Kwame Ahwoi’s Working With Rawlings – Martin Amidu’s critique VIII (Part I)

By: Martin Amidu

This critique is the beginning of the concluding series of critiques of the author’s narrative on the second and last tenure of President Rawlings under the 1992 Constitution. This series will deal with the narratives of the author about the succession to President Rawlings within the NDC and the problems it engendered. It will include the true facts contradicting the author’s fabricated narrative of the circumstance under which a bait was dangled before Martin Amidu who swallowed it to become Professor Mills’ running mate for the 2000 presidential elections. I start in this instalment with the narrative on the award of the Officer of the Volta, and what the author styles the two governance aberrations. 


The author’s narrative, at pages 129 and 130 of Working with Rawlings, of how he came to be awarded the Officer of the Volta (OV) by the Government of Ghana leaves one with the distinct impression that the award was intended as a ploy by Captain (Rtd.) Kojo Tsikata and President Rawlings to keep him within the Government of NDC 2. The occasion of the National Honours Award was merely used by President Rawlings to get the author to rescind his decision to leave front-line politics and not to continue as a Minister in his second term as President as the author himself noted – “in the euphoria of the moment .…and the solemnity of the occasion”. 

But as Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC, was reported by Ghana Web to have said on Monday, 30 June 2005 on the occasion of President Kufour crowning himself as part of the impending National Honours Award ceremony: “…while celebrating distinguished service worthy of recognition and [it] is expected to be conferred on principles rather than political convenience.” Surely, to confer the Officer of the Volta just to dissuade any person not to leave front-line politics in any Government is a core example of “political convenience” and not one “conferred on principles”. Mr Asiedu Nketia was speaking in 2005 after prominent NDC awardees, including President Rawlings and Captain Kojo Tsikata, had turned down Mr Kufour’s offer of national awards which they perceived to have been based solely on political convenience. 

 Whatever the real reasons for the decision to award the Officer of the Volta to the author in 1997, when I heard the citation that accompanied the award I told Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu that President Rawlings had formally enrolled Kwamena Ahwoi as a lawyer on the Roll of NDC Lawyers whose name would never appear on the Roll of Lawyers of the General Legal Council of Ghana. I was convinced that the award was arranged to compensate for the author’s hurt ego of his inability to be enrolled on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana as a lawyer. But for the indemnity provision in section 34 of the Transitional Provisions to the 1992 Constitution which indemnified unlawful administrative acts of the PNDC, the author could have been prosecuted under Section 9(2) of the Legal Professions Act, 1960 (Act 32) upon the coming into being of the 1992 Constitution for unlawful practice as a lawyer in Ghana during the regime of the PNDC. 

The PNDC knew my attitude towards awards, and commendations after the Marine Drive Arbitration in which I led the Ghana side to conclude in the United States of America. The numerous institutions that had attempted to confer awards on me also knew my aversion to such post facto recognitions as though one was performing one’s inherent duties in anticipation of somebody else’s recognition. There are several other people the world over who hold an ingrained aversion to the utility of accepting awards in alleged recognition of their unsolicited contributions to society or their nations. It partakes of trying to make a public spectacle of those contributions made out of volution and for the awarder to seek to take some credit for the achievements of the awardee. 

There is a 9 March 2012 blog, Kwame Gyan’s Blog entitled, “Making A Mockery Of National Awards” which made interesting reading for me because it was commenting on National Honours Awards which had been conferred by President Mills in 2011. This was long before the author wrote Working with Rawlings. One sentence that caught my attention stated that: “I glanced through the list of 241 who were awarded in July 2008 and it was very obvious they were largely persons who bore some relationship with the NPP….” The interested reader may just go on open source to find the 2015, and 2016 National Honours Awards lists and the reader would not fail to be stupefied to recognize that National Honours Awards had always been and continue to be mostly gifts to partisan political elites given on grounds of political convenience. But National Honours Awards had become political awards, and paid for awards, the whole world over for decades. Open source contains the abuses to which they have been put in various countries and the refusal of genuinely eminent persons to accept being pestered with them, including Nobel Awards. The unknown soldier is more celebrated than the known one. 


The author, for purposes of his own ego, selected two events he chose to call aberrations he alleges were worth mentioning because in both situations President Rawlings and he were almost set on a collision course in the Local Government sector during the President’s second term in office. The events he selected were: “The waste management contract between City and Country Waste Limited and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)” and “…the demolition of a newly-constructed, fully-furnished hotel owned by one Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim in the Airport area of Accra.” As the reader could expect from the beginning, these events were chosen to denigrate President Rawlings as acting undemocratically and contrary to the normal rules of procedure for the execution of government business.

City & Country Waste Limited 

I was the Deputy Attorney General and was acquainted with the issues involved in what the author calls two governance aberrations. The waste management contract was submitted to the Attorney-General’s office from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for legal opinion, and it fell under my schedule to proffer the advice for and on behalf of the Attorney-General. 

The legality of the conduct of Heads of State, and Government are measured by the quality and integrity of the Ministers they appoint and the ability of those Ministers to reason with them to the extent of the Minister being willing to tender his resignation if a disputed fundamental decision touched on matters of principle and breaches of the Constitution. The foregoing fundamental principles of public administration are reinforced by the Ministerial oath in the second schedule to the 1992 Constitution as follows: 

“…that I at all times well and truly serve the Republic of Ghana in the office of Minister of State (Deputy Minister); and that I will uphold, preserve, and protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana as by law established; that I will, to the best of my judgment, at all times when required freely give my counsel and advice for the good management of the public affairs of the Republic of Ghana; and that I will not directly or directly reveal any matters that shall come to my knowledge in discharging my duties and committed to my secrecy as Minister of State (Deputy Minister).”

With the above fundamental constitutional obligation imposed on the author, Kwamena Ahwoi, as the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development any reader of the narrative on “The waste management contract between City and Country Waste Limited and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)” cannot escape the conclusion that the author failed woefully in his duties as a Minister of State when he remained at post to condone what he now terms a governance aberration attributable only to the unlawful behaviour of former President Rawlings. 

The resort to the excuse that the “…. waste management contract between a company called City and Country Waste Limited and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) was a joint Ghanaian-Canadian venture owned partly by Mr Eddie Annan, a known NDC financier and a close friend and confidante of President Rawlings and his wife” as a means of apportioning blame for the failure of the author in his Ministerial duties to defend the Constitution is not an honourable conflict strategy or tactic. If as a sector Minister, the author was not happy about the structure of the contract between the AMA and the company his duty was “to protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana”. As a joint Ghanian and Canadian venture to which the Government was a party, it was clearly an international economic and business transaction which the sector Minister was enjoined to submit to Parliament for approval under Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution: no further excuses were permissible. 

But the narrative by the author seeking to blame President Rawlings and his wife for practising cronyism is contradicted by the author’s own attempt at fabricating the facts and evidence-based entirely on suspicions. He wrote on pages 136 to 137 of Working with Rawlings that: 

“Meanwhile, I was under intense pressure from President Rawlings, who I suspect was under intense pressure from Mr Eddie Annan, to authorize the MCE of the Accra Metropolis, Nat Nunoo Amarteifio, who was later replaced by Mr Ishmael Ayittey (sic), to sign the contract. When President Rawlings realised that I would not give the authorization until I had finished with my consultations and checks, and seeing that this was going to result in considerable delay, he went behind me and directly ordered Mr Ishmael Ayittey (sic) to sign the contract. Mr Ayittey (sic)did.” 

The concluding statement that President Rawlings went behind the author as the Minister for Local Government “and directly ordered Mr. Ishmael Ayittey (sic) to sign the contract. Mr. Ayittey (sic) did” is a big, irredeemable, and unpardonable lie. First, the narrative events fabricated by the Professor of Law does not support the facts and evidence of the tenure of office of the persons he wrote about. Mr. Ishmael Ayeetey was nowhere near the AMA as its MCE when he was allegedly “…directly ordered …to sign the contract”. 

Mr. Ishmael Ayeetey was appointed the Chief Executive of the AMA in 1992 as successor to Kofi Portuphy (1991-1992). He won the 1992 elections as a Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio constituency and exited the post of Chief Executive to become a Member of Parliament on 7 January 1993. Mr. Ishmael Ayeetey was succeeded by Mr Nat Nunoo Amarteifio as MCE of the AMA from 1994 to 1998 when the contract was allegedly signed on 4 December 1997. Mr Samuel Adokwei succeeded Mr Amarteifio as the MCE from 1998 to 2001 to be replaced by Solomon Ofei Darko of the NPP (2001-2003) after the NDC lost the 2000 elections. The surnames Ayittey and Ayeetey are not interchangeable in Ga. 

The foregoing verifiable facts do not do any credit to the faculties of any person holding himself out as a Professor of Law and a former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development who wants the whole world to believe that he was competent in his Ministerial office. It is noteworthy that the author does not even have the patience and acumen required of any academic to have verified the surname of Mr. Ayeetey whom he assigned the fabricated surname of Ayittey. Understandably the author could not have had the ability to practice the profession of law as rightly determined by the UK Inns of Courts and General Legal Council of Ghana. 

Secondly, the author after having the temerity to fabricate the facts and evidence as to who signed the waste management contract under discussion followed it up with another contradictory admission that: 

“The sequel to the event was that when the NDC lost the 2000 elections and the NPP came to power in 2001, they abrogated the contract and sold the equipment to private individuals. City and Country Waste Limited sued the AMA and in the case in which I gave evidence for the company, which travelled all the way to the Supreme Court, City and Country Waste was awarded damages of about $17 million….” (Emphasis supplied). 

The reader is thus being told by the author who would not “give the authorization until I had finished with my consultations and checks,….” that he turned round to be a witness for the very “Ghanaian-Canadian venture owned partly by Mr. Eddie Annan, a known NDC financier and a close friend and confidante of President Rawlings and his wife” to which he apportioned blame to President Rawlings for the signing of the contract. The author fails or refuses to inform the reader the consideration that persuaded him to be a star witness in a contract he formed the view as the sector Minister had not met all the procedures for its execution. The author was gloating even when he had failed to comply with Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution to submit the international business or economic joint venture transaction to Parliament for approval despite the Attorney-General’s opinion urging him to do so. The author chose to forget that his friends and colleagues went to jail in the Aveyime Rice Transaction (called the Quality Grain case) for a similar unconstitutional conduct. 

The author knew that such an important case that had travelled to the Supreme Court from the High Court presided over by his surrogate and a reviewer of his Working with Rawlings 

would be reported in the Ghana Law Reports to which he had access as a Professor of Law. He, however, again deliberately refused to cite the case because he knew that it would provide a conscientious reader with the tools to cross-check his narrated facts from the Ghana Law Reports. The case was reported as City & Country Waste Limited v Accra Metropolitan Assembly [2007-2008] SCGLR 409, years before the author wrote and published Working with Rawlings. It was a decision given without reference to Article 181(5) of the Constitution – the lawyers call it a per incuriam judgment and unenforceable under the 1992 Constitution. This is the only plausible explanation why the enforcement of the judgment gained momentum only when the NDC returned to power in 2009. 

Mr. Justice Ofoe, now a Justice of the Court of Appeal, who was one of the editors and reviewers of Working with Rawlings, presided over the High Court which heard the case at first instance with the author as a principal witness for the City & Country Waste Limited “owned partly by Mr. Eddie Annan, a known NDC financier and a close friend and confidante of President Rawlings and his wife”. Mr. Justice Ofoe was referred to in the Supreme Court judgment as having stated in his judgment in the High Court that the contract was signed on 4 December 1997 and work was commenced on 13th July 1999 and continued until 29 June 2001 when it was terminated. How then Could Mr. Ayeetey have been ordered by President Rawlings to sign the same contract as contended by the author? 

Mr. Justice Ofoe, who did not recuse himself from the case on account of the authors deep involvement with the case, was also quoted by the Supreme Court as saying inter alia that: “…The service contract itself was signed on 4 December 1997. Between 30 July 1997 and 4 December 1997, what prevented Mr. Amarteifio from putting the matter of Garbage Collection Disposal and Land Fill Services of solid Waste before the assembly? ….” Mr. Justice Ofoe’s quoted words from the judgment demonstrates clearly that it was Mr. Amarteifio who signed the contract on 4 December 1997 and not Mr. Ayeetey. How could Mr. Justice Ofoe and the author have missed these facts when it came to reviewing and editing Working with Rawlings? The simple reason is that both author and surrogate saw the writing of Working with Rawlings as payback time to shift blame to President Rawlings. The story and residues of the Log & Lumber Limited, Kumasi, criminal convictions, and sentences which the author has left untold in Working with Rawlings might still have been operating against former President Rawlings in the writing, editing, and reviewing of Working with Rawlings. 

The author, who was the chief puppet master of President Mills before and after he assumed office on 7 January 2009 failed or refused to inform the reader of the reasons it had to take the NDC Government to return to power in 2009 to step in and get “the judgment debt liquidated under arrangements with the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator (DACFA)” (See page 137 of his book thereof). Professor of Law, Kwamena Ahwoi knew that the judgment having been given without consideration of Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution was unenforceable and which was the reason the NPP Government never paid upon it. The author was also a consultant to the Ministry of Local Government at the time the judgment debt was liquidated and should have been candid with the reader as to the reasons for liquidating a debt which as a sector Minister he thought was unlawfully incurred through pressures from President Rawlings. 

I had been the Chairman of the Public Agreements Board (PAB) under PNDC Law 42 and responsible for the recommendation of all public agreements to the PNDC for consideration and approval from 1989 to 6 January 1993. I sat in PNDC meetings on account of my position as the Chairman of the PAB to speak to the recommendations and dis-recommendations of the Board. I dissuaded the enactment of a PNDC Law during the transitional period to institutionalize the PAB to be an existing body after the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution on account of the several battles I had fought with PNDC Members and Secretaries who selfishly wanted to have just any agreement approved by the PNDC. Chairman Rawlings always supported the PAB when it dis-recommended public agreements for approval by the PNDC. My experience was that Chairman Rawlings was open to objective reasoning as to why a public agreement was not in the national interest to be executed by the Government.

It was to the credit of President Rawlings and the PAB that no PNDC operative was ever investigated, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for manipulation of the public procurement or contract process for private gain when the NDC lost the 2000 elections. On the contrary a number of Ministers and operatives of the NDC 1 and NDC 2 Governments who would not listen to the Attorney-General’s advice on procurement paid high prices for their indolence. 

Demolition of Hotel in Airport Area 

In the second event or alleged aberration chosen by the author, the demolition of Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim’s Hotel in the Airport area of Accra, the Attorney-General’s Office was not involved in the circumstances of the demolition. But I had known Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim for years at the Accra Polo Club since I came on transfer from the Upper East as a PNDC Deputy Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government in January 1986 through my late cousin who used to be a Chief Manager at the Agricultural Development Bank, and a member of the Accra Polo Club. 

I also knew Alhaji Ibrahim’s circle of friends within the PNDC, particularly at the Ministry of Finance, and the PNDC Secretariat. I knew Chairman Rawlings detestation of the relationship between PNDC Secretaries at the Ministry of Finance and the handling of the two signed USAID/Ghana Public Law 480 (P.L. 480) Title III program agreements with the Government of Ghana (GOG), committing A.I.D. to transfer rice and wheat to Ghana. Those commodities were to be sold by GOG through its authorized agents to eligible local dealers and facilitate programming of the local currency sales proceeds for development activities in Ghana in accordance with the Title III agreements. Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim was reputed to have been entrusted by the Ministry of Finance with aspects of the implementation of the PL 480 assisted programme. 

Chairman Rawlings had been apprehensive of the arrangements with the PL 480 agreement and the involvement of some of his trusted PNDC Secretaries in the counterpart arrangements with Alhaji Ibrahim. Cadres in the 31st December Revolution knew that Chairman Rawlings used various sources and methods in gathering intelligence about his appointees. 7 

Consequently, there was already simmering latent conflict between President Rawlings and the Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Paa Kwasi Amissah-Arthur, and other PNDC Secretaries whom he perceived to be friends and associates of Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim. 

When the demolition of Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim’s hotel eventually took place the cadre circles, including myself, were convinced that the direct target was not Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim but his associates who were appointees within the government and former appointees who were perceived as having some financial interest in the Hotel. The conflict issues, however, appeared to have been contested on the patent basis of the environmental consequences and the validity of permits and the site upon which the Hotel was built. 

Former President Rawlings himself stated to the Daily Graphic as published online on 5 June 2019 that he does not regret demolishing the Hotel and given another opportunity he would order the demolition of that Hotel if it was built again. He was quoted to have said that: “If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I would take along their new gargantuan structures in the watercourses. The structures were reported by his own respectable, law-abiding neighbours.” 

Unfortunately, President Rawlings was unable to complete the book he promised Ghanaians he was writing before his untimely death on 12 November 2020, a few months after the author published his pernicious and vengeful Working with Rawlings. It is, however, important for any reader of the author’s narrative to know that there were long outstanding residues of conflict between the Chairman of the PNDC/President, and some PNDC Secretaries/Ministers, Deputy Secretaries/Ministers, and operatives from the PNDC/NDC Government Secretariat allegedly associated with Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim that gave rise to the conflict escalations that led to the demolition of the Hotel when it was built during the tenure of President Rawlings. These may constitute the untold stories of the stories told in the author’s narrative. 

President Rawlings believed after the publication of Working with Rawlings that the author knew the foregoing undercurrents to the demolition of the Hotel but refused to articulate them to reap vengeance on President Rawlings after their relationship soured. It is my duty and in the public interest to articulate his concerns as I had promised him before his demise. 

When the reading public comes someday to appreciate the stories told by the author in Working with Rawlings, the stories he has left untold, and the stories he will never tell, then the reading public will better understand the author’s pernicious motives for writing Working with Rawlings. 

Martin A. B. K. Amidu 

18 May 2023         

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