The pigs in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are now walking. The revolution has come full cycle. When bullets were flying and human beings were slaughtered like sheep, in order to cow the citizenry into submission for the men in cross belts to dictate to the mass of the people, we were told that Jerry John Rawlings had launched a revolution that would transform this society to make all human beings at the centre of the earth equal.
Those who pointed out that it was not possible to make all human beings equal in view of our development model, were classified as enemies of the revolution and hunted down in a search and destroy operation. The tyranny of the day forced many well-to-do Ghanaians into their early graves. Those who managed to escape the mayhem were forced to live outside the shores of their own country. Oh yes, many had to seek refuge abroad. I am proud to say that in those days of mayhem, I was a refugee.
After eleven and half years of atrocious leadership, leading to what the head of the so-called revolutionaries himself labeled “A Decade of a Culture of Silence,” Ghanaians gazed in disbelief as the military dictatorship laid the foundation for the formation of the National Democratic Congress as a political party.
Words like grassroots organisation and the democratisation of violence permeated the air. Like George Orwells’ Animal Farm concept of “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad,” impromptu lectures were organised from the roof-tops, chastising hardworking Ghanaians who were owning businesses and employing ordinary Ghanaian workers.
We were told that the NDC thrived on social justice and abhorrence of personal fortunes. Somehow, a number of Ghanaians were taken in. In both the coastal and northern parts of the country especially, where poverty is endemic, the NDC anthem and its social democratic preaching was music in people’s ears.
Now the cat, a very big one indeed, is out of the bag. All the social democratic chants with their equality slants are merely for votes, it is becoming apparent. As you read this story, the National Executive Council of the party, with maverick Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah leading from the front as General Secretary, has slapped a whopping GH¢420,000 (four billion and two hundred thousand) on all those seeking the mandate of the party to contest the 2020 presidential election. Money swine!
The NDC, after all, now believes that money is good for organisation. Four legs good, two legs bad is being transformed. At the completion stage, the new doctrine would become four legs good, two legs better.
Even the father of the revolution is annoyed with the moneybag politics driving NDC politics these days. “Í doubt if anyone of us who has served with integrity, relying on our salaries, can raise these filing fees, unless we engaged in some unethical behaviour while in office. Unless we abused or misused our positions during our tenure,” the Founder of the so-called revolution said of the atrocious filing fees. Does Jerry Rawlings know something we do not know?
He did not name names though. But, many political commentators are unhappy with the colossal amount being asked as filing fees for the NDC presidential primary, which, obviously, is aimed at shutting the door to many aspirants. Jerry Rawlings himself cannot escape blame from the charge of using his office for personal gains.
In spite of the Founder’s lectures on probity and accountability, Jerry Rawlings has not been able to tell Ghanaians what made him accept a whopping gift of US$5 million from the ‘Butcher’ of Nigeria, the late Sani Abacha. It took 20 odd years for the former junta head to tell Ghanaians that he took $2 million from the former military strongman of Nigeria. Please note, Jerry Rawlings himself put the amount he received from the security capo of Abacha at $2 million. The official figure quoted, when the story first broke in 1997, was US$5 million.
What I can state without equivocation is that the blood money was payment for the Ghanaian leader’s campaign during his visit to Great Britain in 1995, that Abacha was an honest man. At that point in time, Gen. Abacha was regarded as an international pariah.
There are many other reasons why some of us believe that Jerry John Rawlings came to power to better his lot, and not that of the ordinary Ghanaian.
That is only by the way. What is important in this discussion is that former President John Dramani Mahama has picked the nomination form to contest the NDC presidential primary. This act indicates that the former President, whose rule was characterised by allegations of improper handling of contracts and outright fraud, according to the successor administration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is ready to fork out the atrocious GH¢420,000 filing fee.
In matters of NDC politics, I would like to believe Jerry Rawlings knows best. His concern is that the atrocious filing fee marks a departure from the concept underlying the formation of the party. He is also quoted as saying that with only two weeks to the closing date for nominations, the impression is being created that the NDC is being handed over to the highest bidder.
He told members of the newly-elected National Executive Committee to consider reducing the killer fees. I doubt if the likes of Asiedu-Nketiah, whose ‘barking dog’ theory appeared to have ruffled feathers at Boom Junction, would take the concerns of the Founder into consideration, given the fact that Mr. Mahama, the former President, is obviously the preferred candidate of many in the executive committee, and has already given indications of doing business with the executives by picking up his forms.
I am told that there is a U-Tube doing the rounds of people queuing up in front of Mr. Mahama’s office to pay the filing fees on his behalf. For me, as a social commentator, my beef is that it is a ruse to create the impression that the come-back kid is so popular with the masses of the party that they are prepared to do whatever bidding he asks of them.
I do not believe former President John Mahama is incapable of raising that atrocious filing fee. When I look back on the malfeasance involving money during his adventure as President of this Republic, I am left in no doubt that either he has that filing fee sum himself, or a number of godfathers abound to do his bidding.
When I recall the $100 million handed over to Rlg, owned by close associate Mr. Roland Agabire, in that infamous one lap-top per child policy, and the shoddy job done in return, I am left with no impression that the former President stands to gain from that venture.
Remember the colossal sum of money granted to the same person as loans without interests? It tells me that the former president has something to cushion him in times of need.
For me, as a social commentator, I do not think the national executive members of the NDC came by that figure just to raise money. I believe that it is a means of getting rid of trouble-shooters who could trouble the interests of Mr. John Mahama at the NDC primary.
Already, a strong contender like Mr. Alban Kingsford Sumaila Bagbin is tinkering with the idea of throwing in the towel. “I will not pick the forms if the amount is not reviewed. I joined the NDC because of its belief in inclusion, irrespective of your background. It looks as though now everything is about money, money, not leadership qualities,” the Second Deputy Speaker bemoaned in an interview with a radio station in Accra.
He said, from the look of things, it was becoming crystal clear that the national executive of the party were trying to vary the race in favour of one candidate. “It doesn’t look like the national executives are offering everybody a level playing field.”
I sympathise with the disappointed flagbearer hopeful, but if Mr. Bagbin still believes that the party he is seeking to lead into the 2020 presidential election is interested in every body’s welfare, he must be wrong.
The social democratic credentials were shed the moment the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) introduced what I call Jerry’s Stupid Schools (Junior High Schools – JHS) in the 1990s and allowed Jerry Rawlings to enter his children into private schools to sit for the General Certificate of Education (GCE O and A) levels before shipping them abroad to be properly educated in some of the best educational institutions in Europe, the political party he founded ceased to be clothed in the doctrine of equality.
If Mr. Bagbin still believes that the NDC that has kept him in Parliament, from January 1993 to the present, is interested in the welfare of my cousins at Ekumfi Ekrawfo, he must be living in ‘ cloud cuckoo land,’ my apologies to one-time British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The NDC in government has demonstrated over the years that it thrives on the brutish concept of the survival of the fittest, When former ministers, who were also parliamentarians, took double salaries at a time a number of Ghanaians were sleeping rough and going to bed on empty stomachs, I am not prepared to listen to any lectures on probity and accountability.
Four legs good, two legs bad! Like Animal Farm, it was a concept for the ordinary Ghanaian, who, like Boxer in Animal Farm, are being shipped to the butchers. We are in a new era. Four legs good, two legs better. Welcome to the headquarters of new Animal Farm at Adabraka in Accra.
I shall return!