Friday, October 22, 2010

What will make Rawlings happy?

Early this week when Mr. Rawlings released a statement accusing some members within his own party of spoiling his name, the question I heard a passenger I was traveling in a commercial vehicle (trotro) asked was: ‘What will make Rawlings happy? I did not pay much attention to the question until later in the day when I had furnished myself with the entire content of his statement that I began doing my own analysis.

Mr. Rawlings claimed, among other things, that the government under John Mills has failed to prosecute ‘corrupt’ officials of the New Patriotic Party. He said members of the party and Ghanaians are losing faith in the government as a result of that. He also revealed a rift between himself and President Mills, and admitted things have not been right with them at all. It is their own business to resolve.

I must say Jerry Rawlings was somebody I admired as a kid. He was the only face I knew on television back at the time. The first time I saw him in the flesh was in 1988 at a public rally. He was due to arrival at mid-day but even before the time, the whole lorry park where the meeting was to take place was packed. The crowd was huge and even though I managed to get to the place before 10am, I had to struggle to get a good place so I can see him.

I managed to secure a place on top of broken down truck and though I was crumbled by big guys in the crowd, I was still happy I might see him. Mr. Rawlings arrived hours later to a thunderous applause and shouts of his name. He was in military uniform. I must confess I still don’t recall exactly what he said at the time except that I clapped and yelled alongside those present.

But years on when I started picking up lessons in global politics on the streets, one of the books I read was ‘The Rawlings Factor’ by one Shellington. It chronicles some of the events of Mr. Rawlings during his time as a military leader; his successes and failures. It was a well written book with good language pattern.

I remember vividly how Rawlings exited power in 2000 when his party lost. Contrary to opinions he was not going to leave power especially when most African leaders have entrenched themselves in office, Mr. Rawlings left. He earned high praise in the process. But that was short lived. He started attacking the sitting government at the time. He accused them of everything; corruption, murder and lies.

His privileges were taken away from him-though I thought it was a rather stupid decision taken by John Kufour and his boys at the time. He continued his tirade on the government until they lost power in 2009. It was a devastating defeat that the entire NPP structure is still nursing.

So with the NDC in power most people thought Mr. Rawlings will be quiet and allow things to run, but he will. He turned his attention to the sitting government and its officials, accusing some of them of being ‘corrupt’ and ‘latter day saints’ who have just joined the party ranks to enjoy goodies.

He has kept the same line of insults and accusations he leveled against John Kufour on the NDC government. Together with his hatchment men, Mr. Rawlings has consistently launched a blistering attack on the president and his team. He even accused him of surrounding himself with ‘bastards.’ He used the most unfortunate language ‘who born dog’ to even describe them.

But what could be happening to Rawlings? That is one question most people like myself continue to ruminate over. The speculation is that he is desperately seeking control over the government for the gains of himself and family. His desperation to get officials of the past government prosecute has even been interpreted as politics of vengeance.

He thinks the current president should just arrest past officials of the government who misconducted themselves. I am for the prosecution of corrupt officials-obviously I can’t see how Wereko Brobbey and Kwadwo Mpiani can be allowed to go home and enjoy the loot from the Ghana@50 mess. But, like others, the wheel of justice grind slowly and the best all of us can do is to just hope and pray the right checks are done so these hoodlums are kept behind bars. But until that has taken place, Mr. Rawlings should just hold his fire. He should let the current president be.

It is rather bizarre and petty that his own wife will even be upset because a picture of the husband and President Mills who to be sharing a joke was published in newspapers. What kind of foolish thinking is this, Madam Konadu? Sometimes I don’t want to take to heart the many ranting of Kwaku Baako, who has a strong fixation towards Rawlings-but some of us are beginning to agree with most of the things he says about the Rawlings’; that they are seeking control so they can get whatever they want from government.

It is in the interest of Mr. Rawlings to make sure the NDC stays in power. At least if for nothing at all, he’ll get the goodies being splash on party officials. But if at this time and he does not even trust his own party members for addressing his so-called concerns, does he think the NPP will do that?

Mr. Rawlings should by now remember that he is an elder statesman and recently appointed African Union envoy to Somalia and should know how to behave. He is making himself pretty much irrelevant to the course of history in this country and losing the political plot

His irreverent attitude towards the institutions of state is not helping his own image at all. Mr. Rawlings should be grateful to Ghanaians for once- it was at the back of the many ordinary and impoverished Ghanaians that he managed to get ‘friends’ to pay for the tuition of his children abroad.

Today one of them is a medical doctor, another is a lawyer and until recently, the boy was working at the bank. Not many families who had supported him over the years are fortunate enough to even put their children through secondary school.
Most of them are still struggling to even come by a penny to help them get into ‘trotro’ from one destination to the other.

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