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Opinions of Friday, 15 July 2011

Columnist: Adu, Kwesi

How Are The Mighty Fallen!!!

By Kwasi Adu

My eyes were transfixed on the television, watching the events unfold at the NDC Congress in Sunyani. From time to time, my attention was distracted by the loud music from a Nigerian “old school” party two houses away. The music was good. It was old school Nigerian music galore: Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obe, Prince Nico Mbarga, Fela Kuti, etc. Just as the results of the Sunyani elections were about to be announced, they were blaring out one of Fela’s first songs. It went like this: “Ekpanu de ooo, eshishi ngbon… hen!,ho! Ekpanu de ooo, enonyi wuu,,,, hen ! hey! Oni who are you? Who are you reh?”. It was so loud that I felt like going to ask them to turn down the music because I had to strain my ears to hear the results.

Then it dawned on me. The music was very apt. “Oni who are you? Who are you reh?” The Rawlingses had dared to put their personal popularity to test among their own party; a party that they say they personally own. They had less than 4% of the vote. They did not even get 3.5% to enable us to round it up to 4%. Smashing! Just imagine if they had staked out this “popularity” before the whole nation! I dread to hazard the results.

For thirty good years, Flt Lt. Rawlings and his wife have been bestriding the country as if they were a colossus- while the rest of the countrymen, “petty men, walk under (their) huge legs and peep about to find (themselves) dishonourable graves.” . On two occasions, in his political life, even those who had helped to bring him to power were either murdered or, if they were lucky, driven into exile. The Rawlingses are the only ones who can insult a President and get away with it. Flt. Lt. Rawlings has described President Mills as unintelligent, not so responsible, dim and un-groomed; his Ministers are corrupt, while his friends are “greedy bastards” At the same time, President Mills’ female Ministers are “money-grabbing whores”. Who else can beat that?

All the while that he was at it, he carried the false sense of self-belief that he is the most popular person in the country. He did not expect to be criticised. When he was Head of State, anyone who dared to criticise him would be threatened with “you have the pen, but I have the gun”. However, if the critic persisted, he would be made to pay the ultimate price if he did not ran fast enough across the border. Even out of power, he considers the mildest criticism as an “insult”.

Now we all know that even within his own party, “without the help of the “greedy bastards”, his personal popularity rating, taken together with that of his wife, is a miserable 3.15%. Is that all that they could do? Is it because of all this that they have been wasting our ears? What a charade! This is similar to the case of the caterpillar, who went into a burrow. Out of sight, and taking advantage of the booming echo of his voice, he managed to frighten all the other animals that he was capable of breaking the bones of a bear, sit on the tail of a lion, and that he is “Okum Anini”; until a frog challenged him to come out so the frog can eat him.

The battle of Sunyani was thought by the Rawlingses and their motley supporters that it was going to be like the battle between David and Goliath. At the launch of Nana Konadu’s campaign, Flt. Lt. Rawlings boasted that his wife would win the contest by 76%.

Nana Konadu was the Goliath, while the meek and humble President Mills was the David. Even on the eve of the elections, Nana Konadu’s camp was claiming that they had the majority support in most regions. To their shock, they could only muster a pathetic 90 votes out of 2,861 valid votes. When they remember such boasts, they would realise the futility of their self-deception. When your mother has not returned from the farm, but you claim that she is back, who will be going hungry? The neighbours would not have to worry about giving you food.

It must be remembered that on June 4 2011, Flt Lt. Rawlings loudly declared, that the Sunyani Congress would be the “moment of truth”. Well, now the truth is that he and his wife have a personal popularity rating of 3.15% within the NDC. Will they accept that? Then he said another thing; “it is time to take over the party, the government and the country, clean them up and hand them over to a more responsible leader”. How can you take over a democratic party with less than 4% of the members behind you?

Sunyani was a total massacre. If the Biblical King David had been in Sunyani, his lamentation (See 2nd Samuel) would have read “ The mystique surrounding the Rawlingses is slain upon the Sunyani Coronation Park: How are the mighty fallen. Tell it not in Ghana, publish it not in the streets of the towns; lest the daughters of the Greedy Bastards rejoice. Lest the daughters of the money-grabbing whores triumph. Ye mountains of Afadjato, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain in Sunyani, nor fields of offering: for there the myth of the mighty is vilely cast away, as if they are not the anointed ones. Ye members of FONKAR, weep over the Rawlingses, who clothed you in scarlet, offered you meat pies with moneys in them and gave you vehicles to move around. Oh! How are the mighty fallen in Sunyani”.

The tragedy of the Rawlingses is that they have failed to learn the basics of organisational development. To have a successful social or political organisation, you need credible people in various parts of the country to do the legwork. It is not a one-man show. Throughout their political careers, it is others who have organised for them to go and address the crowds. They themselves do not know the grinding rudiments of house-to-house mobilisation. However, having dismissed those who used to do these for him as “greedy bastards”, he and his wife were left hanging.

Not only that! Their rag-tag campaign FONKAR team might have kept inventing fibs for them that they were winning. And they believed it. Like Macbeth, they could not accept that the Birnam Wood could ever move towards the Dunsinane Castle. Yet it did. In the end, they had less than 3.5% of the vote!

After the declaration, and as they moved out of the podium with their tales in-between their legs, I could not help singing along the music of the Nigerian revellers, “Oni who are you, who are you reh! Egbaa de ooo , oogbo, … heh. … Egbaa de ooo ooluu, heh.. Owo mi kitikiti owo owo ola nuo solo, heh. Olika nimo dze. Oni who are you! Who are you reh!”

If you cast out the “little minds” who get you out of the pit, and threaten to kill them, if you, in future fall into the trap pit, they will leave you to your fate in the pit.

When in May I wrote about the lion who, after being helped out of the trap-pit by the rat decided to kill the rat to keep his scandal secret, I did not complete the story.

As the rat wept and begged the lion to save him, Kwaku Ananse appeared on the scene. On hearing the story, he claimed that he would not believe the story. He asked the lion to demonstrate how the rescue took place. As soon as the lion descended into the pit, Ananse removed the twine, and asked the rat to get away. He turned to the lion and said “San koda wo amena mu. Osebo ee, san koda w’amena mu”. The lion was left to his fate.