By Martin A. B. K. Amidu
Disclosure of Possible Conflicts of Interest in Writing this Critique
I stated in my concluding introductory presentation of this critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings that I intend to be guided by the hallowed ethics of accountable and transparent writing which require professionals or academics of any breed who engage in any serious discourse for public education, guidance and consumption to disclose everything which the public must take into account in assessing the veracity of their work.
I am accordingly going to state fairly soon what I sincerely believe may be possible biases and conflicts of interest on my part which I must guard against and which the reading public must know from the onset in my attempt to present, as far as humanly possible, an objective critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings.
The disclosures I make will assist me to bring myself within the acceptable ethical standards empowering me to critique the author’s book in an accountable and transparent manner.
I wish, therefore, from the onset to begin with a confession of my career shortcomings. I failed my First University Examinations (FUE) in African Studies in the University of Ghana. It used to be elegantly stated in generous language as being referred in African studies.
I passed it at my second world war, as student’s used to refer to the re-sit of the paper, otherwise I passed all my undergraduate and professional law exams and later my conflict resolution exams at one sitting without going to any second or third world war or cowardly flee the battle field altogether. One could have attained the highest grades at the degree level but the award of the degree was withheld until one fought the world wars and became victorious in African Studies.
My second confession is that the author and I, who considered ourselves as Vandal mates from our student days at the Commonwealth Hall and the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana disagreed on an ethical issue in 1990/1991 on the condition precedent for presenting legislation to the Chairman of the PNDC for his signature within the mandate of PNDCL 42.
This arose from a letter I wrote to the Chairman of the PNDC as the PNDC Deputy Secretary for Justice and Attorney-General with reference number L. 21/87/Vol. II dated 28th December 1990 on the Local Government (Amendment) (NO. 2) Law, 1990. Nana Ato Dadzie, the PNDC Secretary, PNDC Secretariat, for some reason decided to write letter with reference number PNDC/S. 272/Vol. 3 dated 3rd January 1991 to the PNDC Secretary for Local Government requesting him to submit his reaction to my letter (which he enclosed) to enable him place the matter before the Chairman of the PNDC.
It set off a series of unpalatable exchanges as a result of which the PNDC Secretary for Local Government (the author – like his late friend P.V. Obeng before him) presumptuously demanded for my dismissal by the Chairman of the PNDC. The PNDC Chairman as usual ignored the demand. Instead, the PNDC Chairman got Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu to mediate an uneasy peace between the two of us whom the Chairman referred to as his able lieutenants.
The letter I wrote to the Chairman of the PNDC dated 28th December 1990 was innocently written and without any malice at the time it was written. But subsequently, certain facts that came to my notice in London in or around September 1993 educated me in hindsight that Nana Ato Dadzie was privy to facts about the author I was ignorant about at the time I wrote the letter. Nana Ato Dadzie used the occasion to provoke a fight between the author and I by calling for the author’s reaction to my letter. Nana Ato Dadzie achieved the result he wanted.
I thought the matter was settled but after my nomination and introduction at the Castle meeting on 3rd September 2000 as the NDC running mate for the 2000 elections the author walked up to me, congratulated me, told me my nomination was proof that the system works no matter how long it took for recognition to come. He assured me that he could always forgive even if he could not forget.
The innocent letter bomb I threw to the Chairman of the PNDC which set Nana Ato Dadzie in motion concluded as follows:
“8. I should state that as a person duly enrolled to practice the profession of law in Ghana I find myself in a seriously unethical position of having to conduct Government’s legislative business in this manner. I am however compelled to forward the Law to avoid any possible delays in the execution of Government policy if insisting on ethics will have this effect.”
At the time of writing these innocent words on 28th December 1990 I did not know and could not have imagined that the author had not been enrolled on the roll of lawyers.
I am stating these facts to put myself within the requirement of transparency and accountability to the public who are going to be consumers of this paper. I have an ethical duty to bring the reading public’s attention to any matters which will make my critique appear biased so they may guard against it in assessing my critique.
Having delivered myself of this burden, I can now say and demonstrate that I am qualified to attempt a critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s book, “Working with Rawlings” because of my antecedents within the 31st December Revolution and the PNDC, and the NDC Governments under the Fourth Republican Constitution which spans more than the period the author was actively a minister of state and writes about.
Review of Qualification to Write This Critique Of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings And Highlighting Some of His False Assertions
On 31st December 1981, I was in private practice as a professional lawyer with Mr. Asochina Ajumbra Luguterah, in his Lugu Chambers in Tamale, having been duly enrolled on the roll of lawyers in Ghana on 11th November 1978. I worked with the PNDC from February 1982 to 6th January 1993. I started as a member of the Interim Northern Regional Coordinating Secretariat of the Peoples’ Defence Committees and Workers’ Defence Committees (PDCs/WDCs).
In February 1982 I was appointed Chairman of the Committee of Enquiry into the Cotton Development Board with Edward Karbo, of Town and Country Planning Department, Tamale (now the Lawra Naa) and One Mr. Agyemang, then teaching at the Ghana Secondary School, Tamale, as members. The sub-committee of the National Investigation Committee (NIC) completed its work and presented its report to, Mr. John Ndebugre, the then PNDC Secretary for Northern Region in December 1982.
In January 1983 my name was included in a public announcement by the PNDC to report to the Castle for an interview. I met Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, Kwame Peprah, Ohene Kena, Yaw Donkor, and others who also came for the interview at the Castle. The late PNDC Member, Mr. Ebow Tawiah, the late Professor Ansah Asamoah, Mr. John Ndebugre and others constituted the interview panel.
On or around 20th February 1983 a number of the interviewees were appointed by the PNDC to various positions. Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, Kwame Peprah, Ohene Kena and I were appointed Deputy PNDC Secretaries. I was posted to the Upper East Region as PNDC Deputy Secretary.
I doubled as the Acting PNDC Secretary for the Upper East from February 1984 to September 1984 when Mr. Ndebugre was reshuffled to the Ministry of Agriculture. I also served in the PNDC Government in various capacities until 6th January 1993.
I was thrust by the PNDC into playing various roles during its tenure in office. I am proud to have had the opportunity alongside other committed comrades to have fulfilled, without incident, my internationalist obligations to the international revolutionary struggle in Africa. Whilst serving as PNDC Secretary for Volta Region, in 1988, the PNDC offered me the opportunity to double as Chairman of the NIC Sub-committee to investigate malpractices at the then Social Security Bank Limited, an assignment responsible for the eventual reorganization of that Bank.
I am also proud to have been reluctantly thrust by command of the PNDC into the Consultative Assembly, 1991 only to become the Chairman of the House Committee. I was one of the nominees of the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Committees of the CDR to the Assembly.
I contested for the nomination when Captain Kojo Tsikata requested me to do so after informing me that the author had refused his request to contest as one of the nominees to represent the CDR for Greater Accra. I combined my positions in the Consultative Assembly with that of Deputy Attorney General and PNDC Secretary for Justice.
I was the liaison between the Consultative Assembly and the PNDC, interacting frequently with Justice D. F. Annan and Captain Kojo Tsikata for the evolving true democracy.
As Chairman of the House Committee of the Consultative Assembly 1991, and liaison between the PNDC and the Assembly, I was consulted and played several roles in the evolving democratic process which the PNDC had articulated from its inception under section 32 of the PNDC (Establishment) Proclamation (Supplementary and Consequential Provisions) Law, 1982 (PNDCL 42) by setting up a National Commission for Democracy (NCD).
The NCD was in addition to performing functions related to elections, “to (e) formulate for the consideration of Government programme for a more effective realization of a true democracy in Ghana”. Factually, Mr. Justice Annan who was later to become PNDC Member and Chairman of the NCD was not an operative of the PNDC when PNDCL 42 was enacted.
The erroneous impression painted by the author as though it was the author’s super- intelligence, vision and efforts that instructed the PNDC in its decentralization programme for a true democracy when he became a PNDC Secretary for Local Government in late 1988, is therefore, a half-truth and deceitful for a scholar as I will soon demonstrate.
In May 1992 after the dissolution of the Consultative Assembly, the PNDC decided and instructed me through Mr. Justice Annan to represent the PNDC Government as lead advocate in cases brought against the Government in Court. When I objected, Mr. Justice Annan asked me to lodge my appeal upstairs because he was only a messenger.
I did not appeal and that was what brought me face to face with then Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo in the first quasi-constitutional case of Gbedemah & 28 Others v Interim National Electoral Commission, 26th May 1992, High Court, Accra (Unreported).
This was the case in which Mr. K. A. Gbedemah and 28 Others (including the late Mr. J. B. da Rocha who deposed to the opposing affidavit against the application by the Defendant raising preliminary objection to the action) sought the enforcement of their fundamental human rights under the 1992 Constitution which had been approved at the referendum on 28th April 1992 to come into force on 7th January 1993.
Technically this was the first constitutional case after the approval at the referendum of the 1992 Constitution. Bilson v Attorney-General [1993-1994] 2 GLR 413 was the second quasi-constitutional case in which I was the lead lawyer for the PNDC Government as the 2nd Defendant and not the first as erroneously implied by the scholar-author in his book. Mr. Joe Reindorf was the lawyer for the 1st Defendant. I have run ahead of myself!
I also feel honoured that the Chairman of the PNDC who did not know me personally before my appointment had built such trust and confidence in my poor intellect and capabilities that (whilst I was in the Upper East Region, later at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industries Science and Technology and at the Volta Regional Administration) he persistently passed messages through Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, PNDC Member, to me to hold myself in readiness for a job he had in store for me to perform for the revolution.
I was compelled to accept a transfer to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as PNDC Deputy Secretary to support the venerable Gertrude Zakaria-Ali the pioneer Deputy Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development after I tendered my resignation from the Government on grounds of corruption by some colleagues at the Upper East Regional Administration. Mr. K. Acquah Harrison had become the PNDC Secretary after his former Ministry of Rural Development and Co-operatives was merged with the Ministry of Local Government before I was posted there.
Mr. J. A. Kuffuor was the first PNDC Secretary for the Ministry under the PNDC. He was followed by Mr. Kwame Dwomoh-Kessie, and Mr. F. A. Jantuah as PNDC Secretaries for Local Government before Mr. K. Acquah-Harrison under whom I worked. By virtue of my service as PNDC Deputy Secretary for the Upper East Region and Acting PNDC Secretary for the Upper East Region for nine months in 1984, and my subsequent appointment as PNDC Deputy Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development in January, 1986, I know as a matter of fact that the author was not and could not have been the architect of the Local Government and Rural Development policy and structures which had been evolved from the inception of the PNDC to ensure the decentralization and democratization of the Local Government structures in Ghana long before he ever got near the Ministry as a PNDC Secretary.
The author has over the years usurped the collective achievement of the PNDC and its numerous PNDC Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries for Local Government, and the Regional Secretaries who labored incrementally to establish a true democratic and decentralized structure for Ghana. The author has persistently behaved as though there was no firm basis established by his predecessors when the author was belatedly appointed a PNDC Secretary in 1988.
The author’s claims to expertise and being the architect of the collective achievement of the PNDC and NDC Governments under the Chairmanship and Presidency of Flt. Lt. Rawlings which have gone unchallenged does a great disservice to transparent and accountable disclosure required of any person who lays claims to being a scholar.
But this is a Sir Cecil John Rhodes scholar, if one knows who Sir Cecil John Rhodes was in the Pan Africanist struggle for emancipation and freedom in Southern Africa
And it came to pass! I became the first and only Deputy PNDC Secretary and Deputy Attorney General under the PNDC from 21st October 1988 to 6th January 1993: the professional revolutionary assignment the PNDC Chairman had apparently held in store for me as a lawyer. I was appointed Deputy Attorney-General and PNDC Deputy Secretary for Justice on 21st October 1988 at a time when the incumbent Attorney-General had been hospitalized.
I was, thrust by the PNDC into having responsibility for the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General. Mr. E. G. Tanoh who was PNDC Secretary for Chieftaincy Affairs was later given supervisory responsibility with me literally holding the fort for Mr. G. E. K. Aikins until Mr. E. G.Tanoh was reshuffled as Attorney General and PNDC Secretary for Justice in December 1990. I remained the only Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General under the NDC1 and the NDC 2 Governments till Professor Mills and I lost the 2000 elections.
It was not possible for any legislation to be passed into law without the involvement of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice. First and foremost the Committee of Secretaries or the Cabinet had to recommend a PNDC Secretary or Minister’s legislative proposals for consideration and enactment.
The Attorney General and his Director of Legislative Drafting had to scrutinize the proposed legislation before submission to the enacting authority for consideration. No Minister has the ability solely by himself to consider policy proposals and turn them into draft proposals for law without the approval and concurrence of the Executive Authority.
The supporting public servants servicing the Secretary or Minister with their technical expertise were a charge on the consolidated fund and not on the Minister’s personal resources. It could not, therefore, as the author wishes the whole world to believe that he is the architect and author of all the achievements of the PNDC and NDC1 and NDC2 Government in the sphere of Decentralization and Local Government.
The Report on “Evolving A True Democracy” presented to the PNDC by the NCD on 25th March 1991 does not even support the author’s spurious claims. There is a word for any scholar who adopts the work of a collective for any scholarly achievement without expressly acknowledging those contributions.
The Chairman of the PNDC also appointed me concurrently as the Chairman of the Public Agreements Board under paragraph 42 of PNDC Law 42 from 1989 to 6th January 1993. As Chairman of the Public Agreements Board the PNDC mandated me to attend its meetings in my personal capacity as the Board Chairman, in order to defend the recommendations of the Board. I say confidently that the PNDC under the Chairmanship of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings never approved a public agreement which was dis-recommended by the Board even though I incurred the displeasure of some PNDC Members, and PNDC Secretaries for the Board recommending against the approval of some of their public agreements.
In the ELKON-SIC agreement, for instance, brought by the Ministry of Works and Housing to the Board, the Chairman of the PNDC stood by Board when the matter came up for consideration at the PNDC meeting for disapproval in the teeth of opposition from the Chairman of the Committee of Secretaries, Mr. P. V. Obeng, the PNDC Secretary for Works and Housing, Naval Captain K. A. Butah (rtd), and the PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwesi Botchway.
The Board established conclusively that the foreign company was depending entirely on the SIC to provide all the financial resources except the architectural and engineering expertise for the joint venture. The foreign company was at the same time to be both the administrative, and technical managers of the joint venture with the Government of Ghana. I was consequently privy to many discussions at the PNDC which PNDC Secretaries, including the author, and their deputies were not privy to.
I served in the first two Governments of the NDC under the 1992 Constitution from 7th January 1993 to 6th January 2001 during which I worked with Dr. Obed Asamoah as the Attorney General who had been doubling also as the Chairman of the Financial Committee of the NDC. I can say without any shadow of doubt from my association with Dr. Asamoah in 1992 and thereafter that without Dr. Obed Asamoah, the NDC as a political party would have been stillborn even before the 1992 Presidential and General Elections.
He had been the General Secretary for K. A Gbedemah’s National Alliance for Liberals (NAL), in 1969 and the United National Convention (UNC) of Mr. William Ofori-Atta, in 1979. In my estimation, there was nobody in the PNDC system with equivalent political party organizational experience as Dr. Asamoah. He is entitled to recognition for those efforts.
I also served in the Fifth Government of the Fourth Republic from 2009 to January 2012. I was appointed the Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs with the mutual understanding that I will never be a Minister of State. Nonetheless, I was moved to the Ministry of the Interior as Minister of the Interior, and after more than three objections to move to the Attorney General’s Department I succumbed in January 2011, moved to be the Attorney General and left the Government on 19th January 2012 after a principled disagreement.
This was because my colleagues from the PNDC era who had appropriated the gentle and sick Professor even from his family were uncomfortable with my closeness to President Mills who had been my personal friend since he taught me commercial law in my third year at the University of Ghana in the mid-1970s in addition to my being his running mate for the 2000 elections. While President Mills could not resist the pressure from the cabal between the periods from June 2009 to 12th January 2012 I continued to be a frequent invitee to the President’s office for consultations on several matters. Sir Bebeako-Mensah, the then Secretary to the President may confirm how often the President invited me for consultations.
I saw at close quarters how the infirm President Mills was misused and abused by the predators of his generosity to the detriment of his failing health as will subsequently be narrated by his brother in 2017 in a published interview. Was the President Emeritus, Flt. Lt. Rawlings, one of the predators who prevented the status of President Mills’ failing health from being made public to enable them to selfishly and greedily misuse, abuse, and bleed him to death?
I am now a public officer serving in the capacity of the Special Prosecutor under the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and gagged from active politics.
Kwamena Ahwoi Was Not The Alter Ego Of The Achievements of The PNDC or NDC1 & 2 Governments
Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings falsely presents the author as the alter ego of the PNDC Government and the NDC1 and NDC2 Governments. The author has ingeniously appropriated PNDC policies and achievements as though the PNDC could not have functioned and achieved any reasonable success for ushering Ghana into a true democracy and decentralization without him. The impression that if Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi had not been born or had died the PNDC would have ceased to exist upon his demise may be the product of a figment of an infected mind and everybody knows that nobody is indispensable in this world. The world would move on without any of us, high or low.
I have not read any of Kwamena Ahwoi’s previous works. Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings, however, contains several inexcusable witting misstatements, factual errors, and conclusions. The fact that no finger had been raised against his uncontested previous scholarly works does not mean that no finger can be raised against his “Working with Rawlings”. Kwamena Ahwoi baited me with his “Working with Rawlings” with the romours about me he turned into shameless fact.
I have swallowed the bait. I have raised my finger in protest against his internalized penchant for reaping where he has not sown. I am challenging the accuracy of his historical knowledge and conclusions as a matter of fair comment and in the public interest. I have shown in the foregoing disclosures that I am qualified to challenge and critique Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings. Stay with me! I shall be back. Ghana First.
MARTIN A. B. K. AMIDU