GHANA: The Rawlingses Can Go To Hell – Writes Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

One of the failed (or attempted?) contestants of the NDC’s flagbearership position, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has made an annoying utterance that is not only nauseating but is also provocative for whatever it means. He is reported to have warned of the possibility of a new political party emerging from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) by September if the wrangling in the party is not resolved. And who will form that party? The Rawlingses!!

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Speaking on Asempa FM’s “’Ekosii Sen’’ programme on Thursday, Spio-Garbrah noted that the formation of a new political party by the Rawlingses is very possible should Mrs. Rawlings lose the flagbearership race based on intimidation and wooing of party delegates by their opponents.

He added that if he also decides to contest the 2012 general elections as an independent candidate and eventually wins a hundred thousand votes, it may be the end of the NDC.

I want to take issues with these two viewpoints to suggest that they are a clear reflection of the shortsightedness of the very party bigwigs that one would have trusted to work for the NDC to remain united and viable in Ghana politics instead of being torn apart by greed and senseless hunger for power.

I am not surprised at all at this possibility because that’s the only option left for the Rawlingses to achieve their morbid goal of creating a pocket of power and using it to control people. But it has only a down-side because it won’t place the Rawlingses where their wrong-headedness is misleading them. They will end up cursing themselves and gnashing their teeth because their party will not win them anything beneficial. I can bet my last cent on such a gamble to say that they will be routed. Maybe, the last straw to break their back will emerge from such a miscalculated move. Let them bring it on, then!

Let me analyze further this so-called possibility of the Rawlingses forming a separate political party out of the NDC. First, after creating unfavourable conditions that led to the defection of NDC functionaries to form the National Reform Party and the Democratic Freedom Party or to turn against the party by joining its rival political camps, they now want to behave like a bad hen that eats its own egg. Forming a party out of the NDC won’t help them redeem themselves.

This claim by Spio-Garbrah clearly tells me how misguided and uninformed the Rawlingses are about contemporary Ghanaian politics. Were they to be adequately informed about the swing of public opinion or sentiments, they would realize that the stiff opposition that they are facing in the NDC is not only the result of deep-seated discontent against their attitude to politics but is also a confirmation of the fact that their political sun has set, which they should have realized and accepted had they not allowed treachery to supersede reason and good conscience.

No amount of empty threats will solve their problems. The fact is that those not interested in toeing their line anymore have seen the futility of the kind of negative politics of vindictiveness that characterizes their intentions. They have advised themselves to part ways with them and will continue to go where the light shines.

The Rawlingses are still in the dark as far as the dictates of contemporary Ghanaian politics are concerned. Those interested in moving the country forward will not join forces with them because being with them will not help them accomplish their goals.

With all that has been happening, what can’t the Rawlingses discern from the open repudiation of their cause and turning away from them by their long-time trusted friends to know that they have fallen out of step and are no more the darling politicians to be followed by Ghanaians? Why are they bent on forcing a river to flow upstream?
Just imagine the shameless audacity with which Nana Konadu is conducting her campaign as if she can’t read the writing on the wall. She may be daring the devil just for its own sake because she doesn’t have anything to offer Ghanaians beyond her morbid zeal to rebuild the NDC. All that she has been harping on is her desire to take the NDC back and put it where it belongs—under her husband’s armpit. Don’t Ghanaians know the difference between party business and what they need to live their lives in decency?

Being fixated on rebuilding the NDC, she hasn’t said a single encouraging thing beyond that scope to suggest that she has the administrative acumen and experience to manage affairs of the country. Thus, she has equated the party to the country in one big lump as if doing something to rebuild the party means uplifting the country as well; or that she can outdo all the Presidents that we’ve had so far.

Rawlings himself is a pitiable character at this stage. Hiding behind his wife to foment trouble won’t salve his conscience nor will it bring back the goodwill that he has lost. He may deceive himself that the rabble-rousing that he is using to misguide those so-called foot-soldiers or “cadres” in the NDC will help his wife win elections in Ghana. It won’t happen today or tomorrow.

At best, it will only widen the gulf between him and his own party’s followers who have now seen the light to know better how to conduct affairs. These were the very people who supported him all along until the wool fell off from their eyes for them to see the light. Now disillusioned, they will not want to be fooled again. That’s why they are bold enough to challenge the Rawlingses and assert their influence as functionaries of the NDC. These people cannot be intimidated anymore, and Rawlings should know that truth.

He can tear off from the NDC to form his own party, but it won’t solve his problems. He will be wise only after the fact. I leave him to the sorry Fate that awaits him! What sort of character is this who cannot be at peace with anybody but those he manipulates and intimidates to do his bidding?

Now, to Spio-Garbrah’s second point, which centers on himself as a “destroyer.” He is quoted as saying that if he also decides to contest the 2012 general elections as an independent candidate and eventually wins a hundred thousand votes, it may be the end of the NDC. How childish can Spio-Garbrah be? What will be his interest in running as an independent candidate to clock 100,000 votes—which he sees as the weapon that will doom the NDC? Why will he want to torpedo the NDC by that means, anyway?

Another misguided, desperate, disappointed, and petty politician gone haywire, I should say!! Spio-Garbrah should know that by his own miscalculation so far, he has lost the gamble and ended his political career on a sad note. Good riddance, then!

Of course, I agree with his assertion that the July congress has the potential to splinter the party and ruin its chances of retaining power in the 2012 general elections if truce is not called to resolve the hurling of insults and vilification of perceived opponents.

I also support his position that functionaries of the party should sink their differences and pool their resources together for the common good of the party. But I disagree with him on how the peace should be made. He seems to have suggested that the problem has been caused by the Mills camp and that the onus of repairing relationships lies on them. Smoking the peace pipe must be done by all those who are responsible for the current strained relations.

The Rawlingses, particularly, are the worst offenders and must acknowledge their negative input and recant. Then, they will encourage others to follow suit. If they remain adamant, pointing accusing and gossipping fingers at those they perceive as their enemies in the party, nothing fruitful can be achieved. The truth that hurts the Rawlingses must be told them. They are the cause of the problems that the NDC faces.

By their persistent lambasting of those in government or any sympathizer of President Mills, they have set a very nasty tone, which is throwing the party into disarray. They have to acknowledge their role in this head-butting and be prepared to help solve the problem. They shouldn’t pretend not to know what their negative contributions have done to destroy the party’s image. If they are genuinely interested in the party’s retaining power at the 2012 polls, they should stop making trouble and be civil in their politicking.

As I write this opinion piece, it is clear that the Rawlingses are gearing themselves up for Saturday, June 4 to throw mud at President Mills and his government on the occasion of the June 4 1979 anniversary celebration at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi.

They can go to any length they choose to calumniate President Mills but if Ghanaians see him as better than them (the Rawlingses), he is the one they will root for. The Rawlingses can break away to form any party and give it any name they want; it may just be an exercise in futility because that party cannot win elections without the backing of those in the NDC supporting President Mills.

As events surrounding these functionaries of the NDC continue to unfold for us to see them in their true colours, I am tempted to conclude that they are either overly treacherous or simply myopic. They come across as not only desperate but also terribly hollow upstairs and unsuitable for the kind of challenges facing the NDC today or what the party should be positioned to deal with in future.

I am strongly convinced that the Rawlingses, Spio-Garbrah, and those supporting their cause can’t anymore be trusted to lead the NDC or sustain it to be able to achieve its objectives under the banner of Social Democracy. They are at odds with the reformed NDC because they have not reformed themselves to fit appropriately into the new scheme.

From the manner in which they’ve handled affairs so far—especially within the context of the stiff challenges that they’ve been facing these days—I can safely conclude that they’ve reached the end of the road in Ghana politics. They seem to be at their wits’ end. My advice for them is simple: if they can’t stand the heat, they should simply hang their gloves and enter other departments of life to avoid the gloom that looms large over their political horizon.

Ghanaians will not be prepared to follow their lost cause. Times have changed and Ghanaians know how not to allow themselves to be toyed with anymore by characters of their sort. It is not too late for them to leave the scene before they lose the little speck of respect that they have left. They can go to hell too.