If anybody still doubted the infamous confession of Professor Attah Mills to “consult Jeremiah Rawlings twenty four hours a day” his visit to the dinner organised in honour of the visiting American president should, without doubt, erase them. For it was altogether laughable, even sad at times, to see how the supposedly substantive leader of the so- called P(NDC) cowered in, and even appeared to revel, in the shadow of his patron saint: the mysterious John Rawlings. It was obvious that Mr. Mills could not speak for himself or found it better for his more charismatic mentor to speak on his behalf. Soon after Mr. Kufour had introduced Mr. Mills to Bush and before Mills could utter anything for himself, Chairman Rawlings rudely interjected, shook hands with George Bush and then in his trademark superciliousness pointed towards his sidekick or Don Juan as if to say: “this is the pimp who claims to be the leader of my party”. That Attah Mills, a substantive professor emeritus, could kowtow to and indeed be transfixed by a simpleton like John Rawlings is often too irksome to contemplate and an affront to the pursuit of high scholarship. For if, indeed, some of us who firmly believe in attaining high scholarship can only look forward to being subservient to the likes of Jerry Rawlings then we are indeed doomed.
It is acutely surprising that Mr. Mills fails or refuses to see the damage that he causes to himself each time he reiterates and indeed broadcast his dependence on the Chairman. Besides the fact that he is so obviously awed by the presence of his master, the man appears very happy to faithfully play the role of Rawlings' hobbyhorse. Amazing! This makes one wonder what sort of political advisors and strategists Mills has at his disposal. Do these, zombies fail to see that the Ghanaian populace has gotten over the Rawlings opiate and that the last thing that they want to see is an appendage of the chairman ruling over them? The idea of buying Attah Mills and getting Rawlings free, as someone sagaciously put it, is completely abhorrent to the longsuffering people of Ghana. Has the professor become too blind to realise that the people of Cape Coast, his apparent kin, refused to vote him into office in the elections of 2000 and 2004 because of his excessive dependence on Rawlings? Let me take this opportunity to acquaint Attah Mills and his patently ignoramus posse of political advisors with global examples about the need to become one's own man when in pursuit of the high office of president. Does Attah Mills and his team not see how Al Gore in a sagacious attempt to distance himself from the sexual exploits of Bill Clinton run the 2000 election as his own man and not as a codicil of the latter? Can one imagine the political fallout that could have ensued if Gore swore to “obey Clinton 24/7”? Not once did Gore feature Bill Clinton in any of his pre -election campaigns. This I hasten to add was not out of spite or ill feeling towards him (for Clinton was after all the substantive “comeback kid” whose poll ratings unlike George W. Bush's was perpetually in the 70s), but rather a desire to be perceived to be running the elections on one's own merit and not riding on the popularity or goodwill of others. This strategy was proven to be a shrewd on as Gore decisively won the popular vote in that particular election and were it not for the rather complicated American system of voting, he would probably have been the incumbent today. Having comprehensively incapacitated the professor, in the first instance, at the infamous “Swedru Declaration” by anointing him the peremptory and perpetual flag bearer of his personal property (the P(NDC), Chairman Rawlings had with that declaration confined Attah Mills to perpetual servitude. This is the more reason why, he (Mills) should be thinking seriously about severing the obvious master-servant relationship that has so destroyed his political chances.
This attempt at being one's own man is also being replicated by the present Republican presidential aspirants to the American presidency. Having endorsed John McCain's candidacy al fresco, has anyone seen George Bush or any of the guru's of that party running McCain's election campaign on his behalf or McCain making statements to the effect that he would subscribe to the incumbent's diktats ad infinitum? It is therefore amazing that Mr. Mills sees it fit to again follow John Rawlings as the proverbial sheep to the slaughter. The man appears to be under some sort of spell or caught up in a kind of highly charged symbiotic, even parasitic pseudo-sexual affiliation where the dominant male (in this case the Chairman), as it were, takes what he wants and when he wants form the obviously emaciated yet still nymphomaniacal female [Mills]). Were the praxis of homosexuality not still considered abominable in Ghana today, one could have hardly avoided the nagging thought that there was some of fatal attraction, albeit of the masculine type, between this couple.
It is probably a truism that Mr.Mills will never see the inside of the Christiansburg Castle or the proverbial corridors of power be it in the Flagstaff house or the new presidential palace. The man is simply not fit for the job. Even with the endorsement of the Chairman, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly about the man would compel anyone, employing their full mental faculties, to vote for him. The guy just lacks the wow factor that his lord and master is so reputed to have. But as is always so characteristic of stooges and puppets, it is likely that Mr. Mills will dismiss my advice as those of a pessimist and so not fit for purpose.
As the country heads for the 5th elections under the 1992 republican constitution, it is without doubt that Mills is heading for his third and most decisive defeat to date. Knowing and in fact fearing this, it was not entirely unanticipated that he and his cohorts would start to question the “fairness” of the elections and eventually resort to issuing threats of imminent mayhem and war if as they put it “the NPP rigs the elections”. What nonsense! The really sad thing about these kinds of threats is not just their apparent inhered foolishness but the fact that it is so uncharacteristic of the soft-spoken professor. It is obvious that in a desperate attempt to appear potent and virile, the man is mimicking the diatribes of his lord and master. As legend has it and many a Ghanaian has come to be aware of, the professor was bashed around after the defeat in 2004 for so “humbly accepting the results” by the Chairman and roundly characterised as fatuous and impotent. It is with a view to proving to the Chairman, himself, his spouse and the Ghanaian populace that he possesses the testicular fortitude to be threatening that he issues such plagiarised baloney.
The earlier Mr, Mills realised his wild foray into Ghanaian politics was a clanger; the better it will be for him and his family. Perpetually announcing vacancies, I am sure any of the three leading Ghanaian universities will be glad to open its doors to the dead beat professor and welcome their old prodigal son back into their fold. Better still; a few quack universities have suddenly appeared on the Ghanaian educational stage that, I am sure, will be happy to welcome the one time vice president into their infant law faculties. The good news is these new breed of universities are reputed to pay a lot better relative to the old masters and with Kufour government's National Health Service Scheme, I am sure the professor can look forward to a rather hale and hearty old age.
Bernard Asher is a Lecturer in Business Management and Economics @the Guildford College of Higher & Further Education in Guildford, Surrey, England, UK.
E:mail [email protected]