Day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out since January 2017, the true nature of Akufo-Addo is being revealed. Many of those hoodwinked over the years seem shocked and are trying to understand why a so-called pro-democracy human rights lawyer, advocate, turned President, is turning out to be the most intolerant and tyrannical President of Ghanas’ Fourth (4th) Republic.
However, some who were very close to him before he became President do not seem surprised at his record as President. For example, former Editor of the Chronicle newspaper described a friend Akufo-Addo for several years, Nana Kofi Koomson, noted in audio which has resurfaced and making the rounds as follows “…I cannot sleep with Akufo-Addo as President of Ghana. And if you like, I can repeat it, and I am repeating it. I cannot sleep with my eyes closed with Akufo-Addo as President of Ghana. No, no, no. It is not safe, it is not safe. I can never sleep with Nana Akufo-Addo as President…”.
Maybe Ghanaians should have taken a clue from the hints dropped by Mr. Koomson about his friend. Happenings in Ghana under Akufo-Addo seem to confirm the fears expressed by Mr. Koomson. I have argued several times, and many agree, that the levels of overtly and covertly sanctioned lawlessness, impunity, and abuse of citizen rights under Akufo-Addo/Bawumia have never been witnessed in the history of the 4th Republic.
When Akufu-Addo said to you to be a citizen and not a spectator on January 7th, 2017, he never meant it. It was and remains obvious that he never meant it. Interestingly, his predecessor, John Dramani Mahama, who did not plagiarize “be a citizen, not a spectator” was and remains most citizen-friendly. He respected the people he served. That is why John Dramani Mahama set up a Citizens Complaints Unit at the Presidency when he was President.
To ensure that citizens did not feel intimated, John Dramani Mahama directed that the Citizens Complaints office be physically located away from the Flagstaff House. Citizens were encouraged to file in person, by phone or email, complaints, and petitions on any concerns and matters, including unpleasant conducts of appointees, which were acted upon. What is the situation under Akufo-Addo? An illegal and self-serving unit has been set up at the Presidency (in the national security secretariat) to ostensibly intimidate, beat up, maim and even kill citizens when they demand their rights or complain about wrongs and challenges.
Thugs and ragamuffins have been recruited by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government into the national security, the army, the police, and other security agencies. They are adorned with uniforms procured with the taxes of citizens and are unleashed to torment, intimidate, and brutalize the same citizens, sometimes without provocation. The provision of state security attires, weapons, and protection has emboldened party hoodlums recruited into the state security architecture to perpetrate crimes against citizens and to escape reprimand. The officially sanctioned lawless, abusive and murderous conduct of these party security personnel in uniforms were on display during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election; the registration of voters for the 2020 elections; the exhibition of the 2020 voters register; the 2020 elections; the inauguration of the 8th Parliament and at Ejura, and now Wa, where they went on a rampage assaulting any living thing in sight.
Think about the irony, Jerry John Rawlings (JJ Rawlings), the founder and first President of the 4th Republic, an army officer, worked to establish the longest sprout of democracy in the history of Ghana with the birth of the 4th Republic. Sworn into office on January 7th, 1993 as a civilian ruler, he nurtured our current democracy and as part of the process, worked to remove the presence of the military (paramilitary) in our body politic. He was accused of all manner of infractions, including overseeing the crafting of a constitution to protect himself and his deeds. But he succeeded in taking away the military from the streets into the barracks.
The fifth President of the 4th Republic sworn into office for the first time on January 7th, 2017, Akufo-Addo, a so-called human rights lawyer, was a vociferous critic of JJ Rawlings and everything associated with Rawlings most of his life. Akufo-Addo who took over the governance of Ghana as dictated by the constitution birthed by JJ Rawlings has since assuming office been busy militarizing the body politic of Ghana and destroying the democratic experiment initiated by Rawlings. A military man worked to demilitarise, grow a democracy, and a so-called pro-democracy human rights lawyer is working to militarise and destroy it.
We certainly cannot allow Akufo-Addo to reverse the democracy we have worked to build over several years. It is a duty on all well-meaning Ghanaians to show their angst at the happenings because none is safe with the mode and style of operation we have seen in the past few years. The phenomenon where the military is the first point of call rather than the police, must not be countenanced and encouraged.
The blame must be squarely laid at the doorsteps of Akufo-Addo. He commands the armed forces, he is chair of the National Security Council and he must be seen determined to reverse a phenomenon that the public has become repulsive about. He has a responsibility to guarantee and to protect citizen rights and lives, rather than the crippling fear that is being introduced in our nation and our communities.
Dr. Clement Apaak
M.P, Builsa South