresponsible criticisms of the current President, I do nonetheless feel it did not go far enough and would like to make further contributions to his rebuttal. In this rejoinder the ex-president's illegitimate rise to power, educational failures and his lack of foresight will be explored.

Reading back on recent political history of Ghana, dating back to almost quarter of a century ago, one will find it quite ridiculous and interesting to listen to the ex-President's pronouncements about the current leadership of our nation, Ghana. In order not to cast any doubt on the integrity of this article, I would like to notify my readers that, I'm not a fan/supporter of the current administration but an objective economist/politician.

I do hope that most Ghanaians in their thirties and beyond do remember how this man (Rawlings) illegitimately rose to power. For the benefit of our younger readers I will devote the first few sentences of this piece to recap them on a quick history of this man. Prior to June 4, 1979, J.J Rawlings was a Flight Lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force.

Having graduated from Achimota Secondary School in the 1960's with a near perfect fail in all his Ordinary Level Examination courses, except for English language, he realized that his educational pursuit had come to a complete dead end. With no where else to turn for a better future, he had little or no option but to enlist in the Ghana Air Force Training School in Takoradi, Ghana. In the nutshell, he began his carrier as an Air Force Pilot (a carrier which did not require any talent to be successful except for total devotion and focus).

Owing to his disdainful attitude towards higher Authorities, disregard for rule of law and the Military code of conduct his career suffered a number of road blocks.

After having served in the Air Force for sometime he became highly disappointed in life after realizing how heavily indebted he was. Barely able to support himself and his family with his meager salary as a flight lieutenant, J.J. Rawlings chose the “quick fix” approach to solving his economic demise (the gun) on June 4, 1979.

Ghanaians, having been disappointed by multiple coup d'tats since Nkrumah's administration, whole-heartedly welcome his message of deliverance. During this period an operation code named “House Cleaning Exercise” marred with intimidation and extra judicial killings of both civilians and Senior Military officials became part of the Ghanaian daily life (e.g., the killings of Acheampong, Akuffo, Afari, Afrifa, High Court Judges, among others), all in the name of the revolution.

After three months of the so called house cleaning exercise Rawlings handed over power to a democratically elected government. In May 2001, Rawlings re-ceased political power through the gun again (coup); accusing Liman's administration for failing to deliver to Ghanaians an economic freedom long yearned for. Rawlings cognitively convinced himself as the sole self righteous savior of the nation Ghana from her economic and political decay. Just look at who is constantly criticizing and unleashing insults on the President?

During his two decades of reign as a political leader of our nation, Rawlings ruled with iron-fists. He constantly terrorized Ghanaians through the establishment of repressive organizations such as the Peoples Militia, BNI, among others. Ghanaian's, being so myopic at the time had little or no idea of the true intent of this man. Simply put, his intent was to rule Ghana for the rest of his natural life and to elevate the positional status of ewes in Ghana, regardless. Dear reader, please pause for a minute and consider retrospectively the ethnic group of people whom this man surrounded himself as his core consultants and advisors on decisions (the Tsikata's, Ahwoi's, among others) concerning national security. It's rather funny and absurd to read from the transcript of his interview on Peace FM radio station's morning show. His choice of host for the interview is by itself highly questionable and troubling. The root of this host, Kwame Sefa Kayi, further highlights the concerns I earlier raised about this man. My research about the majority of radio presenters on this station did come up with very troubling revelations. The host who interviewed this man is by all standards very unqualified to host this controversial show. He is no more than any ordinary “DJ” from any night club asked to host a program and as well ask general questions from his audience. His choice of vocabularies and accent is very troubling to well educated Ghanaians. He does not even possess a mere diploma in journalism to enable him host such controversial topics on national air waves. What does he call himself? A journalist? Ridiculous!!

Please remember that hosting a program on national air waves requires an expertise in specialised fields. Few questions which came into mind in my preparation for this piece for the host and others on other networks are:

1. Who cannot ask general questions?

2. Have these guys ever had any formal training in interviewing at all? If they have then I'm very troubled, since none of the transcripts I have read demonstrate any talent or skills worthy of this job.

3. Who will ask a Civil Engineer to be the Head Physician of a Hospital?

In almost all civilised societies people who host programs such as these have had years of experience in specialised fields (e.g, Legal, Medical, Political, Finance, Science, among others). A classic example is Johnnie Cockran, Dan Abrams, Nancy Grace of Court Television and Hugh Hamilton of National Public Radio (Policy Analyst). None of these individuals will ever be hired to host a program unrelated to their fields of expertise. These are people considered to be professionals.

In summary, the questions which were asked by the host were ridiculous and hence Rawlings's responses. He is not qualified to host such a show. I do in my opinion feel that the management of this station and all other FM stations do need to evaluate the academic as well as job working credentials of candidates before putting them on air.

Refusal to implement internal policies such as these will undermine Journalism as a noble profession in Ghana.

Though I do not live in Ghana, my sources of research and transcripts from this show highly cast doubt on this radio station. I'm very doubtful as to whether he (the host) researches on any of these topics from an academic library or very intelligent verifiable sources before coming on air. He does not possess any skills in psychology and sociology to deal with social and political issues. What people hear on television and radio can be very important to the development of our nation since people normally perceive everything they hear on television and radio as the truth. Every good journalist puts in a great deal of research work from academic and professional libraries, and verifiable intelligent interviewed sources. Rawlings, in his responses accused the President of adopting “divide and rule” tactic. From my analysis above it's obvious for one to draw a conclusion on who really manipulated ethnicity for political gains.

In his twenty years reign, infrastructural development and economic growth was at its lowest in the country. Ghana, under Rawlings' administration was among the few nations around the world that accepted International Monetary Fund's (IMF) failed experimental economic growth module (Structural Adjustment Program). This failed experimental economic module exponentially increased the cost of living of an average Ghanaian.

Being an Economist and a Business professional I do understand the theoretical wisdom in this module, however, the program was not designed to help the economic growth of our nation.

Cuts in government's social services and benefits such as health, free tertiary education and removal of government subsidies on Petroleum Products encouraged hyper inflationary growth and eventually became an acceptable economic policy in Ghana. Ghana, under J.J. Rawlings in two decades had no sound monetary and fiscal policy if any existed at all.

Why did Rawlings fail to see the collapse of our vibrant economy (pre 1979)? Did he ever put a good economic team in place at all and if he ever did, what were the credentials and verifiable successful track records of these people? Networking through old colleagues, “To whom you know”, were the order of the day and led to so many mismanagements in Ghana during his era. Jobs must be offered to well qualified individuals and not the unqualified that happens to have associates in higher places. This was the practice of the day during his era. His administration offered jobs with greater responsibilities to many unqualified people because of their ethnicities and relationships with the government.

The only answer to the question above is that Rawlings's educational background rendered him limited, confused, stressed, and useless when he assumed the leadership of the nation. He had no idea and experience on how to run a government and did under-estimate the task ahead of him. He was faced with the reality of dealing with world renowned experts in economics, politics, and management, among others who could easily sink him out during professional and intellectual discourses. Simply put, he felt very inadequate. He could not understand the simple principles of Economics 101, let alone negotiating an international trade agreement or an economic growth plan for his country. In many instances his administration considered increased flow of cash in circulation as good economic policy, a total violation of inflationary principle. The cedi (the national currency) continued the free fall until he left office in 2001. His government had no stabilization program in place to curb inflationary pressures.

Development of the micro economy of our nation during his era was non existent. His government developed a high interest rate scheme that discouraged microeconomic growth as businesses could not borrow at such higher rates. In analyzing all of the above one can conclude that the ex-President is a joke and does not know what he was talking about when he referred to the sitting President as a disgrace. Kufuor has put together a number of well intelligent individuals (though I still have some concerns with his inactivity to investigate some corrupt officials in his administration) whose successful track records are verifiable, unlike those of his administration. Rawlings would be considered the worse and disgraceful individual ever to hold the office of the President of Ghana. His choice of phrases and sentences are always questionable. Kufour earned his Bachelor's degree from a reputable University(Oxford University). What about him (Rawlings)? A High School Graduate to be a President? Damn! , only in Africa will this ever be tolerated. I wish him the very best of luck and warn him to keep his mandibles shut. Some of us are closely monitoring events back home and when the appropriate time arrives, no stone will be left un-turned. Remember Italy revoked the Presidential immunity offered a former President and tried him. Ghana is no different. A word to the wise………..

Rawlings had no ambitious long term plan for this country in his two decades of reign. He instead disposed and squandered the proceeds from long term projects established by Kwame Nkrumah under the so called divestiture program. Everything his government did was short-term and was done for their own selfish benefits.

In conclusion, Rawlings's interview on Peace FM was very disgraceful. His host for this interview was very unqualified and does not deserve to be on national air waves.

His government exploited ethnicity for political gains. He pursued failed economic policies that led to unprecedented increased cost of living. The cedi lost its value under his administration by more than five hundred percent. He entered into many trade agreements that will affect the nation for many years to come. Higher interest rates under his administration discouraged micro economic development. Rawlings's government had no foresight and did not put in place any long-term growth plan for our nation. Hubert Yeboah Supervisor of a Major Silicone Company Los Angeles. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Hubert Yeboah
Hubert Yeboah, © 2004

The author has 2 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: HubertYeboah

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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