The 90s presented perhaps, the worst chapter in the otherwise chequered history of Ghanaian politics at the time. It was a period considered by many, as sordid, if not more than Kwame Nkrumah’s Preventive Detention Act (PDA) days in the 1960’s.
The PDA made it impossible for dissenting views and anyone caught under the Act was summarily thrown into jail without trail; let alone to talk of fair-trail. In all of its repressive ramifications, the PDA did not recommend death penalty for flouters.
In the heady days of Rawlings’ PNDC- the period from 1981 through to the very early 90’s however, it was scaring and dangerous to live in Ghana. And for the opposing political elements, their best bet was to seek asylum elsewhere to avoid squaring off with Rawlings’ goons— manifested in, and represented by his 64 Military Commandoes.
Students leaders at the time—Boakye Agyarko, Oduro Kwarteng, Arthur Kennedy, Kweku Paintsil and many others sought refuge in many Western countries when they came into conflict with Rawlings and were about to experience the wrath of the Commando assassins.
Politicians like J.H. Mensah, Kwame Sarfo Adu, Dsane Selby and many others joined the bandwagon. Most mainly lived in the United Kingdom (UK). The media was not spared of Rawlings’ blushes. Kabral Blay Amihere, Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt, Tommy Thompson, John Kugblenu among others, who dared stayed home, were either cowed into hiding or were jailed at some point in the course of their practice.
The supposedly, first civilian administration in the 4th Republic, was nothing democratic but a continuation of the harsh Rawlings' regime. His political party, the NDC controlled every government structure at the time.
The constitution was made tailored to suit the whims of Rawlings. It protected and absolved him of all wrong doing during his tenure as head of state. It also made it possible for Rawlings to select majority members of parliament to form his cabinet.
The NDC also had absolute majority in parliament because the opposition boycotted the parliamentary elections on grounds that the earlier 1992 presidential election was rigged to favour Rawlings, ahead of his leading opposition contender, Albert Adu Boahene.
Those who dared the system summarily and shockingly “vanished” into thin air or were incarcerated with no right of legal representation. It was akin to the abduction and murder of the three High Court Judges and the retired Army Officer in 1982.
But for the unusual rain that fell on the dawn of 30th June 1982 at the Bundase Military range, where they were shot by Rawlings’ operational boys, the bodies of the four people would not have been found. Many Ghanaians who could not have the presence of such providence and were abducted under similar circumstances brazenly lost their lives.
In 1995, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom incurred the wrath of Rawling and his terror squad. The Ghanaian businessman had relocated to Ghana in the late 80’s, seeking job openings in Ghana. Before then, his second “home-country” was the United States of America.
He won massive state contracts because his profession was quite unique and suited the restructuring of many distressed public entities in Ghana. As Systems Analyst Specialist, Dr. Nduom, thus won consultancy jobs with the State Enterprises Commission (SEC).
He restructured state institutions like the Ghanaian Times, the Daily Graphic and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Coming from a free country like America, Dr. Nduom thought it was time to engage in some positive politicking in Ghana.
How wrong his calculations were! He picked the wrong trajectory in his infant political journey. Nduom took on the Rawlings regimes both military and civilian in his maiden public political forum. It was at the 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper.
The Ghanaian Chronicle was one of the newspapers that Rawlings hated with passion; together with the Free Press, The Independent and The Statesman newspapers. Nduom criticized Rawlings and his dictatorship, the human right violations and many wrongs under his watch.
The day after the presentation, Rawlings called for the cancellation of all state contracts awarded to Nduom and his Deloitte and Touche Consulting, Ghana. All of these, occurred behind Nduom who jetted to the United States immediately after the Chronicle lecture.
It was on his way to the University of Philadelphia, where he had been invited to give a lecture that he got wind of the cancelation of his contracts from a relative. He was shocked, as equally as his relative. Nonetheless, he managed to return home to confirm for himself, the horrible news.
Then the real persecution started. One midnight, his North Ridge residence was besieged by the Rawlings’ loyal 64 Batallion Military Commandoes. They demanded Nduom surrendered himself for questioning.
Every member of the Nduom family was caught up the “North Ridge Operation” snuff out Nduom. The news got to the US Embassy in Ghana as well as to some top Ghanaian journalists. The journalists included Nana Kofi Coomson, Kabral Blay Amihere, Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt, Haruna Attah among others.
The then United States Information Service (USIS) Director, Nick Robertson, informed his mission about the horrible plight of the Nduoms. In less than no time, the US Embassy would issue a sterner to Rawlings and his commandoes.
Indeed, it became clear that any attempt by Jerry Rawlings on the Nduoms would have serious repercussions on Ghana’s relations with the US. Dr. Nduom’s wife, Mrs. Yvonne Nduom is a naturalized American citizen and all his children are American citizens by virtue of being born on a US soil.
Americans are over-protective of their own and indeed were not prepared to lose their nationals to Rawlings’s monstrous system that was once described by US President, Donald Reagan, as “14 million cowards led by a bastard”.
Content created and supplied by: RKeelson (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More