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Opinions of Sunday, 17 February 2008

Columnist: Asher, Bernard

Atta Mills and the P(NDC): Seeing through a glass darkly!

Per chance on Friday, the 25th of January, while scouring the WWW for news about the beloved motherland, I stumbled on a blog, supposedly belonging to John Atta Mills, the NDC president wannabe. As I perused this site I also came across a link to another blog owned by Jerry Rawlings and that, Ladies and Gentlemen, put me at the edge of my seat. The fact that his ‘Bloody Majesty’ had finally deemed it fit to ,as it appeared, ‘open himself to the world’ was indeed noteworthy, for the man had blatantly refused to engage in any political dialogue either with the press or the ordinary Ghanaian citizen throughout his 16 years as the sole ‘champion’ of the Ghanaian cause. His style over the years had been one of enchanting mostly illiterate rural folk with Machiavellian diatribes interspersed with vain attempts at speaking either Akan or Ewe, his purported mother- tongue amidst shouts of JJ, JJ, JJ! He had never found it fit to engage in intellectually charged dialogues either on TV or on radio save one staged attempt on one of the then newly formed Accra radio stations and one press conference in the second term of the NDC at the Castle, and understandably so, for it was sufficiently evident that the man was simply not cut out to nor did he possess the acumen to undertake and sustain such dialogues.

I was naturally intrigued and actually caught myself thinking momentarily that the man may have finally changed his ways, an idea I quickly aborted. As was expected John Atta Mills’ website was dominated by vitriolic attacks on the Kuffour administration and all its supposed ‘misdeeds’. To be honest many of these attempts at impugning the sterling efforts of the Kuffour administration were clearly sophomoric and exceedingly irksome to read. One entitled, “Who can defend Kufour’s Dictatorial Proclivities” however caught my eye with its blatant bias and distinctive selective amnesia of the writer. Thankfully the article offered the opportunity to comment, a chance I seized with gusto only to find out that, alas, my riposte to this article could, for some unexplained reason, not be posted. Down hearted I turned to the ever- welcoming and the vanguard of Ghanaian politics on- line: the substantive Ghanaweb to provide me with a platform to ventilate my views; an opportunity it readily accorded me.

Let me first of all take this opportunity to congratulate John Atta Mills for making this forum ( available which will ,hopefully, enable the concerned Ghanaian citizen ventilate his views concerning him, his party, the P(NDC), and politics within the motherland- a luxury that his patron saint- Jeremiah Rawlings never found fit to offer the Ghanaian citizen. I will also, at this juncture, impress on the presidential hopeful, to allow people of other political persuasions and complexions to put forward articles on this blog or at least give the same level of prominence to ripostes by putting them in the same fonts and formats as is given to the articles that are quite perspicuously mid-wifed by sympathizers of the P(NDC).

The following rejoinder to the above piece “Who can Defend Kufour’s Dictatorial Proclivities” purportedly written by 'admin Dawu' is intended to clarify certain desultory intimations by that writer.

The writer opens with the following advice: “When an NPP leader tells you to look up, your safest bet is to look left, right, and down; never up”. In my honest opinion if Ghanaians are indeed to be advised to “look down when they are asked to look up” as suggested by the writer, I would have rather thought it would be in response to any request from the P(NDC), don’t you think? I mean after all it was Jeremiah Rawlings who in a gesture of seemingly unbested altruism returned Ghana to civilian rule in 1979 after he sought to reinstitute his twin dicta of "probity and accountability" only to lose the battle with his innate god-complex two years later and return to power amidst a hail of bullets.

I must say, at this juncture, I am tempted to stop this rejoinder as I find the mordant and severely jaundiced article rather irksome and ludicrous to say the least, but I guess it is my duty to as it were 'throw more light' on the issues raised therein. Surely Mr. Attah Mills, you are not disputing the fact that Jeremiah –‘The Vampire’- Rawlings was a dictator? If a proven putsch-maker, who undertook two bloody back-to-back putsches in Ghana and subsequently ruled for 16 years under a stratocratic regime, cannot be rightly labelled a dictator then I am afraid the Ghanaian better check in at the emergency ward of the Ankaful Mental Asylum. What unsurpassed nonsensicality! And if Nkrumah, a proven megalomaniac, who had the hutzpah to introduce the infamous Preventive Detention Act cannot be called a dictator then who, on God's overpopulated earth, can?

This article, surely, must be a joke! It’s unbelievable that the writer has the hutzpah to accuse the NPP of "larceny, forgery, impersonation, drug dealing, illegal receipt of kickbacks from public contracts, hooliganism (remember Legon 2005 and 2007?), adultery, wife snatching, nepotism and sheer incompetence". (see

How about the kickbacks Rawlings and his bunch of political gigolos received from Ghacem? How about the three erudite judges that were savagely murdered at the express instructions of the Jeremiah Rawlings? How about all the brutalities that were meted out to Selassie O'Sullivan-Djentuh just for finding the sexual acrobatics of Zenator Rawlings no longer stimulating? How about the brutalities against the 'Kumepreko' demonstrators for expressing their democratic right to associate freely? How about the bloody killings that characterised the 31st December putsch? How about the dastardly execution of Odartey Wellington, the blatant attempt on the life of Chris Asher (who happens to be this writer’s father) and the subsequent confiscation of his hard-earned property inter alia? How about the soldiers that went through the streets of Cape Coast and many a peace-loving Ghanaian town wielding machetes, broken bottles, Kalashnikovs and whips summarily flogging, maiming, shaving (with broken bottles)and killing both the innocent and , in a few cases not too innocent Ghanaian trader for the infamous 'Kalabule'? At this juncture the poignant debacle of Ms. Enamel Sadick, a respected shop owner from a respected family at Cape Coast who was publicly stripped naked, forced onto a table at London Bridge (Cape Coast) and flogged until her well palpable butt bled profusely for allegedly selling sugar at cutthroat prices by a bunch of ‘ganja’-smoking, crazed, zombie-like soldiers sent by Rawlings to enforce his so-called ‘probity and accountability’ must be revisited. But for the very pristine underwear of this respected woman, her public image would have been irreparably dented. This writer’s own mother, then a 28- old mother of two, was severely man-handled over and over again by soldiers from the PNDC just for being Mrs Asher, the wife of the arch nemesis of Jeremiah Rawlings, Dr. Chris Asher, the then publisher of The Palaver newspaper.

Time and space will not allow me to refresh your memory, if indeed the rather selective memory of NDC sympathizers can be refreshed. Listen, whatever the Kufour government has done wrong (and I must stress there are a few that they have got wrong for nobody is above reproach) these are infinitesimal vis-à-vis the apocalyptic atrocities committed by the patron saint of your party: the mysterious Jeremiah- ‘The Vampire’- Rawlings and the P(NDC). The central theme of this caustic attack on Kufour and the NPP is the fact that, he (Kufour) sanctioned the dismissal of Francis Poku who was until recently in charge of national security, his alleged subsequent house arrest and discreet transportation from the shores of Ghana. The writer begs to know why Mr. Kufour did not offer a public explanation of the preceding series of events. To the writer I pose the following question: did Jeremiah Rawlings give any explanation about why he so unceremoniously terminated the appointment of Ato Austin (one time Regional secretary) of the Central Region? Did his 'press secretary' issue any explanations to the longsuffering people of the Central Region? How about when his ‘Bloody Majesty’ famously wrestled the polymath, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, to the ground in the early 1990s for opposing him to his face? Did Jerry 'The Vampire' Rawlings offer any explanation to the family of that erudite septuagenarian and to the Ghanaian citizenry about why he found it best to show such gross disrespect for a man old enough to be his father?(God bless him wherever he is). Has the former president ever found it fit to offer a befitting apology to the families of the hundreds of people (including this writer) whose lives, his reckless and criminal twin misadventures of 1979 and 1981, wrecked or those who were so dastardly murdered? Why then must Kufour explain his sacking of a man he appointed and as such can dismiss at will? Does the constitution of Ghana demand such elucidations from the president? No, it doesn't! The demagoguery of the above writer can therefore not be overemphasized.

Dear reader, the writer of the above article together with most NDC sympathizers seems to expect so much from Kufour and the NPP. It is indisputable that this is as a result of the deprivation of freedom that was ever-so prevalent under the PNDC. The Kuffour administration must be congratulated for diffusing democracy to the very grass roots of Ghanaian society. Whatever the mistakes of the NPP, it still remains the bona fide party in power voted for, not once but twice, by the astute people of Ghana. This, in fact, renders all policies postulated and implemented by the government legitimate unless otherwise proven in a court of law.

Has the writer of the, clearly misinformed article , any proof that Mr. Francis Poku , the former Minister for National Security -to whose aid the whole of the NDC seem to have suddenly come with such cunning camaraderie- was placed under house arrest and later shipped out of the country? Why should the typical Ghanaian who has lived through the concatenation of deceptions published by the P(NDC) regime over the years believe anything that the NDC says? Is it not the undisputed truth, that the most prized asset of the P(NDC) which is the fact that they stayed in power for 20 years largely illegally, is also their greatest undoing? Two decades of mostly stratocratic rule, later masked in a shroud which had little semblance to democracy or anything it stands for with its inherent god-complex and outright illegitimacy, has been a great eye- opener to the ordinary Ghanaian. However much the learned professor Atta Mills tries to morph himself and the NDC into a new party with a new agenda, the fact still remains steadfast: He will be considered an appendage of his ‘Bloody Majesty’ Jeremiah ‘The Vampire’ Rawlings ad infinitum and the party will forever suffer for building its image around the bloody and wicked personality of its patron saint. It is completely preposterous to some of us when his ‘Bloody Majesty’ Jeremiah Rawlings starts to criticise the Kufour government. To most of us, it represents the rantings of a now impotent erstwhile butcher who is clearly nostalgic over the era when the chilling chant could be clearly heard from atop the roof tops of Ghana: “Let the blood flow”!

Let it be known herein, that come December 2008 if the Ghanaian populace deems it fit to remove the NPP from power they will, albeit, through the ballot box and not through the magazine of a Kalashnikov. Any illegalities commissioned and perpetuated by the Kufour government should and will also be pursued with gusto if indeed evidence comes to light. Until then I am afraid demagoguery and sentimentality will not suffice.


Bernard Asher is a lecturer of Business Management & Economics @ the Guildford College for Higher and Further Education in Guildford, Surrey, England ,U.K. E-mail: basher

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