By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I recall part of the testimonial that my former Assistant Headmaster wrote for one of my former classmates: “An incorrigible character. His employer may employ him at his own risk for further study of his character before giving him a permanent employment.” Very frightening, right? If Ghana politics—which is still full of nonsense—were to involve the issuance of testimonials, I am quite certain that some politicians can’t avoid being given something of the sort. It may be the wake-up call that they need to realize that doing politics involves more than seeking personal self-fulfillment. I am tempted by something that has just happened to once again put our politicians on the spot.
Ras Mubarak, a youth activist of the NDC has apologized to President J.E.A. Mills for unpleasant comments he had made against him over the period, especially before the NDC’s Delegates Congress in Sunyani. A close ally of the Rawlingses, Mubarak met President Mills this morning at the Castle, Osu, for a discussion and rendered the apology to him.
Mubarak’s failure to secure the post of National Youth Organizer for the NDC at the party’s youth congress in Sunyani last year seemed to have set him on a war path. As if unable to contain the defeat to Ludwig Hlodze, he turned to writing articles, much of which stridently questioned President Mills’ integrity as the NDC leader and President of the country.
Now, he has turned full circle, claimed to have realized his folly or the unavoidable lapses of youthful exuberance, and is seeking forgiveness for his waywardness. I hesitate to brand him as an opportunist but have no other option to do so, considering the ambition that underlies his epiphany and the need to make peace as a necessary condition for acceptance back into the very fold that he had rejected and torn apart. It is not difficult to see why the prodigal element in him has surfaced at this time: “He is now back in the country to contest the NDC’s primaries in the Ablekuma North Constituency.” He is reported to have written on his facebook wall that “I had an exciting meeting with President Mills this morning. I thanked him for accepting to see me at such short notice and congratulated him on his re-election as my party’s leader. I also made a personal apology for saying in the past ‘I would do everything to make sure he didn’t win 2012.’ He was magnanimous. It is important for our party to build bridges and mend fences in order to advance the cause of Ghana.” Hmmmmmm, words with very deep meanings, eh?
He told Asempa News on Thursday that he feels the timing was right for him to apologize to the President as a step towards unifying the party, and in the interest of the nation. I doubt this aspect. The time is ripe for Mubarak to mend relationship with the President to help him achieve his political ambition. According to him, he has no regrets supporting the candidature of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings but feels the past must be put behind while “we focus on the future.” Certainly, the past can be revisited for impetus to re-start the scathing attacks, especially when personal dreams fail to materialize; not so? I remember Mubarak very well for those strident verbal attacks on President Mills, which created the impression that he had no faith in President Mills and would rather go for Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings to lead the NDC to the 2012 elections. From his base in Norway, he played a major role in Nana Konadu’s failed bid to secure the NDC flagbearership slot. Now, the dust has settled and he sees a lean opportunity ahead of him to pump some oxygen into his political life. What better thing to do than to play the “Prodigal Son”? And so, Ras Mubarak retraced his steps to mend the fence. I will continue to remember him for all the deluge of unpalatable articles that he wrote to paint President Mills as the political devil incarnate. At a glance, the titles of some of those articles would be enough to tell the whole story of his disdain for President Mills. Here are some of them:
“President Mills supports homosexuality”; “A win for Nana Konadu will be a win for the country” (where he says, among others: “The President, John Mills has his strengths too, does he? Well, choosing him as the NDC's candidate in the next election will be like putting the soil on NDC's grave. President Mills’ style of running the country makes building a bungalow today slower than building a cathedral in the 11th century. It is painfully slow and there is no storyline that will get the country turning to him again.” and “ Perish the thought, if Mills wins, Ghana loses.”); and “Blame President Mills,” (where he says “In Ghana, there's haemorrhage of confidence in the future of the country under President Mills.”). Another is “There’ll be a consequence if..........” (part of which read: “The spates of peaceful and violent protests against the government by youths of the NDC are a verdict on Prof. Mills’ failures. His reputation as an honest man is not in doubt. Even his most virulent critics know that he is a man of integrity, but he is a disastrous leader” and “But it is dead duck if President Mills led the NDC into the 2012 contest. He no longer has the grassroots support and certainly unpopular with young voters. In the eyes of the youth of NDC, President Mills has failed to rise to the occasion. He would not have the support of many members of the party across the country. There are irrefutable reasons why he cannot lead the NDC into victory in 2012.”). Mubarak’s incessant verbal attacks on President Mills and his loud protestations at his retention for the 2012 elections belie his intentions for rendering this apology.
Once the leopard in him has surfaced and dominated his public image, can he succeed in changing his spots? What happens if he loses the primaries is anybody’s guess. I suspect strongly that he will be peeved again, blame everybody except himself for his defeat and then rush into the same scathing publicity to do worse than he has done so far.
How does Mubarak reconcile his preference for Nana Konadu to his rejection of President Mills as the NDC’s leader and what he now sees in President Mills to warrant this apology? As he himself stated, he doesn’t regret in any way for supporting Nana Konadu. We know that his negative campaigns against President Mills were informed by that personal choice and may want to pardon him for realizing his waywardness after the fact. But how assured can we be that his is a genuine self-cleaning and not a calculated attempt to throw dust into the President’s eyes just because he is seeking his blessing to contest the party’s primaries in that constituency? I am not persuaded that Mubarak is a changed person.
If the NDC wants to survive, it must have clear standards to enforce. Were it to be so, I wonder how this youth activist (who defied all odds to launch scathing verbal attacks on President Mills’ personality and integrity to the point as to render him “useless”) can stand his grounds today to want President Mills’ nod to help him achieve his personal ambition.
Of course, it is a mark of maturity for him to have realized his own folly and to seek forgiveness; but he has to be carefully watched lest he gets out of control to inflict more harm, especially when his dream fails to materialize. As I keep saying, most of the NDC’s problems are self-created; and for the party to rebuild its public image, its followers have a lot of work to do. I stick my neck out to say that most of those who have come to notice as “troublemakers” are those whose personal ambitions haven’t been satisfied and have, therefore, resorted to acts of indiscipline and plain treachery.
I am wary of them. The future viability of the NDC cannot be ensured if the party’s activists (especially the youthful ones) don’t do the right thing to help the party grow. If they continue to view party work in terms of personal reward and insist on self-fulfillment or instant gratification, they risk opening the party up to destruction.
Genuine party work calls for self-sacrifice and commitment to ensuring that the party’s well-being takes precedence over any other objective. Unfortunately, however, the situation is not so in our current political dispensation. Must it continue to be so, and for how long while the problems facing the people continue to mount? Unfortunately, there are many Ras Mubaraks all over the place.