In what could easily pass as one of the most harrowing real-life stories, veteran journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr has rendered an account of his near-death experiences under the PNDC era when he was incarcerated by the-then leader, Jerry John Rawlings.
Narrating pieces of his story on Peace FM, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper said contrary to JJ Rawlings’ claim to innocence, he was the mastermind behind brutalities meted out to him and his colleagues.
In an earlier interview with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, the former president recounted that the decision to throw the likes of Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt and others in jail became necessary as they were perceived as threats to the peace and stability of the government.
JJ Rawlings is quoted to have said, “Some of these so-called intellectuals don’t have it. They don’t seem to recognize saying this or that could provoke a situation and we’ll be starting all over again. So sometimes, I had to do what I had to do in order to contain and preempt that kind of situation… Nobody did any such thing and professional soldiers don’t do things like that actually…,” Mr Rawlings said to Kwaku Sakyi-Addo on Asaase Radio.
But Kweku Baako maintains that Rawlings gave the orders for the several degrees of inhumane treatment meted out to them.
In his case, he said he was welcomed at the prison yard (field engineers) with brutalities from military personnel after which he was taken to the guard room. In the subsequent days, Kweku Baako said the level of brutalities meted out to him is inexplicable.
“…for the next ten, eleven days what they (soldiers) did to me at field engineers only God is my witness. They taught me how to sing some of their military songs and asked me to crawl the full length of their parade square on my knees…My knees were bloodshot because the gravels penetrated my skin, and they used to cane me directly on my waist. That’s why I said it had incapacitated me for life and people thought I was impotent…”
He continued, “25 days at field engineers was a hell, total hell…I couldn’t walk…I don’t know how to be decent about this but I used to defecate on myself, urinate on myself for days…”
In spite of the harrowing accounts, Kweku Baako said he won’t directly respond to comments from JJ Rawlings. He indicated that any such replies and responses will be highlighted in his book which is being worked on.
Kweku Baako Jr., Kwesi Pratt Jr. and Akoto Ampaw, amongst many others were jailed and tortured during the PNDC military regime of Jerry John Rawlings, without any trial.