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Opinions of Thursday, 16 June 2011

Columnist: Adu, Kwesi

June 4, The Boom That Got Postponed

By Kwasi Adu

At the launch of Nana Konadu Agyeman’s campaign for the flag bearership of the NDC on 4th May 2011, her supporting husband, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings made a speech. In the course of his speech, he said he would reserve his detailed speech until June 4 2011when he would give more details about how he came to the conclusion that “NDC started losing the 2012 election within the first week of the Mills’ administration, and lost it finally, eight months back” and why the NDC should “change the driver” in order to “rescue this country”.

June 4 came, and at their rally in Kumasi, ex-President Rawlings did not say anything new. The speech was an almost droll recycling of the same old harangues that he been busy at in the last two and a half years. The speech was full of contradictions and paradoxes, interspersed with anecdotes, which were unrelated to the issues he was repeating. At the end of his speech, I asked myself “where is the beef?” I could not find it. I was disappointed. I thought he was coming up with specific details of how the “greedy bastards” have amassed wealth, using the institutions of state. But low and behold, he once again, postponed his “boom to 8th July 2011 at the NDC Congress.

I will not be surprised, if on 8th July, he postpones the deadline again to 31st December 2011. Then again, it may also be postponed to another June 4. Like the Ya Naa tapes that he never revealed, or even the tapes about the serial murders of the women for which he was prepared to swear by Antoa Nyamaa, we might never know these details.

There was something that he said which convinced me that he is feeling sorry for himself. He stated that the PNDC, led by him, made a mistake by not identifying “intelligent, brilliant and smart people” to take over the reins of power from his administration. For somebody who says his political philosophy is the fight for integrity, commitment to the masses, and against corruption and abuse of power, the ex-President should by now be asking himself whether he really meant what he said. If he were to look back at 1982 he should take pen and paper and list the names of the young people with whom he was with in April 1980 and in 1982 and whom he quickly cast out into the outer darkness, (either killed or chased into exile). Has he, in 2011, heard or known of any of those people, whether any of them has been corrupt, or been “greedy”? He cannot point to one; even one.

Does he remember Napoleon Abdulai, Taata Ofosu, Nyeya Yen, Zaya Yeebo, Explo Kofi Nani, Michael Nunoo (Okpara), Shaibu Gariba, Sakkua Agambila, Seidu Bawumia, Aloysius Denkabi, Nicholas Atampugre, Joe Cudjoe and the early PDC and WDC guys, including the young trade unionists? Which of these has been corrupt? These were people, who for the eleven or so months that they worked with the PNDC, received no pay. The young men with him at the time ate once a day from the military cookhouse. In 1982, Napoleon Abdulai for example, deferred his education in the then Soviet Union to return to Ghana to contribute, without pay! Does he remember his bodyguards, (such as Cpl. Kwasi Boakye-Mensah [Tarkesh]) who were prepared to use their paltry wages to pay for his cigarettes? Where are they now? In 2011, he should look around him, and observe his newfound friends around him. Which of them goes on an assignment for him without asking for money? If this is the sort of “training” that he has given to his new “young” friends, why does he bemoan the possibility of NDC delegates being lured by cash to vote on 8th July at the NDC Congress?

So President Mills is not one of the “intelligent, brilliant and smart people”? Such penchant for insults is no longer surprising, but, coming from a person who expects the rest of the country to respect him is contemptible. The people who keep “advising” others to stop criticising Rawlings while approving of his language, should first turn their advice to Rawlings himself. He is the one who deserves that sort of advice.

If for near twenty years, he could not groom any ““intelligent, brilliant and smart people”?” to take over from him, what does he think Nana Konadu could achieve in a possible eight-year reign? In the darkness of his bedroom, when he is alone, ex-President Rawlings should admit that he has been a complete failure. In 1982, he threatened his then-young friends with death when they stood up and boldly told him that he was veering off-course. “You have the pen, but I have the gun,” he shouted at them. In 2011, those he threatened still have their pens, abut he no longer has the gun. At least, he can no longer shoot them and get away with it using his position as head of state.

In the course of his speech in Kumasi, he also stated that 8th July 2011 was going to be a “moment of truth”. There are only two possible truths that will occur on that day: either Nana Konadu wins or President Mills wins. However, for ex-President Rawlings, there would be only one truth: that is, Victory for Nana Konadu. He should ask himself, whether if the truth turns out to be a victory for President Mills, Rawlings and his wife will accept the “the will” of the delegates”. He appears so convinced that he warned that if President Mills “refuses to accept the verdict”, “the inevitable will happen.” What is that inevitability? He provides the answer in his following statement: “it is time to take over the party, the government and the country”. How is he going to do that if he and his wife lose on 8th July 2011? Would he go, as he put it, the equivalent of what happened in Egypt or Tunisia? He must make the inevitable happen.

It is a tragedy when a person does not realise it when he or she is sinking. Like the Shakespearean Macbeth, he does not believe that the woods of Birnam can possibly move towards his castle. The witches told Macbeth “Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care of who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him”.

And even when he saw the woods of Birnam moving towards the castle, he took solace in the witches’ other prophecy that “Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”. He believed this until Macduff, his fighting opponent, finally revealed to him that he, Macduff, was born by caesarean section rather than the natural way. (By the way, where did I lately hear the “BE BOLD” call?)

If ex-President Rawlings would be observant, he should be looking at the people around him today and determine their true thinking. Like Macbeth, the people around him today, when they smile at him, only show their bare fangs, with no feeling in the smile: And that those things that should accompany old age, such as honour, love, obedience, troops of genuine friends are completely missing. Instead, what he has are “Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breadth which the heart would deny”.

It is turning out to be a Shakespearean tragedy, with Lady Macbeth in tow. I recommend the book, Macbeth to anyone interested in the current going-ons.

Sometimes, ex-President Rawlings contradicts himself without realising it. Otherwise, why would he in one breadth say that the NDC could not be beaten in 2008 in spite of the monies that the NPP threw at them, yet in the same breadth, he thinks that the same NDC voters are going to be swayed with money to vote against his wife on 8th July?

Ex-President Rawlings would like people to believe that there were people who, in the cause of June 4 1979 and 31st December 1981 spilled their blood to save Ghana, and whose sacrifice should not be in vain. Can he name those people? Can he tell us how he rehabilitated them and their families in the twenty years that he was in power? Their memories are invoked only when ex-President Rawlings find himself in political trouble. Those who survived the fight on 31st December 1981 were either killed or chased into exile. Let me borrow this question from ex-President Rawlings: “Who born dog????”