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Opinions of Monday, 21 May 2012

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Mills - Rawlings Relationship; Similar to a Broken Mirror

Living in isolation is such a gargantuan risk that could be undertaken by any rational human being. It is for this reason that the Almighty Allah created man and a woman to depend on each other in times of need. Thus, the creation of Adam and Eve forms the basis of true and everlasting relationship since two heads are always better than one. For a relationship to stand the test of time, it is of utmost important for the parties involved to adhere to certain principles or qualities and these include; communication, trust, caring, and commitment. These qualities are the bedrock of any strong relationship or partnership. As such, if any of the above-stated qualities is missing, the relationship will definitely struggle to last. Communication in a relationship, for instance, could be said to be the problem solver and a destroyer at the same time. This is because every relationship starts with communication, and it allows the couple to talk about their problems and how best such problems could be solved. Trust, on the other hand, is like ‘I love you’ in a relationship. It is the epitome of a strong relationship. Building trust in a relationship takes a long time but if care is not taken, it can be destroyed within a twinkle of an eye. Trust is about having so much confidence in one another in that, none of the parties would be prepared to cheat on the other irrespective of the distance between them. Another important ingredient in a relationship is caring. It is a feeling or emotion which cannot be described in words. Caring for one’s partner is manifested when the person is away or is in trouble. For instance, you feel sad when your fellow is not well, or you miss the person when he/she is away. Finally, for a relationship to be mutually beneficial to the parties, there is a need for the two to be committed to each other’s cause. Commitment in a relationship keeps it together through the good and bad times. In other words, the parties involved make some sacrifices with the view to helping each other in times of need.
Dear readers, I am using the commentary above to describe the relationship between Rawlings and Mills, and to find out whether any of the pillars in a relationship as enumerated above is non-existent. After falling out with the then vice president, the late Kow Nkensen Arkaah in 1996, former president Rawlings plucked Prof. John Atta Mills from obscurity to partner him in the 1996 general elections. President Rawlings’ decision to pick Mills at the time might have been influenced by the afore-mentioned qualities. Rawlings trusted Prof. Mills, and really cared for him. He saw Mills’ commitment to the NDC’s cause – a cause that was built on the so-called probity, accountability, and social justice. Notwithstanding Rawlings’ trust in Mills, some leading members of the P/NDC kicked against his unilateral decision, which came to be known in political circles as the ‘Swedru Declaration’. At a point in time both Goosie Tanor and Obed Asamoah broke away from the NDC to form their own political parties. Whether the action taken by the affected groups was a contributory factor to Mills’ two presidential defeats in 2000 and 2004, former president Rawlings did not denounce Prof. Mills but rather worked tirelessly towards his victory in 2008.
It was against this unflinching support from Rawlings that made candidate Mills vow to consult him 24 hours a day if he became the president of Ghana. To Mills, it was an appreciation for the honour than him by his boss, Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings. But why should a whole law professor kowtow to the whims and caprices of a form 5 leaver, a military dictator, and a man who could easily be his son? Why would Mills, a man from the Central Region accept a position previously occupied by his fellow tribesman, Mr. Kow Arkaah, after the latter had been beaten severely by Rawlings? But in politics nothing is impossible because as the saying goes; each one for himself and God forever us all. The desire to amass wealth blinded Prof. Mills to contest the presidential elections for three consecutive times to the extent of visiting Kenya on Ghanaians, if he failed to secure victory.
Ever since Prof. Mills assumed the reigns of governance, he has reneged most of his key promises, including the one to consult Rawlings for 24 hours. On Monday January 9, 2012 during an encounter with a section of the ‘rented media’, President Mills remarked; “I am looking for an opportunity to sit down with former president Rawlings to iron out whatever differences we might have”. The above was the response to a question posed by a journalist regarding his strained relationship with Rawlings. The party’s General Secretary and one time palm wine tapper, John Asiedu Nketia opined; “it’s difficult patching differences between Rawlings and Mills”. The level of counter-accusations between the two camps – GARI/GAME and OLONKAR/FONKAR is a true indication of the gargantuan cracks within the NDC. For a sitting president to have been contested on the flag-bearership slot by the party’s vice chairperson, a woman who happens to be the founder’s wife, should be enough to convince not only NDC members, but also the entire Ghanaian populace that truly, the NDC is in turmoil and beyond repairs. Things have really fallen apart because the centre does not have the wherewithal to hold.
In life, there is nothing so painful than to be betrayed by a trusted friend – a friend on whose behalf you have made some painful sacrifices. That is gross ingratitude and as it is said; one ungrateful man causes injury to all who are suffering. Former President Rawlings feels so embittered because President Mills has failed to meet his high expectation. The expectation to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the heinous crime in Yendi in early 2001, the expectation to fight corruption with zeal, the expectation to rebuild his burnt house, and the expectation to reduce poverty and protect the core values of the NDC. Mr. Rawlings regrets making Mills what he is today. His description of the sitting president as “Konongo Kaya” - a dirty head porter who is not prepared to carry a load, yet will prevent others from doing so; his re-naming of Prof. Mills as “Atta Mortuaryman” - meaning Atta the living-dead, and his recent revelation of President Mills as a “Traitor” – a grandchild of Judas Iscariot, go to underscore his aberration for Mills’ leadership style. Having described his appointees as “greedy bastards” and “born dogs”, one wonders the number of nick-names that would be given to Prof. Mills, should he be given another term.
Fellow Ghanaians, with the current crisis in the ruling party, how should we describe Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills – a hypocritical, divisive, liar, traitor, incompetent, or corrupt president? Indeed, Mills promised to unite Ghanaians when he was in opposition because to him, Ghana was divided along party and tribal lines. Regrettably, that was the period when the likes Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Prof. Hagan, Prof. Badu-Akosa, Hon. Freddie Blay (all CPP gurus), and Mallam Issah (PNC) were serving in various capacities in the Kufuor All-inclusive government. Candidate Mills described then President Kufuor as divisive and in his inaugural speech in January 2009 he declared; “There would be no NPP Ghana and there would be no NDC Ghana”. However, within the last three years under Mills-Mahama misrule, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng (former boss of Korlebu Teaching Hospital), Dr. Nsiah Asare (former CEO of KATH), Dr. Sekou Nkrumah (former boss of the National Youth Council), and the former co-ordinators of the NYEP, NHIS, mass transit, SFP etc under the Kufuor regime have been casualties of Mills’ political vendetta. The setting up of Heroes Fund in the NDC to award victims of electoral violence, and his order to DCEs and MCEs to open their doors for only NDC foot soldiers ironically give credence to Mills as a “unifier”, “father of all”, and the Almighty “Asomdweehene” of our time.
The founder of the NDC and his wife take exception to Mills’ hypocrisy. Rawlings cannot fathom why Mills-Mahama should dole out GHC51m to Alfred Woyome for no work done. He cannot understand why Mills has created a ‘Ministry of Judgment’ in default. Rawlings cannot tolerate further verbal abuses from the likes Asiedu Nketia, who described him as a “barking dog”. He is therefore of the strongest conviction that the ‘traitor’ should be voted out of government, come December 7. Seriously, Rawlings has lost trust in President Mills and with the lack of communication between the two personalities, there is no way he will join Mills’ campaign for this year’s general elections. Trust, they is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken. But you can never look at it the same again because of the cracks. Therefore, no matter the emissaries that may be sent to the Rawlingses to broker peace with President Mills, no matter the number of times Volta chiefs will undermine their traditional authority by trekking to the official residence of Rawlings, sit on plastic chairs and drink cans of coca cola; no matter the number of appeals that would be made by a section of the NDC sympathizers, there is nothing that could reconcile the two. President Mills has failed the probity and accountability test by the level of corruption in his government; he has failed the religious test for not being on good talking terms with his former boss; he has failed the “father of all” test by his political vendetta on political opponents; he has failed the “Asomdweehene” test by his inability to unite his own party, let alone Ghana; and finally he has failed the leadership test in view of the mediocrity in all sectors of the economy. Ghana deserves better!
On this note, I urge the electorate to vote for a true visionary leader, a leader who has the commitment to fight corruption within his own party, a leader who is honest, selfless, intelligent, and knowledgeable; and a leader who will maximise our scarce resources to improve our living standards. We have no better alternative than to consider Nana Akufo-Addo, the flag-bearer of the NPP. For if for nothing at all, Nana has been able to bring his four competitors on board, and this is a sign of peace and unity within the NPP. He has also toured the whole country, listened to the concerns of Ghanaians, laid down programmes and policies geared towards Ghana’s economic independence – free secondary education, skill acquisition, teacher first policy, and inner-city development, among others. Let’s therefore change now and move Ghana forward again.
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK
A native of Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri
Member, Communications Directorate, NPP-UK
Official blog (www.katakyie.com) katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk 07577626433
“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”