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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Columnist: Adu, Kwasi

On Greedy Bastards, Stupid Fools, Empty Heads,.....

Money-Grabbing Whores, And Nonentities

Kwasi Adu

It was supposed to be a confidential meeting between ex-President Rawlings with fifteen of his most trusted confidantes to sharpen their “Nana Konadu for President in 2010” campaign. The venue was Tamale. If therefore he was ever frank in his views about certain “greedy bastards, stupid fools, empty heads, money-grabbing whores, and nobodies” within the NDC, he did not intend or expect them to be revealed. After all, what is the worth of trust if one cannot trust confidantes to keep a secret.

The baffling question is “who did an Issa Abbas on the NDC Founder?” If it wasn’t one of his confidantes, then who was it who did it? I understand that Alhaji Issa Abbas does not even come from Tamale. So who could have done this? It is enough to give ACP Kofi Boakye terrible nightmares all over again.

There is another question though. Why would an ex-President, revered, and indeed worshiped, emit such smutty language? Do I detect a tinge of bitterness, desperation and extreme anxiety in him? Why should he be bitter? After all, almost all those people at the end on his tongue-lashing were his darlings only a little over nine years ago? So what changed?

Let us consider the case of Mr. P.V. Obeng, who was reported to have been called “a thief” by Mr. Rawlings. Mr. Obeng used to be Rawlings’ virtual “Prime Minister” from 1982 and even later became a member of the PNDC in 1992. So when did he become a thief? If he was “a thief” during the time he was working with Rawlings, one may ask what the hell Rawlings was doing having “a thief” in his government? What happened to probity and accountability under PNDC then? If that were the case, what moral authority does Rawlings think he has in 2010 to be talking about President Mills not having the moral authority to fight corruption? How could he when he himself had people he knew to be “thieves” in his government? Or is Rawlings saying that probably Mr. PV Obeng became a thief during the NPP period? How could that have been? I know that in 1979-1982, it was Mr. PV Obeng, (then General Manager of Mankoadze Fisheries, Tema) who used to give chop-money to Mr. Rawlings. Those were the days when we were so hard-up that we used to eat garri and beans under the coconut trees at Osu, near the Castle. Money was hard to come by then and Mr. PV Obeng was a handy friend who was called “honest”.

Take the case of Mr. Kofi Totobi Quakyi, who Rawlings referred to as “a nobody, until he (Rawlings) plucked him up from obscurity”. In 1978, Mr. Totobi Quakyi was the President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He was critical in the final push against the Acheampong government. Before that, he was one of the leading executives of the NUGS and took an active role in initiating the fight against Acheampong. He was instrumental in mobilizing funding for the students’ anti-UNIGOV campaign. During a trip from Cape Coast to Accra, as part of the struggle, he was involved in a fatal car accident in suspicious circumstances, which resulted in the death of Roland Anthony Yorke, then President of the Atlantic Hall (UCC) Junior Common Room (JCR). He himself suffered a crippling spinal injury from which, to the best of my knowledge, he has not completely recovered. With the coming of the PNDC, and when Rawlings wanted to neutralize the leadership of the June Four Movement, he (Rawlings) recruited Mr. Quakyi, Mr. H.P. Akrofi, Mr. Annor Kumi and others into the national security apparatus to do his dirty job on the JFM leaders. Unlike Mr. Rawlings, who has never sustained an injury in battle, Totobi still carries his battle scars. This is definitely not someone who can be described as a “nobody” who was “plucked” from “obscurity”. When Totobi was fighting the Acheampong government, Rawlings was fighting on the side of Acheampong by tormenting striking doctors at Korle-Bu hospital with a jet fighter.

The case of the “Ahwoi Brothers” is an interesting one. These were people who were head-hunted to help the PNDC government to prosecute its agenda. They remained with the PNDC, worked with the NDC in various top-ranking ministerial positions until 2000 when the NDC lost power. When did they become “rogues” in the eyes of Mr. Rawlings? Is this an admission by Rawlings that indeed probity and accountability were not his concerns when he was ruling Ghana, since he preferred to work with “rogues” and “greedy bastards”? Why did he execute people for corruption, and then turn round to recruit “rogues”, thieves” and “greedy bastards”?. It is high-time that Rawlings comes clean to explain the real reasons behind his bitterness.

Otherwise, how can he be insulting Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd) who provided him with security cover while he was Head of State and President? In the world of Mr. Rawlings, is everyone else evil while he is the only angel with an aura around his head?

As for Ms. Sherry Ayittey, I feel sorry for her. Contrary to the claims of the Rawlingses that Nana Konadu Agyeman single-handedly founded and organized the 31st December Women’s Movement, the group was truthfully initiated and founded by Miss Cynthia Nuamah, Yaa Asiedu, Leefua Asiedu, Miss Ama Kuta-Dankwa, Mrs. Zaida Bawa, Sandra and others. They then approached Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings to be their patron. Not long after, all these women were chased out. Cynthia died in mysterious circumstances, Leefua is dead, Yaa Asiedu ran into exile, and Ama Kuta-Dankwa was hounded out of the country. It was at that time that people such as Ms Sherry Ayittey were invited to be part of the Movement. She nearly went to prison for her role in the Movement. Now, we are being made to believe that she is an “ungrateful” person.

How does it happen in the life of Rawlings, that the people he moves with ultimately turn out to be dreadful people?

Sergeant Tasiri who released him from the hang-man’s noose on the morning of June 4 was later seen as an opportunist. Captain Baah Achamfuor who took over as leader of the fighting group on June 4 (after the death of Lieutenant Agyeman Bio became a “sell-out”. All the people who invited him to join the June 4 Movement in 1980 became hated figures not long after the 31st December 1981 coup was successful. The soldiers who fought with him on 31st December were later either murdered or had to flee into exile.

As for the case of Hon. Haruna Iddrissu whom Rawlings vowed to have unseated in the 2012 elections, it brings me horrible memories of how Rawlings used soldiers of mostly northern extraction to overthrow Limann and later turned round to persecute them. People such as Sgt. Alolga Akatapore, Corporal Halidu Gyiwa, Corporal Aliu, Corporal Matthew Adabuga, Corporal Issaka Braimah, Sgt. Matthew Awal etc were among the core of fifteen soldiers who started the 31st December 1981 coup. They were made to believe that it did not matter that then-President Limann came from the North. For the sake of uplifting the ordinary poor people from poverty, it was important to overthrow Limann. They agreed. Just one year after they had helped him to overthrow Limann, Rawlings turned against them and described them pejoratively as carriers of “bows and arrows”. Most of the leadership of the June Four Movement who rescued Rawlings from the pit of harassment in 1980/81 were Northerners. They included Sakkua Agambila, Nyeya Yen, Nicholas Atampgugre, Chris Atim, Seidu Bawumia, Zaya Yeebo, Garibah Shaibu, Aloysius Denkabi, Rudolf Amenga Etego, Azumah Besore, etc. When they were no longer of use, they were insulted with anti-northern undertones, as people whose parents had “forced migration experiences (to the south), a decay in tribal and social relations”. Some were executed without trial while others ran into exile. Will Northerners once again allow themselves to be used only to be later abandoned in a fight which has more to do with someone else’s vaulting personal ambition?

According to the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ending 31st December 2000 there were cash irregularities in the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund amounting to ¢80 billion. In 1997, proceeds from the sale of state-owned companies amounting to ¢134 billion were lost within the system by treating the funds under different headings. The Auditor General’s report of 1992 lamented over how the Bank of Ghana was swerved in the sale of millions of dollars worth of tuna to Star Kist (USA) without the involvement of the Customs, Excise and Preventative Service (CEPS). All these happened under Rawlings although it is only when he is out of power that he claims to abhor corruption.

It is about time Ghanaians begin to consider issues by taking account of the substance rather than outward appearance and play-acting. Not only did Mr. Rawlings fail to prosecute the “thieves” and “rogues” under his administration, he also worked with them till the very end. What happened to “justice, probity and accountability under his regime?

If anyone had any doubt about the preponderance of discarding people as if they were toilet roll, they should consider how Victor Smith was gotten rid of.

Thanks to our 2010 version of Issa Abbas, we now can put names against those he used to describe as “greedy bastards, stupid fools, and empty heads”. However, there is one sting in the tail though. Among the fifteen “confidantes” there were at least two who thought we all should know and learn from what happened at the Tamale private meeting.

My last question: what sort of person is this who takes over a government, executes politicians for being corrupt and then immediately appoints “greedy bastards, stupid fools, empty heads, money-grabbing whores, and nobodies” into his government?