How did Rawlings react to all that had happened to him? Many ways. He chose to disrespect Kufuor openly by insulting him as a thief and corrupt man. Can we ever forget Rawlings’ hoarse song (what my friend calls a “cacophony of music”): Ata Ayi niee… Kufuor niee…? (Of course, Ata Ayi is a notorious armed robber now serving prison term in Nsawam. For a former President to label a sitting President that way isn’t a slight issue. In effect, Rawlings reduced Kufuor’s image to rubble and stood his grounds.
He went further to accuse the Kufuor government of planning to assassinate him (reference to an incident near the Kpone barrier) or Rawlings’ allegation that foreign mercenaries had been positioned near his Ridge residence for that purpose.
Again, Rawlings alleged that the Kufuor government had secretly deposited over 600 million Cedis in his Ghana Commercial Bank account to corrupt him; but the government explained that the money was part of his gratuities and others due him as a former head of state. (When Rawlings withdrew that money, he didn’t tell us!!). Yet, he continued to ratchet up his anti-Kufuor rhetoric.
At ceremonies bringing both together, they would shake hands and exchange pleasantries for the camera because as Rawlings put it thereafter, all that public show was “fan fool”. He still nurses serious bitterness. What for, we already know. Once the stage has been set and consolidated all these years, it is clear that dismantling it to bring the Rawlingses and Kufuor together is more than Herculean. Yet, both claim to be Catholics. Unless anything happens, we can only leave it to death the leveler to settle for them. A very good example of very bad old men and women setting a very bad record not to be emulated anywhere!!
For the Rawlingses and Akufo-Addo, the level of enmity was equally high before the inexplicable change of circumstances for them to be rubbing each other’s back today. A few instances to explain why that enmity arose. Akufo-Addo had been a thorn in the flesh of the Rawlingses, using every means to team up with others to confront the PNDC. The street demonstrations organized by the Alliance for Change movement—beginning with the “Kume Preko”) and ending with the “Sie me Preko” versions—spoke volumes to set the Rawlingses against Akufo-Addo.
The Rawlingses had a poor opinion of Akufo-Addo with Rawlings particularly bad-mouthing him in a public event as a “wee smoker”. His wife would later tear Akufo-Addo apart in two ways: accusing him of not being a trained lawyer (or not being certified as a lawyer) and that the children with Rebecca that he boasted of were not his biological children. I needn’t unpack these claims, still contentious though they are.
In many other ways, Akufo-Addo was perceived as the brain behind the denial of protocol services to Rawlings. He hasn’t so far distanced himself from it nor has he openly told us why he has now snuggled to the Rawlings to mend fences. We note that it wasn’t the Rawlingses who initiated the thawing of relationships. They didn’t go visiting Akufo-Addo at his Nima residence. It was Akufo-Addo who went to the Rawlingses to eat back his own vomit, now hailing Rawlings as a good man and leader. Today, we hear Rawlingses also praising Akufo-Addo. The sordid past between them seems to have been buried, all happening at a time that Rawlings and his wife are pushing the agenda of the NPP through their anti-NDC political rhetoric and the activities of Nana Konadu’s NDP.
There is every indication that the Rawlingses and Akufo-Addo now share a common vision for Election 2016. The outcome will tell us whether by embracing Akufo-Addo and going in this direction, the Rawlingses will have a price to pay or not. For Akufo-Addo, he has already paid the price at Elections 2008 and 2012. What awaits him at Election 2016 is in the offing.
From our perspective, we can easily conclude that the main motivation for Akufo-Addo’s mending of fences with the Rawlings is to use them for political capital; but beneath that may be others that only time will reveal. Will the Rawlingses be smart enough to read between the lines? Or carried away by their miscalculation, will they fail to do so and end up more miserable than they think they have been since they left office?
I am impatiently waiting to see then whether the net will be widened to bring in Kufuor for the frosty relationship to be thawed or toughened further. Whether Kufuor will take advantage of the situation or not, nobody can tell for now. After all, he has played his part and will be better off reclining in the shadows to enjoy his last days on earth. But the truth is that in terms of political weight and integrity, Rawlings and Kufuor can stand shoulder-to-shoulder as former Presidents. It isn’t so for Akufo-Addo who is not of the same stature. So, what can’t Rawlings and Kufuor gain as former Presidents if they put the past behind them? Or what is forcing the Rawlingses to stoop toward a Presidential Candidate known for losing elections while shunning the high circle above them?
Unlike Kufuor, the Rawlingses are still bubbling with anger, widening the scope of their alienation, and doing things as if they have no tomorrow to live for. Together with Akufo-Addo, they are on a route march through the political wilderness that has changed since Rawlings left office. What made his day isn’t what will make anybody’s day today. That is the lesson they won’t learn and will continue to lead themselves astray. When the bell tolls, those for him it is meant might not even have the time to apologize to those on whose toes they have been stepping all this while. And the bell will surely toll.
I shall return…
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