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Opinions of Friday, 6 May 2011

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

How Mrs. Rawlings upstaged Mr. Laden

...and Mills got a groove

By George Sydney Abugri

Scrounge yourself an early ticket to the NDC’s coming presidential primaries old chap, because it promises to be the most amusing political thriller of all Ghanaian contemporary political history, what with JJ Rawlings all set to launch what could be his last and final revolution, this time by proxy and from within his party, as Mrs. Rawlings also gets set to become the next president of our great republic.

Initially, I thought the Konadu-for-president campaign was some kind of smart gimmick the NDC was playing to try and trick their opponents into thinking the NDC was about to come apart like a child’s sand castle on the sea shore and thereby, lull their opponents into a state of self-satisfied complacency.

That Mrs. Rawlings is dead serious about her ambition was made clear to all and sundry this week: Accompanied by a large army of NDC activists and with former President Rawlings by her side, Mrs. Rawglings’s launched her bid to become the NDC’s presidential candidate in 2012 to rapturous applause from her supporters.

No sooner had she put a full stop to her launch speech, than Rawlings was declaring his support for her bid. He was hopeful he said, that with Mrs. Rawlings in the race, it would be possible to “reignite the spirit” of his great party.

There is one thing even the most severe critics of Nana Konadu’s presidential ambition concede without a fuss: She has every right to contest her party’s presidential primaries, being a leading member of the party who has contributed very significantly to its growth.

Now, here is the catch, Jomo: Former President Rawlings has been unrelenting in his criticism of what he perceives to be President Mills’s lacklustre and over-conservative style of governance.

He has persistently accused Mills of being indecisive in dealing with corruption, surrounding himself with appointees, aides and advisors whose appreciation of the ideological origins and vision of the party is in doubt and failing to prosecute officials of the previous administration for alleged economic crimes against the mighty republic.

So if Rawlings’s wife now wants to replace Mills as the party’s presidential candidate in 2012, would it not seem that in criticizing Mills so bitterly and unrelentingly, JJ had all along only been preparing the grounds to instigate the ouster of President Mills as a presidential candidate in 2012?

Catch Two: From a universal perspective, it is a bit of a sore thumb, a political oddity: Never in the history of partisan politics anywhere, have elements in a ruling party tried to oust the sitting president after his very first term in office. There must be something very dire going on here:

I wont join those beating about the bushes and shrubs, Jomo: What is going on seems to transcend the limits of Mrs. Rawlings’s presidential ambition: It appears to be a determined move by leading members of the NDC who are standing on the party’s far left, to take control of the party and ultimately run the country according to their vision. Trust me or don’t; that is the truth old chap.

Evidence is easily found in the vocabulary of pro-Konadu and pro-Rawlings activists whose key words in the conversation this week, about Mrs. Rawlings decision to race Mills, have included “rescuing”, “taking back”, “salvaging”, “re-branding”, “realigning” and “repackaging” the party.

At the Konadu launch, Rawlings spoke passionately about the truth but did not appear eager to reveal her face from where he stood. It is difficult to arrive at the truth when JJ makes references to “corrupt and greedy bastards” in the Mills administration and fails to identify them and explain why he calls them that.

He spoke about the NDC having a tough fight ahead against “the enemy” and “the traitor” and he and his missus alleged that some people were traversing the country bribing delegates ahead of the NDC’s July congress. No faces, no names, no places. It makes it difficult to arrive at the truth. There is only what truth, isn’t there?

Rawlings’s handling of the matter of Mills’s style of administration has on some occasions, in my opinion, been quite appalling but President Mills may find it prudent to hold an intimate conversation with his conscience over the matter at good length:

The large numbers of protesting NDC foot soldiers who have at various times gone rampaging across the country and the teeming crowd of supporters who turned out in support of Mrs. Rawlings’s presidential ambition this week, suggest a spontaneous, conscientious disapproval of President Mills by many elements in his party.

Is it the case that Rawlings is taking tactical advantage of the discontent of NDC foot soldiers and disgruntled seniour party cadres to try and oust Mills as the party’s presidential candidate or that the acts of protests and vandalism by party foot soldiers have been instigated by Rawlings’s unrelenting vitriolic diatribes against the Mills administration in the first place? Let us try and figure it out.

Just to remind the Rawlingses and their supporters what even the average bloke could always do with a little bit of trying, vast numbers of President Mills’s supporters trooped out in buses and on motorbikes and threw up a big street carnival in the capital yesterday as Mills took delivery of his nomination forms yesterday! It angered some and amused others.

Konadu supporters speak with optimism about carts getting turned upside down at the July congress but Mills’s camp is cocksure only pigs will fly for Konadu. The point has been made though, that winning is not always the objective of people who contest elections:

There are those who may contest an election even when they know defeat is a forgone conclusion, just to make a point about a conviction or prepare the ground for some future action. What does that mean? Time will act as a clarifying agent!

While the killing of Osama bin Laden made all-day news headlines around the globe, it received limited commentary and attention in our republic thanks to the Konadu boondoggle this week. Oh yes, Madam upstaged the icon of global terrorism when it came to prime time news.

For a while, hiding in caves deep inside forbidding and impenetrable mountainous terrain accessible only on foot and camel back appeared to have kept Mr. Laden secure from US forces for a while but for how long can a man play John the Baptist in the 21st century, Jomo? This version of what happened during the assault group’s raid of Bin Laden’s house is probably one of the most graphic accounts: “After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap — boom, boom — to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back {to Afghanistan.}”

The killing of Bin Laden may not end terrorism any time soon and may only invite reprisal from Alqeads but If it is any consolation, it is probably that some elements in Al-Qaida must have finally blown Bin Laden’s cover.

If that indeed is indeed the case, Alqeada must be wondering who else in its ranks have had their cover blown, especially since the assault force took away hard drives, DVDs, documents and other materials containing details which could facilitate a global manhunt for 12 men believed to be the main surviving leaders of organization. Email: Website: