Rawlings – June 4th 1979 was not your finest hour, your best moment was January 7th 2001 by Ade Sawyerr

Rawlings – June 4th 1979 was not your finest hour, your best moment was January 7th 2001 – by Ade Sawyerr


Retired military dictators, in the very few countries that tolerate military interventions, are allowed to lead the rest of their lives in obscurity drawing their military pension.  But in Africa most turn themselves
into civilian presidents and then find it difficult to leave the national scene.  These ex-presidents do damage to our democracy because they become obsessed with the preservation of their legacies and end up meddling in the small stage of their countries.  These presidents would serve their legacies better if they transform themselves into international statesmen on a larger scene where the benefits of their experience as heads of state will be better valued.

So when I hear persons such as Babangida and Obasanjo in Nigeria and Rawlings in Ghana going on about parties they created, I wonder why they do not put their leadership experience to bigger challenges in full view of the whole world.  Military dictators, in my view, owe the electorate a debt of gratitude for disrupting the democratic process of their countries inevitably they leave  their countries in a worse state, socially, politically and economically, than when they took over.  We civilians are therefore grateful for term limits on presidencies; the fact is that presidents do not perform better because they stay longer, most do not come with any vision for the transformation of their countries and it is likely that the longer they stay the worse they will become.

I have read the recent pronouncements of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings Retired, a former military ruler and former president of Ghana extolling the ideals of June 4th, one of the most chaotic period of our political life in Ghana.  The tragedy that was unleashed on the people of Ghana by mindless soldiers,  supported by students barely out of breeches who had no concept of governing a country having  only experienced a clueless military government,  gives me the shivers even today 30 or so years after the event.  Supporting actor in this June 4th braggadocio, is another retired soldier, Major Boakye Djan now seeking another taste of government as a civilian legislator; he who wants us to believe his invention that the spokesperson is  the actual leader and the leader is really only ceremonial. Continue reading “Rawlings – June 4th 1979 was not your finest hour, your best moment was January 7th 2001 by Ade Sawyerr”


6th March 1957 – Independence Day Ghana * – what about the future for Ghana@60?

Mrs Sophia Araba Sawyerr being introduced to The Duchess o Kent at Independence with my father J. Ade Sawyerr

6th March 1957 – Independence Day Ghana – what about the future?

*Published 5 years ago and being republished for the Ghana@60 anniversary

I was not yet seven years old and only in Class 3, but there is no fog around the events of the day, I remember it as vividly as if it had taken place  yesterday and have more than once retraced my steps on the route I took on that day.  I was in my well pressed Cyto khaki-khaki uniform and I carried a new Ghanaian flag and of course I wore the new ‘Clark sandals’ that my father had bought from Lennards the shoe shop. That week was a memorable one for all of us since my late sister had to present a bouquet at one of the functions and my parents as I recalled were personally introduced to the Duchess of Kent, the Queen’s representative at Independence. I was too young to be present at the Old Polo grounds to usher in the day but my school has been selected to take part in the march past and I can remember marching all the way from Accra United Primary School at Adedenkpo for the main event of the morning.  Back at school in the afternoon the festivities ensued.  I was also presented with an Independence cup to show for my efforts! We had ‘Portello’ and the usual biscuits but this was not like the old Empire Day that we used to celebrate because we were all given some chocolate.   Poor me, I tasted a bit to get my palate adjusted to it, put the rest in my pocket and it had all melted by the time I got back home.

Continue reading “6th March 1957 – Independence Day Ghana * – what about the future for Ghana@60?”

The challenge of democracy – Can Obama deliver on his promise to Africa?

The challenge of democracy – Can Obama deliver on his promise to Africa?

Ade Sawyerr © London July 2009
On Friday 10th July 2009 and Saturday 11th July 2009, the whole world had its eyes trained on Ghana. Everyone wanted to hear what this son of Africa who had become leader of the whole world was going to say to help solve some of the chronic problems facing the continent.
Obama exceeded all my expectations and gave a speech that only he could give; he had an excellent grasp of the issues and it was clear that although he was critical of our African leaders, there was an implied promise that he would help to make things better. He also excelled in trying to go beyond the leaders to talk to the youth.
This was clearly a speech that had been written for the leaders as well as for the masses but in the event, we are told that weather conditions did not permit him to address the masses, though some believe that it was more for security considerations; so he had to ask the leaders to take the message to the youth. I was disappointed in the choice of the venue. I had expected that what I still call the Black Star Square should have been used so that there would have been more opportunity for the youth to hear him speak. The lighting was poor and the video feed was atrocious, Ghana could have spent a little bit more money to have got that right. This was an occasion when we should have been truly in the spotlight so to speak, but we failed.
This is the same country that could spend money to buy 250 cars to celebrate 50th anniversary of our independence and yet could not invest in getting the whole world to listen to the clear message of promise from Obama.