Shocking and unexpected are words that both describe your dramatic entry onto the political scene of Ghana and also your silent exit from this world. It would take a whole book to write a tribute to a man whose life was so eventful; a man who has had a profound impact on several generations of Ghanaians.
All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
You strode onto Ghana’s political stage like a colossus and played many parts. Your part in the political drama has left an enduring legacy for our nation.
No man is perfect and “as it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one’’ (Romans 3:10). And yet, the sum of your role in Ghana’s history will be remembered positively.
Your role in bringing peace and stability to ECOWAS Subregion, especially the Liberian and Sierra Leone civil wars, is acknowledged and celebrated.
Your leadership in what was the most difficult decade in Ghana’s history led to important reforms that created the political stability and economic growth that we now consider absolutely normal.
Your signature promulgating the 1992 Constitution gave birth the most enduring democratic Republic Ghana has experienced in its entire historical existence. Ghana has you to thank for this.
The decentralised local government system based on the District Assembly concept is also a lasting legacy of your stewardship in Ghana’s political space.
Your contribution to the African success story in collaboration with other progressive African leaders culminated in ending apartheid in South culminated in ending apartheid and swearing-in of Nelson Mandela as its first black president.
Your penchant for saying it as it is without regard for political sensibilities earned you the moniker “Mr. Boom”.
A proud son of the Volta Region, you gave Ghana another chance and a new breath of life under the 4th Republic. On this lifelong quest to achieve truth, probity and accountability, you gave your soul, your thoughts, your heart and all your energy ceaselessly.
Last year, during the celebration of the 31st December anniversary Winneba you were in high spirits. Little did any of us who were with you that day know that we’ll celebrate the next anniversary of the revolution without you. As founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) your death leaves a vast vacuum that would be hard to fill.
None can match your political astuteness, wit and charisma. For those of us the comrades you’ve left behind, it is time to close ranks and collectively work to guarantee the unity and survival of your party NDC as a vehicle that entrenches your memory and legacy for posterity.
“Boss” – you may be gone but your memory will continue to inspire countless generations of Ghanaians to challenge the status quo and use their non-conformism to spur societal progress.
You were and remain the soldier of a lifelong and restless quest for freedom and justice. Flt Lt L. Rawlings, Chairman of the AFRC. Chairman of the PNDC, leader of the revolution, 1′ President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, rest in eternal peace.