Feature Article of Thursday, 4 October 2012

Columnist: Duke Tagoe

Rawlings as First Gentleman

Jerry John Rawlings, Ghana’s former President is on his way to setting yet another record in the political history of the country.

On the 7th of January 2013 when Ghanaians swarm to the Independence Square to witness the unlikely event of President Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings sworn into office as the country’s first woman President, Jerry John will enter the Guinness Book of Records as the First Gentleman of Ghanaian politics.

It will be a great idea to see the rare usage of the word "First Gentleman" and realize that women are making inroads as political leaders--along with their husbands living up to their titles of "First Gentleman"...or at least their public persona.

Given the unflinching support Jerry John gave Konadu in her failed bid to democratically overthrow late President Mills as leader of the party, and her subsequent formation of the NDP, he won't be adverse to performing some of the more traditional functions of the first spouse.

Mr. Rawlings will certainly not sit on the sidelines and watch. He will certainly not hold his tongue when people make critical comments about President Nana Konadu.

The blueprint upon which the principle of “probity and accountability” was crafted will have to go through a court martial. And finally, like how he shot the heads of state, principle and accountability will go to the firing squad and be shot as a bloody traitor.

One thing is already clear, First Gentleman, Jerry John Rawlings, will not judge Nana Konadu by his own standards. The standards he will set for judging others and he used in judging late President Mills will be much higher than those he will use in assessing her.

First Gentleman Jerry John Rawlings as President went up in arms against those who made noise about his wife’s frivolous lifestyle. Speaking to security personnel behind closed doors, he said, the noise makers were only out to discredit his revolution.

Jerry said the hi-tech Jacuzzi bath tub installed in Nana Konadu’s bathroom during the 1980’s cost only 4 million cedis and that the woman deserves the equipment because she works so hard and was sick.

First, I am sure that President Rawlings would have described Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata as a hard working man during his revo. He was the chairman of the Board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and its Managing Director all at once. He was described on a number of occasions as a Lecturer in Law and a Presidential staffer.

If Tsatsu was doing his work well, then he ought to have been hard working than the First Lady, whose only advertised responsibility was that of the President of the 31st December Women’s Movement.

We were told that Tsatsu was asthmatic as Nana Konadu and his Ventolin was perhaps his best friend. Tsatsu’s problem however, was that being a man he could not become a first lady and in spite of his hard work and ill health, a Jacuzzi could not be installed in his bathroom.

The other Tsikata called Kojo was a member of the Council of State and head of National Security. He was responsible for watching the back of the President and he held the fort when all seemed to have been lost.

In spite of his hard work and ill-health Captain Kojo Tsikata was never provided with a Jacuzzi bath tub.

Edith Hazel, Deputy General Secretary of the 31st December Women’s Movement was not a very lazy person. In fact, we were told that Nana Konadu depended on her almost entirely for the administration of the women’s wing.

If Edith had some Kooko hidden somewhere in her body, she will do well to advertise it because it might have earned her a hi-tech Jacuzzi bath-tub. Who can say that Kofi Totobi Quarkyi was not hard working? He moved from one goof to the other as he sweats under the weight of press attacks.

Kofi might have looked cheerful but his health was another matter. In the 1970s his hip got twisted whilst he was on his way to spread anti-Acheampong propaganda.

He had a number of accidents after that and the way he walked suggest that he needed a jaccuzi bath-tub really badly.

Professor Kofi Awoonor looked quite healthy in spite of the fact that he was greying at a rate he may not have been comfortable with. He could have earned himself a jaccuzi if he had advertised his ailment. Any serious one could have done the trick. It could have ranged from asthma through hernia to a snake bite.

If being hard working was enough to earn a Jacuzzi, then the working people should have stood up for the big bonaza-a Jacuzzi for all the laborers who dug the earth from sun up to sun down and sweat away many gallons of water a day. Almost all these working people suffered from malnutrition because their wages and salaries were not enough to buy one square meal a day.

They lied in the mosquito infested slums and insecticides and insecticide sprays were beyond their reach. They suffered malaria three times in a month and when they get knocked down, they crawled slowly to their graves.

For the sake of decency introduced to Ghanaian politics, innocent Ghanaian citizens will not be lined up and shot for taking loans of 50,000 cedis and less under the Presidency of President Nana Konadu.

If we are lucky, we will not have more than 200 Ghanaians killed without charge or trial as happened between 1982 and 1990. Some of their victims were killed right before their wives and children.

We saw them strip elderly women naked and whip them in the streets of Accra in 1979.

We cannot forget that it was under the Presidency of this Romeo and Juliet, that Ghana was reduced to the dust-bin of the world. Most Ghanaians depended on second-hand clothing, fridges, car spare parts and under-wears for their survival up until today as a result of the reckless economic policies which led to the pathetic sale of crucial and strategic state enterprise that locally produced what we needed to survive and in the process created jobs for foot-soldiers.

The journey to the seat of President of Ghana for Mrs Rawlings like Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo is a daunting task no doubt.

The grassroots upon which they built their careers have been shoved off their feet and the process of restoring that cannot be started by a First Gentleman who will rant like a fetish priest because he couldn’t get the State to build him a house with underground pathways and a candidate Akufo Addo who’ve never had hunger knocking on the doors of their stomachs. It involves hard work.

After renouncing his birthright to Greek royalty, Phillip's father in law, King George VI, bestowed him with the title of Philip Duke of Edinburgh on the day before the wedding. This gesture opened the door for him to become the patron of organizations such as The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Elizabeth was a princess (though heir apparent) when she married Phillip. He reportedly proposed to her. He was not under law to wait for her to offer marriage as Albert was in the case of Queen Victoria, both Elizabeth and Phillip's great grandparents. But in order to position himself for marriage to his second cousin, he became a naturalized British subject and converted from Greek Orthodox to the Anglican religion. Upon renouncing his ties to Greek royalty, Phillip took the surname of Mountbatten, the anglicized version of his mother's name, Battenberg.

Elizabeth came to the throne upon her father's death in 1952 because of her Uncle Edward's abdication in December 1936. As the King's only grandchild, she was born possibly third in line to the throne. Edward's abdication without a child of his own changed the course of her life. It was reminiscent of Victoria who became Queen because her uncles, ahead of her in linage, produced no heirs.

As fate would have it, Edward went on to marry the woman he gave up the throne for, but still had no children. So Elizabeth would have become Queen eventually even if Edward had not abdicated. It just would have happened twenty years later.

Unfortunately for Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, Jerry John Rawlings shot his way to power through the barrel of the gun when decent Ghanaians were sleeping at dawn and not because he was heir apparent to any throne.

Under chieftaincy people rise to leadership position on account of their blood relation and not exemplary leadership qualities. Like Queen Elizabeth, you just have to be grand-daughter, grandson, nephew or grand nephew of a powerful warlord or a village bully. All of these options are not open to Auntie Konadu.

We wish Nana Konadu well in her attempt to rock the boat of the NDC on its way to victory in the December 2012 elections following reports that Konadu has finally put up herself for flagbearership of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

I say rock the boat of the NDC because Mrs Rawlings knows damn well she can never lead that party to garner 0.5 of the total votes cast but hopes that by her contesting the elections, she will be able to reduce the votes of the NDC in December.

For how long is Konadu going to live in her state of hallucination and what does it take for a woman to defeat an ego? We wait to see !