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Opinions of Saturday, 26 May 2012

Columnist: Amenowode, Jonathan

Re: Mills Steps Down?

I wish to respond to the above-captioned article by the ‘chinwag’ Al-Hajj on May 22, 2012.

I raced through the article expecting to find a specific date for the president’s resignation and departure, but found none. I raced through the article again purposefully to underline the motives for the president’s intended resignation and made a few points on my second reading. First, Bature informs us that his paymaster is tired of the ‘incessant attacks’ from his former boss and party founder, Former President Jerry John Rawlings; second, the sitting president thought those attacks are unwarranted; and third, the president has reached his elastic limit.

How Did We Get Here?

The following excerpts from my archives summarize the question of where we are coming from:

1. The Ghanaian Catholic Standard (July 29, 1979), authored by a Roman Catholic priest, who is still alive, captures the mood of the nation and underscores where we came from: this revolution is not a wedding party… this is the time to literally baptize the whole nation… we do not love those executed less, but we love our country more… of course, the executions are not the only solution, but they certainly part of the solution.

2. A medical doctor’s contribution to the defunct West Africa (London, July 2, 1979):

I endorse absolutely the determination of the Armed Forces Revolution Council to wash the country clean with the blood of the corrupt…I have been telling my friends for some time now that Ghana’s only cleansing lotion is the blood of those who so badly let her down through selfishness and corruption… Ghana is so heavily soiled that the blood of 500 can be enough only for the removal of surface dust. To remove the grime and ingrained dirt, the AFRC has to go a great deal further.

With these quotations, I am certain that readers who are too young to understand what is unfolding or have sold their conscience, like Alhaji Bature has done, would appreciate where we are coming from. Bature and his paymaster should stop labeling the former president as someone who is persistently attacking his former mentee and protégé. But that is a choice. Social scientists have long informed us that the communicative act is a social construction and we all have choices to make as we construct our realities depending on where we stand in relation to what we see. We can pretend that we are not witnesses to the level of corruption that has bedeviled the NDC and the need for the party to purify and purge itself of the impurities. But we will worsen the woes of party and, invariably, nation if we choose to remain silence.

Dissensus, A Democratic Fulcrum

Democracies have long realized the dangerous connotation of consensus if it is not built on dissensus. The term consensus can sometimes be misleading just as still waters run deep. Dissensus, as a way to building consensus, has therefore been given a privileged position in robust democracies to ensure that all shades of opinions are heard and dissected. To this end, Bature should drop the label, “attack,” immediately and find the right label to describe what is unfolding – criticism. Moreover, Bature should learn to respect the hard won reputation of the ex-president. His disrespectful attitude toward the ex-president and the first family has not helped in any way to heal the wounds of the NDC, but rather has widened the gulf. Knowing who the ex-president is, we all know what he is saying is not something we have not heard on the trotros and the taxis in the cities and the towns. Has Bature not heard any of these complaints from the grassroots on his rounds as a ‘journalist?’ Or he is so blinded by the glory of power, especially writing from the comfort of his powerbase and cannot hear the loud noise Ghanaians are making? He is under obligation to bring these issues to the attention of the general public and the “failed” Atta-Mills administrations. We support his cause and we will stand by him.

Rawlings remains the voice of the voiceless and an embodiment of the boiling grassroots.

The Man Jerry John Rawlings

To put it bluntly, it is obvious that the man Jerry John Rawlins cannot fathom the clear departure of the NDC from the principles on which the party was founded. If there is any single individual who should be a symbolic representation of those values and to safeguard them, it is the current president, John Evans Atta Mills. Instead, from day one, after assuming office on the back of these principles, not forgetting the historical context of 1979, John Evans Atta Mills tried to disassociate himself from the very ground on which he stands. The marking of June 4, 2009, 2010, and 2011 are clear testimonies.

Rawlings would not rest if the reasons for killing those who were killed in 1979 under his watch are now being visited on the people of Ghana by the party that emerged from the toils of his rapture on the political scene in 1979 and 1981. This has nothing to do with personal quest for power or self-aggrandizement. There is a moral imperative to what is unfolding before Ghanaians. If Alhaji Bature and, the new kid on the block, Samuel Ablakwa Okudzeto, think Rawlings will descend very low to reduce these criticisms to personal attacks by mentioning names, that would not happen today or tomorrow. The man Rawlings is much bigger than that and his legacy is already embroidered in Ghanaian history. I read recently in the African Watch about some distorted thinking that labeled its product “A Legacy in Tatters,” and I asked myself: how do we define legacy? Is it the contention in the writing of historical records that has befuddled historians for ages, for example, the Hegelian twisted ideology of the victor writes what we read as history? Lets make educated analysis when we write. Rawlings is a phenomenon that continues to befuddle Ghanaian politics and it is not his stance against corruption in his own NDC party that will rewrite this phenomenal history. The history is already there.

The Man Atta Mills

It would be in the interest of the president, John Evans Atta Mills, to save the NDC from a total collapse by resigning in time enough for the party to rescue the bits and pieces in time enough to salvage a sinking ship. Failure to do so has far-reaching implications for him, party, and the country as a whole. The way things stand now, apart from his inner circle beneficiaries who are sinking his praise, it is obvious that he has failed to inspire even his own NDC members. He should sit back for a moment and evaluate his presence in the NDC since he appeared on the scene in 1996. If he is so forgetful, the following dates should remind him: 1996, 1998, 2002, 2006.

It is interesting that he know finds wisdom in beckoning to spent forces like Okaija Adamafio, Obed Asamoah, and the rest of them. Why did those people leave? How successful did they become when they left? What were there actions when they left? Atta Mills, you are simply a disaster and Ghanaians will never forgive you for that. Whether Jerry John Rawlings or no Jerry John Rawlings, you will exit the scene shamefully as the first one-term president in the 4th Republic. I hear your boys are boasting that they will win. Who cares? After all even when Mobutu Seseko was on the tarmac running into exile, he continued to reassure Congolese that Laurent Kabila entered Kinshasa, he would crash him. Little did people know it was the last they would hear from him alive. Did the NPP not say they will win 2008 with 75% votes? What happened to those aspirations?

June 4 2012 As we prepare to mark this year’s June 4 celebration, it is obvious that the NDC party is at the crossroads. The choice of Afloa for this year’s celebration must have been deliberate. Though I cannot tell the reason behind the choice, I am certain about the message that is going to come out. The message should never be misinterpreted by Bature and his ilk of stomach politicians who have always sought to make fame and money by attacking the former president and the former first family. They should begin to consider the message from its contextual history.

Please, President John Evans Atta Mills, resign now and let the NDC heal itself.

Jonathan Amenowode Osu, Accra