The Missing Dialogue! (Final)
The industrial revolution has had a history to tell in Europe, within which could be found sandwiched the suffering of masses of people, diseases and social ills that accompanied the toil to survive. Diseases such as Tuberculosis, Cholera, the Black Plague, et cetera, were rampant. Young chimneysweeps died of cancer of the bladder. Europe had, in all states, kings ruling the people, or at some stage, “The Holy Roman Catholic Empire, wielding political power too.” Whichever form it took, “human torture” and dissatisfaction were factors you could not miss. In our local scenario, it once happened that senior officers in the armed forces, including former heads of state, were tried in a special court erected by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, convicted, and executed. But, planned elections took place all the same, and a former diplomat, Dr. Hilla Limann of the revamped Nkrumah’s party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), emerged victorious. His regime (1979-81) was toppled also, on a fateful New-Year’s day, 1981. The man responsible was, again, the very “populist” Jerry John Rawlings. He stayed in power as such for eleven years, and metamorphosed into a civilian ruler, riding on the saddle of a political party he founded, the National Democratic Congress (NDC). As NDC Chairman, he won elections for two terms consecutively, but lost power to the New Patriotic Party, led by Mr. J.A. Kufuor (JAK), a lawyer cum businessman, in AD 2000. JAK and his “boys” ruled for eight good years. Their slogan was “Property Acquiring Democracy.” So, Ghana enjoys the respect of the rest of the world as an illustrious democracy, following a turbulent past. Who then, could whisper anything was missing? We have all read something about the French Revolution of 1789, where Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were tried by a tribunal and executed. Another example would be Nicolas II and his entire family, whose turn it was in October 1917/18, that turned the vast empire into the Soviet Union, which stayed the sharpest of dictatorships for 74 years. There have been many revolutions, and we intend not to chase them all, nor attempt to justify any, and/or condemn others, just for the sake that they once occurred. So much has been written, a couple of times, by those who were directly involved, as by scholars, who, since they happened, have studied the intentions (the motivations), the circumstances, and THE LESSONS! Recently, it was announced in Ghana that a book, written by Dr. K. Ahwoi and others of the NDC, had been launched. It was said to be available at the various bookshops, including that of the University of Ghana, Legon. The author herein has tried and failed to secure a copy. Most of what is said to be true about the violent change of power, 1979 and 1981, are rumours by people who may claim they had it “firsthand.” Who says that is good enough? There should be scholars, who feel what happened then, was not out of any instant situation, but “an explosion of what had been simmering for a decade or two.” What is it then? The French revolution, especially, was an example of a situation, which the people, in all ranks of the society, felt “they needed such a change,s” so it happened! They purged with it the French society clean of all impurities. The French community today is without doubt, miles better off than what existed before the landmark events of 1789, so the French claim. Not finger-pointing, but listen to what one concerned father said to the author recently, concerning the Republic we must all love: “You go a borrowing to send your daughter to school (and I mean the tertiary institution) – the University. When she graduates, you go yet again, to court the bank or loved ones (if any), to feed her indefinitely, for a “lover may not be quick in coming.” From one official, “we aren’t competitive enough to beat Brazil, so we can’t raise enough birds to market – Turkey tails! We ought to import them from Brazil.” The opponent from the other platform is asking for the multitudinous nation to come and take over “home-construction” completely. Completely; it means experts and unskilled labor alike, must arrive from the land of the rising sun.” But, we may have read about Japan, when for two hundred years it was all and only Japan. None came in, and none went out. China closed in completely too, after “the long march of 1949.” Did they derive any benefit in so doing? “Good question”, is the answer a friend gives me each time we happen to discuss this never-ending philosophy. There is a third party, who thinks we need to begin to do things differently. Not like the Chinese did, not like the Japanese did, and lastly, not like the Koreans either. A brand new way! Yes! That is not “going to” be easy! That is the opinion of one man, who spent as many as forty birthdays, from when he was twenty, in America. He thinks he has not seen one example of a success story packaged in America, and unraveled somewhere else, say in the Philippines. If ours works out successfully, based on the “American dream”, it would be the first miracle “since Jesus left.” We don’t obey laws like they must do in America, right? We, the adults, who witnessed the turbulent past all of it, or even part of it, owe it to our youth, what we haven’t been able to tell them about the “revolutions”. Many graduate young men and women “remember” Kwame Nkrumah only as “the man who took Ghana’s wealth and distributed it to the rest of Africa.” The joke (for those who may see it as such) continues this way: “A man called Patrice Lumumba of the joke mood, or even mode, take this one too. Intellectual young men of our Republic exist, who believe “Oseikrom” (Kumasi) was once deservedly called the Belgium-Congo, would have done similar things.” He wasn’t given a chance. He reigned as Prime Minister for only seven months, and half of it was in the cruelest incarceration modern times has ever registered. ”Since you might still be in the “Garden City”, because, at the time, a lot of white men and women domiciled in it.” Yes, we owe it to them, a dialogue! How many other ways to success, as a nation, do we know exist?!
Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD
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