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Opinions of Sunday, 19 January 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

When Rawlings Talks of Political Criminals and Hijackers

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

He is, of course, not the first soldier to have flagrantly usurped the democratic reins of governance in postcolonial Ghana. What makes him vastly different from his predecessors, however, is that the retired Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings flatly refuses to look himself up in the mirror, even as he crudely forces his successors to do just that. And it is quite obvous to most well-meaning and responsible Ghanaian citizens that were Togbui Avaklasu I, as he is royally known by the chiefs and people of Anloga, to look himself up in the mirror, he may well not like the image that would confront him.

Most likely, he would be faced with the blood-spattered images of the tens of hundreds of Ghanaians, from all walks of life, whom he butchered and caused to be massacred by his cronies and lackeys in the dubious name of a revolutionary "house-cleaning exercise" (See "Criminals Hijacking Political Power in Ghana - Rawlings" / 1/16/14). Having created and nurtured and seemingly permanently foisted a ragtag band of political bandits on Ghanaians, the half-Scottish waif is now ironically complaining about the country's having been hijacked by criminals who seek to unconscionably entrench political criminality by introducing their children and grandchidren to the same.

Wonders, it has been said, never cease. Or do they? Anyway, Mr. Rawlings is widely quoted to have confided the following to the winner of TV3's Ghana's Most Beautiful pageant. And so, I guess you could aptly say that Mr. Ayi Kwei Armah was grossly mistaken, after all, when the great Ghanaian and world-renowned polygot novelist titled his first postcolonial political roman-a-clef classic The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Anyway, this is what Ghana's longest-ruling dictator told the pageant winner, inter alia: "When I watch the extent to which some of these characters are promoting their children and how some of them lie like their fathers on TV screens, I worry a lot."

Not long ago, the only officially known son of the aging rascal was interviewed by a media reporter. In the said interview, the younger Mr. Rawlings was reported to have confidently stated that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father. Thus it is rather amusing that the Butcher-of-Sogakope should be decrying the fact that the children of many of the certified criminals that he personally trained and inducted into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics also want to look and act like their daddies.

If, indeed, the very political scam-artists - those are implicitly his own words, by the way - that Mr. Rawlings himself trained and positioned to replace him do not seem to have the least bit of interest in fighting corruption, as he claims, then, needless to say, the self-righteous critic had better critically examine the fact of whether, indeed, he had fared any better in his purported fight against corruption than the apostles and disciples who supplanted him. For these are the very peope with whom Mr. Rawlings claims to have vigorously and effectively fought the carcinogenic blight of corruption.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Jan. 16, 2014