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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

Mills’ Government under Siege by Ochlocratic “Foot-Soldiers”

Power is such a powerful instrument that if not handled tactfully with might and main, can easily get out of control and into disarray. In its decorations of adornment but not without flattery, power may be enviable but political power can be full of hassle, stressful, misery and repiningly regretful. Such is the most probable sentiment in Ghana’s President John Atta Mills who can only afford to feign confidence to face mounting challenges militating against his administration from all angles by keeping up appearances. Lost in a sea of frustrations, lack of ideas, angry and possessed with an evil spirit of vendetta and mischief, saddled with intra-party pressure cum controls, the President has never been himself in control and has lost focus.


Desperate for political power à corps perdu, a better Ghana was promised but no blueprint as to the nature and form was provided. All he said was: “we deliver, we don’t promise”. Yet he promised a better Ghana which has proved to him to be easier said than done. This pig in a poke promise was sold by John Mills as then candidate to Ghanaians. A blank package was porrected to Ghanaians who apparently bought it without any haggling; furthermore hardly did adventure-seeking Ghanaians fathom that a better Ghana would be equated with mob rule. As if by coincidence and as if all John Mills are John Mills, the C19th English libertarian and philosopher John Stuart Mill, in further expounding his utilitarian principles controversially believed democracy to be only by participating in the functions of government that the ruled could become competent as citizens. Opining earlier in the C18th, Montesquieu, the French social commentator believed same to be when the body of the people is possessed of the supreme power. Going literally by both Montesquieu and John Stuart Mill’s thoughts which John Atta Mills has not only misconstrued in their principles, his chooboi politics neoteny stance has clearly exposed his ignorance of the tenets of civilised representative Democracy and modernity by acquiescing to the lawless version of rule of the mob. To wit, the barbaric and crude version of Democracy pervades in Ghana under John Mills, seen to have lost absolute control of his leadership and Presidential authority.
Unilaterally hand-picked and weaned by his ‘master’ to lead his Party, John Mills has shown little leadership qualities both towards his Party and Ghana to the advantage of manipulative appointees of his. It is a fact that the Presidential dais is not a bench to be occupied by more than one person at a time yet John Mills’ occupancy of the Highest Office of the land appears to be co-occupied by several other individuals and groups including so-called angry ‘foot-soldiers’ who overtly challenge his Presidential authority to his acquiescence with impunity. Mills is only a diglot who speaks ordinarily in either English or Fanti Twi, yet his numerous interpreters and translators come out to impress on Ghanaian that President Mills’ statements are in parables and proverbs that incredulously run contra to normal reasoning and understanding. “Dzi wo fie as?m” statement to Ghanaian journalists on the Ivorian conflict has ironically and controversially come to mean Ghana’s willingness to align with ECOWAS decision with possibility of intervention. In short, mind your own business has been controversially phrased and explained by Mills’ prolocutors as willingness to join in ECOWAS group intervention.
The unlawful activities of frustrated agitated NDC so-called ‘foot-soldiers’ have found expression in intimidating the public at will, seizing toilets, locking-up public offices and daring police to intervene, chasing away DCEs and MCEs who have been appointed by the powers of Mills as President of Ghana; daring the vice President if he is virile and intrepid enough to come and intervene in their nefarious activities in the Northern Region, attacking the Police and in fact, ostensibly controlling the John Mills and John Mahama administration like a puppet with impunity; because they take these so-called Party activists ‘foot-soldiers’ disobedience to the law as only venial. For this reason, they feel fearless, they know they are wrong yet they feel strong and appear to have even the potency of one day telling John Mills and his Vice to vacate their High Office at the Osu Castle and surrender to them, which action they are poised to take and to accordingly ensure compliance at their whims and caprices. Indeed, this daring conduct of these mad dogs is strange and requires to be investigated as to what potential authority is lurking behind this lawlessness. As at today, another angry ‘foot soldiers’ action is looming at Amansie West for a purported reinstatement of their fired DCE. What a degree of contempt and defiance! So, are these people alien to simple peaceful supplications to the President for redress of issues are they simply being eristic?
Is it not the same John Mills who shouted wolf by declaring: “there is only one President in Ghana” barely three months into his tenure of office? What scary images and imaginings were going through his mind at that time that no longer scare him now as he is overtly pushed off the “driving seat”, taken for an incompetent pusillanimous eye servant President? Has he developed aphonia since then? Has he been gagged or is he simply fed-up and yielded to gang pressure and forced to glorify evil? What enchanting spell has ensnarled President Mills into this appeasement behaviour and not being responsive to dire events right inside his own back-yard that potentially subvert his authority?
Ghana under John Mills’ in barely two years has not deviated much from the strait jacket government of nineteen years of Rawlings’ Ghana; Atta Mills has forsaken nomocracy and given in to mob rule particularly by so-called foot-soldiers, notably so-called Azorka boys. [I am arriving at this conclusion from the premise that Rawlings has neither ever believed in, nor has he ever understood democracy because his eclecticism positions him between laeotropic despotic dictatorship a la Napoleon style Monarchy and oligarchy with mob action/mob rule as surplus to please his hoodlums. John Mills as a thoroughbred NDC thinks and believes the same]. In NDC interpretation, Mills’ loss of grip on power and authority to ‘foot soldiers’ and others is gratified and ornated as eleutherian yet he remains obstinate to rogations and reasonable demands of suffering Ghanaians under a harsh economic regime.
It is worth asking as to why this tantum of lawlessness under John Mills’ administration? One most probable answer is the fact that the NDC is a lawless Party that has accorded massive nuisance value to anomie, thus condoning with it as long as it promotes their causes. Therefore, having invested heavily in these faex populi lager louts to win political power, they assume the official or quasi-official status of ne me tangere (don’t touch me) for if they dare, no more dirty work would be done for their political cause. The other is that John Mills is taken for a milquetoast personality President, a characteristic that his ‘master’ and appointee John Rawlings recognises as inherent in Mills plus his inability to take informed decisions unless dictated to him, which also exposes his pusillanimity. John Rawlings knew about these short-comings of Mills nevertheless he imposed him on his Party with a devastating domino effect on Ghana in her teething stage of democracy. Also the NDC was sired by a rebel with no scruples so such have been the patroclinic characteristics of its followers who frown on reason and all forms of systematic approach and procedures.
In ancient Greek political thought ochlocracy was considered as one of the three "bad" forms of government such as tyranny and oligarchy as opposed to the three "good" forms of government like monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. The distinction between "good" and "bad" was made according to whether the government form would act in the interest of the whole community ("good"); it would ipso facto be (“bad”) if special interests were built-in. Lapses in this control often led to loss of power, or even the loss of heads of officials
In 1837, Abraham Lincoln wrote about "the increasing disregard for law and order which pervaded America and the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of courts, and the worse than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice."
One of the characteristics of a free and open society is that its people retain the right to peaceably assemble and to petition their government for the redress of grievances but which eschews hooliganism and lawlessness as it is often exhibited by NDC louts.
The modern theories of civil disobedience can be violence differentiated from "mob rule" and its mechanics, as these actions forgo the use of force that the mob of ancient times employed. Politicians are often forced to make decisions which compromise their own beliefs and what they may think is best through the pressures of their mobs for the sake of future elections, fitting into their party apparatus certain images and pleasing those who funded or ‘foot-soldiered’ their campaigns.

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, LLB; MPhil (London) London UK