Mills Equals Rawlings Redivivus
After two deafening, failed attempts at clinching the presidency, one would have thought that the Rawlings-appointed flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) would have learned some edifying lessons by now. Not that his gaping inability to retool his predatory mindset and crippling animosity towards hardworking and resourceful Ghanaians was not to be expected; after all, the former Associate Professor of the University of Ghana Law School has been faithfully playing “Step in, Fetch it!” to Mr. Rawlings for roughly half of his adult life. And as the veritable marionette of Dzelukope Jeremiah, all that Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills appears to be capable of is simply playing his eternal master's look-alike.
And so last Tuesday, October 14, 2008, Oguaa Kofi took his circus act, once more, to the chiefs and people of the Okai Koi North Constituency of the Greater-Accra Region. And boy was his act poorly choreographed and amateurishly performed! As usual, Oguaa Kofi bawled boorishly about how if voted into power, his government would promptly declare a Jihad against what the former Vice-President of Ghana – he acted more like Dzelukope Jeremiah's private secretary – termed as the acquisition of “Offensive Wealth” (Ghanaweb.com 10/15/08). Now, we all know what this limpid code-phrase means coming from such populist parasite.
The same news report, generated by the Ghana News Agency (GNA), appeared on two different websites with two different titles. The version that appeared on Ghanaweb.com was captioned “NDC Appals [sic] Offensive Wealth – Mills.” I suppose either the reporter or editor rather meant to say that the “NDC Abhors Offensive Wealth – Mills.” Apparently, the proprietors of Modernghana.com website, who posted the same article nearly 24 hours later, caught the howler of “appals,” and so they re-captioned the article thusly: “Offensive Wealth Would Not Be Entertained – Atta Mills.”
What is notable in the foregoing, though, is the at once eerie and jaundiced tone of the vow. It readily recalls those bloody days of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), when the definition for “Offensive Wealth” implied having approximately ¢ 5,000.00 (Five-Thousand Cedis) in one's bank account or owning more than one house and one automobile, as well as having two cisterns or water-closet toilets in one's home; and then, worst of all, demarcating one's landed property with concrete walls.
In sum, when Prof. Atta-Mills talks about ensuring that “offensive wealth would not find a place in his government,” you can almost bet your bottom-dollar that the former Tax Commissioner is hell-bent on returning Ghana to those bad, old days when the mere ownership of property, and just about any form of property, automatically rendered the “culprit” guilty of abominable working-class exploitation. For, make no mistake, like U. S. Republican Party presidential candidate Senator John “McNasty” Sidney McCain, Prof. Atta-Mills envisages the Ghanaian political landscape as one that entails two sworn mortal enemies, namely, the wealthy and hardworking Danquah-Busia Traditionalists and the poor and marginalized Afro-Moses-wearing Nkrumaists, with the latter group constituting the especial quarry of the populist National Democratic Congress.
What is remarkable, though, regards how people like the NDC flagbearer, who gorged themselves fat on the public dough and came into inexplicably filthy wealth between 1981 and 2000 are able to square their self-righteous and pontifically populist rhetoric up with the reality of which they, themselves, are strikingly indelible examples.
Then also, wasn't it rather hypocritical, and unforgivably insulting to the collective Ghanaian national intelligence, for the very political sacred cow who recently lambasted President Kufuor for, allegedly, claiming that indigent Ghanaians were inexcusable victims of their own indolence, to be also swearing that about the only lucrative wealth-generating enterprise currently available to Ghanaians is cocaine dealership. This is how the Ghana News Agency reported the same: “He [Prof. Atta-Mills] said [that] in Ghana now those who did not have money in their pockets were those who could not deal in cocaine, sell government lands and collect bribes.”
Are we, therefore, apt in concluding that since he obviously appears to have much more money in his pocket than many an average Ghanaian, thus his ability to run a capital-intensive presidential campaign, therefore the former head of the NDC's Economic Management Team has done quite a bit of cocaine dealership in order to generate campaign funds? Then also, could somebody from the NDC camp tell the rest of us the total amount of bribe moneys collected by the P/NDC during the twenty years that its members constituted themselves into the essence of legality? Naturally, we may also need to investigate the exact acreage and total value of government lands sold by the Rawlingses, Tsikatas, Ahwois, Millses, Mahamas, Bagbins, Awoonors and Gbehos.
It is also insufferably disgusting to hear the NDC flagbearer jive about “restoring pride and dignity into the presidency,” should Ghanaians make the fatal and irreparable mistake of ceding him their electoral mandate. After all, what kind of dignity did Mr. Rawlings, the saliva-thumbing and loose-leaf rustling speech-garbler and public chain-smoker bring to the presidency except abject contempt? And on the latter score, had he been paying sedulous attention to his boss, Prof. Atta-Mills would have recently heard Dzelukope Jeremiah foolhardily assert that just about any lizard could become President of Ghana. We hope come December 7, 2008 when they step into the voting booth, Ghanaian voters will remember not to vote the flagbearing lizard of the NDC into Flagstaff House!
It was also quite amusing to read the following subtle concern for the putatively fragile health of the NDC presidential candidate, as expressed in the GNA report: “Prof. Atta Mills defied the scorching sun and walked about [one] hundred meters from the Chief's Palace and the Queenmother's Palace at Abeka to the market and later joined his open car to respond to the cheers of the people.”
The reader, naturally, wonders as to what makes the preceding act so laudable as to pique the imagination of the GNA reporter, especially since all the major presidential candidates, as well as even parliamentary candidates, have been campaigning equally defiantly against the “scorching sun.” The foregoing readily reminds the keen reader of nineteenth-century diary reports of Western-European explorers and later colonizers of our so-called Tropical Africa. And to be certain, such recall is made all the more quaint when the latter is further coupled with the strikingly Anglo-Saxon name of the candidate, a veritable colonial relic that continues to bizarrely haunt postcolonial Ghanaian political culture.
The candidate also appeared to be self-pityingly apologetic about his fast-failing health. “I forgive all you who have been making a mockery of my health. Let it be known to you all, that it is God that gives and takes life, and as far as I am alive, I will do the will of God.” The will of God, indeed! I could even hear the deafening screams of the murdered judges: “Lord God-Rawlings, Take Our Lives!”
*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 “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]
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