On the unexpected announcement of the passing of former President Jerry John Rawlings to me yesterday, Thursday, 12 November 2020, by my wife, while I was half-asleep, immediately succumbed me to palpitations. My heart dropped. I could not bring myself to believe the sad news. I was doubtful.
Nonetheless, I sat up, reached out for my phone, and googled Ghana online news portals. I could not believe my eyes, the confirmation of what my wife had told me. I was in total shock! My eyes began to well up with tears. Different scenarios of what could have triggered his sudden death started racing competitively in crisscross manner in my mind. I had not heard about his sickness, but his unexpected passing.
I became endeared to then President Rawlings following his classified acknowledgment letter to mine somewhere in 1994, when I was residing in Paris, France. I had written to him about a few issues, principally among them was the electricity theft going on in Ghana and how to tackle it. I had suggested solutions, from the point of view of myself being a France-trained electrician and having had the occasion to witness how some households in Ghana do not pay for their electricity consumption, but criminally secretly have them billed to the public grid. As usual with me when I get emotional, I express myself in writings employing some words and statements that I would normally not use when happy and calm. Nevertheless, in the said letter to His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, some of such words were used but he was not perturbed.
I thought the President was not going to reply to my letter but within about two weeks of dispatching it to him by normal post from Paris, I had a reply, not ordinary, but classified with a reference number, and on a presidential letterhead, from him.
I vividly remember writing a statement as following, in my letter. “One should not be in government, or in a position of responsibility, to be able to help their nation. If I fail to introduce the good things I learn abroad to my country, then how can I be proud of calling myself a Ghanaian after all? Therefore, I am passing the information contained in this letter to you and those in positions of authority to implement them for the benefit of the nation”
I had a dislike for him for his indiscriminate killing of some people, among whom were innocent ones, especially, the retired and former Head of State, Brigadier General Akwasi Amankwaah Afrifa. Following his letter to me, I could see that Jerry John Rawlings as a person and President, was an honest man seeking the best for his country, but only to be misled by his appointees and some insatiably greedy and dishonest persons he had unknowingly surrounded himself with.
His oftentimes vituperations against some people could well be understood, although some were suspected to be born out of pure malice, especially, his attacks on the late President Professor Evans Atta Mills, former President John Agyekum Kufour, and then aspiring presidential-candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Despite his short-comings, the late former President Jerry John Rawlings meant good for Ghana. He was honest. He was wholeheartedly at the service of his people and nation. He felt for the poor and the needy in the society. He was down to earth person. He was one of the cardinal pivots around which the democracy of Ghana revolves, although Ghana had previously practised democracy, only to be intermittently scuppered by military interventions.
I have not fully recovered from the shock I had since the breaking news of his death.
Death is an inevitable journey to be made by any living human being at a point in their sojourn on earth. However, we at times find it difficult to accept this fact when some people of great importance to society, or those related to us as individuals, do pass away. This is exactly the sorrowful mood in which I find myself at writing.
I extend my deepest condolence to Mrs Konadu Agyemang Rawlings ( widow), her children and the entire bereaved family on the death of their dearest one. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
“Damirefa due, due, due ne amanehunu. Owura Rawlings, nante yie. Nyame mmfa wo nkoduru dwoodwoo”.
I will publish a proper tribute to him in the course of time.