Leaves have their time to fall, And flowers to wither at the north – wind’s breath, And stars to set; but all, Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death! … John Milton
This eulogy is written with deep humility and sorrow in honor of a great man who had given his whole life in the service of his beloved country, Ghana.
The death of former President Jerry John Rawlings has devastated the hearts of millions of Ghanaians and Africans beyond imagination. His demise has left a huge gap in the political arena of Ghana. The people who knew him and history could lend credence to the great changes he had done to make his country one of the most revered countries in Africa.
President Rawlings stood tall among his predecessors and successors as an incorruptible Ghanaian and African leader after Kwame Nkrumah. Conversely, what was heart wrenching was the manner in which he was vilified by his antagonists with baseless and of course, malicious allegations which were aimed at maligning his integrity.
Painfully, the worst defamation came from some executive members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party which he founded to stabilize democracy in the country. Yet, after his death, these same elements who castigated and formed a caucus of his detractors, were the very ones pretending to grieve, as though upholding his greatness pompously – a clear indication of their shameless attempt to capitalize on his sudden and unendurable demise for political gains, as the country draws close to election in days.
Arguably, the inappropriate “language” that was spewed out against President Rawlings by these members of his political party, most of which are unprintable, are beyond comprehension when all what President Rawlings did was to constantly sacrifice his life for the sake of his nation. Their unscrupulous remarks prior to his death had put a behemoth question mark on their commiserate statements after his death.
They are being hypocritical with statements that make them seem to admire and eulogize the man whom they had shamelessly berated prior to his untimely death. In one of the instances that saw his backstabbers in scornful attacks, was when the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, referred to President Rawlings as a “barking dog”.
In an article of Tuesday 11 October 2011 published on Ghanaweb the writer, Sarpong Justice noted with dismay, repeating what all the media had announced, about the General Secretary’s insult to his party’s founder. The writer stated, “General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah has said that issues and personalities that chased away Dr. Obed Asamoah from the ruling party had themselves been eliminated.
“Now the barking dog whose actions forced you out of the NDC no longer exists, so I would have been surprised if you had continued to stay outside…” Asiedu-Nketia said on Saturday at a home-coming ceremony of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) members, who were rejoining the NDC at the Arts Centre in Accra.”
President Rawlings, an affable, incorruptible altruistic leader, survived many coup and assassination attempts, some bloody, yet throughout his near 20 year rule he did not give up his fight on corruption. His outburst against corruption and ineptitude in governance, whether it was from his own party or other, was dubbed Rawlings’ “Boom Speeches”, by the media. Unfortunately, these did not earn him favor from the politicians in the divides, but won him great affection within the masses.
But President Rawlings was not the type to grovel for favours. He just did not wallow in them. Against this backdrop he became an arch enemy to the clique from his party, especially the Ahwois, who became de facto rulers during Prof. Atta Mills administration. This clique managed to instigate certain young party executives and ministers to haul insults at Past President Rawlings. His only crime, if you could call it that, was for criticizing his own party, when he saw things were going wrong.
To analysts, his Boom speeches ought to have been considered a guide, to steer the party right, and to put its leadership on its toes. But Rawlings was unperturbed and continued to call for the right things to be done. In a scathing description of the created circle of young politicians who were made to rain insults on him, he called them “Babies with sharp teeth”. These, he referred to the likes of Okudjato Ablakwa, Ofosu Kwakye, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah etc, who were so ungrateful to never look back at where they were before they became what they are. Today, death had taken its toll on the brave upright man, as would happen to every one, since death is inevitable. President Rawlings is now gone and free, to shame his detractors.
This was a leader whose presence drew crowds as his J.J initials became a household name. And to some extent made most newspapers/ media in general survive, since many would not sell without Rawlings in their headlines. His silence rendered some of the media insolvent. In fact, those newspapers that survived were the media houses, who concocted stories about Rawlings to elevate sales. The great leader is now breathing peace wherever he may be. It’s all over with the pretense of love from his backstabbers. They hated him for sticking to truth and for voicing it out irrespective of who was involved in criminal acts against the State.
Rawlings breathed peace in the early hours of November 12, and as Milton would put it in his Paradise Lost, “Solitude sometimes is the best society”. May His Excellency’s dear soul rest in peace, you are now free. Da yie J.J, our dearest.