If there are any three words that Flt. Lt. Rawlings has made into a flag, with which he has been wrapping himself in the past twenty years or so, they are “probity”, “accountability” and “truth”. He tells everyone that the motivating factors behind the 31 December 1981 coup, (which he also calls, “the spirit of June 4”), was the pursuit of “probity” and “accountability”.
The issues about his claims to probity and accountability as the inspiration behind the 31st December 1981 coup will be uncloaked in the not too distant future. For the time being, I would like to subject his professed claim as the storehouse of truth to the test.
It may be recalled that Flt. Lt. Rawlings has always laid claim to every word from him as the truth, so much so that, he is known to challenge the public and anyone, who contradicts his version of events, to be prepared to be subjected to (what he calls) “chemical interrogation” before a village shrine or to a lie detector. And because no one has so far taken up his offer to such a “chemical interrogation” he has grown to believe that he is the ultimate repository of truth in this country.
The time has now come for him to take up the gauntlet and be subjected to that method of proof.
In a radio interview on Asaase Radio, hosted by Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, on 5th July 2020, Flt. Lt. Rawlings stated the following about me.
“A chap like … what’s his name? … Kwasi Adu, a really nice good friend of mine in the past, once wrote something nasty, ugly about me, when he came back into the country…, that I had in the early days …… I think it was the PNDC’s time. I am supposed to have mixed cement with water …. No, cement powder, and thrown it down somebody’s throat and poured water after it. I didn’t see it, I hadn’t read it. … It was a very important lady in the journalistic profession who called me and said ‘read that thing’. I was truly sad that he could make such a vicious story against me”.
If it is true that I have ever written such a thing. it can easily be verified. This is because, if I did, it might have been published in some newspaper or on the web or some other medium. It is on this point that I am inviting Flt. Lt. Rawlings to the truth altar.
I am requesting Flt. Lt. Rawlings to indicate when, and where and in which medium I had this alleged write-up published. He should come up with it or publish it to show Ghanaians that, in deed, he tells the truth. There is no need to go to a shrine at this stage. However, if he fails to produce this alleged write-up, then Ghanaians would know what he truly is – a purveyor of falsehoods, who does such things to portray himself as some victim, in order to court public sympathy for himself.
Surely, since Flt. Lt. Rawlings stated in the interview that he was contemplating sending my alleged write-up to Parliament, he must at least have a copy. He should, at least, provide that alleged publication to a newspaper, and let them scan it for all to see. If he is unable to do any of the above, then he should get ready for both of us to subject ourselves to a lie-detector or have a “chemical interrogation” before a shrine. However, if he is unable to do any of these, then he should get down from his high horse and admit that he himself has surpassed the offences for which he had General Acheampong, and the other Generals executed.
The fact is that I have not written any such story about Flt. Lt. Rawlings. I, however believe that, in his campaign to smear everybody with whom he had associated but jettisoned along his political path, he finally discovered that there is one left that he hasn’t been able to smear yet. He therefore concocts this story, defaces it in a mud of cement, and throws it at me.
If anyone were interested in subjecting this recent interview to the truth-test, one would have a field day. Listening to the interview, I was intrigued about how, forty long years after the murder of the three judges and a retired army Major, it could suddenly dawn on Flt Lt. Rawlings that “somebody in uniform must have given that order to the soldiers” to murder the three judges. What happened all those forty years, twenty of which he was the Head of State or President. Why did he not order an investigation along those lines, if that is what he thought? But as would soon be known, this is a brilliant afterthought, meant to deflect the lenses from him to someone else, who he thinks is “still going around making a lot of noise”.
One is left to ask, who could that soldier be, who could have had the authority or temerity to ask Amartey Kwei (a civilian member of the PNDC) and other soldiers to comb the bungalows in Cantonments at the dead of night, in search of judges to kill? If it was really “somebody in uniform” who gave that order, it must surely have been a uniformed member of the PNDC.
On 30th June 1982 when the murders took place, there were four uniformed members of the PNDC:
Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
Warrant Officer I Joseph Adjei Boadi
Sergeant Daniel Alolga Akata Pore
Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (Chairman)
Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, can quickly be discounted because he immediately resigned from the PNDC when he realised that the murderers were closely associated with the PNDC. W.O. 1 Adjei Boadi could not be the one since he is deceased and cannot be said to have “gotten away and still making a lot of noise”. That leaves us with two people: Sgt. Alolga Akatapore and he, Flt. Lt. Rawlings.
In order to assess whether it could have been Sgt. Alolga Akata Pore, I refer to a recent interview granted to Raymond Acquah of JoyTV by Mr. George Agyekum, the then Chairman of the PNDC’s Public Tribunal that tried and sentenced those accused of the murder of the judges. He stated in the interview that during the trial, Amartey Kwei had requested to call Akata Pore as his witness.
Mr. Agyekum continued:
“I sent a subpoena to him (Akata Pore) and Akata Pore said he didn’t want to testify for a criminal and that he would not testify under any circumstances for Amartey Kwei. ….. He was already in custody, anyway. He was at the BNI, Accra Region. I actually went there. And he said he was ready to be committed for contempt of court. So, there was a compromise. I said ‘if the Tribunal calls you as a witness, would you come?’ And he said ‘Yes’. So we amended the subpoena and made it that it was the Tribunal that was calling him. And he came and met Amartey there, and if, to me, his answers and confrontation, if really there was …. Because he told Amartey Kwei that he (Amartey) was a criminal and he (Akata Pore) did not want to testify for him. And really, if they were in a little conspiracy, Amartey Kwei would have exposed him”.
With these words of the then Chairman of the Public Tribunal, we can also eliminate Sgt. Akata Pore. Now we are left with only one “somebody in uniform” on the PNDC, who is “still going around making noise”.
This could be a classic case of the spirits of the dead seizing the bodies of guilty persons to invoke self-incriminating statements from their murderers. Look at what the spirits of Duncan and Banquo did to Macbeth!
I also refer to certain parts of the resignation letter of Chris Atim, (at the time, a civilian member of the PNDC), dated 3 December 1982 to Flt. Lt. Rawlings.
“Knowing that the mass of the people are not aware of the true story of December 31st, you can afford now to stand on platforms and tell cock and bull stories of some so-called “eight bold soldiers” including yourself who, one fine day, materialized from nowhere, got organized (we are not told how) and stormed the “gates of heaven” to liberate Ghanaians from their slavery. These ‘silent heroes’ who are not on the PNDC, but who you claim deserve better to be on the Council than everybody else, except yourself, why can’t you name them? ……. I am positively certain that you will never dare to mention the names of those eight, not only because it might give people a real clue to the connections of those who kidnapped and killed the judges last June, as well as PDC activists in the Volta Region, but also ……”.
While preparing for the 31st December 1981 coup, Sgt. Akata Pore recruited from among his former Boys Company colleagues while Flt. Lt. Rawlings recruited some eight soldier that included Lance Corporal S.K. Amedeka, Lance Corporal Dzandu, Lance Corporal Tekpor, and Lance Corporal Senya. These were the four soldiers who, with Amartey Kwei, abducted and murdered the judges.
Poor, Amartey Kwei. He held Flt. Lt. Rawlings in such absolute awe and was so trusting, that one sometimes got the impression that he considered Rawlings as “God”. He would do anything for him.
It must be stated here, that this was not the first time that Amartey Kwei had been used to undertake dirty assignments. I remember sometime in 1981 when I was shot in the foot by Flt. Lt. Rawlings with his pistol. At the time, I accepted that it was accidental. After an initial medical treatment, when an X-ray showed that there was no broken bone, we agreed that I should stay out of public view to avoid questions being asked about what had happened to me. This was at the height of the anti-Rawlings campaign by the PNP government; and we did not want any information going out that ‘Rawlings has shot his friend’. I therefore went into confinement in the room of a police officer-friend of mine at the barracks of the Cantonments Police Station.
One day, Amartey Kwei came to see me in my “hide-out”. He was one of the few people who knew where I was, because he drove me there when I had to go into self-isolation. He looked agitated. He stated that “Opanya” had sent him to come to me to have my police officer-friend do something for him. He stated that he (Amartey Kwei) and James Quarshie (now deceased), had been sent to go and burn down the TUC headquarters in Accra. While James was working to start the fire by way of an electrical short-circuit, the resulting sparks had caused him serious burns which made him to lose consciousness. Subsequently, the ambulance and police arrived and took him to the Police Hospital, in Accra. The police were suspicious of foul play and wanted to interrogate James Quarshie. Amartey Kwei was therefore sent to ask me to plead with my police friend to check whether James was okay and, if possible, to ask him not to speak, and that things were being done to have him discharged as soon as he got better.
I asked him why they had wanted to burn down the TUC headquarters. He explained that “Opanya” had been very angry with the TUC leadership, then led by A.M. Issifu, for becoming virtual bed-fellows of the PNP government. “They have betrayed the masses”, he said; and “Opanya” had decided that there was no need for a treacherous TUC leadership. When I asked him what the building itself had done to deserve being burnt down, he became irritated and asked me to attend to the immediate need to keep James silent. Instead of “preaching” to him, he said, I should rather attend to the urgent need to stop James Quarshie from talking, “otherwise, we are all dead”.
Fortunately for James and Amartey and “Opanya”, Dr. Egala, then head of the Police Hospital, had asked the police not to commence any interrogation of the patient until he (Dr. Egala) had declared James fit to be interrogated.
The investigations were dropped when the security agencies, at the time, mistakenly thought that the attempted arson might have been the work of the Popular Front Party (PFP). James Quarshie was a member of the Attoh-Quarshie family. In the 1950s, Mr. Attoh Quarshe was a well-known leader of the Ga Shifimo Kpee, a political group, which later coalesced, with other parties, to form the United Party (UP). The PFP claimed its roots from the UP. In the end, James Quarshie was not even interrogated, since the Liman Government didn’t want a running argument with the PFP on this matter.
When the PNDC came to power in 1982, James Quarshie turned into a composer of songs for the “revolution”. (People of that generation would remember songs such as “We no go sit down make them cheat we everyday”).
It is ironic, that at the instigation of the PNDC, some workers and other political activists chased out the then leadership of the TUC from the same TUC Headquarters and formed the Association of Local Unions (ALU).
James Quarshie was later recruited into the People’s Militia and was sent to Cuba, among other youth, for military training. They returned as well-built soldiers and constituted the core of the 64 Battalion. (The “64” in that name stood for June 4).
James was later to die under mysterious circumstances. With both Amartey Kwei and James Quarshie dead, perhaps, it was thought that the story about the misadventure to burn down the TUC headquarters had been buried forever. However, I understand that James, in explaining the scars on his arms and torso, had confessed his role in that attempted arson to a well-known journalist in this country. That journalist is still alive.
Listening to the second part of the interview, aired on 12th July 2020, Flt. Lt. Rawlings left one bemused as to what to wonder at most about him: his twisting of historical facts, his forgetfulness or his propensity to peddle falsehoods. For example, he stated that he had General Afrifa executed not because Afrifa had done anything wrong, but because, according to Rawlings, General Afrifa had diverted monies advanced to him by a foreign entity to fight Acheampong’s Union Government idea. According to Rawlings, Afrifa had rather used the money to “edge out Mr. Paa Willie” (William Ofori Atta) who ….. was the leader of the UNC (United National Convention) and took over the leadership of that party..
The facts of history prove Flt. Lt. Rawlings to be a phony. The fact was that Mr. William Ofori Atta was the leader of the UNC and led that party into the Presidential elections on 18th June 1979, about a week before Flt. Lt. Rawlings asked for General Afrifa to be executed (26th June 1979). However, his thinking that Ghanaians might have forgotten, led him to try to twist history in the laughable manner. In fact General Afrifa only contested as an MP and won the Mampong Ashanti seat on the ticket of the UNC. Rawlings was the Chairman of the AFRC at the time and it is amazing to hear from Flt. Lt. Rawlings now that Afrifa had edged out Paa Willie to become the leader of the UNC. In effect, Flt. Lt. Rawlings is telling us today, that for no good reason, he rounded up fellow human beings like chicken and slaughtered them; because he “had to do what (he) had to do”.
Again, Flt. Lt. Rawlings claims that General Acheampong was executed for corruption. In fact General Acheampong was only known to have had estate houses in Tesano and Teshie Nungua, apart from his residence in his village. He died for these without even having the right to a trial. These were nothing as compared to Rawlings’ current assets in Adjiringano, his plush retreat along the Volta River, where the interview was held, the state-owned Nsawam Cannery and outlining lands that he sold to his wife, and the $5million dollars he received from Abacha of Nigeria. If the same yardstick were to be applied today to Flt. Lt. Rawlings, he would have to suffer the fate of General Acheampong several times over.
I have laid the gauntlet of truth before Flt. Lt. Rawlings regarding his claims that I have written that he poured cement into someone’s mouth. He should pick it up by publishing that write-up. If he does not, or even ignores this challenge, he must know that from now onwards, all his claims to truth count for nothing and his perceived integrity would be lying in tatters.
By Kwasi Adu
The writer is former President of the June Fourth Movement and former Chairman of the Youth League of Ghana.