View Full Version : Rawlings, Stand Up To Defend The Political Advantage

8th July 2011, 03:57 PM
What has so far excited me most about Ghana’s fledging democratic experiment is not the very much abused freedom of speech that has come along with it but the fact that political power has already changed hands twice between two political parties.

This is why the election results of 2000 and 2008 when JAK and JEAM won their first term elections, were the ones I really celebrated. I however wished there were three parties capable of wrestling the political baton from one another as this will naturally help reduce the political acrimony that the current political duopoly has inflicted upon us. Whichever way one sees it, what prevails in Ghana now is a million times better than the situation in many pseudo democracies where only one “viable” political party succeeds itself from one election to the other.

If you did not feel the three political grandmasters in the opening paragraph, just hold your peace and read on. Put the acrimony aside and you will agree that the NPP has indeed been giving the NDC a good run for its money, in much the same way as the NDC did during the second term of JAK. Ghana needs a viable NDC in opposition when NPP is in power and a viable NPP in opposition when NDC is in power. If NDC goes into opposition fractured and fragmented, it will lose its bite as a viable opposition that will effectively keep an NPP government on its toes. This definitely is not good for Ghana unless another formidable party can emerge from NDC’s ashes.

We may not have another politician anytime soon who will rule Ghana and in the process found a political party that will develop a resilient capacity to remain viable in and out of power as the NDC has so far done. This is the unique legacy of the one and only JJ Rawlings. Not even the legendary Kwame Nkrumah had been successful in doing so and despite the shrewdness of our own JAK in power he did not have the opportunity to even attempt doing so. It is the singular legacy that sets JJ apart from all the other Ghanaian political greats. It thus beats my imagination and I guess it will beat yours too as to why anyone will want to sacrifice such a monumental legacy for instant gratification?

I sometimes admire Chairman Rawlings for his recklessness but I did not imagine at any point that political suicide would be an option for him under any circumstance. He had in the past shown that he knew how to survive politically. He did so when he superintended over Ghana’s successful transition from military rule to democratic rule in 1992. He did it again in 2000 when he allowed the great JAK’s historic victory to stand in that year’s landmark elections. These two actions have contributed in a great measure to raising Ghana’s political profile in the community of democratic nations.

The other side of the significance of these events lies more in the fact that they were completely out of JJ’s nature and guess what, they went a long way to preserve his political relevance. It takes men of great valour to subordinate their true nature to the voices of reason in the interest of the common good. It also takes people of enormous strategic insight to re-align their self interests with such voices of reason rather than fight them. In my view, it was this alignment of Rawlings’ self interest that gave birth to the NDC which has since grown into a formidable political force that had lost and regained power.

Building a legacy is a patient and painful process that requires an unwavering focus on the big picture. Jailing the functionaries of JAK’s government CANNOT be the big picture! Doing things the Rawlings way CANNOT be the big picture either! The big picture is the enduring relevance of the NDC as a viable political party, founded by Jerry John Rawlings, which remains capable of positively impacting the lives of Ghanaians through its influence on the governance of this country for centuries to come. That is the legacy JJ should die to live for! It is NOT Teye Nyaunu’s Youtong bus, NO!

In many respects, President JEA Mills will have absolutely nothing to lose if the NDC tears into shreds tomorrow. He will simply quit local politics and find space for himself in the arena of international politics and diplomacy to carry on with a very dignified and fulfilling life. What of Rawlings? His legacy would have been destroyed and he will forever gnash his teeth in perpetual political frustration.

If the Rawlingses think they can take the NDC into opposition in 2012 and bounce back anytime soon with Nana K as the presidential candidate, it will be the greatest political hallucination of all times. The loss of credibility that this will engender among floating voters, the kingmakers of Ghana politics, will confine the party to the dustbins of insignificance for a long time to come. Kwame Nkrumah can then beat his chest in his grave and gleefully declare, “who born dog for you JJ to think you can succeed where I failed”.

Having grown up in my village where the wise old men say that no matter how long a journey is, it never goes beyond its destination, I would in Rawlings’ shoes, wait patiently and support President Mills to successfully complete his term, in spite of any difference I might have with him. Why should I be in a hurry to oust him when his leadership has a constitutional time limit whilst my status in the party has no such limit? Doesn’t Papa Jerry know that if a **** wins a fight with a dog over a bone, that victory is only transient since the **** will eventually drop the bone for the dog to pick up? In Jerry’s shoes, I would focus on the ONE good thing that the good old professor brings to the party and accept my areas of disagreement with him as the price I have to pay for it. I would focus on using the Mills presidency to wash the NDC of its bloody, despotic and tyrannical antecedents. That is his real value to the NDC!

The FONKAR-GAME contest is too late in the day to stop. If I were Papa J, I would not leave the post-congress unity agenda of the party to Mills, the more likely winner of the primaries. I would lead the initiative of doing so myself. That is what my LEGACY mentality tells me. I don’t know what is on JJ’s mind though.

Source: Dorfe, Mathias