Over three and a half decades ago, when Rawlings burst into the Ghanaian political scene, the socio-economic conditions were ultra-fertile to receive any seed, whether it was temperate or tropical.
It was a time that Ghanaians were clinging onto a straw. ‘Kalabule’, the famous euphemistic Ghanaian word for corruption, was immortalised at this period. The creation of the oil spot market and the 1973 oil crisis, sparked by the Yom Kippur War, had brought the national economy to its knees. Our leaders at the time, Acheampong and his lieutenants, were caught by the wrong foot; they had no clue to the shock waves that took over the world economy, and for that matter Ghana.
The only thing they could offer was ‘Operation Feed Yourself’, which was remarkably successful, but died a natural death, like many government projects that have turned into white elephants littered across the length and breadth of the country.
Seven years of pent-up frustration under military rule got the heartbeat of the country pulsing for a redeemer. The mood was anything, but SMC2. It was under such circumstances that the May 15 putsch became a reality. The trial of the ringleader – Rawlings – endeared him to the nation as a result of his pronouncements, chief among them, taking responsibility and exonerating his comrades in arms.
As his statements at his trial trickled through and entered into the national consciousness, the follow up coup d’état that released him from prison to head the June 4th Movement was a fait accompli, and he was received by the nation as de facto leader.
Handing over power after three months at the helms was magical and electrifying. It was unprecedented; you need the actual experience to believe it. The only comparable feat is that of George Washington handing over the control of his troops to Congress after the American war of independence. This single action dulled the senses of most Ghanaians, and bought into his house cleaning mantra that took the lives of eight military leaders, including three heads of state.
As a result, Ghanaians signed him a blank cheque when he kicked the doors in the second time with the tired old excuse of corruption. His popularity rose to dizzying heights, to the extent that idealistic students on Ghanaian university campuses clamoured for more blood. Besides, the PR campaign of working his hands raw in de-silting gutters and laying of railway tracks etc., certain unforeseen events like the repatriation of more than a million Ghanaians from Nigeria, the bushfires and the resultant famine, the triumph of the national football team in Tripoli, to mention just a few, helped to solidify his grip on power.
They say the history of the world is the biography of great men. But, sometimes, it is events that shape certain great men. Winston Churchill, for example, would have been nobody without World War ІІ. The organisation and logistics that went into the reception, and the settlement of the one million Ghanaians from Nigeria, was what made Rawlings.
Apparently, it was during those trying times that his initials were transformed to Junior Jesus, with songs of praise that echoed Akan Christian spirituals. He could literally walk on water at this point in time, and perhaps, the adulation and the Ghanaian love affair with him went into his head, and he lost it spectacularly.
It is obvious that he did not pull the trigger or set the light that burnt those well accomplished judges abducted from their homes and brutally murdered under the cover of darkness. But, the fact still remains that it was under his stewardship that the rule of law was compromised for such a heinous crime to be committed. When his popularity was at high noon, he forgot that the very people who said hosanna were the same people who shouted crucify him.
There is an Akan proverb, which literally states that wisdom is not a preserve of one person. Clearly, there is no way Rawlings could have known that, because he doesn’t speak Twi very well. He took everybody by surprise with an answer he gave in an interview, which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest political blunders of his colourful life.
It alienated him from even some of his die-hard supporters. He was asked when he was going to hand over power, which he answered in a derisory and condescending fashion that beggars imagination. ‘To whom,’ he replied. In effect, he was suggesting that there was no single person in the country, at the time, capable of steering the affairs of the nation. It was a psychological war he waged against Ghanaians, out of misguided anger.
One of his most dramatic claims, when he came back, was that Ghanaian hospitals were death traps. On the other hand, it will be very difficult not to think that he left them as graveyards. The so-called corruption that caused the lives of eight military leaders became endemic and practiced with demonic vengeance during his nineteen year reign.
It epitomised the mindset of those who want to create heaven on earth – the illusive perfect society, which only exists in Thomas More’s world. The passage of time blessed Ghanaians with serious analysis of events. Political commentators began to question the essence of the 1979 atrocities, and the brutalities of the 80s.
So when the curtain came down, the fear of revenge became his bread and butter. He knew that he couldn’t justify the pain that he inflicted, especially, the innocent people who were caught in the crossfire. He was, therefore, left with nothing, but to defend himself. And we know that the best form of defence is attack, which he has perfected, ever since he handed over power to his political adversaries.
With the passage of time, those attacks metamorphosed, and strangely another bizarre member was added to the exclusive club – Atta Mills, his own protégé. It took megawatts of energy to figure out why. Since then, he and his wife have not looked back.
The onslaught on their brain child – NDC – has become more intense and sometimes edges towards psychosis. The reason is they want to paint their own Frankenstein creation blacker than black, so that they will look pristine in the eyes of Ghanaians for the ultimate dream of winning back the presidency.
I recently read an article written by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and she accused the NDC of being the most corrupt government ever. She made so many weary accusations, which are as factual as the gospel. I am not a big fun of the ruling NDC government by any stretch of the imagination.
I wouldn’t hesitate, if given the chance, to give them the proverbial kick in the back. However, it takes a lot of arrogance and hubris for a person like Nana Konadu, the black pot of all pots, to call the kettle black. I am a bit rusty regarding their escapades during the twilight years of their dreadful 19 year reign.
Currently, the legitimised loot and share culture that meanders its way to the heart of government had its baptism under the watch of her husband. Nsawam Food Cannery comes to mind. The game cock they hatched has perfected the lessons of the parents, and I can’t believe they are crying foul.
So their main bid, now, is to get Ghanaians to kick out the NDC and bring them back for what? What can they do this time that they couldn’t achieve in 19 odd years? Does she think Ghanaians want any more of the poison she and her husband spooned out during their 19 years at the helm? Let’s hypothetically assume Ghanaians are that dumb to offer them another maximum eight years.
If after 19 years of unmitigated power could not transform Ghana, what can eight years do? My submission is that they want another opportunity, this time sanctioned by the victim, to further rape her.
Every Ghanaian with eyes, ears and stomach knows how corrupt and incompetent the current NDC government is. We don’t need her, of all people, to tell us that. She should rather, together with her husband, be apologising to all Ghanaians for burdening us with this inscrutable corruption juggernaut.
She needs to be reminded that nineteen years of national life was given to the husband, with her as a back seat driver, which they failed, judging by their own standards.