By: Martin Amidu
The writing of this critique was interrupted by the necessity to conduct and produce the Analysis of the Risk of Corruption and Anti-corruption Risk Assessment Report of the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transaction Documents. The demise of the leader of the 31 December Revolution, and founder of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings who gave each cadre of the revolution the opportunity to serve this country, happened during this period. This segment of the critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings is being continued today to commemorate the anniversary of the 31 December Revolution tomorrow and in salutation to all genuine comrades of that revolution who never betrayed its ideals and leadership.
Previous publications of this critique demonstrated that at any level of a critical analysis of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings, the author failed woefully in his avowed purpose of writing a scholarly work to teach present and future leaders the skills of good governance and human relation as a leadership trait (see Parts IV and its sequel). It was also contended that ethical scholars “….do not fabricate data or falsify results in their publications” (See Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fourth Edition, 1998, which is a classic for most scholars of other disciplines as well). It was concluded based on the analysis and exposition of the author’s work that after reading, reviewing and editing such a crass betrayal of trust by the author to our motherland Ghana who was narrating events that happened when he was acting as a public officer, “Professor Emerita, (Mrs.) Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, PhD/FGA had the pretence of the courage of integrity and honesty of judgment to adjudge Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings publishable to teach present and future leaders in Ghana leadership skills”.
It was shown that Kwamena Ahwoi was not a revolutionary Engels revealed to Chairman Rawlings (as he then was) as the messiah for the PNDC’s “power to the People” and decentralization programme (see Part V and its sequel). Research data whether qualitative or quantitative used for academic or scholarly writing intended to teach present and future leaders in Ghana leadership skills as stated by Prof. Emerita (Mrs.) Opoku-Agyemang or in the words of the author “to teach present and future leaders the skills of good governance and human relation as a leadership trait” must be capable of verification and replication to stand the test of being a scholarly work.
Unfortunately, when the author’s narrative was measured against the existing data it showed that there was only one month or less between his removal as CORCIT which he so decried and made a fuss about in his book, and his reassignment to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Checks against verifiable sources for his acclaimed scholarly work, exposed the author as suffering from the most grievous sin of any researcher adopting the qualitative methodology of research. For instance, “The District Political Authority and Modalities for District Level Elections, 1987, (Assembly Press, Accra, Wednesday, 1st July, 1987) known as the Bluebook was approved in 1987. Kwamena Ahwoi was reassigned to the
PNDC Secretariat in March 1988 and appointed the PNDC Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development on 5th April 1988. There was, thus ten whole months between Wednesday, 1st July 1987, the day on which the Bluebook was published and March 1988 when the author was reassigned to his annoyance whilst he was in Zimbabwe to the PNDC Secretariat. The author was reassigned to a full Ministry as PNDC Secretary on 5th April 1988. The author’s penchant for data fabrication for purposes of falsely claiming his indispensability to Ghana’s decentralization and other falsehoods was shown by extensive quotations from an international interview the author granted one Itumeleng Makgetla on 8th September 2009 in Accra.
The verification and replication of the qualitative data allegedly forming the basis of the author’s rhetorical narrative of his indispensability to the PNDC’s decentralization and democratic process showed the author doctoring his data to achieve his messianic objective. The analysis and exposition on the author’s fabricated data concluded by stating that:
“The bluebook was not sitting idle in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development since 1st July 1987 when it was published awaiting Kwamena Ahwoi, the messiah. The Political directives which became part of the Local Government Law, 1988, PNDCL 207 such as (a) the number of districts to be created (100), (b) the average representation ratio (1:500-1,500); (c) the manner of consultation for the PNDC appointment of the one-third membership of the District Assemblies; (d) the sectors of public administration to be decentralized; and (e ) the mode of financing the District Assemblies had gone through the Joint Committee of Secretaries and approved by the PNDC before the messiah arrived in the Ministry after 5th April 1988. The Local Government Law, 1988 (PNDCL 207) was gazetted on 11th November 1988. It does not take only five months from April 1988 to 11th November 1988 to translate an important policy document such as the bluebook into legislation such as PNDCL 207. I was the Deputy Attorney General running the Ministry with the Attorney General in hospital when PNDCL 207 was passed and I say that Kwamena Ahwoi is as usual again appropriating the collective efforts of several dedicated members of the Joint Committee of Secretaries and its political and legislative sub-committee and the PNDC as his messianic property.”
The sequel to the foregoing analysis and critique concluded that the author suffers from a messianic mental outlook which gives him a false sense of knowing everything and without whom nothing succeeds in any social or political group of which he becomes a member. It was contended that the messianic mental outlook or figment of the author will become more apparent and incrementally glaring as the critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings unfolds.
RETURN TO CONSTITUTIONAL RULE
The author of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings continued to make himself an indispensable messiah of the transition to and return to constitutional rule in chapter 3 of his discourse which was also endorsed by the writer of the foreword and editors of his supposedly scholarly works. The author was the fourth signatory to the NCD’s “Evolving A true Democracy – Report Presented to the PNDC” issued in Accra on March 25, 1991 and should have known the content of that report when writing his scholarly book, Kwamena
Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings. The author apparently wished away the existence of the report to present his messianic views which are inconsistent with the NCD report.
The preface to the National Commission for Democracy’s, “Evolving A True Democracy – Summary Of NDC’s Work Towards The Establishment Of A New Democratic Order – Report Presented To The PNDC” dated March 25, 1991, states, amongst other things that:
‘…In 1988, PNDCL 208 consolidated the functions of the Commission. In pursuit of its functions, the NCD, from 1984, invited the public to submit papers/memoranda on the future form of government for the country. Several papers have been submitted to the Commission by a cross section of the public. Seminars, symposia, and durbars were held to discuss the “effective realization of a true democracy in Ghana”. As a result of these and other efforts the “Blue Book” – the document of the “Creation of District Political Authority and Modalities for District Level Elections” was published and this culminated in the District Level elections and the establishment of District Assemblies.
The Blue Book also stated in paragraph 1.7 that “the establishment of the District Assemblies is an important step in the PNDC’s programme of evolving national political authority through democratic process. The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has been charged with the responsibility of working out the steps in the programme and also the relationship between the District Assemblies and the ultimate national political institutions”.
It is in light of this mandate that the NCD teamed up with the Ministries of Local Government and Information to run the series of regional seminars on “District Assemblies and the Evolving Democratic Process”. The rationale was to invite the views of the public on “what next after the District Assemblies, in fulfilment of the PNDC’s commitment to involving the people in working out programmes for the evolution of the country’s democratic process beyond the district level.
The seminars which were held in all the ten regional capitals of the country began in Sunyani on 5th July and ended at Wa on 9th November 1990.
Thereafter in his New Year broadcast to the nation, the Chairman of the PNDC requested the NCD to expedite work on its report and to present it, at the latest by the end of March, this year ,
“to enable the PNDC convene a broad-based national consultative body which would use the report as well as the 1957, 1960, 1969 and 1979 constitutions and other consultations and discussions on the content and form of the future constitution.”
This report is in response to the PNDC Chairman’s request.’
By January 1991, the transitional process to democracy had so advanced that the Chairman of the PNDC was urging the NCD under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice D. F. Annan to expedite work on the report of the seminars held in the ten regions to enable the broad-based national consultative body to discuss the content and form of the future constitution. It is important to note that Chairman Rawlings’ New Year broadcast of January 1991 pre-dated the submission of the NCD report of 25th March 1991 and shows clearly that the PNDC’s
way forward was for the establishment of a consultative body to chart the constitutional path for the future. Chairman Rawlings’ broadcast had to be strategically ambiguous in the contentious political climate of the day within and outside the PNDC.
In spite of these undisputable facts of the programme of the PNDC for the transition to constitutional rule, the author goes back in time to 4th March 1985, prior to the PNDC Chairman’s New Year broadcast to offer evidence and proof that there was in 1991, a disagreement in the PNDC as to “whether the national political structure should be partisan or not”. The fact that the author was massaging his facts is shown in his rhetoric:
‘… some academic writers and critics insisted there was a hidden agenda behind the regional fora and that the true intention was to use the non-partisan District Assembly system to develop a non-partisan system of government on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan “Green Book” or Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda “Movement” system.’
The contention that the author decided to go back in time to create evidence and proof for this assertion of controversies that did not exist within the PNDC by January 1991 is vindicated by the evidence deployed by the author to support his rhetoric about academic writers and critics when he says in the next sentence following his above-quoted arguments that:
‘The London-based Ghana Democratic Movement, for example, in a Press Statement issued on 4th March 1985, had stated as follows:
“What are we to make of all this talk of elections, National Assembly, constitutional rule – Let us not be deceived. Rawlings has no intention of giving up power today or tomorrow. The aim is to legitimize the rule of the factions that are now in power. There will be no fundamental departure from the present programme nor will any serious debate about issues be permitted.”’
How the distinguished Professor could not realize that he was quoting a 4th March 1985 Press Statement of the Ghana Democratic Movement to justify controversies he was creating during the regional seminars and fora which the NCD held between 5th July 1990 and 9th November 1990 and the presentation of the report of the NCD to the PNDC on 25th March 1991 after the PNDC Chairman’s New Year broadcast of January 1991 should be everybody’s conjecture.
A content analysis of the author’s chapter 4 brings out the fact that he had to doctor the facts and the available data to conclude that before the NCD submitted its “Evolving a True Democracy” report to the PNDC “no options were foreclosed”, the foreclosure only came with the presentation of the NCD report to the PNDC which came down cautiously in favour of multi-party democracy”.
Without inversing the facts and straining old data contained in a 4th March 1985 press statement to establish a lack of foreclosure in spite of the PNDC Chairman’s New Year broadcast to the Nation, the author could not claim credit for his ingenious role in guiding the PNDC to the path of multi-party democracy in Ghana. Our Messiah, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, then disingenuously and triumphantly writes:
‘“It was a clever piece of “word-smithing” carried out between Justice D. F. Annan, Tsatsu Tsikata and myself. This is how the NCD Report captured the nuance of political partisanship as the preferred option in paragraph 5.3.8 of its Report: “Evolving a true Democracy”’.
The pathetic lacuna with the author’s reasoning is the fact that he did not realize that even if the word “not’ had been taken away, paragraph 5.3.8 of the NCD report would have still been in favour of multi-party democracy unless the whole paragraph was re-written instead of removing only the word “not’.
Apart from the first sentence of paragraph 5.3.8 of the NCD report containing the word ‘not’ the rest of the paragraph states that:
‘But the practice of political parties in our new constitutional order must eschew some of the unreasonable features of party politics such as when political parties become corporate vehicles of investment which must be recouped. MONEY must not be allowed to become the key control of the party machinery, and consequently the state apparatus. That leads to the entrenchment of strong financial interest groups that undermine the democratic rights of the majority who then merely become reservoirs for votes come election day.’
Justice D. F. Annan had managed to bring Chairman Rawlings to accept the fact that a return to multi-party democracy was the only viable option for the PNDC to meet its agenda to build a true democracy for Ghana as enshrined in the PNDC Establishment Proclamation. Mr Justice Annan’s whole effort at the NCD from 1984 was geared towards a safe berthing of the PNDC ship of state at the port of true democracy. Consequently, the PNDC Chairman’s January 1991 New Year broadcast to the Nation was a clear implicit acceptance of multi-party democracy even before the NCD submitted its report to the PNDC. The PNDC Chairman as an accomplished statesman and leader understood the importance of the theory of strategic ambiguity which the author did not.
What would the Consultative Assembly which was already anticipated in the Chairman’s January 1991 address be doing with an imposed non-partisan constitutional structure after the speech urging the NCD to present its report, “to enable the PNDC to convene a broad-based national consultative body which would use the report as well as the 1957, 1960, 1969 and 1979 constitutions and other consultations and discussions on the content and form of the future constitution.”? The danger the PNDC faced by January 1991 was not whether to have a non-partisan or a partisan democratic constitutional order. The real hidden controversy and danger was whether or not Chairman Rawlings should just hand over power to a chosen political party and walk away.
But how was Professor Kwamena Ahwoi going to be the messiah that crowned Chairman Rawlings the first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana at the 1992 and 1996 elections if he did not underscore how he was part of “a small review group led by Justice D. F. Annan and comprising Captain Kojo Tsikata, Dr. Obed Asamoah, Tsatsu Tsikata, myself and several others” and who “at subsequent meetings of the Council assured the members of the Council’s capability of winning any pluralistic elections in view of the undoubted hard work and patriotism demonstrated over the years of selfless service to the country.”?
The Committee of Experts (Constitution)
The significance of the Committee of Experts (Constitution) to the author lay only in the fact that he shortchanged a request from Captain Kojo Tsikata to contact Mr Kofi Drah of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana to interest him in membership in the Committee of Experts with Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan as his chosen substitute for the committee who “subsequently also turned out to be the longest Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana”. Kwamena Ahwoi, the fixer, just by introducing Dr Afari-Gyan to the PNDC for consideration for nomination as a member of the Committee of Experts shamelessly behaves as though Dr Afari-Gyan’s long-term achievements were dependent on the author’s intellect and not Dr Afari-Gyan’s competence and capabilities.
In the meantime, the Chairman of the Committee of Experts (Constitutional) had had a long association with the PNDC as a result of contacts by Mr Justice D. F. Annan who also was the PNDC Member with an interest in the Ministry of Justice. Mr Justice Annan sought his assistance during the Government of Ghana – Marine Drive Arbitration. Mr Justice Annan introduced him to me in my then capacity as the Deputy Attorney-General and PNDC Deputy Secretary for Justice and in time I became the liaison between him and the PNDC during his visits to Ghana to discuss the arbitration and after. The Committee of Experts (Constitution) had a very short time frame of less than one month to submit its report to the PNDC. It commenced its deliberations on 11th June 1991 and the product of its deliberations: “Report Of The Committee Of Experts (Constitution) On Proposals for a Draft Constitution Of Ghana Presented to The PNDC” was dated July 31, 1991. The report was published in August 1991. The Committee attempted unsuccessfully to be an integral part of the Consultative Assembly when it was convened, contrary to the impression created by the author.
The Consultative Assembly, 1991
The PNDC had already laid down its programme for the transition to constitutional rule in the PNDC Chairman’s broadcast to the nation on 1st January 1991, consequently, the Committee of Experts (Constitution) Law, 1991 (PNDCL 252) was followed by the Consultative Assembly Law, 1991 (PNDCL 253). The two laws were made and gazetted on 17th May 1991. This belies the assertion by the author that the appearance or lack of it of the word “not” in paragraph 5.3.8 of the NCD’s Evolving A True Democracy” was a determinant of whether Chairman Rawlings was to be convinced to return the country to multi-party democracy.
PNDCL 253 established the Consultative Assembly and its composition under section 1 thereof while section 2 mandated the Assembly to:
“Prepare a draft Constitution for Ghana using- (a) (i) the proposal for the future Constitution of Ghana submitted to it by the Council; (ii) the abrogated Ghana Constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969 and 1979 and other Constitutions; (iii) the Report of the National Commission for Democracy presented to the Council entitled “Evolving a True Democracy”; and (b) submit to the Council not later than 31st December, 1991, the Draft Constitution for the administration of Ghana.”
It had a Speaker who was to be appointed by the Council and a Deputy Speaker to be elected from amongst its members at an election conducted by the National Commission for Democracy.
The mandate of the Consultative Assembly was clear and unambiguous. Nothing in PNDCL 253 required the Assembly to use the “Report of the Committee of Experts (Constitution) ….as the main reference document for the preparation of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic” as stated on page 88 of the author’s so-called scholarly work. The author might have been one of the people who refused to serve in the Assembly but thought they could pull strings from outside it by foisting the Committee of Experts (Constitution) on the deliberations of the Assembly. Indeed, at the commencement of the deliberations of the Consultative Assembly, the Committee of Experts (Constitution) apparently saw itself as part of the constitution-making process to explain its proposal to the Assembly. Mrs Sabina Ofori-Boateng, the Director of Legislative Drafting from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General and Mr L. J. Chinery-Hesse who was brought down from Uganda were to assist the constitution-making process both at the Committee of Experts (Constitution) and the Consultative Assembly as legislative draft persons in their own right and not as members of the Committee of Experts.
The role of the Committee of Experts (Constitution) in the work of the Consultative Assembly was eventually settled when the Assembly unanimously rejected the participation of the Committee Experts in its work in whatever form. The votes and Proceedings of the first meetings of the Consultative Assembly held on 26, 27, 28 and 29 August 1991 showed how well-endowed the Assembly was with qualified and distinguished Ghanaians capable of meeting its mandate of fashioning a draft Constitution for Ghana without interference from a spent Committee of Experts.
The present Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II was the Chairman of the Business Committee; Martin Amidu, was the Chairman of the House Committee; Mr Justice S. A. Brobbey, then a Court of Appeal Judge and subsequently elevated to the Supreme Court by the Kufour administration, was the Chairman of the Legal and Drafting Committee; Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo, then a Justice of the Supreme Court, became the elected Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Privileges Committee – she was later to become the Speaker of the 6th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, and Mr Speaker and Madam Deputy Speaker became Chairman and Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Orders Committee.
The intention of the PNDC to use the instrumentality of a Consultative Assembly instead of a Constituent Assembly to deliberate and propose a Constitution for Ghana was made manifest long before the Consultative Assembly Law, 1991 was enacted on 17 May 1991. As chapter 3 of “Evolving A True Democracy” made clear:
“Consultative Processes and the New Constitutional Order
3.1 Consultative Process
Consultations which had been on going on from the establishment of the NCD were intensified after the launching of the Blue Book on 1st July, 1988, to get the views of individuals and organisations on the nature, form, scope, and content of the future constitutional order.”
The concluding remarks of the NCD Report summarized the outlook of the PNDC on this consultative process when it stated in chapter 6 thereof:
‘6.1.12 We cannot conclude but to quote from the Broadcast to the Nation by the Chairman of the PNDC on Tuesday, 1st January, 1991, which gave the deadline for the completion of our assignment.
“When a Constitution embodies principles which are a consensus of the firmly held views and practical experiences of the people from Axim to Bawku, from Hamile to Aflao, then no force can breach such a constitution, because it resides not in a piece of paper, but written with the blood of the people”.’
Were there objections and suspicions from opponents of the PNDC Government? As is to be expected in any social and political conflict situation, the opponents of the revolution suspected the PNDC of playing tricks to ingrain a non-partisan government in any constitution for Ghana since 1984. This continued even to the completion of the work of the Consultative Assembly, the referendum and the first Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 1992. The Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the Catholic Bishops Conference, Movement for Freedom and Justice and others continued their implacable opposition to the PNDC even after the convocation of the Consultative Assembly.
The GBA, for instance, contended that the groups indicated in the law to send representatives to the Consultative Assembly lacked legitimacy. The Assembly was composed of government sympathizers. The members of the Assembly were not granted unlimited immunity for their deliberations; and the PNDC had reserved to itself the discretion to modify the Constitutional proposals of the Assembly. PNDCL 253 established the Assembly only to endorse a constitution to be fashioned by the PNDC. Accordingly, the GBA refused to participate in the process. Nonetheless, the lawyers dominated the working of the Consultative Assembly that fashioned out the 1992 Constitution. As the Africa Confidential later noted, the Consultative Assembly had shown an unexpected amount of independence, “sometimes to the clear annoyance of PNDC officials”.
The author, Kwamena Ahwoi, who did not find himself up to the task of membership of the Consultative Assembly when Captain Kojo Tsikata asked him to present himself for nomination by the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR), has arrogated to himself what realism the PNDC had in making the late Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin, a Deputy Speaker of the Consultative Assembly. Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin as a former judge became more a feature in Mr Justice D. F. Annan’s office which was adjacent to the Assembly itself, than as part of the deliberations of the Assembly. The Hansard will show that he was no threat to the Assembly at the time he was elected the Deputy Speaker.
Firstly, the PNDC had no mandate under PNDCL 253 to appoint a Deputy Speaker to the Assembly. The decision to make Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin a second Deputy Speaker was taken by the leadership of the Assembly long into the life of the Assembly to solve a
nuisance in the House of which I was House Committee Chairman. Secondly, Mrs. Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, the first Deputy Speaker, remained the choice of the Assembly to act in the absence of the Speaker because she was always sober and she out-performed the second Deputy Speaker in terms of respect from the membership of the Assembly.
The irony of the claim of political realism made by the author is that on the last sitting of the Consultative Assembly, it met in closed session under the Speaker to consider the Transitional Provisions (TP) which had been hammered out by the Committee assigned the task of agreeing on its content. The Assembly in closed session adopted the negotiated Transitional Provisions for the draft persons to incorporate into the draft Constitutional Proposals which was already being printed by the Assembly Press as the adopted Transitional Provisions of the Consultative Assembly. Then, as the Consultative Assembly awaited the printing of the draft Constitution as approved by the Assembly, information reached me that Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin and some members of the Assembly had instructed the Assembly Press to incorporate their own unapproved version of Transitional Provisions as the approved Transitional Provision of the Assembly.
Whatever the reasons, Mr Justice D. F. Annan after speaking to Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin did not appear to believe my contention that he could and was undercutting the decision of the Assembly on the Transitional Provisions and printing an unapproved version for the draft Constitution. As the liaison between the PNDC and the Consultative Assembly, and Chairman of the House Committee, I eventually got Captain Kojo Tsikata to summon a meeting of the leadership of the Assembly in the office of Mr Justice D. F. Annan. Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin denied that anything untoward was being done. Unbeknown to him I had secured a galley proof copy of the unapproved TP and produced it to the meeting. I had of course shown the copy to Captain Kojo Tsikata already which was why he agreed to ask Mr Justice Annan to summon that meeting.
The late Paapa Dadson, Esq, who accompanied me to the meeting was put in charge of marking out the differences of the approved and unapproved TP, which Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin and his cohort were printing to cause confusion in the body politic. The matter was resolved when the leadership of the Assembly resolved that the approved TP be attached to the draft proposals which were in print awaiting the incorporation of the TP and submitted to the PNDC without any further printing and incorporation of the approved TP by the Assembly Press.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the Chairman of the Business Committee, Mr. Justice S. A. Brobbey, the Chairman of the Legal and Drafting Committee, Mrs. Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, Mr Justice J. C. Amonoo-Monney, Mr. Mohammed Mumuni, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Mr Augustus Tanoh and others who are still alive can corroborate how nearly the constitution-making process was undermined by the unapproved TP which the ingenuity of the author and his henchmen nearly unleashed on this country by his so-called political realism of the decision to make Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin a second Deputy Speaker.
While the Consultative Assembly was in session the PNDC was readying itself for the referendum which it had already planned for the approval of the draft proposals for the Constitution of Ghana to be submitted by the Consultative Assembly. The draft Constitution prepared and adopted by the Consultative Assembly and submitted to the PNDC on 31st March 1992 was inserted at the conclusion of the constitutional document as the TP approved by the Consultative Assembly. The PNDC then accepted the whole document as presented by the Consultative Assembly as a true reflection of the deliberations of the Consultative Assembly. The statement issued by the PNDC showed the confusion that was nearly created by Mr Justice Hayfron-Benjamin and his cohort who were trying to hijack the contents of the TP behind the back of the Consultative Assembly. The decision to put the draft Constitution as presented to the PNDC to a referendum without any further changes avoided the trap which was being set by the diabolical attempt to incorporate the unapproved TP.
The Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) Law, 1991 (PNDCL 271).
The author as usual courts credit for the question that was to be put at the referendum when he stated that:
‘“I worked with INEC on the referendum question”. The referendum question was deliberated upon by a core group of people. The PNDC eventually agreed with the INEC on the referendum question: “Do you approve of the draft Constitution presented by the Consultative Assembly to the PNDC on 31st March 1992 and published in the Gazette as the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to come into force with effect from 7th January 1993?”’
It is naïve to think that the PNDC would have ceded such an important issue to a newly established INEC with the experience a few days ago of the treachery in the Consultative Assembly. It is not discreet for me to say anything further, except to say that it was not a matter settled between the author, Mr Indispensable Know All, and the INEC as he pompously claims in his book.
THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC) IS BORN
The NDC is Born
The author in an attempt to expropriate the events leading up to the dynamics and interactions within the PNDC towards the formation of a political party creates the erroneous impression of a lineal progression of events. Captain Kojo Tsikata during the life of the PNDC gravitated towards his political roots, the CPP, and maintained a cohort of important members within the CPP whom he cultivated through various levels of state power at his disposal as National Security Advisor and later as PNDC Member and National Security Advisor. He also maintained a faction from the opposite side of the CPP whom he assisted in various ways.
Uncle Ebo Tawiah gravitated to both Captain Tsikata and Chairman Rawlings in his perspective of the future. Mr Justice D. F. Annan had been open since he became a PNDC Member about the fact that he had belonged to the UGCC faction of Ghanaian politics some of whom had become suspicious of his affiliation with the PNDC. Mr D. F. Annan made friends across all factions amalgamated within the PNDC and sought views from Cadres as well as what they thought of the eventual directions of the 31st December Revolution. The Cadres of the 31st Revolution were naturally hoping to continue with the revolutionary struggle within a non-partisan democratic framework in which the revolutionary organs would play a central part with Chairman Rawlings as leader or President. The foregoing constellation of events and perspectives necessitated a strategic ambiguous approach by the PNDC in the management of the transitional process to a constitutional democracy.
It had to take a pretender like the author, Kwamena Ahwoi, not to have seen that as far as the Chairman of the PNDC’s end-of-year address to the Nation in 1989 was concerned, it was not only factions within the PNDC but the whole nation that anticipated the imminent end of 31st December Revolution as a provisional government with its substitution with a multi-party form of constitutional government. The PNDC had lived its life with implacable opponents of the revolution who used every means including violence as a means of changing the regime.
The historical evidence shows that Chairman Rawlings’ end-of-year message to the nation in 1989 (referred to also as the new year broadcast) promised that the PNDC was to strengthen participatory democracy at the grass-root level and requested that the NCD initiate nationwide consultations with various groups to determine the country’s economic and political future. The political ambiguity as to the true intentions of the PNDC led to the opening of a new phase of their struggle against the PNDC.
The Ghana Bar Association issued a statement calling on the PNDC to immediately initiate processes for a referendum that would allow citizens to determine openly and transparently the form of constitutional government they wished for the country. The GBA also called for a national debate on Ghana’s political future. The Kwame Nkrumah Revolutionary Guards (KNRG) also issued a statement on 24th July 1990 calling for a return to multiparty democracy, for the lifting of the ban on political parties, and for the creation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution to be approved by a national referendum. Then, on 1st August 1990 the KNRG, other opposition organizations, and some prominent Ghanaians formed the Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ) with Professor Adu Boahen as its interim chairman. The stated objectives of the MFJ included the restoration of multiparty democracy and the rule of law in Ghana.
As the preface to the NCD’s “Evolving A True Democracy” showed, the Chairman of the PNDC’s 1991 New Year’s Day broadcast to the nation elaborated on the steps towards the next stages of the country’s political evolutionary process. He called on the NCD to present its report on the nationwide consultative seminars by March 1991 on the form of constitutional government Ghanaians preferred. The PNDC at the same time created the strategic ambiguity of stating that it did not favour multiparty democracy whilst some of its spokesmen signalled at the same time that the PNDC had an open mind on the matter.
Consequent to PNDC Chairman’s New Year broadcast, the debate about the country’s political future dominated political discourse in 1991 and became more acute within and outside the Consultative Assembly when it was convened in August 1991. At the opening of the Consultative Assembly, Chairman Rawlings announced that presidential and
parliamentary elections would be held before the end of 1992 with international observers allowed to observe the process. Consequently, before the government could announce the lifting of the ban on political parties many friendship societies and clubs such as Nii Okaija Adamafio’s Eagle club, the friends of Busia and Danquah, Kwame Nkrumah Welfare Society, and the Heritage Club were actively advocating their political persuasions. An Interim National Electoral Commission was appointed in February 1992, while the Consultative Assembly was still in session, to be responsible for the registration of voters, the conduct of fair elections, and the review of boundaries of administrative and electoral areas.
The dynamics of the formation of friendship societies, clubs, and fraternities as cover for the future political parties was manifest within the Consultative Assembly right from its inception. Representatives of the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution within the Consultative Assembly were not left out of this canvassing for allies for the future formation of political bodies for the evolving true democracy. Meetings and social parties and occasions were organized as a means to not only get support from the various groups and factions within the Assembly to support perspectives of the future constitution but also to secure allies for the future political formations in the country.
It is, therefore, simplistic, for the scholarly professor and author, to give the appearance to the future leaders who the author is hoping to be guided by his book that the PNDC waited for the referendum on the proposed constitution submitted by the Consultative Assembly to be approved before the internal dynamics of the Government turned to the future of the PNDC. The Government of the PNDC and its operatives would have been naïve to have waited so long to turn to the future of the PNDC, the cadres of the revolution and other consequential matters.
As Chairman of the House Committee of the Consultative Assembly, I had the privilege of liaising with the PNDC, particularly, Mr Justice D. F. Annan, Captain Kojo Tsikata and where necessary the Chairman of the PNDC to ensure the welfare of the Consultative Assembly. The position I occupied as a representative of Greater Accra Regional CDRs and Chairman of the House Committee of the Assembly was not accidental.
After my nomination by the CDRs for the Greater Accra Region as one of their representatives, the PNDC delegated Captain Kojo Tsikata, Mr William Addah and me to visit the Upper East Region to seek the consent and agreement of the Chiana Pe, Pe Rowland Adiali Ayagitam II to be the Speaker of the Consultative Assembly before his appointment by the PNDC was announced to the public. Amidu Sulemana was by then the PNDC Secretary for the Upper East Region and arranged the meeting with Pe Ayagitam in the Bolgatanga. The context of my presence can be traced to the fact that I was a former PNDC Deputy Secretary and acting PNDC Secretary for the Upper East Region, and also hailed from there. The PNDC was, therefore, acting strategically when it inserted me as the CDR representative for the Greater Accra Region into the Assembly even though at that time I had no idea it had intended Pe Ayagitam as the potential Speaker of the Consultative Assembly.
The status and the role I played within the Consultative Assembly allowed me to observe at close range and pick information and intelligence as to how the various formations and alliances taking place while the Consultative Assembly went about its duty of trying to fashion out a compromised proposal to form the future Constitution of Ghana. It became clear that the CPP elements within the Consultative Assembly and some of their collaborators outside the Assembly looked up to Captain Kojo Tsikata to deliver the future governance of Ghana to the Nkrumiahist tradition. The late Kwaku Boateng and Roland Atta Kerson who I met several times at the office of Captain Tsikata were convinced that the PNDC was going to hand over political power to them and wanted some of us to join their camp. The Chairman of the PNDC, Justice D. F. Annan, Nii Okaija Adamafio, the PNDC Secretary for the Interior and other cadres in and outside the Consultative Assembly knew about their perspective. The Busia and Danquah side in the Assembly were aware of the formations that were taking place within and outside the Assembly.
The debate whether the PNDC and its affiliates should break up and allow each person to join a political party of his or her own choice, or form a new political party, or join an existing political tradition were silently discussed amongst PNDC Members, PNDC Secretaries, Cadres, and groups within the government depending on whom one trusted in such matters.
What is of significance is that the author chose to forget the fact that the first steps to form or back a political party was initiated by Captain Kojo Tsikata. He was throughout the PNDC era the focal point for the CPP elements acting alongside his friend Kojo Botsio whom he adequately took care of. He maintained his close CPP associates such as Imoru Ayana, Roland Atta Kerson, Kweku Boateng, and others.
During the Consultative Assembly, Captain Kojo Tsikata consolidated his hold over these elements as they were invited to his office for discussions and strategizing for the impending return to constitutional rule. The late Roland Atta Kerson confided in me that they intended to form a political party and he hoped I would join them. I met Roland Atta Kerson and Kweku Boateng several times at Captain Tsikata’s office. Kweku Boateng was particularly convinced he was going to be the next constitutional President of Ghana and behaved like one even in the Consultative Assembly.
The first meeting leading to the eventual decision and the formation of the National Democratic Congress was held at the Bluegate office of Captain Kojo Tsikata to discuss the formation of a party by the government in addition to Captain Tsikata’s brainchild which later became the National Convention Party (NCP). This group of PNDC Members, the First Lady and her cortege of 31st December Women’s Movement friends and PNDC Secretaries had been meeting regularly on matters affecting the transition to constitutional rule. It was usually under the co-chairpersonship of Mr Justice D. F. Annan and Captain Kojo Tsikata.
It was at one of these meetings that Justice Annan raised the issue of the inability of Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, J. H. Owusu Acheampong, and himself, and others of the UP tradition to join a CPP-affiliated party in the transition to constitutional democracy. He explained that they had enjoyed working with the PNDC which was non-partisan and would like to continue into
the future with the team as a third force in Ghanaian politics, cutting across the CPP-UP divide which had polarized the nation. He passionately advocated for a middle-of-the-ground political party that they, from the UP tradition, could feel comfortable being part of having enjoyed working with everybody within the PNDC. He was ably supported in his advocacy by J.H. Owusu Acheampong and Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu. Mrs Rawlings attended this meeting and subsequent ones with her cortege. Mr Justice Annan’s proposal was accepted by the meeting and it was agreed that the new political party was to be in addition to what Captain Tsikata had already initiated with his CPP colleagues (to be the National Convention Party) within and outside the PNDC.
As I have stated already, word had already started making the rounds of the intention of Captain Tsikata to covertly transfer power from the PNDC to a CPP affiliated Party formation, the National Convention Party (NCP), and short-change Chairman Rawlings and the rest of the PNDC. That was when Mrs Rawlings became a regular presence at the Captain’s office meetings. She always attended with Cecilia Johnson and Sherry Ayittey both of the 31st December Movement. This was the genesis of the inter-group conflict between the Captain Tsikata faction and the 31 December Revolution Rawlings’ faction which will manifest in the NDC Government after the demise of the PNDC on 7 January 1993.
The other meetings discussed the name to assign to the new political party, the symbol of the party and its national anthem. Mrs Rawlings came up with the name, National Democratic Party (NDP). Captain Tsikata suggested that since it was the intention of the third force to amalgamate the residue of the PNDC who were not within his CPP formation, it would look more appropriate and convincing to call it a “Congress” of all those people. That was a reasonable suggestion.
When it came to the symbol for the party, many symbols came up, including the eagle, broom and what have you, until the then First Lady came up with the umbrella as the shade under which all the amalgamated group of former PNDC operatives would work under. It was at a subsequent meeting that she suggested that the head of the eagle be superimposed upon the umbrella. The colours of the party was also eventually suggested by the First Lady and her 31st December Women’s Movement. The former First lady and her group produced a drawing of what is now the NDC umbrella, flag, and symbols of the party. This explains the claim by the former First Lady of proprietary rights in the NDC symbols when she had to part company with the NDC to form her originally proposed National Democratic Party, years down the road.
Mr Justice D. F. Annan, and Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, who were both Members of the PNDC appeared to me at these meetings to have been singing from the same song sheet. I do not discount any prior discussions and meetings between them and Mrs Rawlings before Mr Justice Annan’s advocacy for the formation of a political party amalgamating the residue of the PNDC in the future constitutional regime. Surely, the discussions at the meetings at the Bluegate were reported to the Chapel meeting in the Castle for concurrence and approval.
Dr Obed Asamoah, who had more experience than any operative within the PNDC government in political party formation and organisation took over the real organization of the NDC including overseeing the decision to have founding members from all the districts of Ghana. I have no doubt from my observation, involvement, and experience of the formation of the NDC as a viable political party that without Dr Obed Asamoah, the NDC would have been stillborn. He mobilised funds and facilitated the setting up of a law office, radio station and other logistics to keep the party going. Most of these were to be subsequently expropriated by others as their privately acquired properties when the NDC lost the 2000 elections to the New Patriotic Party (NPP). It is true to say that the NDC was born on 10th June 1992 after the processes were completed, thanks to Mr Justice D. F. Annan, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Dr Obed Asamoah, J. H. Owusu-Achaempong, Nana Akuako-Sarpong, Nii Okaija Adamafio and many other cadres of the revolution including Augustus Tandoh who was destined to cause the defeat of the NDC in the 2000 elections.
My contention is that the author’s narration on page 94 of the book of how the name was chosen is flawed. There was no decision to get a name that much resembled the acronym PNDC. The name Mrs Rawlings suggested was NDP which was almost accepted until Captain Tsikata pointed out that Egypt had an NDP whose performance he did not think those who wished for the new party would want to be associated with and suggested the use of the word “Congress” which answered more to the amalgam of forces they proposed. This was accepted and the Chairman of the PNDC was to be briefed by Justice Annan, Captain Tsikata, and Mrs Rawlings.
The emblem was suggested by Mrs Rawlings in Captain Tsikata’s office at a meeting chaired by Justice Annan. If a Professor Kwame Addo, was later introduced to Rawlings at a Chapel meeting that might have been later but the initial suggestion by Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings took place at Captain Tsikata’s office. When the emblem of the “umbrella” was accepted Mrs Rawlings upon second thought suggested that the head of the eagle which symbolized the national aspiration should be put on top of the umbrella. The eagle until then was the symbol of Nii Okaija Adamafio’s Eagle Club which was the focal point of the organisation. The joke was that Madam had killed Okaija’s eagle and removed its head from the umbrella.
It also appears naïve that a scholar and professor who is presumed to be knowledgeable in the techniques and methods of research would ever assume that there were operatives of the PNDC called:
‘“….the military block led by the Chairman,…and including General Arnold Quainoo, which did not appear to belong to any of the historical political traditions and which was definitely non-ideological” (see page 92).
It is basic in the philosophy and methods of research that every subject has a worldview or ideology that guides the subject’s behaviour in life. The fact that the subject’s worldview or ideology is not overtly articulate does not mean it does not exist or the subject has none. How could Chairman Rawlings, General Arnold Quainoo and the so-called military block get involved in
Ghanaian politics through coup d’état without any ideology. Did they live in space when growing up so that one may contend that they had no worldly socialization, including political socialization, growing up and were not symbolic interactionists as human beings? But this is a scholar and a Professor of law writing to guide future leaders on the governance of this country.
After the National Democratic Congress was born it became clear that Chairman Rawlings was going to be its candidate for the 1992 Presidential elections. The National Convention Party (NCP) of Captain Kojo Tsikata was to nominate a Vice Presidential candidate. Hon. Kwaku Boateng who had expected the PNDC to hand over to the National Convention Party of Captain Kojo Tsikata refused to be Chairman Rawlings’ running mate from the NCP. In his place the NCP substituted Mr Kow Nkensen Arkaah as Chairman Rawlings, running mate.
Rawlings nationality is Challenged
By the arrangements for the return of the country to constitutional rule, the first presidential election was to be held on 3rd November 1992. The Chairman of the PNDC, Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings retired from the Ghana Armed Forces in September 1992 to enable him to formally offer himself for nomination and to contest the elections. The NDC then nominated Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, the Chairman of the PNDC as its Presidential candidate to contest the 1992 elections. He filed with the Interim National Electoral Commission his nomination papers including a statutory declaration to the effect that he was a citizen of Ghana by birth and did not owe allegiance to any foreign country. The statutory declaration was accepted by the INEC. Then on 12 October 1992, less than one month to 3 November 1992, the date fixed for the presidential election, Dr John Bilson brought an action in the High Court, Accra, as plaintiff, for a number of reliefs which in form and substance was a continuation of the opposition to the government of the PNDC since its inception. As will be seen clearly from the reliefs claimed by Dr John Bilson in the suit, which I am going to quote in extenso, the question of the nationality of the PNDC Chairman was a mere rouse to use the law to escalate an existing opposition to the government of the PNDC and the ability of the NDC to participation in the coming elections. The plaintiff asked for:
“(i) A declaration that the first defendant, Jerry John Rawlings, is a person unfit and disqualified from standing for or holding the office of President of Ghana.
(ii) A declaration that the second defendant, the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) grievously erred in accepting the candidature of the first defendant as President of the Republic of Ghana for the 3 November 1992 presidential elections, thus disabling it of conducting a free and fair presidential election.
(iii) A declaration that the wrongful and improper acceptance of the presidential candidacy of the first defendant by the second defendant contravened the Directive Principles of State Policy set out in section 1(1)(a) and 1(1)(b) of the Provisional National Defence Council (Establishment) Proclamation
(Supplementary and Consequential Provisions) Law, 1982 (PNDCL 42) by facilitating, encouraging or otherwise assisting the first defendant to obtain unfair advantage and unequal opportunity over and above other presidential contestants.
(iv) An order striking out the name of the first defendant from the list of persons contesting for the high office of President of Ghana in the 3 November 1992 Presidential election.
- (v) An order restraining the first defendant from holding himself out or campaigning on any platform or at any public forum whatsoever as the presidential candidate for the 3 November 1992 presidential election.
- (vi) An order restraining the second defendant from any further conduct and supervision of the 3 November 1992 presidential elections until the name and particulars of the first defendant have been struck out from the list of contestants for the high office of President of the Republic of Ghana.
- (vii) Any other relief or reliefs incidental to or in connection with the aforesaid that in equity the justice of the case would allow this honourable court to.”
On 21 October 1992 when the case came before the court and I announced myself, as the Deputy Attorney-General, appearing with my team for the second defendant, Interim National Electoral Commission, the late Mr Obeng-Manu who was the lawyer for the plaintiff raised an objection to the representation of the second defendant in the case by Attorney-General, his deputy and staff. The court heard arguments from both sides on the preliminary issue the same day and on the next day 22 October, 1992 overruled the objection in a written decision. The court ruled that the INEC is a public office and therefore its members and employees are servants of the Republic, consequently, the Attorney-General and his staff are obliged not only to defend them but also to offer them the necessary advice.
The Court, after delivering the written ruling then called upon Mr. Obeng-Manu to argue his motion for interim injunction against the first defendant only, since a motion filed by me on behalf of the second defendant to set aside the writ of summons against the second defendant had not been heard.
The plaintiff argued, inter alia, that the first defendant, Chairman Rawlings was not qualified under the Presidential Elections Law, 1992 (PNDCL 285), incidentally signed into law by the same Chairman Rawlings from standing or holding office as President of Ghana because he had a dual nationality which he had not renounced when he attained the age of 21 years. Mr. Obeng-Manu contended that the onus was on the first defendant to satisfy the court that he had renounced his foreign citizenship and therefore he was a Ghanaian by birth. The late Mr. Joe Reindorf, a distinguished lawyer and former Attorney-General who was the lawyer for Chairman Rawlings submitted that the plaintiff’s pleadings were vague and vexatious as no particulars were supplied in the plaintiff’s amended statement of claim which if considered
the court could say the first defendant is a non-Ghanaian. He accordingly urged the court to refuse the application for interim injunction.
Mr. Justice Essilfie Bondzie (late), the High Court Judge held that in the absence of particulars of how the first defendant acquired his alleged citizenship of the foreign country or the United Kingdom or both, his assertion that the first defendant held dual nationality was speculative and would be dismissed. The Court took judicial notice of the notorious fact that until September 1992, the first defendant was a member of the Ghana Armed Forces. As Head of State, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. He had been a member of two Governments of the Republic of Ghana and currently the Head of State of Ghana. It was therefore to be expected that in those capacities he had on several occasions sworn allegiance to the Republic of Ghana leading to the irresistible inference that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana. The Court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to establish a strong prima facie case by his pleadings or affidavit that the first defendant owed allegiance to a country other than Ghana, and on the facts greater hardship would be cause to the first defendant if he was prevented from contesting the elections, it was the duty of the Court to refuse the interim injunction.
Mr. Obeng-Manu also argued attacking the qualification for the first defendant to stand as a presidential candidate on the ground that there are criminal charges pending against him before a military court martial and since the charges have not been disposed of he should not be made to stand for the presidential election. The court held that as the plaintiff is merely complaining of criminal charges pending against the first defendant before a military court martial, his claim that the former should be disqualified from standing for the presidential election was misconceived.
The plaintiff also argued that the first defendant should be disqualified from standing for the presidential election because he held an office the function of which involve a responsibility for or in connection with the conduct of the elections. The Court took the view that it was clear from sections 3 and 4 of the Interim National Electoral Commission Law, 1991 (PNDCL 271) the INEC is the sole body charged with the conduct of the parliamentary and presidential elections and that it is not in the performance of its functions subject to the direction or control of any person or authority. The Court decided that by appointing persons on to the commission and passing a law as to when the election should be held, the first defendant cannot be said to be conducting elections.
The learned trial judge concluded that it was obvious that if the application for interim injunction was refused, the first defendant could stand for the election and if he won, the plaintiff could take out an election petition, if he was so advised, at the Supreme Court to challenge his elections. On the balance of convenience and hardship, therefore, the court was of the opinion that the application for interim injunction be refused. The plaintiff’s motion for an interim injunction against the first defendant was accordingly dismissed.
The political opposition never pursued the substantive suit it filed in the High Court after the refusal of its application for an interim injunction. But it never forgave Mr Justice Essilfie-Bondzie for exercising his judicial judgment in refusing their motion for an interim injunction. When Mr Justice Essilfie-Bondzie was eventually nominated to the Supreme Court he was abandoned by the NDC side in parliament and was not approved for appointment to the Supreme Court. I hope Mr Justice Essilfie-Bondzie died satisfied at least that he had given the ruling in the case in accordance with his conscience.
At the time Dr John Bilson brought his action against the Chairman of the PNDC and the INEC, the time for the filing of nominations for candidates for the presidential election had closed. Consequently, if the opponents of the PNDC had succeeded in disqualifying Chairman Rawlings from participating in the election, the NCP candidate whom Jerry John Rawlings had chosen as his running mate would have become the Presidential candidate for the NDC. The original plan within a faction of the PNDC to hand over power to the Nkrumahist faction within the PNDC and their CPP colleagues in the Consultative Assembly would have succeeded.
Hon. Kwaku Boateng had in anger refused to entertain the idea of being Jerry John Rawlings, running mate on the ticket of the NDC. Fortunately, those of us involved in the defence of the case against the second defendant were confident that our motion filed on behalf of the second defendant to set aside the writ of summons against the second defendant would have succeeded on the merits of the case.
Rawlings is President!
The good management skills and goodwill of the Chairman of the PNDC paid for itself at the elections and he easily won on any fair and transparent account of the elections. But the inter-group conflict within the PNDC on whether Rawlings should have handed over the reins of government to an established political camp would continue and lead to future disagreements within the former PNDC operatives in the NDC Government long after Rawlings was sworn in as the first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
The author of Working with Rawlings, a self-acclaimed learned professor of law referred in his concluding paragraph on the transition to constitutional rule that the formality for the return to constitutional rule was “concluded when on 7th January 1993 President Jerry John Rawlings was sworn into office by Chief Justice I. K. Abban as the First President of the Fourth Republic”. It is not true that Mr. Justice I. K. Abban was Chief Justice of Ghana on 7th January 1993. The author, who had referred to the 1993-1994 Ghana Law Report, Volume 2 must have been floppy in his research otherwise if even his memory had failed him, the names of justices of the Superior Court is listed in the volume of the Ghana Law Report he had referred to in the case of Bilson v Rawlings & Another. Mr. Justice P. E. N. K. Archer was the Chief Justice of Ghana who swore President Jerry John Rawlings into office as the first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. When I called former President Rawlings attention to this unpardonable error when the author’s book was published he told me that was how Karma works for liars.