Source: Ghanaweb Columnist: Hardi, Ibrahim
Today, Ghana is laughing loud and thankful to God for using Jerry John
Rawlings to emancipate the country. Love him or hate him, his place in
history is surely guaranteed. Besides our first President, Dr Kwame
Nkrumah, no political leader has had as much of an impact on Ghana as
Jerry John Rawlings, whose legacy for Ghana, ironically, is one of the
most peaceful and democratic dispensations on the African continent.
The dislike for the ex-president is boxing many otherwise sensible
people into a corner because they cannot bring themselves to see his
achievements or agree with anything he says.
Jerry John Rawlings was born and has lived all his life in Ghana. While many may
argue that some Government is made up of “real” Ghanaians, it is
important to keep in mind that fine, old adage: not everyone born in a
stable is a horse.
In the past some people tried to paint some
picture that nothing was done in 20 years of his rule”. And some people
wants to claimed they were the brains behind his success.
Past administrations uses this line of reasoning to hide their incompetence. A
well informed administration would have said “Not enough was done in 20
The following events took place during the 20 years of
Jerry Rawlings when “nothing happened” some people are trying to paint
According to the Economic Commission for Africa, poverty
in Ghana has declined from 52 per cent to 40 per cent over the past
period of 1992-2002.
Ghana was the first country in West Africa to
get connected to the Internet in the 90s thanks to the foresight of the
Rawlings/NDC administration. Today, Ghana’s capital city of Accra boasts
about thousands of Internet cafes, and every where people are now
browsing even in their pockets.
Public telephone booths: Ghana had 30 in 1995. In 1998 it has mushroomed to 1,814.
Decentralization of Government, i.e. creation of District Assemblies was implemented
Freedom of Press: Former president Kufuor and his cohorts want us to
believe this happened in his time. Most of the FM stations, all
independent TV stations, and private newspapers we have today, were
established under the Jerry Rawlings administration. In the 90s we
already had radio phone-ins, opposition papers (Accra Daily Mail,
Statesman, Independent etc).
Ghana stock exchange was setup in February 1989 under Jerry Rawlings. According a United Nations’ Food and
Agriculture Organization annual hunger report, after declining for
years, the number of people in the world who are going hungry is on the
rise. However, Ghana succeeded in reducing the number of undernourished
people throughout the 1990s.
The only national theatre, and the most unique building we have in central Accra, was built in the 90s. Prior
to this the art council, which was an eyesore was our national theatre.
Aboadze Thermal Plant was built when Jerry Rawlings was in power.Tema
Oil Refinery was built & expanded (Lawyer Tsatsu Tsakata was then
the Chief executive officer) under the Rawlings administration and when
he left office,the next adminstration sold its drill ship and rather
wants him to come and account for his stewardship at GNPC.Was he also
part of the selling of the drill ship?.
Mobile Phones networks: In the 90s,Ghana had 3 operators , while most Africa countries had none.
Ghana was the first to get a digital network in West Africa under him.
Education: In 1979, Ghana had 3 universities. Today there are many
Government ones and private ones before he let office. If the climate
was not good, how come private enterprise set these up?. We have a
polytechnic in almost every region in; majority of them were built under
According to “the world bank” road networks in Kumasi, Northern, Brong Ahafo and other parts of the country have
inproved considerably in the last years under him. Not npp regime.
Only two companies in Africa, outside South Africa, had a market
capitalization of more than $1 billion in the 90s: One was Ghana’s
Ashanti Goldfields. This was achieved under the Rawlings regime. In a
desire to beautify and decongest Accra, the Kanda and the Sankara
interchanges were consequently built under him.
Moslems were recognized under the Rawlings regime: Eid-Ul-Fitr was made a holiday in
Sports: Ghana won an African Nations Cup; Two U17 world soccer
championships; two African club championship; Four world boxing titles.
Today our national soccer team is a mockery,Although they are now
appearing in the world cup.
Free & fair Elections: Npp will say
dont go there because they came out with ”Stolen Verdict”. Rawlings
was one of the few heads of states in Africa to have organized a free
and fair election. Most African leaders who ruled or are ruling as long
as Rawlings – Mobutu (Zaire), Siad Barre (Somalia), Mengistu Haile
Mariam (Ethiopia), Mugabe (Zimbabwe), – left or will leave their country
in chaos. …etc
It was said Rawlings Left Ghana in Huge debts?. In
2000, Ghana had a total debt of US$5.5 billion, accumulated since 1966
& not only within the last 20 years as some people in the past would
want us to believe. In just years, our debts have ballooned.
Atrocities were also said to be committed?. Most detractors remember the
bloody days when Rawlings’ supporters killed their opponents, the days
of witch-hunts against the middle class, the revolutionary days. For his
last years in power Rawlings was elected to office and under his rule
Ghana has developed into a peaceful, democratic country.
Nobody can dispute the fact that atrocities were committed under Rawlings. However,
only a dim-witted will disagree that atrocities were committed under so
called Great presidents/heads of state; E.g. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana,
Political persecution), Roosevelt (USA, Slavery, racial discrimination,
Lynching), Churchill (Britain, Colonization, racial discrimination),
Mahatma Gandhi (India, Caste murders, discrimination) etc
For people who claim to believe in the rule of law and the principle of
“innocent until proven guilty”, it’s hard for me to contemplate why all
the hullabalo about this great man.
Ibrahim Hardi 0208235615