Telling Jerry Rawlings to shut will sharply contradict my belief in free speech. He has the right to speak his mind, as the constitution of this country, which he supervised to come to being in April 28, 1992 after a referendum. Despite all the reservations people had at the time, Ghanaians still voted for the constitution and ensured the hands of military dictatorship are over the country’s pie.
It has been a decade since he left office but he’s given his opponents the reason to believe he’s suffering from withdrawal syndrome. Soon after leaving office in 2001, he gave the new NPP government hell, calling them very serious names. He lambasted to the extent that he called the then sitting President Kufour Ataa Ayi-a notorious criminal now suffering life sentence in Nsawam prison.
He did not limit his insult of the then president to Ghana alone but abroad. Every single opportunity provided him with the opportunity to hit him with barrages of insults. It was an unfortunate spectacle, to say the least. The government responded by stripping him off his privileges. It was a foolish decision for them to have done that.
That is a position I still hold on to. In the run-up to the Second Round of the 2008 elections, I went to interview Mr. Rawlings-together with journalists from the New York Times and AIT, from Nigeria. I was doing some work with a reporter from the French channel, 24. The interview took place at his residence. It was my first time of coming face to face with him in such a manner, though I have attended press conferences at his residence in the past.
It was a real privilege and after more than three hours, he requested we came back again. He is a nice man. He’s got warm personality, jovial and lover of nature. We took some nice pictures with him and I still have mine, though I have not framed mine yet. I hope to do so anytime soon. I admire him for his frankness but as an elder stateman and having served 19 years as head of state, I think the time for him to observe from afar is now.
Since his government came to power, he has never failed to insult the sitting president. How on earth does a former president of his calibre describe members of the current administration as ‘bastards?’ I didn’t believe it the first time I read that report. I thought it was the usual tabloids who are scheming things up. I was however shocked to realise he’s indeed made the statement. So what at all does Rawlings want from Ghanaians?
That seems to be the question people including his own party members are now asking. It is a shame that a former president of his calibre will be using every opportunity to insult the very president Ghanaians had elected into office. If he thinks he doesn’t like the president, he should wait for four years. If that happens he can then go and vote against him.
This senseless attitude of always wanting everybody to believe he is the single most important thing in life is foolish. Mr. Rawlings should remember that he had the highest periods in terms of reign in Ghana and, the only thing he can do for those of us in Ghana is to keep his mouth shut. I listened to his recent comments and I said to myself ‘this man is chipping’ the respect people have for him. It is important for those always screaming his name to let him know that he’s no larger than life.
He is not a messiah and that should be told to him. His time as president did not change the fortunes of Ghana to anything good. His children are well educated; can the same be said about the many people whom he promised to bring the needed change? He has always been going about this thing of ‘accountability, integrity’ etc and yet he is not. Mr. Rawlings should remember that Ghanaians voted for Mills and not him.
He can’t be president again. If he knows anybody at the civil service who is an NPP person and working against the interest of the state, he should point those people to us. What kind of foolishness is this? Is Rawlings the only sensible person in this country who has the solutions to every single problem? Was he not the same man accusing people of having more than a toilet? How many does his household have?
He should come and tell Ghanaians and stop this sick mentality. This primitive mentality of arresting or chasing out political opponents as practised by former president Kufour and his cohorts. Ghana is not a primitive state Mr. Rawlings must get that into his head. He’s greying and its important those around him tell him something good.
He has greyed but that hasn’t come with enough wisdom.