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Opinions of Saturday, 12 March 2011

Columnist: Amenga-Etego, SaCut

Mills' Hypocricy And The Rawlings Factor!

When President Rawlings had his privileges stripped off as a former President of Ghana under the Kufuor regime it was considered by many well meaning Ghanaians and lovers of our flourishing democracy as an act of abhorrence by that vindictive administration. It was an act many observers described as petty and parochial on the part of President Kufuor and his cohorts. They nevertheless insisted on making former President Rawlings travel and move around without any state or diplomatic courtesies - ignoring the extra-ordinary service he rendered to the nation - even when men of questionable reputations gleefully used the VVIP section of Ghana’s airport because of their links to the NPP government.

President Kufuor nevertheless insisted that President Rawlings must live as an ordinary man under his reign to the extent that he determined and defined the areas in Ghana, which were strictly out of bounds for Mr. Rawlings. It was easy for President Rawlings considering that he has always remained an ordinary man with the people - not even nineteen years in power changed him. Vindictiveness has always been a major agenda of the NPP. All of us lamented openly including the people at the helm of affairs in the NDC government today led by Prof Evans Atta Mills.

President Mills, in my books, has not exactly departed from the sorry approach used by President Kufuor from 2001 to 2008 when the NPP held power. The only difference has been that Kufuor and the NPP government’s bad treatment of Former Ghanaian President and NDC founder can at least be explained by their long standing fight against the TRUTH and their paranoia towards the courage with which the NDC founder has over the years held to it unwaveringly.What explanation can we have for the same bad treatment of NDC founder Jerry Rawlings during the present regime of the so called ‘new NDC’ – a situation that appears orchestrated by President Mills and his surrogates not to mitigate the situation of the former President as created by President Kufuor but to worsen it.

I do not see a difference between when President Kufuor decided that former President Rawlings will have to carry his own luggage unto a plane at the airport whiles he elected to have a VVIP route for himself on the one hand, and when President Mills decided that on March 6th 2011 during the independence anniversary parade, the former President and ruling NDC founder Jerry Rawlings should not be acknowledged by the official announcer - not on his arrival to the Independence Square rudely left out off the protocols when the names of dignitaries were being requested to depart for their vehicles in order of their importance. He was the only former President at the ceremony. And he was the only NDC founder there but he eventually had to decide when he wanted to leave because protocol officials had been ordered to conveniently ignore him. By not acknowledging his presence, President Mills intended to denigrate the former President.

What is more? President Mills and his surrogates are not apologetic - not with this silly and petty approach. When it happened in parliament where the President Mills failed to acknowledge former President Kufuor and Chief Justice Georgina Wood in his address to parliament he publicly apologized to the two soon after he left Parliament House. This has not been done after the unacceptable occurrence at the Independence Square involving former President Rawlings on 6th March 2011. It was planned and projected by President Mills and his team to humiliate the former President and NDC founder and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings.

What other way can anyone look at it?

This was the same clique of people who just a couple of months ago decided during the funeral of a late and former regional NDC chairman that the funeral donations of the NDC founder and former President to the bereaved family should not be openly acknowledged and his official representative in a prominent chief in TAMALE was to be ignored during the ceremony. The President and his vice as well as ruling NDC chairman and general secretary were Present. Indeed, the entire presidency was present. I was also present at that ceremony and I had the honour to personally find a chair for this prominent representative for that occasion. President Mills and his surrogates are clearly intending to achieve a malicious purpose with these actions. Several examples of this situation have occurred during this NDC regime but suffice it to use the two instances.

There is a lot of hypocrisy going on. These are the same people in government today who lamented the loudest when President Kufuor did these things to the NDC founder. At that time when the founder remained the lone voice that kept the NDC and its mass followers inspired and filled with courage to take back power to the people - at that time these same people lamented and prayed for a change. But is this the kind of change we sought? No!

This is no way to go if President Mills means well for the NDC and the people of Ghana? President Mills cannot continue to pretend that solidarity does not matter. How long before President Mills restore that solidarity in the NDC - a situation that is seminal to the NDC’s quest to retain power in the next general election. President Mills must know that the mass followers of the NDC - the ones who made him President - are not and cannot be inspired by these situations and demand better than that kind of leadership from him. In a better Ghana, how we treat our former heads of state must be a gulf away from the sorry standards set by President Kufuor.

In a better Ghana, President Mills must not act vindictively towards the man who gave him an opportunity at political office. I am inclined to believe those who have repeatedly stated that President Mills hates President Rawlings and has been struggling to accommodate him especially at public functions. I hope no one will come out to issue a statement denying the actions at the Independence Day celebrations were not deliberate but an oversight. If President Mills and his people cannot countenance the sight of President Rawlings being recognized at a state function and the massive support he draws, he should make it clear and refuse to send him invitations.

We the true followers of the NDC are fed up with his hypocrisy, ingratitude and pettiness.

What a shame, President Mills!

SaCut Amenga-Etego (YFL General-Secretary and NDC youth activist)