Member of Parliament Dan Botwe's opinion that “President John Atta Mills should show more gratitude to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings than he is doing since the former president made him (Mills) what he is today” following reports that Rawlings is under 24-hour security surveillance reveals Botwe's feeble grasp of Ghana.
Gratitude of all forms, whether in politics or personal dealings, is a two-way traffic – it is give and take. If Rawlings made Mills, then Mills, too, made Rawlings. If we go by Botwe's logic, then Rawlings should show gratitude to Mills as Mills have shown to him. This means Rawlings should respect Mills and not rock the Mills' presidency.
Botwe's views, more coming from an opposition MP (of the National Patriotic Party) who is expected to demonstrate intensely critical conceptualization of Ghana and one who suffered under Rawlings' military juntas that exiled him as a student leader, is an affront not only to Ghana but it also reveals how some Ghana/African elites rationalize their state as a development and security structure, more so from Ghana's and Africa's painful history that enabled a man of Rawlings's contemptible background to mount power.
Democracy, of which Botwe's NPP have for long stood for against the background of deaths, threats, intimidation, imprisonment and exiles some years ago, is fast revealing how Rawlings is, a man for long covered by his military and propaganda machines. In a way, Botwe is promoting Rawlings' disorder and I am dismayed that the NPP, nationally known as elitist, have not come out down hard on Botwe's mind-numbing and cheerful take on Rawlings' gloomy attitude towards the Mills presidency and Ghana's democratic and development future. For in the final analysis, there is no NPP, NDC or neutral, there is only Ghana as a development project.
To Botwe, a computer science graduate from Ghana's top science school KNUST, who was former Information Minister and chief national organizer of the NPP, at issue is national security, more democratic and development securities, and not whether Mills is ungrateful to the chronically nauseating Rawlings. Humanly, let Botwe put himself into Mills shoes and feel what Mills is going through in the face of Rawlings appallingly menacing behaviour.
As much as everyone knows, Rawlings has been dragging Mills down the governance gutter and has been attempting to mess up not only the Mills presidency but also Ghana. Why Rawlings is doing this, is left to psychiatrists. No government in the world in its rightful mind will tolerate that, for to do that is to commit political suicide and derail the whole democratic process. Hence, the reports of Rawlings under 24-hour surveillance despite denial by Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (rtd), Mills' National Security Advisor.
And that demands highly objective positioning of Ghana as a counter-balance to the negatives of Rawlings anti-Mills mentality, of which Rawlings' own NDC is coming to grips with, and not whether Rawlings made Mills or Mills made Rawlings (as some people argue, since Rawlings is semi-literate and his juntas were maintained by the intellectuals of Mills ilk, who equally exploited Rawlings ignorance to their advantage). And as the British-American thinker Christopher Hitchens would say, Botwe “is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking” himself “as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.”
Whether Rawlings made Mills or not, the accepted wisdom is that that doesn't make Rawlings terrorize the Mills regime (and by extension the Ghana) – no civilized government any where in the world will mortgage its national security on the altar of familiarity – Rawlings shouldn't be allowed to contempt Mills and Ghana. And Rawlings, if he is a sane man at all (of which he isn't) and a good friend of Mills at all (of which he isn't), who was his Vice President, should have to behave properly like all decent Ghanaians and not make fool of himself by constantly undermining the Mills administration and Ghana.
That Rawlings has being seriously troubling the Mills presidency, and by extension Ghana, though they come from the same NDC, is a fact; that Rawlings is consumed with destructive egocentrism a la the African Big Man and Pull Him Down syndromes that endanger Ghana is a material and psychological fact; that Rawlings has been threatening Ghana's national security, especially so when Mills took power almost two years ago, is undisputable; that Rawlings' behaviour will not be tolerated in any civilized country where the rule of law is a cornerstone is a universal fact; and that the reality that Rawlings and Mills come from the same NDC means he should be tolerated for his disgracefully appalling conduct as ex-president makes the state weak (of which Botwe is one of the weaklings as part of the elements that make up Ghana).
As a lawmaker, Botwe is expected to show higher grasp of Ghana, more from the point of the rule of law, especially Ghana's history and that of Rawlings'. As a legislator, by implications, Botwe's reasoning that because Rawlings is from the same NDC as Mills and therefore shouldn't be subjected to the same national security measures like any other Ghanaian is absurd and smacks of a state pinned down by threats from primitive forces – forces that cannot think, forces that are immature, forces that are paranoid, and caught up in destructive sentimentality, of which Botwe's thinking falls into and makes Botwe a contradictory person.
Botwe's erroneous opinion is uncalled for at this stage of Ghana's democratic evolution, where the likes of Rawlings are a real and present danger to the system. It borders on a lie to Ghana's security and development wellbeing, and an immense falsification that can only maintain itself by a dizzying chain of smaller falsehoods (I am grateful to you, you should be grateful to me, no matter my conduct), beefed up by wilder and more-contradictory claims.
By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong