“Rawlings is a Coward,” says Kwesi Botchwey
Ever since some of his servile minions began accusing me of seeking to gratuitously demean – one such minion actually used the commercial verb of “devalue” – the Butcher of Dzelukope, I have been searching the files all over cyberspace to see if, peradventure, I am, indeed, the proverbial odd one out. Recently, for instance, a student who claimed to be enrolled at Ghana's flagship academy, the University of Ghana, even issued a call for me to be stopped in my tracks. Somehow, like the proverbial dictum of Egypt being synonymous with the Nile, the Legon student rather curiously claimed that both the names of Ghana and Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings were practically interchangeable. It would be quite edifying, by all means, if one of these days some forensic pathologists are given the occasion, or cause, to exhume the mortal remains of the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, or whatever may be left of it, and dust up his skull in order to find out whether, indeed, the Twafohene of Akyem-Abuakwa had the name of “J. J. Rawlings” in mind when he suggested on the eve of our independence that the Gold Coast was to be renamed Ghana.
Not long after I began scouring the cyber files of Ghanaweb.com, among a plethora of other websites, I came across a news item titled “Kwesi B. Blocks JJ's Punches” (12/22/05). The caption momentarily threw me off, somewhat, for of all professions the last one that came to mind as being synonymous with the name “Rawlings” was the bloody art of pugilism. Boxing, to be exact. Of course, I have known the man to routinely pistol-whip some recalcitrant minions (especially those who are unfortunate enough to attempt to recover some of the uses of their rational faculties) but not slip on boxing gloves to make mincemeat of the likes of Messrs. Nkensen Arkaah – may his poor soul find eternal repose – and John Evans Atta-Mills. And I don't fathom the distance between Cape Coast and Senya Breku being far enough to have buffered one alleged victim against the other.
Anyway, in the article titled “Kwesi B. Blocks JJ's Punches,” Ghana's longest serving Finance Minister ever, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, was talking to a reporter from the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper and literally exuding fire from his nostrils and huffing and cursing under his breath. “That craven bastard,” a passerby swore to have heard Dr. Botchwey rail at his former boss, having just been told by his Chronicle interviewer that Dzelukope Jato was running riot all over the country insisting that, indeed, it was not his own crass and gross incompetence that exacerbated the Kokomba-Nanumba war, but actually the abject incompetence of the former P/NDC Finance Minister that was to blame.
“You see, while I was busy on the phone trying to get funds released to the Ghana Armed Forces to stop those savages from slaughtering and eating each other up, Kwesi B. and the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana were spread-eagle over the desk of that bony Ottawa chick whooping it up. That's how that SOB got his abbreviated name of Kwesi B. If you don't mind, you can just repeat 'Kwesi B. Kwesi B.' six or seven times and tell me the feeling that you get,” Jato is reported to be gushing somewhere in cyberspace.
Now, it was beginning to be clear to yours truly, in the wake of the Ya-Na's regicide and Dzelukope Jato's stentorian and self-righteous accusation of NPP complicity that, characteristically, Chairman Rawlings was straining and itching to even out scores with the government of his successor, President John Agyekum-Kufuor. Alas, the man was not quite as lucky as he had hoped to be. For the garrulous Kwesi B. kept piling up one scandalous accusation upon another; for instance, the former Legon law school lecturer had the chutzpah to suggest that it was actually he, Kwesi B., who strategized the putsch that toppled the SMC II government, and not the man who used to steal air-plane seats from the hangar of the Ghana Air Force base.
“The truth of the matter is that I, Kwesi B., and a number of my colleagues visited and actually drove through the [Kokomba-Nanumba] conflict area in the heat of the moment, to get a firsthand appreciation of the situation, while, by the way, others better known for their bravery and bravado most preferred the relative comfort of playing George Bush and Katrina by riding in the safety of a helicopter over the area.”
Now that is a rather nippy one to the groin of Dzelukope Jay. But who knows, maybe having trucked with Bloody Jerry as kitty manager for 13 years, Kwesi B. must also have quickly learned to tuck a pistol either under his belt or in his boots, cowboy fashion; for nobody, including God and Christ, disses Dzelukope Jay without promptly having to look over his shoulders. Indeed, Kwesi B. must almost belatedly have realized his blunder, for he quickly interjected: “I will continue to accord JJ the respect he deserves; but make no mistake, Dzelukope Jay, I will never be cowed into blind subservience. And if I should decide to contest any office or position again in the party which I helped found, nothing will stop me.”
It is not quite clear what Kwesi B. meant by his expression of “blind subservience.” Is there any such thing as “visionary subservience” or even “rational subservience”? In the rhetorical arsenal of the P/NDC, of course, there ought to be, or else Kwesi B. would also have promptly added that “nothing and/or nobody can stop me from contesting and actually winning the presidential nomination of the National Democratic Congress.” He definitely was studiously mindful of his need to push the proverbial envelope just so, or forever be doomed. You see, with Dzelukope Jay stentorian pretense has been widely known to work miracles, and that was exactly what Kwesi B. was aiming for in his Chronicle interview.
There was one man, however, that Kwesi B. couldn't be even more delighted to, literally, put in harm's way, all histrionic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. And so for both paradoxical and the maximum of brutal effect, he added: “I dare not mention any names, lest they be hounded and branded as people without integrity. Above all, I applaud the courage and tenacity of Dr. Obed Asamoah and others in the party leadership, who in various ways have sustained this democratic struggle within the party.”
“You see, Dzelukope Jay is a dyed-in-the-wool terrorist. In fact, if President Bush knew what I know about the Madman of the Scottish Highlands, he would have since long diverted his attention and his every dollar and cent into the epic cause of Ghanaian democracy, and then more significantly to ensure the prevalence of democracy in the National Democratc Congress. And my brother, isn't this ironic? The folks in Washington may not know this, but in Dzelukope Jay there is something far bigger than either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. What we have here, in Ghana, is pure black gold; and Uncle Sam had better bring down a full brigade of the U.S. Armed Forces fitted with hazmat suits and nukes to watch over their recently erected $ 100 million embassy edifice!”
*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 the author of 18 books, including “Reena: Letters to an Indian-America Gal” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: email@example.com.