(HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, DEAR READERS OF THIS PAGE AND OF TODAY).
We are lucky to begin the year with a critical issue that goes to the heart of the political system we the people of Ghana have chosen, certified and accepted as the means of organising our political system as a basis for our economic and social development. It is critical, because in the terminology of this page, its ultimate core issues hit very hard at the welfare and progress of the people, the Republic of Ghana, and ultimately the people of the African Union.
So, what is the issue?
On Wednesday, January 02, 2019, Ti-Kelenkelen was on his way to serve his country and continent in the current capacity he is obliged to do so in when he saw wreaths laid out at the small square directly across Africa Liberation Road from Jubilee House. With the highest possibility, those wreaths were laid out there on December 31, 2018. Now, anyone who knows it is former President Jerry John Rawlings who built that square and the reason he built it will have his mind flooded with questions. And those are questions that arise precisely because of the reason Rawlings built that square vis-à-vis what the Jubilee House represents, an epitome of the kind of political system we the Republic of Ghana have fashioned out for ourselves and are currently running.
Necessity of Candidness
Ti-Kelenkelen cannot tell if the former president reads this page. However, what he can tell, for sure, is that someone close to him or at least someone who loves him and cares what people say about him does read this page, at least once in a while. And so may see this article and misconstrue its contents to mean Ti-Kelenkelen is looking into the face of the man who is one of the elder statesmen of this continent. Far from that!
The point is that this page has a philosophy – the welfare and progress of the people – and that is the reference point for every issue Ti-Kelenkelen places on the table each time. That philosophy obliges Ti-Kelenkelen to be candid but respectful, and so he pleads here that no Dear Reader take his candidness herein to mean, taflatse, a looking into the face of the elder statesman. If from January 7, 1993 Rawlings sacrificed his personal life to do service to the people at the highest point in the land (not looking at the outcomes here), it certainly must be because he cared about the welfare and progress of the people.
Certainly, one of the surest ways to effectively work towards and attain the welfare and progress of the people is for us to be candid with each other. We have to be respectful yet candid in our utterances and actions while keeping in the sharpest focus in mind our commonness as human beings with common aspirations – as “one nation, one people, [with] one destiny.” To zero in a little closer on specifics, we have to be frank with ourselves about the significance of the landmarks of the exigencies of our past, since most a historians’ or philosophers’ (or generally a humanities scholars’) work is to help us in the present understand what has already been in order that we might more efficiently order more effectively our march into the future.
(Before coming to the main issue we need to refresh our memory with some history). Nkrumah won a seat to Parliament in the 1951 election to become Head of Government Business. This was the commencement of preparation for independence. He again won the 1954 election and 1956 election. Thus Independence Day, March 6, 1957, is the day Ghana gained independence from the British, and Kwame Nkrumah became Prime Minister of Ghana. Yet the British queen still held our constitution and we could not change anything in it without her consent. On July 1, 1960, Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana a republic, so that we could draft our own constitution and apply it to manage our own affairs without reference to anybody. On that day Ghana became a republic and Nkrumah the President.
By 1966 Ghana’s economy was in dire straits. So while Nkrumah was on his way to Hanoi as an official mediator in the Vietnam conflict, Colonel, E.K. Kotoka and Major A. A. Afrifa organised the first coup d’état to overthrow a constitutional democracy in Ghana. General Ankrah led the National Liberation Council (NLC) for a while and resigned. Then, there was a failed coup d’état to overthrow the NLC. The coup d’état was code-named Operation Guitar Boys and was led by Lt. Moses Arthur, 2nd Lt. Osei-Poku and Warrant Officer George Ofosu. During that coup, the then Chief of Defence Staff, Kotoka, was killed. In 1969, the NLC then organised an election.
In 1969, Dr. K.A. Busia was elected Prime Minister by the people as first leader of the Second Republic. He was elected for a four-year term, but was in office for only 20 months. In January 1972, Colonel I.K. Acheampong overthrew the constitutional democracy, and was head of state for about seven years in the capacity of chairman of the National Redemption Council, which later metamorphosed itself into Supreme Military Council (SMC). By 1978, the economic situation in the country was dire, and (then General) Acheampong tried to create a Union Government (UNIGOV) of military officers and civilians. There was a referendum on it, but Ghanaians voted NO to UNIGOV. By now Acheampong’s popularity had plummeted. In an attempt to pacify Ghanaians and save themselves, General Akuffo (Acheampong’s main man) conducted a palace coup d’état, placed his boss under house arrest, and replaced the latter as leader of the re-constituted military regime (SMC II).
The interesting point at this stage is that, General Akuffo had already started processes to return Ghana to constitutional rule – the National Electoral Commission was already up and working, there has been a call to elections, political parties had been created, campaigns had commenced, etc. Even an election date had been set and Ghanaians were preparing to go to the polls.
(See also yirenkyilamptey.wordpress.com)
“If from January 7, 1993 Rawlings sacrificed his personal life to do service to the people at the highest point in the land…, it certainly must be because he cared about the welfare and progress of the people.”
“Certainly, one of the surest ways to effectively work towards and attain the welfare and progress of the people is for us to be candid with each other.”
“To zero in a little closer on specifics, we have to be frank with ourselves about the significance of the landmarks of the exigencies of our past.”
Ti-Kelenkelen by: Yirenkyi Lamptey