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Opinions of Monday, 13 August 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

On the behaviour of Rawlings, or the lack of it...

By Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

Rawlings' Hypocrisy Pays Homage To Mills' Virtues!

The correct answer to the question as to who Rawlings is trying to fool, must be Rawlings! He should have known this, especially after the last NDC Congress at Sunyani, which saw his wife trashed into smithereens by a whooping 96 % of NDC delegates voting for Professor Mills and rejecting his wife as the party's flag-bearer. As he himself puts it, "a lot of water has passed under the bridge", and so "ye nim no firi tete!" What he could have done at this time to redeem himself was to have swallowed his large conceited ego, and acknowledged, at least, that the late President for whom he truly was: a man of principles and not "a man with such great potential [who] was led astray from the ideals that we fought for; from the ideals that the NDC stood for." See Source: GNA, Former President Jerry Rawlings tribute to late President Mills, General News of Friday, 10 August 2012.

To put things in perspective, I would argue that the reason Rawlings appointed Professor Mills as his Vice President was because of his integrity, dedication, sense of duty, and his incorruptibility. He needed Prof Mills to shore up his failing fortunes at the impending democratic dispensation, after years of PNDC misrule. Rawlings must stop pretending that he appointed the late Professor Mills just in order to do him a favour and give him orders! It was a very careful and calculated decision to help him to retain power. Rawlings needed a man of integrity, who commands the respect of all who knew him, to help him win the competitive elections that the PNDC was inevitably going to face.

Rawlings himself was not as incorruptible. He even once confessed publicly that he had gone as far as planning and attempted a bank robbery, which they had to abandon due to technical problems. His mother's rickety car they were to use as the operational vehicle, simply broke down and would not move! The insistence on Rawlings to have key appointments in the Mills administration filled by individuals nominated by him was the last straw that strained the relationship between himself and our late President. This explains why the Rawlings opposition started immediately the President announced his cabinet. But in doing so, he under-estimated his own popularity.

Former President Jerry John Rawlings on Friday paid tribute to the late President John Evans Atta Mills as follows:

Rawlings states that:

“A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the hard fought electoral victory of 2008. While many may perceive my criticism of the Prof as ill conceived, I was not going to look away while a man with such great potential was led astray from the ideals that we fought for; from the ideals that the NDC stood for."

This would have been true if he had not opposed the Mills Administration from its very inception. Perhaps the most insightful explanation for the fall of Rawlings from grace to grass was captured in a cable released by WikiLeaks in which Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., points out that the victory of President Mills in the 2008 elections would spell the doom for the Rawlingses:

¶3. (C) On the subject of the NDC, Pratt said that Atta-Mills was one of the most incorruptible politicians in Ghana. It is just not in his character to take bribes, and in fact that was why former president Jerry Rawlings chose him as his running mate in 1996. About a year before that election, Pratt said, Rawlings had paid a visit on Atta-Mills, who at the time was the director of Ghana’s Internal Revenue Service, to check on income figures he had been given by his finance minister, Kwesi Botchwey. When those tallies didn’t add up, Rawlings lost faith in Botchwey (who resigned shortly afterwards, following 12 years in that position) and somewhat like Diogenes searching for an honest man, Rawlings chose the political neophyte Atta-Mills as his vice-presidential candidate. (NOTE: An interesting historical aside: Rawlings and his first-term vice president, Kow Arkaah, never got along well, but Arkaah’s fate was sealed when Rawlings suddenly attacked him, punching and kicking him, at a cabinet meeting on December 28, 1995. Even after the beating, Arkaah stubbornly remained in his position, and one year later, while he was still sitting as vice president, John Kufuor, the opposition NPP flagbearer, chose him as his vice presidential candidate, giving Arkaah the strange distinction of running against his own government while still in office for the same position he already held. END NOTE)"

"¶4. (C) To prove his point about Atta-Mills’ character, Pratt said that Rawlings had tried to extract a promise that Atta-Mills would allow him to name four key cabinet positions – Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense, and Finance — in exchange for Rawlings and his wife actively campaigning on Atta-Mills’ behalf. According to Pratt, Atta-Mills refused, and when Pratt asked him why, saying that he could have said ACCRA 00001509 002 OF 002 yes and then reneged on the agreement after being elected, Atta-Mills reportedly said that he couldn’t do that, because he is not a man who can go back on his word. In the end, both of the Rawlings have been campaigning vigorously for Atta-Mills because, Pratt said, Nana Agyemang Rawlings is convinced she will go to prison if the NPP is victorious."

¶5. (C) Repeating what the Embassy has been hearing from other sources, Pratt said that Rawlings has no real influence over Atta-Mills. The two men, whose personalities are diametrically opposed, have little in common, but have arranged a political marriage of convenience that will be annulled as soon as Atta-Mills is inaugurated. If the NDC wins, Pratt is convinced, Rawlings will no longer have a political voice that resonates with the people, and the victory “will put an end to the Rawlings factor forever.” In the case of an NPP win, however, Pratt fears that Rawlings could gain a new lease on life in national politics, re-emerging as a redemptive figure hailed by an army of disillusioned and disenfranchised youth. They will lose faith in the political system as represented by moderates such as Atta-Mills, and more readily succumb to the spell of Rawlings-style demagoguery."

And this is precisely the reason why the following statement meant to whitewash his disgusting criticism of the Mills Administration does not fly:

“We waged a stout political campaign in 2008 and those who really cared for the Prof deserved to speak the truth to help him succeed as President."

What a ridiculous hypocrite! Rawlings failed to pay a tribute to our dear President who served him and Ghana to the best of his abilities, even to his very last breath! Indeed, he exchanged places with the dead, and paid a tribute to himself! If he hopes to resurrect his dead political career with this, or that of his wife, he must be duller than he looks!

“Fare thee well Prof. Let’s hope we will do better at keeping those with destructive tendencies away and out of the national endeavours. Help to provide JM (John Mahama) with whatever guidance you can offer from where you are since you are now free.”

Rawlings is in no mournful mood. He is only busy trying to cynically use the funeral of the late President to resurrect his own dead political career. What he needs to be told clearly is that Ghana is sick and tired of having an ignoramus under whose disastrous misrule, Ghana lost even the hen that laid the golden eggs, the Ashanti Goldfields, to the Anglo-Gold Corporation for pennies on the dollar! With a team like that, who wouldn't want a Team B or even C?

Fare thee well, Rawlings! Let us hope that you will learn the appropriate lessons and end your destructive tendencies, and stay away from our national endeavours for a better Ghana! You can provide John Mahama with whatever guidance you can offer, from where you are, just like anyone else, since he is now free from your tentacles!

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!

Nana Akyea Mensah,


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