Rawlings strongly believed democracy was unsuited for Africa - Gyimah-Boadi

Politics of Sunday, 24 January 2021


Young Rawlings during his military days Young Rawlings during his military days

Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi has said former President Jerry Rawlings was skeptical of democracy which he saw as a western invention unsuitable for Africa.

Gyimah-Boadi, a co-founder of Afrobarometer think-tank, is quoted in an AFP news agency report as saying Rawlings had always openly showed his dislike for democracy.

"Jerry Rawlings was deeply democratic-skeptical and never missed an opportunity to express his dislike for multiparty democracy.

"For him, it was an invention of the West that did not suit Africa. It is therefore absurd that our current parties today claim it!" he added.

The AFP report centered on the start of Rawlings' funeral activities and had a headline, "Ghana prepares to bury ex-leader Rawlings as parties vie over legacy."

Rawlings meant different things to different people during the period that he led Ghana as a military ruler and later as elected president. His decision to usher in the 4th republic and to abide by term limits is usually cited as an anchor for Ghana's stable democratic dispensation since 1992.

One of the most famed quotes about his military-civilian transition is by Kenyan academic Ali Mazrui. During the tribute session by Parliament this week, it was quoted by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

Mazrui said: "Nkrumah began his political career as a Democrat and ended as a dictator, but Rawlings began as a military dictator and ended as a democrat.”

"Rawlings began with a coup in 1979, came back with military take-over in 1981, won power through the ballot box in 1992 and again in 1996 and stepped down in 2000 without manipulating the system to his personal or his party's advantage," he added during a lecture in 2002.

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