By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Folks, I have a good cause to contemplate on certain developments involving former President Rawlings as far as his legacy as the longest serving leader of Ghana (in both military fashion and the 4th Republican dispensation) vis-a-vis his aspersions on the late President Evans Atta Mills are concerned
I am overwhelmed with grief as I reflect on the rhetoric of Jerry Rawlings that desecrates the third President of the Republic of Ghana, the Great “Asomdwehene”, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, at a time that nothing exists to bring the late President into focus. Why is Rawlings so embittered against the late Mills? Why no respect for him, even in death, at least?
Addressing a delegation from the Association of Cuban Trained Ghanaian Professionals at his residence on Tuesday May 24, Mr. Rawlings expressed frustration about how the administration of the late Atta Mills—which, in his view, had the opportunity to correct some wrongs—rather messed up things.
“We did everything possible to lift up this country and that’s why people kept wishing we were back. But as soon as we handed over, the guy turned the wheels 180 degrees. Some of the most outrageous things were happening. I remember trying to tell Mills and giving him details about some of the issues, but it surprised me though that for a brilliant man like him, he couldn’t see. He was so shallow.
“Crime perpetuates itself if you don’t deal with it, and how Mills couldn’t see through this is something I couldn’t understand,” Mr. Rawlings lamented, adding, “But our brother Mills had been so badly persuaded. As he put it to me, he had been advised to let things be and the money will flow. Mills was disappointing. Some of your so-called intellectual creatures are dumb.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mills-was-disappointing-shallow-Rawlings-441719).
Rawlings might have made his case, but there is a lot more to contemplate as far as any attempt to unpack the political dimensions of what prevailed in Ghana before his phenomenon and what happened thereafter are concerned. The difference must be made upfront here, not necessarily to pit all the forces against each other. We will draw on what matters most as far as Rawlings’ damnation of Atta Mills is concerned.
We make no secret of the fact that a deep gap separates both from each other. The late Atta Mills stood for peace and died for it while the living Rawlings and all that he stands for represent nothing but a confrontation (a dance) with hell and all damnation in the mistaken belief that humanity knows nothing but violence as a means to correct itself. Atta Mills has met his end. What will be the end of Rawlings, his wife, and his own kind of Establishment is up in the air. We hope to see it all in the fullness of God’s time. But we remain concerned that Rawlings would consider himself as the arbiter. He is deceived.
Atta Mills died in circumstances that his political opponents think they know better, despite all the explanations given by his immediate family to prove that no one killed him for political expediency. What it will be for them (including the Rawlingses) to win favour lies in the womb of time. The bell will definitely toll for all.
But the manner in which Rawlings is dastardly insulting the memory of Atta Mills has to be considered. Why can’t Rawlings respect the dead Atta Mills, even after facts have established that it was Rawlings who brought on Atta Mills as a surrogate to exploit at the end of his own mandatory two four-year term in office? What did Atta Mills do wrong to annoy Rawlings so much that he can’t be spared the peace in death after not even completing his one-term tenure?
So, in one fell swoop, Rawlings has again desecrated everything that Atta Mills stood and fought for. Indeed, Atta Mills stood for nothing but peace and patriotism as the main motivations for national development. He didn’t see political office as a means to amass power and material resources to perpetuate any particular personal, family, or ethnic identity or to establish any dynasty. That was why he regarded everybody as a brother and sister to relate to. He uplifted that ideal and laid down his life for it, even if derided by his detractors as a poodle on Rawlings’ leash—a sad reflection on the sordid politics of that era preceding his rise to eminence and self-assertion as a peace-lover and maker!! How do those detractors feel now that there is no one to fill the vacuum that he created? Who talks about peace anymore?
Sadly enough, the very person who shot Atta Mills into prominence has turned out to be his main destroyer. Jerry Rawlings must know why he fished out Atta Mills from the hordes of Ghanaians following his trail. Only Rawlings would know why he went for Atta Mills, a law professor at the University of Ghana, to appoint as the head of the then Central Revenue Department, which he transformed into the Internal Revenue Service to do much for the good of the state.
Only Rawlings would know why he single-handedly imposed Atta Mills on the NDC Establishment as his replacement by virtue of his “Swedru Declaration” that would end up tearing the NDC apart and pitting its “old” and “new” forces against each other and engendering the breaking away of Goosie Tannoh to form the National Reform Party to be emulated later by Dr. Obed Asamoah and his Democratic Freedom Party and now Nana Konadu’s National Democratic Party. What manner of man is this Rawlings so bent on tearing his own house apart?
Why would he do so, four years after the man he single-handedly imposed on the NDC (and invariably his own political legacy) had passed on without sinking his teeth in anybody’s skin, contrary to what Rawlings, his wife, and those pursuing their political cause have done and still continue to do with careless abandon?
Rawlings’ denigration of Atta Mills as “hollow and shallow” (or even “dumb”) is pathetic and will be assessed as such. I am particularly informed about why Rawlings has stooped so low. It is all because Atta Mills didn’t give him the chance to rule Ghana by proxy. Atta Mills might not have been known properly by Rawlings at the time that Rawlings fingered him to succeed him in the affairs of the NDC. Those of us who got close to him knew him as a resolute man of peace who had his own agenda for building Ghana through peaceful means, not the kind of hocus-pocus that undergirded Rawlings’ showmanship. And he is respected for whatever he stood for. Even his political opponents in the NPP who would foolishly dismiss him as “a chamber pot” (as Isaac Edumadze derogatorily described him) know his worth. But for his good qualities, he couldn’t have rebounded to trounce Akufo-Addo in the 2008 run-off. It’s no joke!!
In that context, it is clear that what Rawlings has said about him is the worst to have come from someone who should have known better not to tread that way. As Atta Mills’ family head has said, John Evans Atta Mills was not a politician nor did he seek to make his living through partisan politics. It was Rawlings who lured him into politics. This is where the enigma begins: Why should Rawlings be that person to destroy Atta Mills?
Folks, the enigma is thick. We cannot unpack it now, especially if we consider how Rawlings and his wife continue to undermine the late Atta Mills. We saw what happened long before his death when Rawlings characterized an “Atta Mortuary Man” and all other things followed. We saw what happened at the burial ceremony when Rawlings broke protocol. But in spite of it all, we know that Rawlings’ denigration of Atta Mills’ memory today won’t take away anything from the man’s integrity. He stood for whatever he believed in and will always be endeared to our hearts as the one and only “Asomdwehene” that has emerged in Ghanaian politics in our time. I reiterate that he stood for peace and died as a peacemaker. May his name be a blessing to us and a damnation to those who see him otherwise!!
In truth, no one would have recalled the dead Atta Mills for his own sake except in circumstances wrought by unrepentant creeps whose ambition to exploit him failed to materialize. Surely, the smoke that raises the fire does so to their disadvantage, which explains why they are still at his throat, long after he has been dead and buried, resting in the arms of his Maker. May he continue to rest in perfect peace. Those who denigrate his image should wait for their own turn when Nature calls.
I shall return…
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