As he hurtles into the fast-dimming twilight days of his life, the grim truth and reality of his youthful errant way
s appear to be dawning on former Chairman Jerry John Rawlings. Recently, for instance, Ghana’s longest-reigning strongman was reported to have told a group of camping African youths in the Volta regional township of Adidome that he and his Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta operatives may very well have summarily executed some innocent Ghanaian military rulers.
“We had no choice…we had to sacrifice…some of the commanders [who] were [clearly] innocent [and] good people; but it had to be done because the rage in the country was too high, too much” (See “I’ve Never Been Corrupt My Whole Life – Rawlings” Radioxyzonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/27/14).
Maybe somebody needs to define the meaning of “corruption” for Chairman MacBeth. Needless to say, if the vicious and willful execution of innocent people is no veritable act of corruption and injustice of the most heinous order, then precisely what does the founding-father of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) mean, when Mr. Rawlings speaks of “probity, accountability and justice”? Or are these morally loaded terms meant for the exclusive and expedient use of the former junta leader?
And if, indeed, innocent military commanders and other leaders were “painfully executed” by the Rawlings-led AFRC junta, then, no doubt, the time may have arrived for a national conference to be convened, perhaps by Parliament, to both decide the means by which cold-calculating butchers like Mr. Rawlings ought to be chastized, and some form of monetary compensation awarded the children and immediate relatives of the liquidated innocents. I am not the least bit surprised by the latest confession by Mr. Rawlings. It was always just a matter of time.
For the so-called Junior Jesus, as he was then popularly called, the summary executions of Generals Acheampong and Utuka deserve absolutely no regret or lamentation. And for those of our readers who were either too young to remember or not even born at the time, General Acheampong was the man who overthrew the constitutionally elected government of the K. A. Busia-led Progress Party (PP) that ruled the country from 1969 to 1972.
Acheampong then headed a junta by the rather presumptuous name of the National Redemption Council (NRC). The latter would shortly morph into the so-called Supreme Military Council (SMC-I). Acheampong would be pushed off in what was then described as a bloodless “palace coup” by an arch-lieutenant called General F. W. K. Akuffo. It was the Akuffo-led SMC-II that the then-Flt.-Lt. Rawlings and his associates, largely low-ranking members of the Ghana Armed Forces, bloodily overthrew. Major-General Utuka was the commander of the Border Guards at the time of his execution, together with the then-deposed and publicly and thoroughly humiliated Mr. Acheampong who was also then under house arrest. We refer to him as “Mr.” Acheampong because the Armed Forces Council, very likely acting at the behest of General Akuffo, had summarily stripped the former general of all his military honors.
It is rather curious for Mr. Rawlings to claim that Messrs. Acheampong and Utuka were the most corrupt of Ghana’s military rulers, and yet callously proceed to summarily execute six more generals on the rather capricious grounds that even though these six generals were criminally innocent, nonetheless, the apparent thirsting for more blood on the part of a nameless and faceless Ghanaian masses necessitated such wanton and brutal spilling of blood.
Compare the preceding to the inexcusably criminal Juliet Cotton Affair, in which then-President Rawlings’s own deputy, Vice-President John Evans Atta-Mills, literally doled out $20 million of the hard-earned Ghanaian taxpayer’s money to an Atlanta, Georgia-based African-American welfare recipient woman in exchange for rice cultivation in the Volta regional township of Aveyime that never materialized, and you begin to fully appreciate the sort of morally wretched stuff of which Chairman Rawlings is made.
The Aveyime Rice Project never materialized because the Legon- and London-educated tax wonk of an arch-lieutenant to Mr. Rawlings never took pains to conduct even a casual due diligence on the professional credibility of Ms. Juliet Cotton. That the then-President Rawlings took absolutely no disciplinary measures against his kitchen-cabinet culprits, among them Messrs. Peprah and Selormey, ineluctably attests to the thoroughgoing corrruptness of the infamous Butcher-of-Sogakope.
And so why all this nonsense about Mr. Rawlings’ being, supposedly, the cleanest continental African leader in recent memory? Or is Mr. Rawlings also the Ghanaian moral equivalent of the immortalized President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela?
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
March 28, 2014
E-mail: [email protected]