Love for country brought us together and dying for country kept us together. Now you have died for country, Jerry so reserve a space for me in the coffin as there is nothing to live for any longer. Kojo T is shocked and saddened by your sudden departure and cannot come to terms. You know Jerry, we have come a long way.
We first met in July 1979 when the AFRC formed the Implementation Committee of experts to implement Committees of Enquiry Reports. The experts were accountants, auditors, administrators, lawyers and so on. I was a member and secretary. The Committee had to brief the Council each evening and it was at these meetings that we developed a liking for each other with mutual respect. You then started calling me “menua” and I always responded “sir”. Since then you remained my inspiration, my mentor and my everything in the hope that this country would be changed for the best and remain so forever. You know, I have remained loyal, faithful, truthful and never gave you cause to mistrust me.
Then that day in December 1981, I heard on the radio of your take-over of the country which was a big surprise to me all because we had met a few days before the event and you never showed the slightest inkling. That notwithstanding I drove to Gondar Barracks by 9am that day and you were so delighted and relieved I had come. You claimed you had not slept for days and needed some rest. You left everything to be done that day with me in your brief absence and the rest is history.
Those early days were hell. Managing the country was not easy but managing the boys was worse. For country, almost everybody appreciated the changing situation. People, however, had their different methods in achieving the dream and it was your leadership style that chalked the success. You were the word “fearless” personified, and you were the definition of the word “caring.” At Gondar Barracks in the early days, we shared the same office and this office was also our bedroom and there was only one student mattress that took one person at a time. I remember with nostalgia one night when we had returned very late from the countryside completely exhausted. You just ran for the student mattress and I sat at table pretending to be writing. Then around 3am maybe my deep snoring at table woke you up. All I saw was being carried on to the common mattress because you knew I needed the rest more than your good self! That was Jerry for you!! He is always the last to take!!!
Jerry, I cannot say you were the best that ever happened to country but I am still looking for who is! Those were really bad times but at least we managed to instill discipline everywhere. Systems worked and our institutions worked. Law and order prevailed. Family and friends were more careful with us as they dared not anger the system. It would be rougher with them. Who could have thought that this country would be so corrupt since? Who could ever think that Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana could sink so low that frontline law enforcement agencies could make themselves so disrespected? Who could ever think that armed gangs could operate in the open, metamorphose into armed land guards and then finally become political vigilantes? That is Ghana for us. Who could also think that Ghana could be so politically polarized that almost all respected state institutions now work with party colours?
Now we no longer can say the whiteman darkened our path. Our leaders have since obliterated all the paths. These days, wrongdoers are not shown the exit. It is the few who chase the wrongdoers. The players no longer get the red card, it is the referee!! Should I ask Domelevo? And look at the degradation of our environ. Jerry you loved and respected the environment. Where now are our water bodies? Everybody is mining and they insult us all by calling the press to display their gold bars and we all look on! You would shout “who born dog?”
“Me nua Jerry, Yabre agu.”
Letter to Jerry from Naval Captain Baffour Assasie-Gyimah (Rtd)