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Feature Article of Friday, 21 September 2012

Columnist: Berko, George

The Fear of J.J. Controlling Mahama

....Should Not Cost Ghana Any More Good Fortunes?

In perusing through many Comments on an Article that appeared on Ghanaweb.com this morning, September 20, 2012, entitled “Is Mr. Rawlings Gloating Over President Mills Death?”, one particular comment, which had little relation to the topic of the Article, caught my attention, and got me thinking, ever so deeply, about our Country’s fate under this new Mahama Administration and beyond. In its deviation from the topic, that Comment claimed that J.J. Rawlings had begun efforts to control President Mahama, and that the new President must not budge.

As benign as this comment sounds, it immediately sharply alerted me to what I had observed as a subtle but highly effective pre-emptive de-muscling of the late President Mills’ Presidency. I had observed that the late President Mills had volubly swallowed the same bait at the very onset of his Presidency to divorce himself from his Political progenitor and direct boss, J.J. Rawlings. The bait was simply that Mills’ opponents had begun to, loudly, describe by him as a potential J.J.’s poodle, and that the late President was going to be the quixotic clownish manifestation of J.J.’s puppetry. I saw it all as an attempt by Mill’s opponents to dictate his agenda, not necessarily in furtherance of his goals, however laudable they might be. In an attempt to, earnestly, prove his opponents wrong, and show to have asserted himself as his own man, the late President Mills blatantly ignored J.J. Rawlings right from the get-go; and we all know what subsequently developed, including the splitting of the NDC Party.

While the result of taking such bait would be pleasing to the Political foes of NDC, enhancing their chances against that Party, I think it ravaged the whole Nation’s match to success as it distracted the late President from what he, direly, needed to accomplish.

It is in that sense of being wary of the cost of such Political ploy to our Nation that I caution all those who have renewed the scheme on President Mahama to refrain from doing so, and not add any more chaotic nuances to our few months left with the NDC. The distraction derived from the J.J.-versus-the- Executive-bruhaha could cost the Nation the President's attention to what is crucial. One might suggest why I wouldn’t, then, prevail upon J.J. to quit poking his nose into the Office of President Mahama. That, I would say would be almost impossible to achieve because J.J. has shown to persist in this fashion, pushing the boundaries taut but without breaking the Law, and indicates no intention to cool down and mute off. I guess it is within his rights, just as those employing those tactics might be within their rights.

However, as much all Ghanaians have the right to express their Opinions, my entreaty to those who adopt the scheme alluded to is even only on the terms of simple admonishment, for the sake of Ghana. I don’t intend to suggest they forfeit their rights to free Speech. Oh, heck no! In fact, I’d encourage them to do more to exercise those rights but only in a different way. This is because I believe they could get their political aims realized in other ways without helping drown the Nation in more misery first. Besides, I would believe Mahama appearing to heed J.J. might cost the Nation less damage than concentrating all his efforts in showing the Public that he is ignoring him, as the late President Mills did.

For the few months left to the Elections, we should let the new President, Mr. Mahama, perform at his utmost. That will surely show the Public whether he deserves the next four years or not. And his camp, then, cannot make excuses for lapses in performance with any interference from J.J. Why would any President be able to serve the Nation well, or not, because of how they don’t listen to J.J., instead of how they listen to him? Mahama could listen to J.J. but not necessarily do as he wishes all the time. He could do what he wishes but find a way to put his own stamp on it as only a coincidence of ideas. No one has an exclusive claim to what is right. And, even in the instance where there seems to be only one solution that anyone could truly apply to an issue, it is just that there is always one truth under every set of precise circumstances. Therefore, Mahama should not abandon a good idea just because it first came from J.J.

So, let Mahama wisely react himself to whatever interactions J.J. initiates towards him. I think President Mahama is mature enough to indicate whether, or not, J.J. is an impediment to his governance. We should not be the ones telling President Mahama what he feels about the former President’s interactions with him. At worst, ours should be just conjecturing. We should not attach any demeaning, insulting, morale-degrading conditions to any such conjecturing to ensnare the President to fail whichever way he turns. The cost to the Nation far outweighs the transient Political euphoria that the President’s foes may gain for using that trap on him. And given that their own performance, should the President’s foes be helped by such trap to eventually win the Presidency, may not guarantee our deliverance, the pain our folks suffer for any avoidable gap in the President’s performance now could not be justified.

We have to recognize that when the same tactics were used on the Late President Mills, it allured him to try so hard to prove his own man, going to excruciating ends to detach himself from J.J., that he missed the essence of very crucial initiatives, rendering him almost ineffective.

It just so happened that President Mills would have to, totally, ignore any suggestion that J.J. offered, just so people would acknowledge the Late President was not J.J.'s poodle.

However, in spite of his widely detested demeanor in voicing his opinions, and the fact that we would not like to give him credit for many things, there were very important issues that J.J. pointed out that, had the late President heeded, could have helped him leave a stronger legacy and Ghana much better off. At least, the NPP flagbearer might not have had enough reason to call him "Professor Do-little".

So, President Mahama must beware of those who seem to be emboldening him to plug his ears to J.J., the founding father of their Party. J.J.'s “boom-boom” message delivery may not be very welcomed to many. But sometimes his message could be right on the money regarding the issue at stake, especially, when it comes to the inner-workings of their Party.

For example, Had Mills watched out for the "greedy bastards" in their own Party that J.J. had been howling about, we might not have ended up with the numerous Woyomegates that kept popping up to mar his Presidency, tainting it with probable Corruption of “gargantuan” dimensions. It wasn’t only J.J. that might have noticed the peril lurking around. But he might have been the one with the loudest, stentorian voice to yell it out. While preserving our own dignity and craving for others to hail us as towering and domineering, sometimes, we would have to stoop to succeed.

This advice is a non-Partisan one to help ensure our new President focuses on giving his all to salvage what is left of Ghana, even as he uncomfortably deals with the likelihood of losing the Presidency to Nana Akufo-Addo in December.

So, for President Mahama, I would leave these two Akan Proverbs to ponder over: 1). "Se wofa wansena ho abufuo a, wobere wokuro" --(literally translated as: If you become obsessively annoyed at the fly, you prick your own wound); and

2). "Se wotan Okwaduo a, na w'ayi n'amirika"--(which could also be literally translated as: If you hate the Duiker, you still cannot deny it the credit of possessing great Speed.)

A word to the wise is enough, the sages say. Oh, by the way, I remember an old childhood friend of mine rendering this attribution of the sages’ as: "A word to the wise in the North" --no punt intended.

Long Live Ghana!!

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