Abacha's $2m gift saga: Rawlings sinks further down the drain

Rawlings 05.09 Former President John Rawlings

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

Folks, the unexpected admission (of guilt) by former President Rawlings that the late Nigerian military strongman, Gen. Sani Abacha, gave him 2 million Dollars (and not the 5 million that some claimed)is still featuring in public discourse, especially within the context of Rawlings' own aura of "probity and accountability" and the consequences for victims of his hatchet job against CORRUPTION and abuse of office for personal gains.

In his admission, Rawlings fingered two of his most-trusted confidantes (Nana Ato Dadzie, former Chief of Staff, and Kwamena Ahwoi, a man of many parts who really controlled the operations of the defunct Public Tribunals) as being privy to the transaction.

He, however, expressed misgivings about how the two later turned against him (becoming "poisonous") after they had fallen out with him. What caused the falling out, we don't know.

Interestingly, Nana Ato Dadzie and Kwamena Ahwoi won't accept Rawlings version of issues. They have bounced back to deny knowledge and involvement of the deal that fetched Rawlings the largesse from Abacha. Not only that; they have strongly dissociated themselves from the rhetoric put out there by Rawlings. (See https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/We-know-nothing-about-Abacha-s-2m-to-Rawlings-Ahwoi-Ato-Dadzie-456322).

So, what next?

I wonder how Rawlings will react to this denunciation. If anything at all, he has opened a can of worms to damage his own reputation. Seeking refuge in his confidantes won't solve that credibility problem.

What are the implications? Simple. Rawlings has taken a huge step to detract from his worth and to raise serious doubts about whatever motivated all that he did to become Ghana's longest-serving leader and how he prosecuted his agenda.

No doubt, he has accomplished a lot to make us proud of him, but what is emerging now doesn't only threaten to overshadow his positives but also to raise serious questions about why he institutionalized all that his avid political opponents have stood on to condemn his legacy, including the NDC itself.

Does it really matter now that those political opponents have now snuggled themselves to Rawlings, hoping to capitalize on his stature to damage his own political baby? But it may not be all rosy, especially if what is unfolding now gains traction to undercut Rawlings and his wife.

The truth about how the Abacha money got to Rawlings has to be told by Rawlings himself. Telling us that he didn't have any bank account into which the 2 million Dollars could be lodged is childish. How did the money reach him, after all? In bundles of raw cash carried in bags and deposited in front of him to grab? Or through what other means? Only Rawlings can tell us because no trace was left behind in the transaction to be used in tracking the movement of the donation from the Abacha coffers to the hands of Rawlings.

And more remains to be known. What did Rawlings do to merit that largesse? What did he do with that money, anyway? I have read something to the effect that he claimed the money could be used to serve national interests/needs? Which? How was the money used? Anything left of it now? Where is it?

So much to disturb Rawlings' sleep. He might claim to be honest in coming out with this information, about 18 years after the deal had been reported and his stentorian denial of ever receiving anything from Abacha. What motivated him to own up, after all?

He has a lot to worry over, especially if the negative implications of his admission sink. For him personally, it is damning. Who will lionize him anymore? Maybe, his new-found political allies in the NPP!!

The NDC front will hesitate in using him in the electioneering campaigns toward Election 2016. For Election 2012, he was virtually sidelined, having already turned himself into a negative force against his own political family. But the NDC won all the same.

For all that he is, Rawlings can't bring himself to accept the fact that his political sun has set and won't rise back again. So also does his wife (Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings). The sad fact is that the admission by Rawlings will negative affect her as well. That explains why all that she is wasting money doing to lead the NDP at Election 2016 is not only ridiculous but also casts dark clouds over her all the more.

The overarching question is: Who founded the NDP for her to lead? Who is financing its activities? She won't reveal anything, but we are free to guess that the Abacha money could be the driving force. And probably, also for the education of their children and acquisition of state-of-the-art vehicles following the withdrawal of protocol support by the Kufuor government. A lot more will emerge to expose the Rawlingses.

For now, we will continue to monitor the situation, taking consolation in the fact that their daughter, Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, is in for the NDC to give us another window through which to view the Rawlings enigma. We will also wait to see how Rawlings will handle issues regarding her campaigns even as her mother turns against her because she is at ill with the NDC establishment.

At the personal level, and tying everything up in the political conundrum about the place, role, and impact of the Rawlingses on the Ghanaian condition, we can only sigh. Is there any opportunity for the Rawlingses to redeem themselves? I don’t know; but I am reminded by Shakespeare: “Nothing is ever more wretched than a guilty conscience”.

What a bewildering puzzle for the Rawlingses to contend with!!

I shall return…

Writer's e-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.