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A Reflection on The Legacy Bequeathed to Ghana By Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah And Flt. Lieutenant Jeremiah John Rawlings

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with malice. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" - Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

To Christendom, eternal salvation was the promise God delivered to mankind through the solemn sacrifice of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ at Golgotha on the Cross of Calvary. Therefore, one can surmise that without the Cross, without the act of Crucifixion, without the betrayal by the Clergy and High Priests acting in collusion with Pontius Pilate, and without the obedience of Jesus Christ; Immanuel "God with Us", God's promise of eternal salvation to mankind would never have happened.

My question? Would the promise of eternal salvation be possible without the singular act of betrayal of Jesus Christ by one of his very own handpicked disciples, Judas Iscariot, whom by virtue of his close association with Jesus and the other 11 disciplines, and having witnessed the Ministry of Jesus Christ saw firsthand for himself by the "signs and wonders", that Jesus performed, that truly, Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah?

Our elders often say it is un-African to speak ill of the dead and dearly departed more so during a period of mourning. And to the elders I posit that it is equally dishonest to ignore or whitewash the totality of the life and times of a departed person by simply cherry-picking and selectively choosing memories and aspects of the person's life story that have to be emphasized for posterity sake.

To every departed person there are usually two categories of mourners that includes one category whose encounter and association with the departed person is such that the demise represents a deep void and emptiness occasioned by pain and grief. The other category represents those who quietly grieved whilst the departed person was still living and for them the news of the demise represents a sigh of relief and end to their lingering bitterness, ill-feelings and vengeful feelings nursed over the years while patiently waiting for the person to die and transition to the afterlife for an appointment with the celestial arbiter and Sovereign God.

"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones" - William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)

The news of the untimely demise of former President Jeremiah John Rawlings aka Papa Jay as he was affectionately called, came as a shock to many Ghanaians all over the country who spontaneously responded with visible tears amidst public mourning and grief. Papa Jay, the seemingly "immortal one" had given up the Ghost and joined the ancestral world! It was obvious that the spontaneous public moaning and wailing for Papa Jay were genuine tears shed by friends and foes alike, and those tears were not the commercialized "crocodile tears" usually delivered by professional Funeral Contractors in Oseikrom.

Equally intriguing following Papa Jay's demise is the speed and haste at which Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) seized the moment and took the opportunity to hijack funeral arrangements and showcase to Ghana and the world that they are grieving more than the bereaved nuclear and extended family of Papa Jay, and the political family and fraternity of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to whom Papa Jay was accorded the status of primus inter pares, and singular honor title of "Founder of NDC".

Equally disappointing is the subtle attempt by Nana Akufo-Addo and NPP to ignore and use this period of mourning to show gross disrespect and to denigrate the image and reputation of former President John Dramani Mahama and NDC Party Executives to whom the demise of Papa Jay means more than the optical show of mourning being displayed by NPP.

Thankfully the internet and social media does not suffer from selective amnesia so all the nasty things that Nana Akufo-Addo and prominent NPP politicians said and did to Papa Jay is well documented for everyone to see them for who they are and what they represent.

"There is no armor against fate; death lays his icy hands on Kings; Scepter and Crown" - James Shirly

Whilst many Ghanaians are genuinely mourning Papa Jay, let us not overlook the significance that his demise may have on the surviving widows, nuclear and extended families, clansmen, friends and acquaintances of the following who may also be mourning Papa Jay in their own peculiar way that maybe somewhat different from the mourning of majority of Ghanaians:

  • General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
  • Lieutenant General Fred William Kwasi Akuffo
  • Major General Robert Ebenezer Kotei
  • Major General Neville Alexander Odartey-Wellington
  • Lieutenant General Edward Kwaku Utuka
  • Lieutenant General Okatakyie Akwasi Afrifa
  • Air Vice Marshall George Yaw Boakye
  • Rear Admiral Joy Amedume
  • Colonel Roger Felli
  • Let the surviving widows, nuclear and extended families, clansmen, friends and acquaintances of the men above also let go of whatsoever bitterness and pain they may have been habouring because truth be told, the dear departed of some of them also in different ways superintended over torture, abuse and murder of others. All must forgive and let go!

    For Ghana to move forward perhaps the demise of Papa Jay should present an opportunity to reconcile and unify the country and look forward to a shared future, to foster unity, inclusivity, and prosperity for all. Our politicians together with citizens must thread on a path that heals, reconciles, and promotes a sense of togetherness instead of a path that breeds division and divisiveness. As we mourn Papa Jay the lesson on the minds of all Ghanaians should be that some families also paid a heavy price for the birthing of democracy and the endurance of Ghana's Fourth Republican Constitutional era. As such we owe a collective duty to reconcile the country and not to unduly prolong the grief by rekindling old wounds and scars that some have struggled to heal for over 50 years. It is therefore imperative for NDC to reflect on the wisdom and significance of celebrating "June-4" and "31-December" going forward. The memory of Papa Jay may be best propagated when history remembers him as the "Military Dictator" turned "Democrat" who lived and abided by the principles of democracy and "rule of law".

    The Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah liberated Ghana from the shackles of colonialism, gained independence and helped establish and etch a good reputation and international image for Ghana and Ghanaians on the global stage. Flt. Lieutenant Jeremiah John Rawlings bequeathed to Ghana true democracy and the "rule of law", social justice, probity, and accountability.

    To Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, in your deep moment of grief and period of mourning we can only encourage you together with your daughter Honourable Zanetor Rawlings (NDC Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle Constituency) and her siblings to do well to help us collectively safeguard, secure and uphold the legacy and lifework of Papa Jay.

    Today I dedicate the song "Welcome Home" (Home to NDC) by Osibisa to Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and entreat her to reflect on the first stanza:

    You've been gone it's an empty home

    Come back where you really belong

    You are always welcome home...!

    Papa Jay prosperity will be kind to you as it has been kind to the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah!

    Papa Jay; da yie!

    Papa Jay damrifa due!

    Opanin Archimedes Owusu-Ababio

    C/o Cocoa Shed: Suro-nipa Nkwanta

    Eastern Region

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