Imagining Rawlings Gives Ten Talents To God As He Bade The World Goodbye 

In furtherance to the religious germaneness of the parable of the talent as explained in the book of Matthew chapter 25 from verse 14 to 30, political observers have been taking another look at the parable in the hope of finding some insights for our modern way of governance, and to which the late former president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, who just died from complications related to Coronavirus already demonstrated in his hey days a president.

Listening on Jesus and the Gospels since I got acquainted with the word of God as a Christian, I have been startled by different interpretations of Bible Scholars of the parable of the talents. Now, surely everybody knows that this is about getting on with the work, doing your best and putting your gifts at the disposal of the community even if the boss is grumpy and demanding. Some of the Scholars’ suggestions that the hero of the parable is the man who put his talent to good use became unarguably illuminating when Rawlings, in his tenures as the president of Ghana, gave the best he could in ensuring that Ghana, formerly known as Gold Coast, became reckoned with in the comity of nations as he placed the country on the pedestal of economic, political and social advantages.

For the sake of clarity, the Parable of the Talents is given by Jesus right after He talks about His second coming and that no one knows the day or the hour and so believers must be using their talents to the best of their abilities as if Jesus will be returning today. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. “

God has placed each one of us on this earth for the express purpose of using his or her talents…not for himself or herself but for the glory of God, and this frequently includes helping others financially. Since a talent is considered the wages earned over a period of time, it is like He is saying that we have been given time and money to use to accomplish His will. A servant does not use his talent only for himself.

As the chronicle of the parable of the talent goes, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. The bible explained that to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. It further explained that he who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

Still in the same nexus, now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The bible went further to explain that he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, and ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’

In verse 21, it further stated that “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. [c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

At this juncture, I am in this context imagining the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, Telling God, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.”

To the foregoing, God asked him, “How did you deliver five talents?” And Rawlings replied as follow:

“I served as president of the country for roughly two decades up to 2001, before I died at the age of 73 after a short illness as you are aware. The perception most of my admirers was that I came to global prominence in 1979 when, as an army lieutenant, I ousted General Frederick Akuffo as president. More so, I unprecedentedly relinquished power soon after, I handed over to civilian rule, only to orchestrate another coup two years later as I was averse to the unprecedented level of corruption and weak leadership at the time. Added to the foregoing, on June 4, 1979, I drew support of the military, mostly from the junior ranks, having being inspired by mass social and public discontent. I response to their yearnings, I took over the governance of the country after it had sunk into a state of social, economic and political decay.

The consequent three months led to a ‘housecleaning’ exercise after which elections were held and the mantle of political leadership handed over to the government of the People’s National Party (PNP) ushering in the Third Republic.

Consequently, under the auspices of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), I executed eight senior military officers, including three former heads of state, Akwasi Afrifa, Ignatius Acheampong, and Akuffo. The purge was supposed to clear the way for new democratic leadership under President Hilla Limann, a former diplomat. I however remained concerned about accusations of persistent corruption within the Limann administration. My second coming on December 31, 1981, was widely perceived as an indictment of the entire political class. I Condemned Limann and his associates as a pack of criminals who bled Ghana to the bone, and vowed to organize the country in such a way that nothing will be done, whether by God or the devil, without the consent and the authority of the people.

Unarguably against the backdrop of my revolutionary mindset and good leadership, I was widely cited by working class people as one of the country’s best presidents. Commercial drivers who lived and worked through my military rule until 1992 and then during my two terms as the country’s democratic president, for example, often held up both Nkrumah and myself as the country’s most effective leaders because we made people respect the law.

I was once eulogized by Alhaji A.Y.M.B Ibrahima, a former Tamale Municipal Chief Executive, and a leading member of the National Democratic Party (NDC), who said the democratic dispensation being enjoyed in the country was largely as a result of the positive legacy that I left.

I am aware that when he addressed NDC youth in Tamale at a time in my earthly journey, he claimed my decision to hand over laid the foundation stone for a peaceful democratic dispensation.

Added to the foregoing, in 1983, during the 'Ghana Must Go' period, I took it upon myself to provide accommodation in El-Wak Stadium for the Ghanaians who have been deported from Nigeria before moving them into their family houses, and I was the one that built the first-ever memorials for Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and W.E.B. DuBois.

I was also the president that introduced the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GET Fund) into the country that is now benefiting a lot of Ghanaians, and it is by virtue of my administrations that the Northern part of Ghana is having electricity today.

Apart from all that I have told you, I constructed many major roads in the Kumasi, Takoradi and Accra.

Let me also remind you that as a believer in Education that I didn't forget the education sector as I established the University of Development Studies and also stocked the University's library with his own money.

Most importantly, it was under my tenure that the University of Education, Winneba existed and I also upgraded the Winneba Advanced Teacher Training College into a full university.

As I am in this context imagining Rawlings to have made good use of the five talents God gave to him to utilize in his earthly journey, it is expedient to support him in saying he did not leave the health sector behind as can be seen in Cape Coast, Sunyani and Ho, where modern health centres were erected in their capitals. Added to the foregoing, the 37 Military Hospital was renovated and expanded during his tenure as president.

Again, he introduced the value added tax (VAT) which is today one of the major sources of government revenue, and during his tenures.

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Articles by Isaac Asabor