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Opinions of Monday, 19 August 2002

Columnist: Antwi-Danso, Dr. V.

The Naivety and Insanity of Jerry?s ?Positive Defiance? Call

By Dr. V. Antwi-Danso,
LECIA, UG, Legon


While an eminent and very illustrious son of this dear country of ours, His Excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, was visiting Ghana and the whole world?s attention was focused on the civility and calm that the name of Mr. Annan exudes, a beastly spectacle was unfolding, a drama orchestrated by the NDC in support of a satanic and predatory call by their ?Life Leader and Founder?, Jerry John Rawlings for, what he called, ?positive defiance?. He had made this call in a very emotional and analytically warped speech in Kumasi a week earlier and had been invited by the BNI for interrogation.

The NDC, who have for twenty pretty years been belted under the hypnotic spell of Jerry John, besieged the surroundings of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), chanting war songs and calling for the creation of a Liberian-like situation in Ghana. ?We want Jerry, We want Liberia?, they joyously chanted. They know for sure that this is the very kind of situation their leader loves - anarchy, chaos, bullying.

This kind of spectacle, to me, was a great insult, not only to the sensibilities of sane Ghanaians, but also to Mr. Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan is the embodiment of peace and calm. His personality aside, he had worked for many years as the UN Under-Secretary for Peace Keeping Operations. And now as the UN Secretary General, his whole life is devoted to the preservation of world peace and stability, including the promotion of the economic well-being, especially of the Third World peoples. And here, right in his own home, under his very nostrils, comes a beastly call for, and demonstration of, anarchy. And it came from nowhere than from an ex-President, whom Mr. Annan had earlier honoured, having conferred on him the enviable title of ?World?s Statesman? (in charge of Mosquitos). Kofi Annan was born and bred in Ashanti, but he has forgotten that ?aboa prako wo ho yi, yennware no!?

I have had occasions to tell Ghanaians that ex-President Rawlings suffers from an ?Expectation Gap Syndrome? (EGS). This kind of syndrome is worse than AIDS, because even though like AIDS, it is incurable, its spread is impossible but destructive. When one has it, no one is at peace, because the afflicted would want the whole world to come to a standstill. Incidentally, the disease affects only non-achievers, riff-raffs, and others who are unable to make any meaning out of concrete life realities. They are usually idealists and are myopic and deficient in analytical thinking. Logic is alien to them and they have fits of outbursts, the only conduit for the flow of the magma of unfulfilled dreams locked up in their undeveloped brains. For them anything that does not fit their measurement is no good thing. When such persons have power, they are despotic, ruthless and destructive. At worst they are predatory. They have no decorum and know nothing but the use of force. Blood is nothing to them, and they can let it out of others without any feeling of guilt or compassion. They cannot submit to law and order; they are perpetually defiant and measure their worth by the amount of havoc they could cause. They feel proud, when there is much attention on them and this spurs them on to even more madness. They always confront existing norm, believing that laws are made to be broken.

These traits make them power conscious. But they are erratic in anything they say or do. You can find no consistency in them and so when they have power they break their own laws, but would ask others to shut up! Interestingly, they are cowards. They cannot stand authority, that would seem to apply to them same treatment as they advocate. For example they can tell you today that two toilets in a house, owning two cars, importing Peugeot 504, cars etc are an abomination. Yet tomorrow you will see them preparing to occupy a house called ?Australia House?. You will see them riding a ?Buick?, ?Mercedes? or a Jaguar. They can tell you that you are corrupt; your affluence could only be from stealing; they would sieze your properties, put you in jail or kill you. But when you apply same yardstick against them, they would turn round and say this is harassment.

The whole week was full of news centered on one man - ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, for his speech at Kumasi last week. He has received some flogging and shall continue to receive more bashing until he shuts up or puts up. We in this column have had numerous occasions to call him to order. We played back his own cassettes and asked him to reflect deeply and see, whether he has any moral right to behave the way he does. Today he owns, according to him, houses and cars; today he is calling for probity and accountability. Strange! Was his (P)NDC transparent? And what does he feel, calling the trial of some of his people as witch hunting and harassment? What terminology would he give to the 1979, 1981 seizures, killings etc. Were any of the victims given any chance to talk? Today he is praising Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. after jailing him a record FOURTEEN times without trial. I am amazed. I do not know if Kwesi Pratt is flattered.

I want to stress here that Mr. Rawlings has arrogated to himself rights over which he has not claims. His outbursts are very insulting to the sensibilities of Ghanaians. Nobody has appointed him to be the judge over governance in Ghana. Yet to him, only his (P)NDC is flawless. He sees nothing good in anybody except himself. He has never for once criticized his past, nor his colleagues.

What amazes one is how he is quick to invoke constitutionalism to justify his actions. Here is a person who overthrew a constitution, caused alleged corrupt officials in government to be shot, and then crafts another constitution to assist him to rule. He now even wants to subvert this imperfect constitution.

Clearly, the Kumasi speech, just as the June ?BOOM? trash, was in bad taste. It was insulting and treasonable. Who could have dared between 1979 and 2000 to give such a speech, calling for positive defiance? At the NDC press conference last Wednesday it was disclosed that Kuffuor in 2000 warned of an explosion! This warning was carried by the ?Statesman?. It is interesting how this was being used by the NDC to justify the otherwise obnoxious speech of Jerry Rawlings. Kuffuor warned of an explosion if Jerry Rawlings played any tricks by manipulating elections, or refused to honour the obligation of the constitution. That was a very legitimate warning. There was sufficient evidence to show that Rawlings was unwilling to leave power. Everybody including international watchers are very skeptical about Rawlings handing over power freely. After all he had said that he never respected nor believed in democracy. He was forced to accept pluralism and was forced by constitutional limitations to exit in 2000. Further, viewed against the background that Jerry Rawlings had subverted a constitution before, Kuffuor had every right to give a warning. Today, we have a government in power whose mandate, through our thumbs, lasts four years. Why is he calling on Ghanaians not to wait for 2004 before they do something? And what is that something? Another coup? Koseasem! Let him try it and he will see proper positive defiance!

There are state constitutional institutions that act as checks on government excesses. Individuals have every right today, unlike Jerry?s time, to use any channels to redress issues. Then we also have every confidence that come 2004, our ?thumbs? shall talk again. So who is Jerry to give us what Kofi Wayo has aptly described as ?Crap and Bullshit??

If Jerry Rawlings want to see himself as a variable in Ghanaian politics, then he must be a positive variable, not this destructive virus that we see. Let him not delude himself into thinking that he is indestructible, even if he sends Ghana on a ?Rwandan? or ?Liberian? path. Ghanaians are more sensible and he will be the first to perish in any such stupid endeavour.

Ghanaians should equally not delude themselves into thinking that no such threats exist. Jerry Rawlings is a known mischievous person. He has an agenda and in fulfilling this agenda he wouldn?t care dying a martyr. He should, however, know that he may die a useless martyr of a terrible delusion. The security agencies do not have to take his outbursts as trivia. The security of the state is under threat for as long as Jerry Rawlings and some elements of his NDC live.

We must remember that Rawlings is an unpredictable person. On several occasions he has proven that he cannot be trusted. Kweku Baako Jnr. has given us an insight into the man?s insatiable quest for power, when he narrated how there was a plot to eliminate Boakye Djan and others on the day the AFRC had to hand over power to the PNP under Limann. He plotted this so that there would be no hand over, citing insecurity with the blame going to the usual faceless ?enemies of the revolution?. So Rawlings reluctantly handed over power. But he hounded Limann out of office barely two years later. Remember, it was the same style - blurting and talking rubbish all the time until the GBOOM came in December, 1981.

So, for God?s sake, let the security agencies not joke with Rawlings. There have been several missteps in the handling of security issues. This is probably because there are several moles in that outfit. This time, Jerry must be handled professionally.

I am particularly surprised at the behaviour of the NDC as a party. For the party?s future fortunes, it needs to distance itself from Rawlings. This is exactly what Dr. Obed Asamoah seems to be wanting to do. This kind of ?Rawlings is NDC, and NDC is Rawlings? is dangerous for Ghana. Why they should all rise, as if held and bound under the hypnotic spell of Jerry, anytime he misbehaves, beats my mind of imagination. Even very honourable men and women in the NDC do this. They are quick to support all his nonsense and bad behaviour; ready to polish what he said, and all ready to defend even some actions of his that would qualify as treason. At times they even lie. For instance I have always respected Hons. John Mahama, Albin Bagbin, Mumuni, Kofi Attor, ?General Mosquito? Asiedu Nketia, Kofi Asante, and a host others. But I am surprised to see some of them always jump to Jerry?s defence and/or support anytime the latter mis-behaves. Mr. Mahama indeed told a lie, when he said that Jerry was invited to write an undertaking and that was why the NDC came around to express a protest. Jerry himself denied this when he as asked by a reporter to narrate his ordeal at the BNI.

One would not have bothered, because we all know Jerry. I could have taken Nana Konadu?s advice which she gave on Radio Gold, Thursday, August 15, 2002 and forget about Jerry. She said (to a question whether she was afraid or worried and what she would do) ?if a madman strips off your clothes you do not chase him naked?.

This would aptly fit her husband rather. But I am of the opinion that not all madmen are madmen - some are intentional madness. Bodam-ani-atee. This time our husband has gone mad again. We either need to cure him - psychiatric attention? No. Stop him before he causes any havoc. You, me, everybody, - all have a responsibility to tell Jerry to put up or shut up. Ghana was, is and shall be, without him. And dear reader, Your kids are here. For him, Ghana can burn to ashes His kids are not here. Kufuor and NPP, please stop the guy! CPP, we would have caged him well, well!!

Somebody tell Jerry, that he owes this country a duty and an obligation to help keep it in peace and not in pieces, especially so, since he, more that anybody else in the history of this country, carries blood on his hands.


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