The Equivocal Rawlings In Denial
I have read both the original Daily Guide report captioned “ 'Vomit Woyome Cash' – J J Tells Mills” and the rejoinder by former President Jeremiah John Rawlings' communications director, Mr. Kobina Andoh Amoakwa, and recognize no significant contradiction of the report which Mr. Amoakwa's press release seeks to rejoin and/or debunk (See “Re: J J Tells Mills 'Vomit Woyome Cash'” PeacefmOnline.com 4/26/12). We must also quickly point out that in “officially” seeking audience with Mr. Rawlings on a purely partisan matter concerning the widely known strained relationship between the latter and President John Evans Atta-Mills, and the possible electioneering role of the former dictator on the campaign platform of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Volta chiefs were in flagrant violation of Ghana's 1992 Constitution which specifically enjoins invested traditional rulers not to engage in partisan politics. Needless to say, his decision to entertain the Volta chiefs in his Ridge office makes Mr. Rawlings complicit and equally guilty of a breach of Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution.
Anyway, in both the original Daily Guide report and the press statement which is signed by Mr. Amoakwa, the retired Ghanaian strongman is reported to have categorically stated that his very public decision not to play any active role in the Mills-led government of the National Democratic Congress, primarily stems from the fact of President Mills' having totally and abjectly betrayed the supposed principles and values of a revolutionary NDC political machine. In essence, this is what Mr. Rawlings's own communications director reports his boss to be saying about the decidedly corrupt and decadent Mills-Mahama government: “The former President has throughout the tenure of President Mills[,] been unequivocal about the need for the Mills government to uphold the tenets of probity and accountability and reinvestigate serious infractions [committed] during the [Kufuor-led] tenure of the NPP. He did not hesitate to bring up the issues[,] once again[,] [when Mr. Rawlings met with the large delegation of the Volta Regional Chiefs at his Ridge office recently].”
The logical question, then, becomes: If, indeed, Mr. Rawlings is so concerned about his purported NDC “tenets of probity and accountability,” then why on God's own good Earth would the former president bitterly accuse Mr. Charles Takyi-Boadu, the Daily Guide reporter, who meticulously identifies his widely-known NDC inside sources who are also acknowledged to have been present during Mr. Rawlings' meeting with the Volta chiefs, of deliberately putting words in his mouth? In other words, is Mr. Rawlings publicly implying that, somehow, the $51 million illegal judgment-debt payment awarded his fellow Ewe clansman and major NDC financier, Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a perfectly legitimate act that clearly falls outside the purview of the NDC “tenets of probity and accountability”?
If the latter question has validity, then the former president may have to take another look at his much-touted political integrity. This is quite interesting, in view of the fact that not very long ago, Mr. Alfred Agbesi “Gorgormi” Woyome was accorded a Dionysian hero's festal welcome in the Volta regional capital of Ho. In other words, is it quite safe for this critic and all well-meaning Ghanaian citizens to assume that when it comes to issues pertaining to “the tenets of probity and accountability,” the Woyome scandal ought to be made a convenient exception? Indeed, disturbing as the latter observation may seem, it clearly appears that when it comes to the imperative need for the clinical – or impartial – investigation of executive complicity in flagrant acts of corruption, perforce, the proverbial joke ought to be narrated at the expense of the main opposition New Patriotic Party. It is, indeed, on this level that Messrs. Rawlings and Kpegah may be aptly envisaged as a clone or identical twins. And, needless to say, such pathologically partisan mentality is unpardonably dangerous for the political development of the country.
Mr. Charles Takyi-Boadu, the Daily Guide reporter, also reports other Rawlings grievances and ultimatums, such as the dismissal and/or expulsion of
Ms. Comfort Ama Benyiwa Doe, the Central Regional Minister, for allegedly disrespecting former First-Lady Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings during the Sunyani Congress of the NDC; Messrs. Okudzeto-Ablakwa and Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, both of whom are accused of insulting the former dictator; and Messrs. Obed Asamoah and Boakye-Djan, for essentially the same offense(s). Indeed, so long is the list of “To Be Expelled” that one wonders if in the end anybody, other than Mr. Rawlings and his wife, would be left standing on the NDC campaign platform in the lead-up to Election 2012, should my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta decide to comply with this decidedly tall order from his former boss, benefactor and super-patron.
At any rate, going by the foregoing observations, it is not clear precisely what Mr. Rawlings's communications director, Mr. Kobina Andoh Amoakwa, means by the following statement which appears in his rejoining press statement: “President Rawlings's' contributions at the meeting [with the Volta chiefs] were summarized by his spokesperson, Mr. Kofi Adams[,] and [so] we find it [rather] unprofessional and absurd that your [Daily Guide] reporter attempted [sic] to question the veracity and accuracy of the presentation by Mr. Adams.”
Indeed, what really appears to have raised the hackles of Mr. Rawlings, who is notorious for having muzzled up the media during his long political chokehold on Ghana, with extortionate edicts that made the erstwhile British colonial government epitomize the very best of press freedom, has far less to do with Mr. Takyi-Boadu's allegedly “unprofessional conduct,” than the “very professional” fact that the Daily Guide reporter had creatively and progressively dared to transcend the mischievous attempt by Mr. Rawlings and his hirelings to determine what contents of the former dictator's flagrantly unconstitutional conference with the Volta chiefs that got relayed to the Ghanaian public by the media. In other words, what the schoolyard bully Mr. Rawlings is doing here is simply blaming Mr. Takyi-Boadu for washing the proverbial dirty linen of the NDC movers and shakers before the Ghanaian public.
You see, his morbidly theatrical bluster and all, the truth of the matter is that the motor-mouthed, retired Ghanaian strongman has been eagerly and wistfully waiting in the wings, ready to jump onto the Mills-Mahama Election 2012 campaign wagon, until Mr. Takyi-Boadu unsuspectingly blew the cover of the smooth-operating old man's. We know this from the following quote, from the signed press statement of Rawlings spinmeister Kobina Andoh Amoakwa: “There is no doubt that President Rawlings is extremely unhappy about goings-on within the country under the administration of President Mills, but that does not mean he will [sic] acquiesce to falsehoods linked to his name even if they are critical of the current government.”
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Danquah v. Nkrumah: In the Words of Mahoney.” E-mail: [email protected]