The Case of the Radical Capitalist Reformist and the NDC Of Family Burial; Party Burial or State Burial.
By Hon Daniel Dugan
It was in the early 80s, when my Anlo friend, Kofi, described Rawlings as non-socialist but a radical capitalist reformist. Rawlings had wanted a radical reformation in capitalism and that was what he also looked up to.
All said Rawlings could boom without warning and attack perceived enemies openly in public without hiding his feelings. As and when the opportunity came, he will boom and he continued this vocation even when he was no longer president. Saying things as he saw it was his passion and whether he was right or wrong never bothered him. Nothing would stop Jerry John from speaking his mind.
His decisions something brought about problems and here I will focus only on the NDC. In 2000, his decision that his vice president should replace him did not sound well to some NDC members. John Evans Atta Mills was not politically known when he was picked by Rawlings to be his running mate in 1996 and eventually his vice president to replace Kow Nkensen Arkaah.
Some senior elements in the NDC accepted Arkaah replacement without a fight. Hoping that when the year 2000 came, some seasoned politician from within their ranks would be picked to replace the old man, Rawlings.
Rawlings picked Atta Mills because according to him, the professor was the first person who never shivered in fear when he boomed at him, but came out and calmly explain the truth to him and secondly he first thought Mills was a Ga.
If those NDC members accepted Mills to only occupy the position as a stop gap measure, then they were taken for a surprise because Rawlings declared at Swedru that his replacement was going to be his vice president. The NDC fell apart and for the first time some NDC members and cadres openly disagreed with the man who made them who they were and left to form the National Reform Party which led to the NDC losing many seats in parliament.
Jerry John Rawlings started tasting a bit of opposition from his own party. But he still had the masses behind him and was treated as a lord and saviour. Into the John Kufuor administration, Rawlings never rested, seizing any opportunity no matter how minute to boom and attack the sitting president and the NPP.
The year 2004, the NDC was again defeated, but not in 2008. Rawlings led the NDC to fight a fight for survival and literally went to war to make sure that victory was theirs and after the longest presidential electoral process, the NDC had the nod.
Rawlings believed he was in charge and started making some demands on his Veep now turned president on how to govern this nation. There is a saying that the “revolution eats its own” and this became manifest when Rawlings, not satisfied with how Mills was governing, started booming at him and at elements of his own party. With the NPP out of power, Rawlings focused on his own, the ruling NDC and sooner than later fished out the corrupt ones and he boomed the loudest.
The NDC dealt a devastating blow to the Rawlings’ family when Nana Yaa Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a former first lady and wife of Rawlings was greatly humiliated during the presidential primaries of July 9, 2011. Rawlings completely fed up with how JEA Mills was governing the country decided to openly campaign against his re-election and pitched his wife against the sitting president during the primaries.
Rawlings was disregarded as someone of importance when he and his wife walked into the hall. He was not even acknowledged and in the end his wife could only manage 3.1% of valid votes cast in an election, Rawlings’ and his supporters swore was heavily rigged.
What he did not realized was that money talks and the one holding the purse now was JEA Mills. Rawlings lost many of his own cadres and party members to the core party. Nobody seemed to be bothered about his boom speeches anymore. Many who fled the NDC returned back home in their droves when it was obvious that Rawlings was no longer in charge and was a dog could only bark but cannot bite.
Rawlings’ new description in the NDC as a “dog” was openly proclaimed to Ghanaians when at the Arts Center on Saturday October 8, 2011 speaking during the home-coming ceremony of Dr Obed Asamoah and his Democratic Freedom Party into the fold of the NDC, Mr Aseidu Nketiah, in apparent allusion to Mr Rawlings, assured the former chairman of the party that the issues and personalities that chased him away from the party had themselves been eliminated. “Now the barking dog whose actions forced you out of the NDC no longer exists, so I would have been surprised if you had continued to stay outside…”Asiedu Nketiah said. NDC had maligned Rawlings who was no longer considered an important member of the party, if even a member at all.
He should have seen this coming because even younger members of the party who were either in Parliament, government or both could use the least opportunity to openly insult him as if he was a destitute. He called these, “babies with sharp teeth,” and their agenda to pull down Rawlings was confirmed by Kwesi Ahwoi in his book, “Working With Rawlings.”
After the Sunyani Debacle, the Rawlings and their few faithful supporters decided enough was enough and Nana Konadu left to form her own party.
Rawlings was never on good terms with JEA Mills till he passed on. The next president was John Dramani Mahama, who was also not on good terms with the ex-president who was described as a non-entity in a party he built with his own blood. He was told straight in the face that the NDC could win elections without him.
Rawlings became like Mugabe who founded a party and took that party to victory and gave it absolute power in Zimbabwe but in the end he was kicked out from it.
People who were not fit to stand for unit committee member positions, suddenly became MPs, Chief Executives and even ministers due to Rawlings’ largesse. When the party was back to power, Rawlings was side-lined in almost everything and the “children” started attacking him. Nii Lante Vanderpuye said Rawlings had deviated from the principles of the revolution.
When JEA Mills died, some NDC gurus pointed fingers in Rawlings’ direction and blamed him for the death of the sitting president. Papa J was not consider an important member of the NDC family and when the party went back to opposition, it was like the parable of the Good Samaritan, Rawlings found comfort and recognition in the least of persons. President Nana AkufoAddo, whom Rawlings could call sarcastic names and publicly alleged that he was both a hard drug addict and a pusher, gave Rawlings all the respect and recognition of an ex-president.
Rawlings found home in his “enemy’s” hut just as that traveller found help from the Good Samaritan. His soul was well refreshed and fulfilled with Nana Addo around. In the Asaase FM interview Rawlings made one very important revelation. He never voted for the NDC’s presidential candidate, he voted for his wife and the National Democratic Party. All the same, the NDC would never cease mocking their founder as they will once in a while troop to him to pay him homage and when they leave him, they will say ridiculous things about him.
When Rawlings passed on to the life hereafter, suddenly the Akan adage “Abusuadorfunu,” to wit the “family loves the corpse” came into play as all NDC gurus have come out spitting fire that Rawlings was their own and that they must have the right to plan and execute his burial and funeral. Today Asiedu Nketia is struggling hard to locate that “scavenging mongrel” they drove out from the house and now claimed “it” as their valuable priceless chow-chow.
The burial and funeral of Rawlings who by virtue of the fact was an ex-president and statesmen, is to be taken care of by the state and his family. In his case as in the case of all who die, there are chief mourners, mourners, well-wishers, friends, sympathisers and all who are cordially invited. The state and the family are chief mourners and by their conduct, the NDC have become those cordially invited.
To bring down the morals of the NPP government for taken over Rawlings’ burial and funeral, the NDC have started punching out strain relationship of the past between Rawlings and the NPP with some outrageous lies. For example, the NDC is saying today that the NPP led by Nana Addo took Rawlings to court to challenge his nationality, whereas they know it was, Dr Bilson, an Nkrumaist who did that in 1992. Nana Addo was not even his lawyer in that suit.
So if Rawlings could publicly say that he voted NDP and not NDC, it looks like the nearest he came to voting the NDC is voting for his daughter, Zanetor.
Because of the hatred and lack of respect the NDC have for Rawlings, this party has made sure it has side-lined Ewes from the top rankings of the party. No Ewe is seen at the NDC national executives and no Ewe in the presidential race. What the NDC needs now are sympathy votes and these it feels it can secure to be able to win this elections if it organises and executes the ex-president’s burial and funeral.
Unfortunately the only way it can come into the picture is to visit Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and find out from her, where the party can fit in. This is a tall order, for obvious reasons. The mortal remains of Rawlings now belongs to the state (the ruling NPP) and the family (Nana Konadu and her children).
After calling the man a dog, after eliminating him from the party and saying he no longer exist in the party (and these are Asiedu Nketia’s words), after letting very insignificant babies with sharp teeth spew insults at him, after making him aware that he was not needed in the party to win elections, after blaming him for killing JEA Mills, now that he is died, the NDC wants his corpse so that it can win this elections with. A typical example of Abusuadorfunu. When the man was sick, was “hungry” and was “homeless” the NDC rejected him. Now that he is dead, it is looking at the money it could generate from his funeral, so it will have to make a big show and draw in lots of money in the name of votes.
Rawlings’ postures seen in pictures with some NDC gurus lately, tell a story: “Don’t pretend you love me, because I know you don’t. And I also don’t love you.”
Does the NDC have that moral grounds to be part of the burial and funeral of Rawlings? Will the death of this radical capitalist reformist, reform the NDC?