I now understand why Mr. Rawlings is angry and restless. In fact, I now understand why Rawlings is not a happy man in a country ruled by the party he founded.
In my moment of absolute tranquility, I travelled down memory lane to study the Rawlings that I have known since his days as an Air Force cadet at the Air Force base in the late sixties. Those were the days when Secondi/Takoradi was a real twin city with factories sprouted all over the city, coupled with a vibrant harbour where several ships docked on a daily basis.
The Atlantic Hotel, Zenith Hotel, Club Ampezo, Harbour View, Mecado discothčque, Pakos Lodge, Princes Cinema etc were entertainment centres which were patronized by European, Greek and Filipino seamen.
We lost contact with this young and handsome Air Force cadet officer for some time until 15th May 1979, when it was announced by the Supreme Military Council II that he had been arrested for attempting a coup de détat.
Briefing the press at Burma Camp in Accra, the Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lt. Colonel A.A Enninful, hinted that the leader of the May 15 uprising was Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and that a military tribunal was expected to be set up to try the junior officer and his other conspirators. When the skinny looking young man was brought before the tribunal, he had this to tell the officers who sat in judgment: Leave my men alone. I am responsible for everything. That simple statement turned him into an instant hero.
Then we heard the shrill voice of Rawlings on June 4th, the same year, announcing to the world that he had taken over power. What followed was three months of summarily executions, fire and blood. Under no pressure from anywhere, Rawlings and his men supervised the scheduled elections and duly handed over power to Dr. Hilla Limann and the Peoples National Party (PNP).
When he was asked by the press whether he would leave the shores of Ghana, just like his other colleagues who staged the coup planned to do, he replied in the negative, saying he would stay in Ghana and be the watchdog for the people. We were not surprised when he came storming into the political arena in 1979 to overthrow the Limann regime and established the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC). For 19 years, Rawlings and his cadres ruled the country with iron hands.
For the 19 years that he ruled the nation, he had his glorious moments as well as his sordid pasts. He built schools, turned all the technical schools into polytechnics and topped it up with the University of Development Studies.
He built asphalted roads and introduced the local government concept and bowed out when the ovation was loudest. During this period, Rawlings made sure the two tenets of the revolution, being probity and accountability, were religiously followed by his followers. District secretaries for example were afraid to acquire properties because when they did so and it became known to the chairman, the next thing you would hear was their names being mentioned on air that they had been dismissed. I know a certain district secretary who used the name of his friend to buy building materials and a building plot to erect a mansion, all because he knew when Rawlings got wind of it, he (the DS) would be dismissed.
At a point in time, when he decided to move into the facility, the friend told him that the building did not belong to him (the DS). Because all documents bore the name of his friend, the DS could not claim the building.
Before leaving office, Rawlings went to Agona Swedru to announce to the world that he had single-handedly chosen his Vice President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, to be the presidential candidate for the 2000 general elections. That was the day the Swedru Declaration was commissioned.
Hell broke loose when Rawlings made that pronouncement. Cadres like Goosie Tanor, Kyeretwie Poku, Peter Kpordugbe and others rebelled and formed the Reform Party. Rawlings stood his ground and campaigned vigorously for Professor Mills but as fate might have it, the good old professor lost the election.
The same Rawlings again strutted the land with vim and put his nose on the grindstone to campaign again for professor Mills but again Mills lost. Not perturbed by the man who had become an accomplished loser, Rawlings again hit the road in 2008 to campaign for Mills until the man won the elections to become the president of the sovereign state of Ghana. Rawlings was led to think that when candidate Mills said he would consult him 24 hours a day, he meant it.
The real Mills started showing up when he was to choose his running mate. By the time Rawlings reached Kama Conference Centre, where the decision was to be taken, Mills and his cohorts had gone there to choose John Dramani Mahama, a man Rawlings did not support in anyway. That was the beginning of the enmity between Rawlings and Mills.
What people should realize is that almost all the ministers, apart from the Mills boys and other party functionaries of the NDC, once worked with Rawlings. Even those who have been appointed as board members were once with Rawlings and he knows them very well. From the PV Obengs to the Totobi Quakyes and the rest, Rawlings knows them like he knows his bed. In fact he knows what they can do and what they cannot do. Rawlings might have warned Mills against getting some of them on board but a hardened Mills, who is now in full control, has chosen to treat the man who made him what he is today with ordinary contempt. I expected Mills to sanction Johnson Asiedu Nketia when he referred to Rawlings as a barking dog but as it stands now, it looks as if Mills spat into the mouth of this Seikwa man to be so insolent to a man who once fed his family with rice, clothes, sugar and other goodies.
You see, Rawlings is not crying for himself alone but for the cadres who risked their lives to make the revolution successful. These men and women who served the revolution diligently with empty stomachs are now wallowing in poverty, while MMDCEs who were nowhere to be found when the battle was hot are now amassing ill-gotten wealth with Mills watching, unconcerned. These cadres sit down and see all the good works they did going down the drain but their hands are tied behind their backs because those in power today see these cadres as spent forces. What is more sorrowful is that for the 19 years that these cadres followed Rawlings, they did not get time to better their education and as such they are not attractive for the job market. It is like monkey worked and baboon de chop.
I know one of these cadres who lives in my holy village and is now a palm wine taper. One day, he sat me down when I visited him and started telling me how some of them suffered during the revolutionary days. According to him, Rawlings made them to understand that the revolution had no space for people who wanted to enrich themselves and so anyone who thought he or she could not withstand the heat in the kitchen should leave. Mobilize, as he is popularly known in the village, told me that when he looked around and saw the District Chief Executive of his district riding flashy cars and living in opulence, he always cursed the day he joined the revolution. Mobilize is not alone in this regretful situation. There are many more Mobilizes who worked so hard to bring the country this far, but who are being neglected and treated like second class citizens.
Today, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has threatened to take back her umbrella because the NDC, under President Mills, has gone wayward.
She says the tenets of the revolution, mainly probity, accountability and rule of law have all been thrown to the dogs. Her husband started making this statement a long time ago before the lady flexed her muscles. Now, it looks as if everybody is trying desperately to be part of the ownership of the logo, but sadly none has come out to say he or she has registered this property. If Nana goes ahead and goes to court with her copyright, who can challenge her? Undoubtedly, the NDC is at the crossroads and only God can save the party. Having worked with Rawlings for close to six years, President Mills should have known Rawlings better. When Rawlings falls out with anyone, he will never go back to pick up the pieces. He is a man who will never lick back what he spat out.
The list is long but a few will explain why Rawlings will never see eye to eye with people like the Ahwoi brothers, President Mills, Betty Mould Iddrisu (We are all founders of the NDC!), Asiedu Nketia (We have chained the barking dog!) etc.
I invite the following persons to stand up and tell the world that after they fell out with Rawlings, he (Rawlings) saw eye to eye with them: Ebo Tawia, Osahene Boakye Gyan, John Ndebugre, P.V Obeng, Goosie Tanor, Lawyer Yaw Baah, Obed Asamoah, Bede Zedeng, Kwasi Botcwey, Kyeretwie Poku, Sam Garba.
The relationship between the late Courage Quashigah and Ekow Nkense Arkaah remained bitter till the two gentlemen died. And so those who are calling for reconciliation between Rawlings and Mills should better have something to do because the die is cast. (Good Lord, cant wait to hear what will happen on June 4th after listening to the May 15th verbal kickboxing!!!)
Source: Eric Bawah/Daily Guide
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