I read Mr. Ras Mubarak’s anti-Mills tirade addressed to National Democratic Congress (NDC) delegates and could not believe that a half-century and odd years of postcolonial governance has yet to cauterize too many Ghanaians of what might be clinically termed as the “post-slavo-colonial trauma syndrome” (See “Ras Mubarak Again! Drops Another Bombshell” Peacefmonline.com 5/11/11).
About the only moment in Ghana’s history when one encountered a common fare of such sickening sycophancy as blisteringly exhibited by the likes of Messrs. Mubarak and Herbert Mensah (more on the latter element later) was the quite understandable, albeit not necessarily acceptable, period of “critical innocence” between 1957 and 1966. And for some time now, I have rather erroneously been of the view that Ghanaians have long since transcended this most regrettable, if also inevitable, tentative and transitional period of our collective national biography.
Alas, along comes, almost as if out of the blue, the rambunctious rants of a young man who does not appear to have witnessed any measurable modicum of political culture beyond the protracted 19-year dictatorship of Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings.
In essence, other than the bounden urge of promptly enlightening this veritable political waif, there is not much else that the well-meaning, mature and reflective Ghanaian citizen can do, perhaps, other than designing a remedial crash-course in the fundamentals of modern Ghanaian history for the benefit of the former.
For instance, isn’t it rather pathetic and unpardonable painful when Mr. Mubarak writes the following about the purportedly nonesuch visionary dynamism of the largely cheerleading wife of Mr. Rawlings, Nana Yaa Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings? Take a reading: “Her election as a leader will usher in a new possibility of things that were thought to be impossible to achieve in Ghana. She will invest more in research and development. She wants Ghana to be a leading hub for higher education in Africa. And she is promising a new path for the party and the country.”
Indeed, the first question that Mr. Mubarak ought to have asked of himself before firing off his rather incoherent tirade against members of the Mills-Mahama camp in the National Democratic Congress, regards how many of the Rawlingses’ own children acquired their higher educational credentials in Ghana while their parents ruled the roost? And then, of course, the next most logical follow-up question should have become: During the 19-odd years that Mr. Rawlings dominated the Ghanaian political landscape as a virtual demigod, what remarkable improvements did the bloody couple bring to bear on the institutional apparatus of the entire Ghanaian educational system, in general, short of thoroughly dumbing down its curricular and pedagogical quality and, in the case of our universities, keeping them perennially closed and, at best, dysfunctional even as the bloody pair schooled their own children in some of the most expensive and exclusive private schools and higher educational institutions abroad?
Mr. Mubarak would also have done himself and his readers far better service, if he had bothered to find out precisely what sort of palpable improvements it was that Mrs. Rawlings, a professionally trained graphic artist-designer, had brought to bear on her field of endeavor while her husband ran the government like his own pocket book.
On the surface of things, Mr. Mubarak may, indeed, be quite accurate to even insolently assert that under the two-year-old Mills-Mahama administration, “Productivity is low, industrial production is going down. The only thing going up are prices, unemployment, taxes and the size of government.” But if he were a rationalist who thought even just a little beyond his pathologically inordinate bid to making the Rawlingses seem pricier than the veritable dross of their essence, he would also have readily recognized that, indeed, it was none other than former President Jeremiah John Rawlings who single-handedly and single-mindedly dismantled the Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC), hitherto the traditional industrial base, or infrastructure, of Ghana’s public sector.
Of course, the counter-argument is bound to be that Mr. Rawlings did so with the sedulous complicity of the now-President John Evans Atta-Mills, his staunchest gubernatorial lieutenant. But, guess what? The latter counter-argument would only have reinforced our perennially unwavering contention that whatever his own NDC rivals and outright enemies may deem to be patently reflective of President Mills’ supposedly innate proclivity towards gross administrative incompetence, is merely a trait that Tarkwa-Atta inextricably inherited from the equally administratively incompetent Chairman-cum-President J. J. Rawlings!
For me, personally, though, the woefully misguided notion that, somehow, a President Nana Yaa Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings “is going to be different[,] because she will be bold and brave enough to do the difficult but vital things which [President John Evans Atta-Mills] has [supposedly] ducked,” is sheer hogwash. For me, Mrs. Rawlings’ very first and crudest exemplification of her innate political mediocrity came with the then-Candidate Mills’ selection of the now-Vice President John Dramani Mahama as his running-mate. Back then, asked by a media operative what the former First Lady thought about “The Professor’s” choice of Mr. Mahama as Candidate Mills’ running-mate, this rather childish response was what Nana Yaa Konadu had to give: “My husband has not approved it!”
And Ras and Co., you really think that this intellectually underdeveloped woman is independent-minded enough to occupy the most important political seat of our land? Go figure!
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author, most recently, of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).