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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Columnist: Norvor, Justice Dansu

Leave Rawlings alone, Kwesi Prat

I wonder if Ghana still has the professional “code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism” when it seems “The common good" is missing in today's Politics & Journalism.

Kwesi Prat is one of those journalists I respected over the years for his out rightness but I am beginning to question my conscience if I really judge him well. His recent pejorative write up in the Insight newspaper which was also captured on the ghanaweb with the caption “Kwesi Pratt questions Rawlings' integrity” has exposed his clandestine activities that over the years portrayed Rawlings as an evil person.

As it saddened me when Mr. Prat descended heavily on President Mahama for what he termed as “non- consultative” appointments of Ministers, made in a manner he described as “sloppy” and fraught with “confusion”, we in the NDC will not sit down for him to question the integrity of the very person who brought the freedom of speech he is enjoying today- selling his newspapers. On what basis did he expect Mr. Rawlings to criticize the Mahama administration? Mr. Prat, by his latest pronouncement has shown that he is one of those catalysts trying to ignite confusing in the NDC. They succeeded during the Mills’ presidency but I can assure them that, the NDC is getting back stronger and will not be misled by their surreptitious motives.

What is his stake when the Founder of a party gets on well with the President he voted for? Has he so soon forgotten that, it was the same Rawlings who discovered President Mahama, then a young MP for Bole Bamboi and gave him a deputy ministerial appointment in April 1997? Has he forgotten that it was the same Rawlings who in grooming the current President appointed him to serve as deputy minister to Dr. Ekwo Spio- Garbrah at the Ministry of Communication. A pair which laid down the foundation of the glowing communication industry that he now enjoys.

When the then Commissioner for Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the late Prez. Mills and his team failed to convince Ghanaians on the VAT, was it not the same Rawlings in 1997/98 that reposed confidence in President Mahama and Spio- Garbrah at the communication ministry to do a great work in getting a general public acceptance of the VAT?. Has he, Kwesi Prat forgotten also that on 11th May, 1995, he in the company of “All Die Be Die” Akuffo- Addo staged a “Kume Preko” demonstration?? Has he forgotten so soon when in November, 1998, Rawlings appointed from amongst many competent ministers, Prez. Mahama as the substantive minister when Spio- Garbrah was reassigned to straighten the Education ministry?

Where was Kwesi Prat, during the testy times the NDC had in the past administration?

Was he happy when certain cliques hijacked the Mills’ Presidency for their selfish interests at the expense of the taxpayer?

Was he pleased when Mills ignored some of the best brains in the NDC for roles in his government to satisfy some egoistic individuals? Wouldn’t the vast expertise of the likes of Ibn Chambas, Spio –Garbrah, Tony Lithur, Tony Aidoo, and Gilbert Iddi that the footsoldiers much expected in government serve the tax payer better? Do we then have a true leader when a government official is fired for exposing corruption in government as happened in the case of Martin Amidu? Do we then have a patriotic leader when solid stalwarts like Spio-Garbrah who left his job at CTO was overlooked in the Mills’ government for expression his views? For God sake this is Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana and not Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Let our national interest supersede self efficacy. Kwesi Prat and his likes should note that, Chairman Rawlings has nothing against the party he founded, but when all these disservices to mother Ghana mentioned above seem to be perpetrated by the party he founded and the very people he brought to prominence turn ingrates and cast slurs on his personality for raising genuine concerns, he should not expect Mr. Rawlings although a John to behave as though he is John the Baptist- -the righteous one.

He should not also forget that, Rawlings is a great asset to the NDC. There had never been any individual in our nation’s history that has positively affected the emergence of great national heroes in the political scene than did Mr. Rawlings. Think of how he discovered President, Mahama, Tony Aidoo, E.T Mensah, Alban Bagbin, Haruna Iddrisu, Joe Gidisu even Asiedu Nketia and also some of the nation’s best exports to the international community: Ibn Chambas, Dr. Ekwo Spio Garbrah and Victor Gbeho. Think of how he has now discovered a young and humble future asset in person of Kofi Adams who has become a role model for the youth and accord him (Rawlings) the recognition he deserves as our former President. Is there anything wrong if President Mahama taps the wisdom and experience of Mr. Rawlings to realize our shared vision as a nation?? Our footsoldiers are more than happy to see a more stable NDC that will bring together all our strong guys who had been victimized in our past administration. President Mahama has time and again assured the rank and file of a united front devoid of vindictiveness, and many expect him to go by his words to bring back, competent party stalwarts like Ibn Chambas, Spio- Garbrah, Gilbert Iddi, Tony Aidoo, Ofosu Ampofo, Cadman Mills and others that are more than capable to help him succeed as President.

The President’s appointments should be about individual competences, delivering efficiently on the NDC manifesto and also about internal party unity, satisfying the aspirations of NDC party supporters, and avoiding the errors of the Mills era. We in the NDC also often think we can do fine by consciously ignoring some of our best comrades who may be in the Diaspora. So, in recent years, NDC and Ghana have not found much for such talents as Dr K.Y. Amoako, Dr Ibn Chambas or Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, causing them to spend much of their time outside the country. The country often likes to pretend that they do not need most of the estimated 2 million Ghanaians who have gained great expertise outside the country, as surgeons and engineers in Germany, designers in Italy, IT experts in Silicon Valley, financial engineers on Wall Street and in the City of London, city administrators in Pretoria and Canberra, business managers in Singapore, and university professors all over Europe. Yet we need them. That is why many of these Diaporeans judge what value the country puts on their expertise by how they treat those like Spio-Garbrah who left high paying jobs at the World Bank, African Development Bank and more recently the CTO to return home to help? Can Ghana use such people, or should they always return to international jobs where their value is better recognized? We must act now as a country if we are to reach our full potentials hence the experience and wisdom of Mr. Rawlings is indispensable to President Mahama.

If Mr. Prat is still not convince that the President needs Chairman Rawlings for consultations more than he needs any other Ghanaian, he should take a trip to South Africa to find out the number of times Jacob Zuma visits the home of Nelson Mandela in a month to seek his wisdom and experience. At least he will come to terms with the reality.

If he is broke because of Rawlings’ silence on President Mahamas’ administration hence to spew out peevish statements to promote his yellow journalism, then his paper will not sell. Rawlings and his NDC are committed to living beyond reproach in Mahama’s administration.

And if he is working it out for undercover mafias that coerced the innocent Prof. Mills into making political errors of judgment, then they must tighten their belt as President Mahama is wiser enough to be hoodwinked by their tricks. I urge Mr. Kwesi Prat to be cautious when using Rawlings to sell his papers and to maintain the principles of truthfulness, objectivity, fairness and above all “the common good” that has being his hallmark over the years if he is to be considered as a legendary journalist in years to come. May God Bless our homeland Ghana.

By: Justice Dansu Norvor