By Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.*
There is an insufferable sense of injustice going on in Ghana, and right in the eye of this storm, is Jeremiah John Rawlings. Young Master Jeremiah John Rawlings, a veritable spoilt child who started smoking pot smuggled to school from cadet connections in Koforidua, at a very tender age, has grown up to become a problem child of our precious democratic dispensation.
It may be very instructive to go down the memory lane and analyse how we as a people came to this, and what is the way out of this national political quagmire. I shall find enough time and space for this in my next article on this subject. This would definitely help to buttress my general point that somehow, the NPP could also be a part of the Rawlings problem, instead of being systematically a part of the solution, but I must confess my haste: I am more anxious to bring to the fore, some of the urgent contradictions that help to strengthen the Rawlingses, in spite of ourselves. The Rawlingses enjoy their notoriety through the exploitation of the energies of even their political adversaries. For, just as the strength of the park is the wolf, the strength of the wolf is the park. A divided opposition to the Rawlingses play to their advantage. Even at a time where they appear to be at their politically weak point in their chequered carriers as neocolonialist fascists dressed in revolutionary garbs, they seem to thrive on the suicidal stupidity of some of the NPP leading members and supporters. The Rawlingses have been the beneficiaries of cowardly, hypocritical, and ill-considered rounds of applause, when it suited these politically naive individuals. Words from Rawlings such as "go slow", "greedy bastards", "Team B", "Konongo Kaya", etc have taken the centre-stage of the political diction of most NPP supporters, as if they are not creative enough to make their own slogans. (But, hey, this is a democracy, do what you want, but do not complain when the guy feels too proud for your liking. This is just my humble thought.) As they recite and parrot the Rawlingses with glee, they become surprised at the level of confidence of the Rawlingses and the impudence which comes with this.
As though this was not enough, people who should know better, prominent among them, is the Honourable Dan Botwe, who even accuses the government of not treating the Rawlingses well. Unless, he had his tongue in the cheeks, such a development is extremely unfortunate. I think it is very important for Dan to extract his tongue from his cheeks and come out in clear everyday language, what he wants the Mills Administration to do with the Rawlingses. I personally find the Mills Administration treatment of the Rawlingses is quantum levels far better than the way the Rawlingses treated former heads of state in this country. Apart from ex-President Hilla Liman, who was allowed to live in poverty and relative peace, (albeit, amidst pushing his wonky and rickety Toyota pick-up truck often on the busy Teshie-Nungua road!) the rest were all literally tied to the stake and shot until dead by firing squad, and without the slightest resemblance of due process or even a semblance of a trial. Even the death of the former president Liman could be blamed squarely on their shoulders, as the failure and or refusal by the Rawlings-led PNDC to pay for medical expenses and prescriptions of the poor man, did nothing to improve his health. Dan Botwe was very comfortable with the treatment meted to the Rawlingses by the NPP Administration, which was even harsher than what the NDC appears to be doing, so where is Dan coming from? My own worry in all this is who benefits from this nonsense? I have a lot of respect for Dan, and I am sure he will not hesitate to correct himself if he actually said so.
There is not doubt that some NPP sympathisers anxious to clinch victory in the 2012 elections have been unable to hide their pleasure at the developing rift within the NDC. This is normal. The same applies to the NDC attitude towards the Akufo-Addo Versus Alan Kyeremanteng rift, otherwise known as the Titanic Akyem-Ashanti Mafioso Conflict. As one commentator put is, Konadu is going to make the Akufo Addo victory look like another operation cold chop. The metaphor sent some shivers down the spine. One rule of the great fictional detective which hardly fails, when resolving crimes, is to ask the question, who benefits? Are the Rawlingses now ready to mortgage a run-away party to their arch-rivals and land their buttocks in butter? Sounds like a reasonable deal, if they know what they are doing. Is the NPP capitalizing on the controversy between Rawlings and Mills? Of course, who would not do that? A strategic and opportunistic support for the Rawlingses may sound attractive to those in the NPP who cannot see beyond their very flat noses. What they face in the long run is the risk of legitimizing a fascist dictator who has lost all legitimacy, and sending the wrong signals for posterity. At a time when what is needed is more pressure on them to shut up and remove themselves from the public space and allow Ghanaians to use our precious national attention on more pressing issues, it is very wrong to urge them on in their stupidities in any way!
Who is benefiting from this criminal inferno with specific plans for a new construction? Instead of joking about the credit ratings of the Rawlingses and which house suits them better, has any one thought of a maximum security jail? I wonder why it has not occurred to any one that perhaps the reason why they have no home is because they belong to nowhere other than prison? Why should a couple that must have every reason to be ashamed of themselves, have the guts to take the centre-stage at will, like spoilt children of Ghanaian politics? What do you say to a thug and a bastard who refers to people more decent than himself as bastards and dogs? And to think that they can even entertain hopes of perpetuating such a dynasty! What do they take Ghanaians for? What I wish to make clear is the fact that my political opposition to Dr. J.J Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has nothing to do with their ethnic origins, Ewe or Ashanti, as this might be the case of some people. My opposition to the Rawlingses is to uphold the need for our history to teach the appropriate lessons to others like them who, in the future might want to swindle the nation by violent means and get away with it, murder, grievous and systematic human rights abuses, hypocrisy and corruption, and to help render justice.
I think it is very important to uphold the principles that make these people the political monsters that they are, rather than reducing the entire affair into some personality and ethnicity-based one. We are building the foundations of our democracy by the choices we make in our daily political lives. If care is not taken, the message we would be sending for posterity could be a blurred one because there are so many undercurrents, negative forces with special-interest agendas, so much so that, there is always a need to be circumspect before making public pronouncements on a subject in which people have invested a lot of emotion already. Why should we even bother with their accommodation? Who is complaining about our horrible prison conditions where this couple really belong? Maybe, it is a good idea to charge at them from all angles. I guess the Rawlingses deserve all the charge they can get, enough for them the get the message clear: that they have their heads close to the clouds up there on the Sugarcandy Mountains! That whilst no one grudges them for having grandiose illusions about themselves, a normal long-term effect of drug abuse, my own very profound distress about their level of confidence, unbelievable sense of moral uprightness, outrageous claims to be providing democracy and the respect for human rights, etc., etc... As they wax rhetoric on their achievements, those of us who should know, and do know better, are painfully reminded by this impudence: the way the PNDC and their agents covered every square inch of their disgusting behinds with entrenched constitutional indemnity clauses before handing over power to themselves!
In fact, in plain everyday language, we were very lucky as a nation that the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, did not bolt away with all our money, gold deposits, or whatever national assets he could have laid his hands on, as is often the case in other places where dictators flee from their palaces and out of their countries. There could have legally been nothing that anyone could do to bring such a thief to justice, because the Rawlings indemnity clauses in the Transitional Provisions of the 1992 Constitution of the 4th Republic of Ghana, even indemnifies the agent of the PNDC from the legal consequences of such obvious crimes in this scenario. We were lucky that the ministers did not decide to physically eliminate people they did not want to see alive. They could have legally gotten away with it. Any way, so far, I have been imagining the scenarios. I wish to apologize to all the victims of the bloody PNDC dictatorship for this apparent gross indiscretion and insensitivity on my part. I most certainly did so not for the want of examples, but to illustrate and explain how nonsensical and intrinsically evil, the Indemnity Clauses are.
I believe that whenever our history is not teaching the appropriate lessons, it simply means there is something wrong with us. As a people, we do not like thieves, and even though I do not condone mob-justice, the lessons we give to thieves all over the country when they are caught are not of the types that encourage stealing, as the people seek to convince future thieves to beware of the fate awaiting them when caught. With the Rawlingses, it looks as though our history is teaching the wrong lessons. The Nkrumah era was marked by remarkable political tensions and violence in the country which led to the passage of the Preventive Detention Act, 1958. Naturally, as one listens to the perceived pains of the victims, on both sides, it was a very sad and sorry part of our history that we must all come to terms with and move forward.
As if that were not enough, Ghanaians have been treated to all sorts of stupid ideas and experiments that met the fancy of a very well-known dull individual whose academic records demonstrate a consistent pattern of an educable mentally-retarded person. Quite literally under gun-point, the people of Ghana had to live under the whims and caprices of the raving and ranting Rawlingses for almost two decades. A pilot who failed his map reading examination and current affairs, inserted himself in the seat to pilot our common destiny, without the permission of anybody. Within these two decades, they recorded the most barbaric and insanely brutal repression ever known in our history. To add insults unto injuries, having conducted their military campaign under the slogans of probity and accountability, the only activity they reserved for this was the arrest and torture of those who demanded of them the same standards of probity and accountability. And to eternally silence the tax payer on whose sweat they base their arrogance, and so that their victims shall never have a right to seek justice, they introduced the indemnity clauses into the constitution of Ghana.
It is already difficult enough to live with the thought that a gang of people could just take arms, just like regular armed robbers do, except that, this time around, they took the entire destiny of the nation exclusively in their hands and made those who disagreed face what they called "revolutionary consequences". These thugs had a vocabulary that they could conveniently use to kill, main, beat and torture countless number of innocent citizens. They have made sure they would not be punished for any of their crimes. The least one could have expected of them would have been a respectable distance from the seat of power. I am slowly transforming all the sentiments that passed through me when it became apparent that the Rawlings so-called impatience with the Mills Administration and extremely damaging criticism were not only as non-constructive as we thought them to be right from the beginning, but in addition to that, it was also opportunistic. These feelings have ranged from shock, disgust, frustration and anger. But we must use our brains. We are one step ahead of them because this time around, more people see them clearly as opportunists.
This is the most opportunistic phase of the Nana Konadu campaign. And they should not be allowed to get away with it with the ease being currently associated with it. It stinks to the high heavens, so much so that even Nana Konadu herself seems embarrassed by her own campaign. She hails the black stars like a front-runner in a race, she is making statements traditionally reserved for Rawlings the man of the house. Even on the blog of her husband, she seems to drown him with almost all the latest posts exclusively dedicated to her. Yet, these little political never-do-wells have been careful to hide their real intentions from the public right from the very beginning. She seems even ashamed to admit the fact that, she also wants to become a president. She is campaigning without saying what it is she wants. In Accra, where people are used to traders shouting and selling their wares, the Gas have identified prostitution as the only trade in the street where the sellers do not shout out their wares like for example, the way kenkey sellers do. Thus whilst it is normal and expected to hear for example, "hot kenkey for sale", one does not hear "hot pussy for sale", even though there are sex workers all over the place! The relevant question that arises here is: What is Konadu selling that she does not want to say publicly? At least, not for now, and why not now? Is it because her husband has failed to sufficiently undermine the Mills Administration? Is she waiting for more of those before?
Ghanaians are peace-loving and a forgiving population. That does not mean they are the kind of fools that the Rawlingses seem to think they can take for a jolly ride at will. There are limits to everything. Nana Konadu has the right to present her candidacy. So do the people also have the right to find out whether or not she was an accomplice to the murder of the three high court judges, and a retired army officer on the night of June 30th 1982? And, more importantly, does the role she played in this affair qualify her for the high office of the president of the Republic of Ghana, with all the trust and responsibilities associated with such an office? In other words, the recent forages towards the seat of power must amount to nothing more than the unravelling of the indemnity clauses in the constitution. For, as Rawlings himself must know, there are a thousand ways to kill a cat and his wife, Konadu may also hold in her hands, another key to open up the indemnity clauses. Just mark my words...
Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!
* Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
E-mail: nanaakyeamensah at gmail dot com