March 29, 2005 (Accra Daily Mail) -- Whereas some Ghanaians would want Mr. Jerry John Rawlings' ranting against the sitting president ignored with contempt others would rather a robust response is adopted.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman, Mr. Haruna Esseku, in a statement last week obviously feels that enough is enough and has served notice that Rawlings would no longer be ignored in his acts of bad manners, bordering or subversion.
Following closely on the heels of the NPP Chairman's reaction, a group of retired military officers, most of whom escaped death by the whiskers during Rawlings' AFRC days have also called the NDC leader to order.
The Association of Victims of Revolutionary Injustice (AVRI) of which Capt Ben Duah (Rtd.) and ex-Cpl Matthew Adabuga are leading members engaged a section of the media including the ADM in a conference during the Easter holidays to respond to what they regard as the taunts and tendentious moves of Rawlings against the republic.
They also used the opportunity to serve notice about their plans to seek justice for the wanton killings and other human rights abuses allegedly carried out during the periods of "revolution" in Ghana.
The encounter with the media according to Ben Duah was also to alert the nation about an eventual objective by Rawlings to undermine the Kufuor administration in the fashion of what happened to the late President Limann in 1981.
The Rawlings wahala marches, said the ex-soldiers, are typical examples of Rawlings' strategies to achieve that end.
His recent effusions have no doubt disturbed the hornets' nest as the former soldiers have vowed that they would drag Rawlings to an international criminal court.
One of the things Rawlings said recently was that President Kufuor cannot touch him and this Ben Duah attributes to the constitutional provision, which indemnifies Rawlings from prosecution.
Ben Duah said he and his colleagues in the association are encouraged and emboldened by what the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan said when he was inaugurating the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr. Annan had warned that the days of crimes with impunity by leaders of various countries are gone and gone forever.
"This assertion", said Ben Duah "will assist us circumvent the greatest contradiction in our constitution - the indemnity sections which were deliberately inserted to protect Rawlings and his accomplices Jerry Rawlings and his associates must be brought to justice in the interest of justice and peace of Ghana."
The association, Ben Duah disclosed, has made contacts with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) outside Ghana with a view to dragging Rawlings to the international criminal court over what he described as abuse of human rights ranging from torture, unlawful imprisonment and murder, adding that but for the dearth of funds they would have made more headway by now in this direction.
He mentioned the stripping of women in public, the months long curfew imposed on the country, the murder of the Generals and the three high court judges and retired army officer and other related issues as cases Rawlings has to answer.
For now the Association of Victims of Revolutionary Injustice (AVRI) is seeking support from public-spirited persons to enable them undertake this complex international court of justice procedure in the quest of justice.
The execution of the Generals according to Ben Duah had no justification because they were not tried.
Capt Ben Duah, a former Field Engineer Regiment Officer, whose thought-provoking narration at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) moved the commission, told the media that Rawlings' recent moves in the form of the wahala marches are characteristic of the man.
"Those following him now do not know the kind of character they are dealing with. He would use them and dump them like he did to others before them" he said. What Rawlings seeks, he noted, is power, because he has a certain fear of his self-inflicted enemies, and to shield himself against them, he needs power.
He added that what Rawlings is doing today is not a new phenomenon because he did it during the Limann era and eventually overthrew that government.
Ben Duah told the media that it is regrettable that those following Rawlings on the Wahala marches do not know the man they are dealing with. "Rawlings is using the ordinary man to advance his cause. What he is saying and what he does are completely different from each other", he said.
"Ghanaians in their normal nature would like to regard such effusions as irrelevant.
However, those of us who know Rawlings very well feel that the irony of his nature must be exposed. Not only is Rawlings a hypocrite but he is also the embodiment of unimaginable contradictions."
The association recalled Rawlings' maiden speech during the June 4 coup when he accused fellow officers of committing injustice because their kids were attending local international schools, while those of the Other Ranks were in public schools.
Where are Jerry Rawlings' kids schooling and where are the kids of the other ranks?
Rawlings, they lamented, has bequeathed to Ghana a poor public school system during his twenty-year rule and had to send his children to some of the most expensive schools in the world.
They also recalled how in those days when Rawlings was poor, he branded all senior officers and their civilian counterparts who owned more than one car as criminals.
This same Rawlings, the statement said has a fleet of cars including five luxurious bulletproof 4 by 4 vehicles for which he paid C5OO million as custom duties.
The association cited the response he gave a journalist who sought an answer to how he came by the money to buy all the luxurious items as an example of the man's rudeness. "You will have to cut my head off for an answer", he reportedly answered.
"Is that the probity and accountability he claims to stand for? For how long shall we sit down and allow this shameless hypocrite to heap such gratuitous insults on our collective intelligence as a people? For how long shall we sit down and allow this conman to continue to deceive the unsuspecting poor"?
The former military officers asked: "Against this background, who qualifies to be likened to an armed robber?
On the murder of the judges, Ben Duah said even Rawlings himself said it was a criminal action and there are living witnesses to that effect.
Ex-Cpl Matthew Adabuga, who is in the country for vacation disclosed during the encounter that now that he is in the country he wished Rawlings could meet him eyeball-to-eyeball over the various allegations he (Adabuga) had leveled against him at the NRC.
Adabuga recalled the story of a certain Warrant Officer Kingsley, whom he alleged the former PNDC Chairman had asked him to kill because the man was becoming too popular for his liking. "Rawlings asked me to shoot Kingsley at Agege (nickname for the Airforce Station killing ground) but I refused" said Adabuga.
Kingsley was eventually gunned down by one Cpl. Boakye by the side of some hedges at the Airforce Non- Commissioned Officers Quarters. This incident he said happened in 1982.
Boakye, Adabuga continued was eventually sent to Tema where he was hidden in a safe houses. " I challenge Rawlings to come and dispute this story especially since I am still in the country" Adabuga declared.
Another human rights abuse, which Rawlings must answer for, according to Adabuga is the Tsito killings, which Adabuga said he took part in under the instructions of the PNDC boss.
During the reign of the PNDC he said, "the late Mc Cofie who supported one of the two chiefs locked in a dispute in Tsito reported the matter to Rawlings at the PNDC headquarters, who in turn ordered us to proceed to this Volta Region town for an elimination exercise which we did.
We were led by Blood-Dzraku and in one house we shot and killed as many as twelve persons.
According to Adabuga Ghanaians should be wary of Rawlings who, according to him is a liar. "I know Rawlings very well, he is evil. His appearance on the political scene was because of poverty. Before the 31 December coup Rawlings' car was resting on stones as it had an engine problem.
Today look at the number of cars at his disposal" disclosed Adabuga.
Adabuga expressed surprise that Rawlings is calling Kufuor a thief when he (Rawlings). In a hair raising confession about gold stealing during the tenure of the PNDC, Adabuga said, "The stolen gold was kept in a portfolio which I kept for Rawlings.
He stole gold from the Obuasi mines and he sometimes put on the miners lamp himself. He also sent soldiers for diamond operations and this is the man calling Kufuor a thief. I have also not forgotten what we did to the Lebanese in town.
We raided them with the support of Riad Hozeifeh. If Rawlings dares me I would strip him naked."
Adabuga said he is ready to meet Rawlings at an international court of justice over the alleged crimes he committed against the people of Ghana.