The NPP Rawlings Scare Cannot Be Taken Seriously: He is a spent Cartridge!

Sun, 21 Dec 2008 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Not a single day goes by without NPP partisans reminding us about the imminent coming of Emperor Rawlings. They claim a vote for Atta Mills is a vote for Rawlings. Buy one get one free is a favorite spin of theirs. What are we to make of this warning? Can we take our NPP brothers and sisters seriously on this scare tactic? Is Akuffo Addo the third coming of Kufour? Is he the third coming of his chief? Oh, what trivialities we engage in when our country needs serious work! Is not interesting that folks within the NPP are much more worried about which chief will be elevated when Nana Addo comes to power but they want us to worry about Rawlings? I ask again, are we building a democracy or monarchy? Why should we worry our tired heads over whether Okyehene or Asantehene is elevated? How does that put food on the table?

Let me be very clear, I believe strongly that Rawlings, the psychopath, did commit crimes under PNDC rule as well us his NDC reign. Anyone who can beat his Vice President into smithereens and watch a driver killed for allegedly causing an accident on the Tema motor way, must not be walking free. And the latter is just the tip of the iceberg! For his alleged crimes, I have said over and over again that a thorough investigation ought to be done and prosecution carried out if there is evidence to show that Rawlings did indeed commit crimes. While in power, nobody dare broach this idea of investigating Rawlings and prosecuting him if need be. Then came the NPP, a party that some of us thought was going to bring justice to our doorstep. What have we witnessed since the NPP came to power? Below, I want to walk you through a labyrinth of political opportunism, failed opportunities and the eventual strengthening of the menace called Rawlings by the NPP. My basic argument is that if Rawlings is that bad, why didn’t the NPP deal with him in their eight year rule? Why torture Ghanaians with the presence of somebody you deem evil? If Arthur Mills gives us Rawlings, will Akuffo Addo give us the third coming of Kufour? Is Akuffo Addo not promising the continuation of Kufour’s ill advised backward policies? Akuffo Addo voted 100% with Kufour! No? Never once did I read anywhere that Nana Addo disagrees with anything Kufour did. Not once!! Should I be worried Nana Addo? Can we trust the NPP this time? What’s up with the petrol price decrease?

Do you all remember when the NPP sashayed to power? Do you remember the reconciliation trudge by Kufour and his coterie? Can anyone tell us what became of it? Even then, I thought reconciliation was a nutty idea that will not amount to a hill of beans. After all, government, cannot force anyone to reconcile with their tormentor(s). It is up to the individuals or families to make suture decisions. What government ought to do, is provide opportunities for people to pursue whatever route suits their fancy in obtaining true and real justice. My friends, there is no doubt that a big part of the reconciliation charade was designed to expose the wicked, churlish, batty and evil acts of Rawlings. The part that I did not understand is the urgent need to reconcile if you believe somebody has committed crimes and ought to be brought to justice? Rawlings killed people as a way of exacting justice. So, what is wrong with holding him responsible for his acts? As it turns out, the NPP was not really interested in reconciling anything. If they did, we won’t have a divided Ghana at the end of Kufour’s rule. Of much note in this regard is the Asante/Ewe divide. I pray that some will show leadership in addressing this festering problem.

The NPP, as is evident, wanted political mileage out of the circus called reconciliation and an opening to appease mainly its followers by returning seized properties. What the NPP did not see coming was the strengthening of Rawlings after that fiasco. Rawlings trooped up there only to make the panelists soil their pants! Some could not even muster courage to question him. When it was all said and done, many Ghanaians felt Rawlings was invincible and the image of the NPP, a party of cowards suffering from Rawlings Phobia, was emblazoned all over the place! Be careful what you ask for!

Kufour’s eight year rule has been laced with all kinds of unfounded coup scares purported to be masterminded by Rawlings. There is not a single instance where the NPP placed in front of Ghanaians, credible evidence that Rawlings was hatching any plans. None! Rawlings was never once arrested for any crimes in relation to plotting a coup. How can this man Rawlings be free, if there is credible evidence that he is in fact planning to overthrow a constitutional government? Is it not a crime to overthrow a constitutional government in Ghana? Here again, one is tempted to question the sincerity of the NPP government in dealing with Rawlings. If the man is a thorn in the flesh of democracy, provide the evidence, prosecute him and throw him in jail. The Rawlings-Phobia afflicting the NPP is not enough to convince Ghanaians not to vote for Arthur Mills. What most Ghanaians see and feel is an inept NPP harassing Rawlings for political gain. Taking away his VIP privileges and other gimmicks will not fool some of us into thinking that justice has been served. Until Rawlings is proven to be a criminal, the NPP ought to stop the scare tactics and focus on the needs of the people. Stop it!

To the ordinary mind, there is enough evidence to show that Nana Konadu, the wife of irascible Rawlings, did abuse her husband’s powers by buying Nsawam cannery under dubious circumstances. However, what she did or did not do can only be proven with evidence in court. Though people were killed for far less crimes under the vicious rule of her husband, she deserves her day in court in the current civil dispensation. Instead of prosecuting her and letting the chips fall where they may, the NPP continues to play political chess with her trial. It got so bad that her charges had to be restated all over again in the middle of the trial. This must be either incompetence or political tic- tac-toe, fashioned to delight the NPP faithful and provide immense political buoyancy. Is it the crippling fear of Rawlings that triggers this kind of crap and abulia from the NPP? Again, in doing the latter, the NPP continues to provide cover for Rawlings. Rawlings has many sympathizers at moment over this issue. Indeed, I believe, the surge in energy around this election for Rawlings, has a lot more to do with his wife’s dog and pony show trial than anything else. The strengthening of Rawlings by the NPP is there for all to see!

There is no doubt that the NDC nursed corruption too. One top of the heap was Rawlings the discredited holy worrier. What is shocking is the pussyfooting that the NPP adopted in dealing with NDC crooks. Furthermore, the one-sided prosecution of a few selected NDC crooks provided a striking opportunity for Rawlings to shout foul. Even those of us who think Rawlings should not be walking free, can honestly say, and with all sincerity, that, the NPP has not played fair! I mean what about the pistol whipping Edumadze? What about Alhaji Bamba, the visa racketeer? Here is a party that even wanted to bring home Amoateng, a disgraced NPPP MP who was caught trafficking hard drugs, to serve his time! Now they say worry about Rawlings? Again, and lucidly, the NPP provides a glaring opportunity for Rawlings to strengthen his attacks! Ghanaians, I believe, want justice but certainly not in a one-sided slant. In a context where the star of Rawlings should be fading and surely falling, it rose incredibly because of the myopic shenanigans of a rudderless government. These NPP folks had no starch in their spine! They gawked and awed while Rawlings preened and pranced. Now, like a virus that is used to antibiotics, the medication is not working. Rawlings is stronger! Well done NPP!!

The NPP has had all kinds of opportunities to deal with Rawlings if he is as dangerous as they want us to believe. If for eight years they couldn’t do a thing to Rawlings, but rather sought to use him as their boogie man for political gain, why must we be fooled into rejecting Arthur Mills because of Rawlings? I say this as a Ghanaian and not a member of any faction. If the NPP had governed well and helped pillar the kind of democratic institutions, policies and structures that we need, both at the local and central level, there will be no need to shout wolf when it comes to Rawlings. The minute we understand that democracy is not about personalities but a system, we will begin to make progress. If you look at the American or British system, it is very clear that there are certain things a president and his cronies cannot do no matter what. Can we say the same for Ghana? As it stands, Rawlings is a free man and has every right under the constitution to influence any politician. We can’t worry about the influence of Rawlings without worrying about those who influenced Kufour and will surely influence Nana Addo. The best way forward is to either amend or rewrite the constitution, instead of its constant prostitution by the NPP. Fix it!

Having said all the above, let me challenge the NDC a bit. Should Professor Mills win the run-off, the NDC will be well served if it keeps Rawlings in check. Ghana is an emerging democracy and we want to remain as such. We’ve had 19 years of Rawlings and we want to move forward. Indeed the case can be made that the current vote is really not an endorsement of the NDC, but a rejection of the NPP. And anyone who thinks a rejection of the NPP is the same as the acceptance of the NDC ought to have his or her head examined. The NPP has pushed Ghanaians into a corner to make choices that they would rather not be confronted with. I believe Ghanaians wisely want a time out for the NPP for bad and inconsiderate behavior. The CPP is perhaps the party that should have greatly benefited from this scuffle. However, it was ill prepared and has not found a way to distinguish its brand from that of the NDC. The NDC should count itself lucky and really work hard to endear itself to Ghanaians. This is it NDC!! Come through or be gone!

The good folks in the NPP party must take their party back and polish it to reflect the lofty ideals that they spout. Instead of “yere gye yen mine”, it should be “yere gye yen kuo”. Charity begins at home! A healthy NPP will reflect in the way it governs. The party must live its ideals not just spigot it. The good Ghana-first folks in the NPP must breath sensitivity into the party, at the same time, breath out arrogance and corruption. If the NPP governs well, it won’t have the onerous task of convincing us that Rawlings is radioactive to our democracy. In this case, the NPP failed to deliver and must focus on its own shortcomings instead of worrying about a defanged Rawlings who can’t behave like he did during the rule of the PNDC, a government that Kufour selfishly and gleefully worked for.

Surely the NPP did not create Rawlings but it has certainly strengthened him! If the NPP lived with Rawlings for 8 years, I am sure we can live with him for another four. Rawlings will not overthrow his party, the NDC. What really can he do? I bet, he will exert as much influence as some chiefs that we know, exerted on Kufour! The NDC knows that it is sitting on a political gunpowder keg. It actually has not made a strong and clear case for its election. The NPP, invariably, did make a much stronger case for the NDC through its actions. This means that, there is very little room for error in an NDC regime. Ghanaians will vote out the NDC just as quickly as they voted them in, if they allow Rawlings to fool around with our democracy. Rawlings must obey the law just like everyone else!! We will all be watching with juvenile glee if the NDC is really a change party, should it win the presidency!

So, let us all move forward, knowing that Rawlings is a spent cartridge! We are not voting to elect Rawlings. No! His affiliation with the NDC is not enough evidence to deny Atta-Mills the opportunity. If the NPP managed him for 8 years, so can country Ghana. I believe the NPP folks are scared stiff that Kufour and his corrupt politicians will be jailed based on the prodding of Rawlings. As far as I am concerns, so long as the trial is fair, whoever is found guilty must serve time. This way, the next party in power will also clean house. Cyclical jailing of corrupt politicians, a good thing for Ghana, will help clean up the system, set a high bar and allow honest people to get into politics! This can only be good for Ghana! Please stop the scare tactics!! Ghanaians need not be restive about an Atta-Mills win. No! May the best candidate win! Viva Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman

(Also Known as the double edge sword)

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think its hell. --- Harry Truman

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka