Rawlings factor: the 20 year gap in Ghana’s history
Feature Article of Saturday, 9 March 2013
Columnist: The Historian
A “history” book is nothing but a collection of facts threaded with anecdotes and narratives, deliberately and assiduously compiled by individuals or scholars. Unfortunately, history books are deplete with African personalities, at least to the depths enjoyed by other ethnic heroes, heroines and even villains.
Ex-president Jerry Rawlings has definitely played a major role in Ghana’s socio-economic, cultural, and political affairs since he burst onto the scene in 1979. While most of the people over 45 years old now may remember the before and after Rawlings’ entry onto the Ghanaian scene, those under 45 years now, or under 15 years in 1979 have no basis of comparison of before and after Rawlings’ Ghana. This is because there is no comprehensive collection of Rawlings’ activities, their effects, and impact on the Ghanaian culture, economy, education and psyche, healthcare, customs, morals, corruption, accountability, probity, freedom of speech/press. We owe it to our dear nation, and to Flt-Lt, Chairman, President, and Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings to set straight the records of accomplishments of a man that has dominated Ghana’s political landscape from 1979 to now (over 32 years).
The three blind men describing a elephant:
In much the same way as three blind men asked to inspect and describe an elephant, gave completely different accounts based on the particular body part of their respective investigations, so will the narrations, and opinions about Ex-President Rawlings’ associates, friends, etc. also depend on the period and nature of such associations. We are therefore soliciting facts from individuals. A sketchy outline of the required facts is presented here to aid in jogging memories. It is grouped into the four phases of Ex-President Rawlings’ presence on our political landscape.
Information and contributions MUST be factual, identified by paragraph number, and sent by e-mail to email@example.com. Actual players, participants, beneficiaries and victims are encouraged to contribute since they would have a firsthand knowledge of events.
1. Pre-June 1979 coup:
What type of a person was Flt-Lt Rawlings? Was he philosophical? political? Gregarious? A loner? Married?, straight (booze and drug free), a good soldier or otherwise, happy?
2. June 4, 1979 coup:
2.1 Who was the head of State?
2.2 What were the socio-economic conditions of the country (eg, education, health, transportation, etc)?
2.3 What was the reason/rationale/motive for the coup?
2.4 Who were the coup makers? What relationship did they have with Rawlings?
2.5 Which external government helped, and in exchange for what?
2.6 Was the coup violent? What was the casualty count?
2.7 How and why did Rawlings emerge as the leader?
2.8 Why was the constitution annulled? What governing mechanism replaced it? What was the composition, and
hierarchy of the ruling junta named AFRC? What were the intended implications of the name, and letters?
2.9 Who were the members of the junta? What was their social, academic, professional and financial status?
2.10 Who were the targeted elite citizens? What was their social, financial, status, enterpreneuralship, positions in the
Government, and association with the head of State? What crimes were they charged with? Were they tried in a
court of law? Were they accused, prosecuted and defended, judged by the same body? What happened to the
Head of State and any other targeted personnel?
2.11 What was the goal, purpose and vision of the junta for the country?
2.12 Why was Makola market demolished; what happened to the Makola women, their merchandise, and money?
2.13 How long did the junta rule Ghana? Was it popular and productive to Ghana?
2.14 When, and Why did they give up to civilian rule?
2.15 thru’ 2.XXX ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS (PARAGRAPHED) ARE WELCOME
3. Transition from a Junta to a Civilian GIvernment:
3.1 How long was the Transition Period? Was a new Constitution created?
3.2 What assurances (pardons, etc. ) were promised to the Junta to step down for a civilian rule?
3.3 Were any resettlement moneys paid to junta members?, how much was each given? What was the source?
3.4 Did all junta members abide by the resettlement agreement? Who reneged?
3.5 Why didn’t any of the junta members stand for elections in the new civilian government?
3.6 What was the mood of the country? Did the nation welcome the change to civilian rule?
3.7 thru’ 3.XXX: ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS (PARAGRAPHED) ARE WELCOME
4. Dec 31, 1981 coup:
4.1 Was President Limann’s PNP government democratically elected by the people in a free and fair election?
4.2 What were the socio-economic conditions of the country (eg, education, health, transportation, etc)?
4.3 What was the reason/rationale/motive for the coup?
4.4 Who were the coup makers? What relationship did they have with Rawlings?
4.5 Which external government helped, and in exchange for what?
4.6 Was the coup violent? What was the casualty count?
4.7 How and why did Rawlings emerge as the leader?
4.8 Why was the constitution annulled? What governing mechanism replaced it? What was the composition, and
hierarchy of the ruling junta named “PNDC”? What were the intended implications of the the name and letters?
4.9 Who were the members of the junta? What was their social, academic, professional, and financial status?
4.10 Who were the targeted elite citizens; what was their association with the head of State, and their positions in
the government? What crimes were they charged with? Were they tried in a court of law? What happened to
the Head of State and any other targeted personnel?
4.11 What was the goal, purpose and vision of the junta for the country?
4.12 How many para-statal organizations (such as CDR, CDC, Tribunals, etc.) were in place, and what were their
functions? Who were members? How did they operate?
4.13 At the start of the new regime, personal bank accounts with more than C50,000 balance were confiscated;
What was the total amount thus collected, and what happened to it? Were victims compensated later?
4.14 At the start of the new regime, travellers through Kotoka Airport had all their moneys confiscated; What was
the total amount thus collected, and what happened to it?
4.15 What was the purpose of the Vetting Committee, Who were members, and what was their social, business,
and financial qualification or status? Have they, or some of them, been in governments since the coup? What are their social and financial standing? How have they measured up to the victims of their perceived justice?
4.16 Why were some women stripped naked and whipped in pubic? What crime had these women committed,
were they tried in a court of law? Who decided the mode of punishments?
4.17 Some citizens had their properties and businesses confiscated; What were the reasons for such confiscations,
and who were such victims? Were they accused, prosecuted, judged, and sentenced by the same para-statal institution for alleged crimes? What happened to them? Who ended up with these businesses and properties? Were any compensations paid?
4.18 Why and how did the State Mining Corporation cease to be? Who assumed its assets (outputs, equipments,
vehicles, estates, etc.? What happened to its many employees?
4.19 What was the cause of Ghana’s brief experience of food scarcity in 1983, leading to the “Rawlings Chain”?
4.20 Is there any truth to the rumours of people reporting on others (including friends and family members) to the
para-statal organizations for rations of food and other privileges?
4.21 The junta borrowed about $35.0 million from the World Bank or IMF, pledging Ghana’s gold tailings (from
Colonial days) as collateral. Why didn’t the junta just sell Ghana’s gold output from the State Mining Corp. on the
open market for probably more than the $35 mil? Which foreign company processed the gold tailings, and for
how long? What Ghanaian company, state-owned or private, assumed ownership of the company (“Sankofa”) ?
4.22 What conditions came with the loans? What were SAP1, SAP2, etc? Who was the Finance Secretary/Minister?
What was the JUSTIFICATION for the deliberate collapse of Ghana’s budding manufacturing industries such as Sanyo and Akasanoma (for electronics and appliances); GIHOC for almost everything else, including pharmaceuticals; Black Star shipping line, Ghana Airways; private industries producing our daily consumables such as beer (e.g. Tata Brewery), soap, cigarettes, etc. resulting in the current very high unemployment?
4.23 Is there any truth to the rumours of extra judicial killings, and if so are there any names of victims? What were
their crimes, alleged or otherwise?
4.24 Is there any truth to the rumours of people being hauled off to Usher Fort prison, etc, and if so are there any
names of victims? What were their crimes, alleged or otherwise?
4.25 Any additional details of the murder of the Judges, besides what is already in the public news will be welcome.
4.26 How long did the junta rule Ghana? Was it popular and productive to Ghana?
4.27 When, and why did the junta give up to civilian rule?
4.28 Was the PNDC’s mantra of “Probity and Accountability” achieved?
4.29 Was there any evidence, initially or after 11 years, to support the reason/rationale for the Dec 31st coup?
If “Yes”, were there any prosecutions in the courts? If “No”, was any compensation paid to the ousted
Parliamentarians, Ministers, judges and appointees in accordance with Article 58 of the 1979 constitution?
4.30 What was the range of incarcerations of President Limann, his ministers and targeted individuals? Has any
analysis, with reparation, ever been made of the effects of these incarcerations on victims and family members?
4.31 Did parliamentarians, Ministers and Judges receive ex-gratia payments?
4.32 Which indigenous businesses were confiscated, and why? Were they prosecuted for alleged crimes? What
happened to them?
4.33 Whose houses were confiscated, and for what reason? Who ended up with these houses? Were original
owners compensated? Which of the para-statal outfit oversaw and managed these assets confiscations?
4.34 Which PNDC operatives converted to NDC? What was their social, academic, professional, and financial status?
4.35 What is the financial and social status of the original and new members of the PNDC/NDC now?
4.36 What legacy did the coup/junta leave on the Ghanaian cultural, social, political, family, morals and ethics
landscape? E.g. did the coup/ruling junta decrease or increase corruption, increase/decrease family trust?
increase/decrease tribalism and nepotism? Increase/decrease aggravated crime?
4.37 Why was the indemnity clause included in the 1992 constitution, if the coups had been popular and beneficial to
Ghana? Who was the architect of the indemnity provision? What was the justification for it?
4.38 thru’ 4.XXX: ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS (PARAGRAPHED) ARE WELCOME
5. SURVEY: Was Flt-Lt J. J. Rawlings’ presence in Ghana’s politics beneficial to Ghana?, and to Africa?
Please state your age, and give reasons for your “yes” or “no”.