By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, May 22, 2014
My good friends, there is every reason to conclude that Ghana's former President, Jerry John Rawlings, is a whole "phenomenon".
Hate or like him, there is no way you can ever fail to recognize him for all that he is. I have known him since May 15, 1979, and had on some occasions shaken hands with him (first, at the graduation ceremony at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in December 1983 when the former GIJ Director, Kojo Yankah, specifically ushered me to him at the end of the ceremony to introduce me as one of the ardent followers. I was then the Secretary of the GIJ's Students' Representative Council).
I met him several times in the Ashanti Region and Cape Coast when he came visiting. My last opportunity to get in touch with him was at Dunkwa-on-Offin in 1996 when he toured the area on his electioneering campaigns. After the reception, I said to him: "Sir, have a safe flight back to Accra"; and he acknowledged it by saying "Thank you, and keep the flame alight!"
I had in 1983 met him at the Osu Castle when I was on attachment to the GNA and covered a meeting between him and an 18-member delegation from La Cote D'Ivoire that was understudying Ghana's agricultural accomplishments.
At that meeting, Rawlings said something that has stuck to my mind ever since: "Life can sustain itself only on a platform of truth".
So has it been all these years, even though I have written numerous opinion pieces to criticize, condemn, and advise him as to how not to muddy the waters in his own political party and government (especially under the late President Mills).
About a week ago, I wrote again to prove him wrong in his assertion that it was when Kufuor took over from him that corruption began or intensified in Ghana. Of course, the NPP people have also come out to have their say on that matter.
But I least would expect that Bugri Naabu, the Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, would lead the pack. He is reported to have described ex-President John Rawlings as Ghana’s most corrupt President.
Let's hear him: “It is Rawlings who brought indiscipline into this country, corruption in this country; people chop [embezzled] government money because of Rawlings. He is the most corrupt man,” said Bugri Naabu.
It is clear that Bugri Naabu isn't knowledgeable enough about Rawlings to do the NPP's "rogue" politics on that score.
I remember very well how this Bugri Naabu used his Chairmanship of the defunct Civil Engineering and Building Contractors Association of Ghana (CEBCAG) to do things only to fall foul of the law and be dealt with by the Rawlings government.
He spent much time in BNI cells and emerged from there wiser about how not to abuse opportunities (that his mentor, Col. Zanlerigu, Minister of Transportation under the Limann government had created for him, lifting him from the lowly position of a "goro boy" at the Kotoka International Airport to become a contractor, making quick money overnight but not spending it wisely).
I first met him when he was constructing structures to expand the Ghana News Agency. He really was "blowing time", which warranted an uncomplimentary comment from my former News Editor who dismissed him as a buffoon.
He has carried his anti-Rawlings sentiment along with him all these years. In doing this "rogue" politics against Rawlings, he has forgotten that the Kufuor government's sponsorship of Kweku Baako and Gabby Otchere Darko to Norway in search of evidence to nail Rawlings over the Ghana Cement factory allegations yielded nothing.
Even, Kufuor's National Reconciliation Commission (Nail Rawlings Commission) couldn't find anything for which to extinguish his fire.
Many other attempts were made but ended up in smoke because there was nothing to hang on to. Not even their unethical revelation that Rawlings sought medical attention under the name "Paul Gyamfi" or their noise that the late Nigerian General Abacha had given 5 million Dollars to Rawlings could make any case against Rawlings.
Other allegations that Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlinbgs owned a jewelry shop in Switzerland ended up as part of the endemic Rawlings-loathing politics.
All the noise about Rawlings and corruption remains nothing but annoying noise, not proved in any way. Rawlings is still standing tall today because nothing exists to prove that he soiled his hands. His appointees might have found clever ways to benefit from the system but none has been able to pin Rawlings down as corrupt. He is only human, though.
So, when an uninformed NPP zealot like Bugri Naabu overshoots his mouth, he only confirms the poor opinion that some of us have about him.
More importantly, he reinforces my stance that this kind of empty "rogue" politics won't put the NPP in power, especially when it is being done by a buffoon like Bugri Naabu. I may be harsh in responding to him; but the time has long since elapsed for such characters to be placed where they belong. If they have no evidence to help us expose Rawlings and punish him, they shouldn't open their mouths!!
It may irk them that Rawlings is still on his feet despite their ill-will or death wish for him. He is so because he has nothing to fear, hide or run away from.
Did Akufo-Addo know Rawlings as such before snuggling to him before Elections 2012 in the vain hope of gleaning some goodwill from him to win the elections?
We are not saying that nobody should say anything about Rawlings; what we are saying is that only intelligent utterances that can point us to the proper direction should be encouraged. It is unacceptable that 13 years after he left the scene, none of his detractors can prove the allegation of corruption against him with practical evidence for us to act on. Why continue to annoy us with empty noise, then?
I shall return…
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