The Editor of the Statesman newspaper, Gabby Otchere Darko, last Saturday shocked listeners of Joy Fm Newsfile program when he authoritatively declared that the former President used to be called “Agbelimayevu” because he used to sell cassava dough in the environs of Keta when he was a young boy. Agbelimayevu, in the Ewe language, literally means Cassava dough whiteman (boy).
The Statesman editor made the submission clearly in an attempt to establish that one of the key motives that informed the anger that drove the former President to rise against the system in 1979, was the extreme poverty he had suffered as a child. In Gabby's opinion, the culmination of that poverty was the humiliating experience young Rawlings had to undergo when he was obligated through hardsip to carry and sell cassava dough in the old township of Keta .
A source close to the former President told The Lens that perhaps Gabby was attempting to outdo his close pal, Egbert Faibille, by concocting a tale that would surpass the “Kose” tale Egbert Faibille's newspaper weaved back in the year 2004, which has since earned him the nickname, Kose journalist, among a section of the Ghanaian populace.
“Gabby peddled so many lies about the former President on that program on Saturday. The bit about him having sold cassava dough in Keta was simply the last straw.”
The source told The Lens that even though there is nothing demeaning about the selling of cassava dough, the truth is that the former President at no stage in his life ever had to do any such thing.
“The former president never did any such thing. Not only that, but he has also never lived in Keta all his life.”
The source further hinted that Gabby perhaps should also be given the nickname “Agbelima journalist” just as a section of the public has named Egbert Faibille, “Kose journalist” when his paper concocted that disgraceful tale about the former president.
Fifi Kwetey of the NDC who was in the studio with Gabby later told the Lens that even worse than the blatant lie told by Gabby was the obvious insult of the ordinary man that was implied in his statement.
“What is wrong with selling cassava? What is the problem with coming from a humble background,” he queried.
Even if the former president President had done so, there would have been nothing shameful about it, he said.
Selling white cassava dough, he said, is certainly more honourable than the rampant sale of the white cocaine powder that has assumed alarming proportions since the NPP took office.
In the Opinion of the NDC spokesman, Gabby who is a close associate of NPP aspirant Nana Akuffo Addo, was simply letting the world know the mindset of the NPP and of the party's leaders like Nana Akuffo Addo.
“This elitist and aristocratic mindset accounts for why the NPP leaders like Nana Addo hate June 4. June 4 set the stage for the underdogs and the underprivileged, like Kenkey and cassava dough sellers. It gave them the platform and the confidence to stand and be counted.”
In Fifi's view, Gabby's comments reveal the fact that the NPP only makes pretenses about having respect for the ordinary people but in reality accords them scant value.”
“By their fruits, you know them. It is not surprising that not long ago some of the NPP newspapers were castigating Prof Mills for descending to interact with ordinary people including kenkey sellers.”