Scarcely a week after he aptly and poignantly impugned the credibility of Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings and his politically ambitious wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was reported to have profusely apologized for “pouring scorn” on the former first lady’s ambition for the presidential nomination of the party that her husband founded (See “NDC Chairman Apologizes to Konadu” Peacefmonline.com 4/21/11).
The report went on to erroneously claim that Mr. Julius Kwasi Debrah, the Eastern Regional NDC Chairman, had asserted that should Mrs. Rawlings clinch the presidential nomination of the party, he, Mr. Debrah, would “cut off his [own] testicles.” Actually, what Mr. Debrah had said five days earlier on a radio program was that since Mrs. Rawlings was notorious for either personally giving or staunchly supporting the punitive meting of “Identification Haircuts” to people that she deemed to be her enemies, it would absolutely not be out of place to fathom Mrs. Rawlings ordering the severance of the gonads of the Eastern Regional NDC chairman, were the former first lady to be elected substantive president of Ghana. Mr. Debrah also swore that in case of the latter becoming a reality, he would have no other commonsensical recourse but to promptly resign his membership of the NDC.
What makes Mr. Debrah’s apology patently unacceptable and/or logically incongruous is the fact that his earlier criticism of the Rawlingses had been dead-on accurate. If anything at all, it is rather the pathologically narcissistic Rawlingses who have been pouring scorn on party members who do not slavishly share their warped and jaded opinions and ambitions and not Mr. Debrah. And in the recent past, and still raging, among the prime targets of such scorn and vitriol has been – you guessed right – President John Evans Atta-Mills.
What also renders Mr. Debrah’s apology unacceptable is the fact that it nauseatingly falls into a pattern of studied cowardliness among the ranks of NDC members who partially appear to be recovering from decades of noetic – or vacuous – enthrallment to the proverbial “Rawlings Mystique.” In other words, our well-informed contention here is that something other than sheer realization of judgmental error must have inspired Mr. Debrah’s about face. For instance, could it be the case that either the Eastern Regional or National Executive Committee of the NDC has prevailed on Mr. Debrah to apologize for boldly and admirably taking on the “First Devils,” if, indeed, Mr. Debrah intends to keep his quite influential job in the offing, or simply because the Eastern Regional NDC chairman belatedly came to a realization of the lasting harm that offending the half-Scottish former strongman and his rambunctious wife could engender for the offender.
Indeed, there have been too many such seemingly well-choreographed “Offend-and-Apologize” confrontations with the Rawlingses that one begins to wonder whether these routine acts do not have far more to do with bread-and-butter issues than sheer ethical – or moral – epiphany. Then again, the sanguinary track-record of the former “First Devils” may well have everything to do with such dramaturgical neurosis.
In any case, as pointed out earlier elsewhere, the question of whether President Mills has creditably acquitted himself in the three years that he has been Fourth-Republican Ghana’s chief steward, has just as much to do with the soundness, or lack thereof, of Mr. Rawlings, the man who hermetically and intransigently stood by the obviously blighted presidential candidacy of the former Legon tax-law wonk for three electoral terms.
In other words, if, indeed, President Mills is even only half as inept as Mr. Rawlings has been making the former out to be, then, needless to say, it stands to reason for Ghanaian voters to seriously begin questioning why they ought to take the retired tyrant at his word vis-à-vis the potential administrative competence of his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who has never held any significant elective position, or even any real job for the past three decades.
The preceding notwithstanding, I find it extremely difficult to accept that rather facile line of argument that since Mr. Rawlings clearly appears to be miffed by the fact that the now-President John Evans Atta-Mills prefers to dance the more soft-edged and culturally familiar tunes of “Adowa” than the rather rough-edged and fast-paced cowbell-regulated “Agbadza,” therefore Tarkwa-Atta must, perforce, be performing at a laudably progressive level.
Needless to say, Mr. Rawlings may just well be dead-on accurate about the dismal performance of his former protégé. Nonetheless, such accurate assessment of a palpably incompetent President Mills still inextricably implicates the retired pseudo-revolutionary in whatever may be deemed to be the fortunes – and/or misfortunes – of Tarkwa-Atta.
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).