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01.02.2006 Feature Article

Picture This!

Picture This!
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Picture this! The year is 2009. Ghana has had its 2008 elections. Former President Kufuor is now a private citizen, having handed over power to the newly elected President on January 7th, 2009. A beaming President Atta-Mills sits at the current seat of government, the Osu Castle, with a broad toothpaste smile, welcoming dignitaries and accepting their 'congratulations'. Chairman Rawlings is by his side, also in the best of spirits Ghanaians have not seen in years. The new opposition party, the NPP, is licking its sore wounds. The NPP leaders are brainstorming on what caused the party's defeat in the 2008 elections, and what the way forward is. Meanwhile, Drs Tony Aidoo, Kwabena Adjei, and other “comrades” of the newly elected NDC regime are chatting happily at the Castle lawns as they gather their portfolios in their armpits and walk briskly, shoulder-high with confidence, to the Cabinet room for the first Cabinet Meeting of the government. The media is there…burning a thousand flashbulbs with incessant snapping of pictures. Like the picture so far?

Now picture this! We are inside the Cabinet room. The new ministers and 'comrades' have all taken their seats around the conference table. Chairman Rawlings walks-in to the Cabinet Room, the ministers politely rise and get seated again after the Godfather has sat at one end of the table. President Atta-Mills enters the room last. Reverently, his ministers again rise and take seat only after the President has sat down. He sits at one end of the conference table; Chairman Rawlings sits at the other end of the table. First Cabinet Meeting is held successfully. In line with his earlier promise to have an 'all-inclusive-government' his press secretary, Kwesi Pratt (a CPPist), issues a press release for a People's Assembly to be addressed by the President at the International Conference Center. So far so good? Good!

The auditorium is filled to capacity. Ministers have taken their seats at the high-table. A long motorcade arrives with security men and police leading the way. Paparazzi journalists seize the opportunity to get the best shot of the President. Oops! It's not him. It's the Chairman of the revolution! The Godfather himself! He goes inside and takes his seat. A few minutes later, President Atta-Mills' motorcade shows up. He also walks in and takes his seat next to the Godfather. They are chit-chatting as the program is ushered in by the Minister of Information, Ato Ahwoi. Questions start flying. Some questions go directly to the Minister of Interior, and E.T. Mensah is asked to respond, others go to the Minister of Finance, and Tsatsu Tsikata (the “Financial Wizard” as Rawlings calls him) responds. Many others go to the President and he smartly answers them. One journalist asks the President if he intends to send the former ministers under the Kufuor Administration to the Nsawam Prison as was stated 4 years ago in their 2005 Delegates Congress in Koforidua. The President is taken aback by the question. He steals a glance at Chairman Rawlings, and the Godfather grins at him. He grabs the microphone and begins “emmm…emmm…well, well…” For the first time the president is lost for words. But being the intelligent man that he is, he quickly swerves the question to the Chairman: “…I'll let my Godfather, Chairman Rawlings answer this”. Rawlings goes on a tirade. Another Boom speech! He expresses how the NPP government “corrupted the moral fabric of people” (Whatever that means!) and for this reason he'll pray for their souls! He's a man of his word and he'll keep his promise. It's clear to all that the President is very uncomfortable. Cold-sweat begins to drop down his forehead. This has made the audience uncomfortable too. Very awkward.

Picture this too! The loud-mouthed and know-it-all Ghanaian media have taken up on this issue of 'witch-hunting' the former ministers in the Kufuor Administration. They are asking hard questions to the President and his men. Many are uncomfortable and begin issuing threats of retribution against journalists who seem to enjoy embarrassing government officials on air with their catch-22 questions. The sensational Ghanaian press begin to read 'scandals-upon-scandals' in every decision taken by the Atta-Mills Regime. The culture shock hits the Regime like a ton of bricks. This is new! This is so unlike what it was when the NDC was in power before they lost the 2000 elections, 9 years ago. Yes, the press was then still vociferous, but at least they exercised some caution in their reportage as the criminal libel law was in place and was being enforced. After all, they had witnessed Tommy Thompson of the Free Press newspaper rot in jail, so they were careful. Ato Ahwoi moves from one station to another trying to spew more propaganda to calm the waters, but the media would have none of it. The Regime realizes that the Ghanaian media have become “too powerful” under the liberal and laissez-faire attitude they enjoyed under former President Kufuor. How they miss the criminal libel law! But it would now be a political disaster to bring it back. The whole country might revolt. What must they do now? E.T. Mensah suggests bringing back some of the tactics of the past to 'discipline the press'. Chairman Rawlings seconds. President Mills is not very comfortable with those methods, but he dares not displease the big man behind. He follows their lead, albeit reluctantly. They'll “show” the “too-known” journalists that this Regime is not NPP. A secret memo is issued to the “foot soldiers” that a campaign of Shit Bombing will be launched. It'll be the 'Shock-and-Awe' of all Shit Bombing. Shit Bombing is the method they had used to silence some media houses way back in the days, when they smeared and poured human excreta (feces) on the compound and verandah of some media houses.

To effectively counter this recalcitrant media and strengthen the Umbrella Party, Chairman Rawlings proposes that paramilitary groups like the CDRs, ACDRs, 31st December Women's Movement, etc should be immediately relaunched. Ato Ahwoi, E.T. Mensah, and Tony Aidoo second the motion. Motion is carried. Again with reluctance President Mills accepts it. E.T. Mensah volunteers his expertise – valuable experience he gained from the Kume Preko demonstrations when he 'commanded the ACDRs to victory' against the Alliance for Change. He brings macho men from Nima, Bukom, etc together and starts indoctrinating them on how to defend the Party against “provocation”. Finance Minister, Tsatsu Tsikata is contacted about financing this 'national project'. He does some voodoo mathematics and some Tsatsunomics and finds a way to keep the ACDRs, 31st December Women's Movement on government pay-roll without the Ghanaian tax-payer knowing. Think impossible? Well think again. After all, didn't they use their 'financial wizardry' to buy a Presidential plane outright, lease it to an offshore company, then used Ghana's Consolidated Fund to guarantee payment to that offshore company, after they had leased the same aircraft back from the company that had leased it from Ghana? (Are you with me? Sounds complex doesn't it? No wonder after 2 years the Kufuor Administration could still not unravel the complex deal and have now basically given up on it) For those naughty Ghanaians, identification haircut is restarted. The Castle Cell or Prison is refurbished and some Ghanaians spend their holidays there. Droves of Ghanaians flee into exile. 'Hotel Kufuor' is brought down to earth with Caterpillars (earth-moving equipment) under direct supervision of Chairman Rawlings. Taxi cabs are rolled over with the help of the Godfather himself. Many businessmen are scared and begin relocating their investment to other West African countries. The unemployment level is skyrocketing. The Ahwoi brothers – Ato and Kwamena – propose to bail the country out of this predicament. But first, Ghana must offer to guarantee hefty bank loans to them so that they'll restart CashPro and offer employment opportunities to the people. Forget about the Ahwoi brothers repaying the government-guaranteed loans or the interest on those loans. It aint happening! Ghanaians must pay that loan themselves or risk having banks liquidating or collapsing. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings also offers to open more gari factories to feed the hungry with gari and provide employment for the people, if the government would agree to pay the salaries of all the workers in the factory. The government must also agree to donate fully furbished offices to the 31st December Women's Movement and to also donate the gari-factories.

Press Secretary, Kwesi Pratt, issues a government press release stating that its auditors have found impropriety in the Ghana International Airways affair, and so with immediate effect the state has frozen all the assets of Ghana International Airways. In line with this, the name of the airline will be reverted back to Ghana Airways. Telekom Malaysia will be given back their share in Ghana Telecom because of unfair treatment they suffered under the Kufuor Administration. Telekom Malaysia had paid $38 million in 1996 under the Rawlings Regime for a 30% share in Ghana Telecom and 6 years later when they had a fallout with the Kufuor Administration they requested $200 million for the same amount of shares (The Malaysians aren't stupid. If you undervalued your company and sold it to them cheaply, so that you'll get a few bucks in kickbacks, they won't go the same route. They'll demand the true worth of 30% shares in Ghana Telecom). Also, the NDC government will as from today abolish the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) that the NPP started as it is fraught with inefficiencies. In its place the more efficient and dynamic Cash and Carry system will be started as that system has been shown to be more effective. These decisions take Ghanaians by surprise! It takes President Atta-Mills by surprise too! Soon investigative journalists get a leaked secret memo from the Office of the Former President at Ridge that showed that these orders are from Ridge. The secret memo was signed by who-else, but Victor Smith! The loud-mouthed FM stations pick up the news, and begin their dissection. They start asking questions: “Who is really in charge of Ghana?” “Do we have a double-president?” “Is Rawlings our de-facto President?” “Isn't President Mills really Chairman Rawlings' poodle?” “Is the Godfather ruling Ghana by proxy? Is the President a puppet of Rawlings?” The questions begin to fly.

Again picture this! Radio call-in programs are all over the air waves. People are calling in and yelling at President Mills calling him “Kojo Besia!” Some women are questioning whether he is not impotent or if he really has 'balls' as he has allowed another person to control and manipulate him. The President takes offence in all these smearing of his name. He'll clear his name. After all, he is also a “man of integrity” ebei! He'll show that he's no 'poodle' and that he is not impotent and has 'balls' – two of 'em! Within two weeks he announces a Cabinet Reshuffle. On the New list of ministers, there's no Ahwoi, no E.T. Mensah, no Tsatsu Tsikata, no Tony Aidoo. The shuffle comes as a huge surprise to these men. It becomes apparent that the President wants to distant himself from Chairman Rawlings and his men. The Godfather's official motorcade is withdrawn. Other pecks that the President was sharing with the Chairman are also withdrawn, such as his use of the Presidential Jet, etc. This incenses the Chairman of the revolution. He unleashes his attack dogs. Tony Aidoo is on air and starts calling President Mills 'names'. Ato Ahwoi employs all his communist-style propaganda techniques and subjects President Mills to media attacks. The President is rendered unpopular. The founder of the NDC calls for an emergency Executive Meeting to sort things out in the Party. The President attends. Presidential coats are torn. Denials of a brawl are made. An emergency Delegates Congress is scheduled for Koforidua. Party Constitution is amended. Souls are prayed for. National Security operatives gather intelligence and advice the President not to leave his seat in the Auditorium until after the congress. 24 hours later the President delights in the opportunity to empty his over-flowing bladder, having sat down in one seat for that period of time in the auditorium. At the end of the day, a president is disowned by his Party. A new opportunistic Party adopts the President. The EGLE Party? Why not, let's make it the EGLE. The country is rendered ungovernable. Ghanaians are fed up. 2012, they'll choose a new leader. Away with President Mills. Away with Chairman Rawlings. Away with the NDC. Maybe CPP. Maybe NPP. We'll see!

Similar thing happened in Malawi when the stooge of former President Muluzi, Mr. Mutharika fell out with him (Muluzi). Mr. Mutharika was forced out of his UDF Party, despite being the President of Malawi. All because he had dared displease Muluzi – the man who he has succeeded as president and who had made him who he now is.

Folks, Democracy has been etched deep down in the hearts and minds of Ghanaians today. The country as it stands now, will be found ungovernable by anyone who tries to take us back to the evil past, back to the 'identification haircuts' and the 'shit bombings'. It would take a very tolerable person to govern this country. The NDC by its 2005 Delegate Congress has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it still has a lot of lessons to learn about democracy. It still has to learn to be large enough to accommodate dissenting or opposing views. It still has to learn that disagreement is bound to happen in any organization. And that just the fact that you and I disagree about an issue does not give me the right to employ thugs and hooligans to subject you to physical abuse and verbal threats. That criminality is not part and parcel of debates. This should be the NDC's goal. It might take 30 years in opposition for it to become a fully democratic party. Until these and many other democratic tenets are ingrained into the NDC, into the head of its founder (if that is even possible), and into the heads of its ordinary members, the party is not ripe for governance. Period! An NDC government in 2008 will mean that either Ghana will go through a serious Constitutional crisis by having two Presidents or by having a Party disown its own president, weakening the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana and setting the stage for 'someone' to stage coup d'état numéro quatre. The first option is possible if Atta-Mills were to become a real Poodle to Chairman Rawlings. But if he decides to stand up for himself, then Rawlings will show him (Atta-Mills) that he (Rawlings) made Mills what he is, and this will be disastrous for our country. Either option is unacceptable and uncivilized! Now, you picture that! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.