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Opinions of Monday, 19 March 2018

Columnist: K. Badu

Is Rawlings really relishing the opportunity to reclaim his brainchild?

There is no gainsaying the fact that the first president of the Fourth Republic and the founder of NDC, J. J. Rawlings, is relishing the opportunity to come out of retirement and rescue his beloved NDC from the people he inexorably describes as “babies with hard teeth” who lack any integrity to make the party great again.

The fact however remains that the unwearied former President Rawlings’s unconditional love for his brainchild (NDC) has not tapered off, not by any stretch of the imagination.

In the wake of the NDC’s humiliating 2016 election defeat, Ex-President Rawlings lamented: “Most people are yet to recover from the traumatic shock of the December 7th election results. “But I will have to state that if we turn our backs to our history us a party, we cannot escape the responsibility for the result”.

“I kept providing the warning whenever and wherever I could, and in public as well. “But no, once again the uncouth and uncultured in our party and government chose to insult and disrespect some of us” (Rawlings, 2016).

In fact, one does not have to look far for the evidence of Ex-President Rawlings devoted attachment to the party he gleefully undersigned with his blood. Yes, his 2016 speech to commemorate the 31st December 1981 revolution was a clear manifestation of his unbridled attachment to the party he founded in 1992.

“Need I remind you that the NDC was built on principles and values that emerged as a result of circumstances that led to our birth?”

“The fallen heroes we honour today expect of us in the least, never to relapse into those same old days. But that has not been the case.

“In the wake of the revolution we made pronouncements that summed up the state of affairs that prevailed then.

“I admonished back then that; “Ghana should be a land where it will be accepted practice and norm that those who earn the privilege to govern, should administer in humility, conscious that they are the servants of the people and are ready to submit themselves and their actions to public scrutiny and accountability” (Rawlings, 2016).

Ironically, though, former President Rawlings is said to have founded the NDC Party based on the principles of probity, accountability and transparency. Yet sleazes and corruption have been so prevalent in the successive NDC governments.

And, worst of all, if we compared the alleged corrupt practices of the murdered army officers in the 1979 coup d’état with the sleazes and corruption which took place in the erstwhile NDC administration, we cannot help but to pronounce that the Generals were “murdered” for less”.

As a matter of fact, the sleazes and corruption pervaded every facet of the erstwhile NDC administration, and hence earning the famous epithet, ‘create loot and share’.

In fact, the sleazes and corruption were so rampant to an extent that the 1981 coup maker and the founder of the NDC Party, Rawlings, grumbled openly: “I want to remind people that we could not have possibly forgotten that Generals were executed. The greed, corruption and injustice of today is a thousand times more than what these Generals were executed for, and if we are unable to restore a firm measure of integrity into our dealings, then the blood of many would have been shed in vain” (Rawlings 2017).

Certainly, it goes without saying that despite their much touted mantra of transparency, probity and accountability, we have been witnessing so much scheming guiles, sleazes and corruption in the successive NDC administrations. Who are they trying to deceive?

More recently, a competent court of jurisdiction convicted two of the several suspects in the infamous GYEEDA corruption scandal and sentenced them to six and twelve years respectively.

But to echo the sentiments of concerned Ghanaians, the sins of the two convicts are indeed meagre in comparison with the other scandalous corruption cases which took place in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

We should, however, take solace in the fact that the current Attorney General is seriously working towards bringing the suspects to book. Just last Wednesday, 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited.

If we take a stroll down memory lane, on 15th May 1979, a group of disgruntled junior army officers led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings failed in their insurrection against General Fred Akuffo’s regime, which culminated in the arrest and trial of Rawlings.

However, a group of army officers who happened to be Rawlings’s apologists revolted on 4th June 1979; broke jail and released Rawlings and his cohorts.

After successfully deposing General Akuffo and his Supreme Military Council (SMC) government, the mutinous officers went ahead and formed their own government, which they called as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and appointed Flt. Rawlings as their chairman.

Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters vowed to lustrate the country of the rampant sleazes, corruption and social injustices which instigated their coup d’état.

So in their attempt to purge the country of the perceived injustices, they carried out what they termed “house cleaning exercise”,--they dealt with perceived offenders arbitrarily.

The cabal proceeded with their intentions and callously murdered prominent people including General Fred Akuffo, General Kutu Acheampong, General Akwasi Afrifa and many others.

After getting rid of those they saw as threat to their hidden agenda, they decided to conduct general elections for political parties in the same year-1979.

Following the successful general elections, Dr Hilla Limann and his People’s National Party (PNP) emerged victorious in 1979.

Nevertheless, Rawlings and his cohorts did not give Dr Liman the opportunity to carry out his mandated responsibility. For Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters unfairly kept criticising Dr Limann’s administration for what they perceived as economic mismanagement, until he, Rawlings, decided to depose Dr Limann.

To fulfil his lifetime ambition of becoming the head of state, J. J. Rawlings and some obstreperous army officers took arms and succeeded in overthrowing the constitutionally elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981.

Rawlings subsequently formed a government which he called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed himself as the chairman.

Even though Rawlings supplanted power under the pretext of acting as a peripheral Panacea, he spent a little over eleven years before lifting the ban on political parties in 1992.



As a matter of fact, Rawlings succumbed to the internal and external political pressures for him to step down and allow multi-party democracy.

Subsequently, he lifted the ban on political parties in 1992 and resigned from the military simultaneously and put himself forward for election.

And, following his retirement from the military, Rawlings went ahead and formed a political party, which he named as the National Democratic Congress (NDC), an obvious progeny of PNDC.

J. J. Rawlings contested and won two elections and completed two terms in office-96 months (democratic rule) before retiring in January 2001.

He soon became the former president and took a back seat as prescribed by the Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. Thus, the stage was set for other qualified people to take over the presidency.

It is however worth mentioning that former President J. J. Rawlings’s 228 months (military, 132 months and democratic, 96 months) administrations only managed to destabilise Ghana’s macroeconomic indicators.

While on retirement, former President Rawlings would now and then contribute to the national discourse. As a matter of fact, he has been keeping the successive governments on their toes. He has thus earned the accolade, Dr Boom, for his vociferous and no nonsense approach.

To his credit though, former President Rawlings has remained the chief critic of his own ruling government. Indeed, he does not shy away from pointing out his NDC government’s incompetence and corrupt practices.

Rawlings however stresses: “With the passage of time a few too many selfish and greedy characters soon began to jump on board. “There were some good people; very good people but leadership and the command structure did not empower them to override those who were destroying the party and the government”.

Apparently, the ungrateful cabal in the NDC Party have been plotting evil against the very person whose brainchild (NDC Party) has made them ‘somebody’s’.

“Former President Jerry John Rawlings is not happy with elements in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who are allegedly baying for his blood.

“He is surprised that recent attacks on him have been orchestrated by people within the NDC, the party he founded.

“The ex-President cited the petition presented by the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) leader, Henry Lartey to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) asking them to investigate circumstances under which he (Mr Rawlings) reportedly received an amount of $5 million from the late Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha, as gift in 1998.

“Mr Rawlings says his own people in the NDC are behind the ploy to sully his hard-won reputation” (See: ‘$5m Abacha cash, NDC chasing me-says Rawlings’; dailyguideafrica.com, 18/10/2016).

To be quite honest, I am not least surprised that some elements in the NDC Party could go to such an extreme extent of bringing the name of their party founder into disrepute. After all, didn’t the party General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia, who was proselytised by Rawlings, once call Rawlings a barking dog? Yes he did.

Moreover, Haven’t the NDC’s boisterous brats (the babies with sharp teeth), who are not privy to their party’s history been upbraiding Rawlings all the time for expressing his grievances over the unobjectionable mess in his party?

In so far as I am an unrepentant critic of Rawlings, I do not think the man deserves all the effusions from the members of the party he worked studiously to bring to existence.

It is against this background that Rawlings may very well be relishing the opportunity to clean the party he cherishes so much.

Former President Rawlings however laments: “I have worked with good people all my life. “I have worked with bad people all my life, some wicked, some with character defects but evil natured people must be kept away”.