Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings: Raw Violence Personified

It used to be Mr. Victor Smith who trolled the airwaves quixotically defending his “Master Rawlings” against incontrovertible charges of flagrant incitement to violence by the notorious and extortionate, longtime Ghanaian dictator. And today, for his reward, Mr. Smith is a state ambassador – at least since the last time I read about him – representing us, supposedly, in Eastern Europe.

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I also quite well remember that just before officially assuming his sinecure of a post – for other than his big noggins and repugnantly intemperate demeanor, one wonders precisely what this pathological Rawlings lickspittle could really do to enhance the quality of Ghana’s diplomatic culture abroad – Mr. Smith found it all too proper to do what he does best, which was to, literally, step up to the plate and play a toothlessly growling paper pit-bull for his newest owner, President John Evans Atta-Mills.

On the latter occasion, Mr. Smith rambunctiously waded into a fracas in which he absolutely had no part by presuming to order the Ga Mantse, the traditional chieftain and overlord of the Ghanaian capital of Accra, to profusely apologize to President Mills who had, reportedly, affronted His Majesty, Nii Tackie Tawiah III, by adamantly refusing to have the latter gazetted and thus officially recognized by the Ghana government and the National House of Chiefs. And here must promptly be observed that the Greater Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the highest legislative body of the region, has duly and promptly recognized the regnant Ga Mantse.

Anyway, back then, I had studiously awaited at least a platoon of battle-seasoned Bukom Boys to step forward and teach Mr. Smith some princely etiquette. Precisely speaking, I had in mind the immediate removal of all front-teeth of the SOB’s – both lower and upper dentures – by the force of a jack-hammer, or some such makeshift dental implement. And to be certain, I would, upon invitation, have donated a gallon’s worth of mouth-cleansing urine to give that dirty, old bastard the sort of fresh breath he would most definitely require to peddle the NDC’s brand of “Social Democracy” to the Eastern Europeans.

And, by the way, dear reader: have you also, like me, quaintly noticed Chief Dzelukope Jato’s apparently inordinate penchant for picking people with European surnames – Afropeans, to be exact – to serve as his spokespersons?

Anyway, it is not quite clear precisely whom Mr. Kofi Adams, the so-called aide to former President Rawlings, is attempting to hoodwink when the man who recently led a posse of drunken cops to arrest and almost immediately prosecute and imprison the 27-year-old New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist who had dared to plausibly suggest that Chief Dzelukope had, in fact, acted as his own domestic arsonist, by fatuously insisting that Togbui Avaklasu I has absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with the recent spate of violent attacks by youthful thugs of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) against ranking members of the ruling party (See “Rawlings Is Innocent – Kofi Adams” PeaceFmOnline.com 4/3/10).

And on the preceding score must be recalled, for the benefit of our readers, that recently the man who made a dramaturgically refined art of “silence” as a peculiar Ghanaian political culture, called on the rabid youth-wing of the party that he personally minted to stand up to the leadership of both the NDC and the Mills-Mahama government, which Togbui Avaklasu deemed to be irreparably corrupt. Several weeks later, the hitherto fairly well-encaged party pit-bulls sicced themselves on the party leadership exactly as exhorted by Monsieur Rawlings. In one instance, a District or Municipal Chief Executive (I forget which) was run into exile after nearly being mauled to death. Then also, a traditional ruler in the Northern Region was reportedly slaughtered by the so-called Azorka Boys.

All the foregoing follow closely on the heels of Togbui Avaklasu’s stentorian and public proclamation to the damnable effect of both District and Municipal Chief Executive posts as well as the individuals serving in such positions being otiose and deserving of summary proscription. We must also add in passing that Mr. Rawlings once ordered and supervised a festival of NDC machete wielders during one of the party’s annual congresses in the Northern Region. In brief, our contention here is that Togbui Avaklasu has a proven track-record of violence. The man is absolutely no choir boy, as it were.

But that the NDC youths would so barbarically resort to such violent acts of criminality is all perfectly in character with this political organization foundationally and ideologically predicated on the raw application of violence, intimidation and terror-mongering. Not quite long ago, for example, the Asante Regional Minister, Mr. Kofi Opoku Maanu, was reported to have incited the youth-wing of the NDC in the region to track down and physically assault, or specifically “slap,” any known members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) residing in that part of the country. A flurry of calls for his resignation would force Mr. Maanu to retract his incitement and to “profusely” apologize.

In all the preceding, however, it would be rather simplistic to fault an apparently amnesiac and errant Ghanaian electorate for returning this posse of clearly unconscionable rascals to the helm of governance. For it goes without saying that quite a remarkable percentage of Ghanaian citizens have yet to recover from two decades of unrelenting stress and trauma unleashed against them by Togbui Avaklasu Rawlings and his terror-trucking machine. And what is even more tragic, eight years of wrongheaded unilateral, gubernatorial conciliation program by the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party did little to educate the ideologically reprobate NDC on the errors of its ways.

In other words, the Avaklasu Boys have arrived at the quite understandable conclusion that the criminally unconscionable application of violence has staying power.

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), the pro-democracy policy think tank, and the author of 21 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008).

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.

The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of AfricaNewsAnalysis.