I accost you with profound dignity, hear me as I pen you these few words. Upholding morality and maintaining the common good in the commonwealth has been a guiding spirit of Ghanaians. Hence, it was not surprising when the resting souls of the silent ones, those of jingoistic countrymen and that of lettered university students in their majority rejoicingly supported a certain “Junior Jesus” in Ghana’s politics who had resurrected to save the nation from perpetual doom and temporal injustice.
On the 26th of June 1979, “Chairman Rawlings”, as he was known then, under the cloak of a so-called “House Cleaning Exercise” enthusiastically supervised the shooting and killing of Air-Vice Marshall George Yaw Boakye (Chief of Air Staff), Real Admiral Joy Amedume (Navy Commander), Major General E.K. Utuka (Border Guards Commander) and Colonel Roger J.A. Felli (Foreign Affairs Commissioner). for engaging in acts of corruption which according to him possessed the propensity of damaging the financial fortunes of “Ama Ghana.”
Clearly, I Azamati, was nowhere present, but courtesy the kindness of history as chronicled by writers, we are told that On that faithful day, the 26th of June 1979, under the closed-circuit of “chairman Jerry John Rawlings”, the blood-dimmed tide was loosed, and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence was drowned. The best lacked all conviction, the legal wheels of justice paved way for justice to be served by roaring cannons of men in uniform. The peace and silence of our dear country sat aside calmly and enjoyed the resounding chorus; “Let The Blood Flow” and in the village, lamentation and the wailing of bereaved widows and children tossed and turned. Surely, the rest belongs to history. Thereafter, the Ex-president “Saint Jerry John Rawlings” has been believed by many and known by others as a preacher of anti-corruption.
Indeed, my inner eye had flashed on the adage, “wonders shall never end”, severally; but it never was a subject for contemplation till I chanced on a supposed interview granted by Ex-president Jerry John Rawlings to the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria, in which he professed that yes he received 2 million U.S Dollars from the then Nigerian government under General Abacha; a claim he had vehemently denied a decade and 8 years ago.
It was extremely discombobulating and exceedingly shocking to read ex-president Rawlings who hounded, hunted and joyfully superintended the pipping of his fellow men in uniform like game to concede in his own words that, “I didn’t ask him for a penny. But he obviously understood certain situations, our situation, and graciously sent me a small suitcase of money. Which in his own words was, “2million dollars: new notes packed in plastic bags, fairly heavy.” One is not dumbfounded at this confession because the Ex-president is an angel, but my astonishment glows and grows in bounds due to previously sanctimonious proclamations made by the former head of state on corruption. For me, it has always been my thought that saints were clean and would forever remain clean until this disheartening revelation by the former president.
To the befuddlement of many, the receipt of the supposed “$2,000,000” by the “crusader” of anti-corruption is justified with the simple but discrepant reason that, “around that period, we were preparing for constitutional rule. We needed funds for some activities”, when Ghana had already held an election in 1992 which betokened the burgeoning of Ghana’s democratic rule.
Some of us may be hauled out of our shells of silence to our pens not for any reason, but to satisfy our curiosity or better put ignorance with a few questions; The so-called confession may be deemed right, but upon a second thought, it leaves innumerable questions on my chambers of memory; a few of which are assembled in the proceeding paragraphs:
- If Ex-president Jerry Rawlings found reason to fervidly deny the receipt of any money from Abacha some 18 years ago, what inspires him today to agree to the once denied allegation?
- Very well, if the said amount was received, what was it spent on? When was it spent? how was it spent? Under which budget was it captured? [as loan, grant, foreign aid, or donation?]
- Where are documents attesting to the fact that the said amount was spent on whatever reason for which it was sent?
- More importantly, The Ex-president claims the funds were offered to aid the nation in her transitional processes, I would like to find out from those in the helm of affairs whether or not grants and loans that come to the state for official purposes come in brief cases?
- Again, if Ex-president Jerry Rawlings has categorically confirmed his acceptance of brief cases of Dollars from Abacha, what moral rights does he have to accuse people of corruption?
- Please pardon me for asking too many questions, its because I want to know; but please how much degree of importance should be attached to the cries of the crusader of anti-corruption, now that he has acquiesced to a very implicating allegation he had at one time denied?
- Soldiering on, how would the bastion of defence created around Ex-president Jerry Rawlings who recited the “Rawlings Prayer”, “may we defend all thy acts as it pleases thee; so our daily bread may be guaranteed” and swore heaven and earth to deny the receipt of mint of dollars now reconcile their position with “saint Rawlings” now that he has accepted that he took the money?
- If “he who pelts one another with pebbles receives rocks in return”, then what should be meted out to Ex-president Rawlings, if he found reason to cause the shooting of Feli and quo as if they were game?
- Isn’t it ironical that the souls and bodies of the Service Commanders who were executed in 1979 at the behest of Ex-president Jerry Rawlings never knew peace just because of fifty thousand cedis which was equivalent to sixteen thousand dollars in those days, but that of Rawlings enjoy perpetual peace and tranquillity even when he has ingloriously confirmed to a Nigerian journalist that he took 2 million dollars which weighs in sum more than the amount for which the three were executed through firing squad?
I am not being judgemental, of course, who am I to pronounce judgement on a formal Head of State? But I pray the tides of conscience should never sweep away from the memory of humanity the good old adage that goes like, “what is good for the goose, is equally good for the gander.”
This article is by Azamati Ebenezer