A group calling itself the Volta Youth Forum is displeased with a stalwart of the National Democratic Congress, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi over his book chronicling the history of the NDC.
The group believes Mr. Ahwoi is attempting to use his book titled “Working with Rawlings” to erode the legacy of the founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings.
“We in the Volta Youth Forum condemn in strong terms these lingering attempts by some Rawlings-made personalities to bastardize, obliterate, wipe and reduce his influence and standing for the parochial interest of projecting themselves to levels they never attained in the footprint of history. Whether they like it or not, history recognizes it that Rawlings is the NDC and the NDC is Rawlings. No underserving glory and heroism will change that fact,” the group said in a statement.
“Notice is served to all such individuals that none of them can ever destroy or obliterate the J. J. Rawlings legacy. As Mr Dan Abodakpi put it, it is a waste of time. It is an exercise in futility that is leading nowhere,” the group added.
The former Local Government Minister released the book last Thursday, July 30, 2020.
He has been criticised by NDC fanatics for making some remarks in the book deemed derogatory against some leading personalities in the party.
Whereas some of them criticised the timing of the book, others said it portrayed the Ahwoi brothers as saints.
The Chairman of the Volta Regional Council of Elders for the NDC, Dan Abodakpi after the book launch took on Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi.
In a press statement, the former Keta MP said the book is an attempt to discredit the political legacy of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
“It is in-fact, in several instances, a factually wrong and dangerous aberration likely to create tensions in and out. Is the objective of this enterprise to destroy President Rawlings political legacy? If so, then I can tell my brother and my friend that he is simply wasting his time,” he said.
The Volta Youth Forum in its statement also chastised Prof. Ahwoi for the book which it believes is only geared towards “commercial exploitation.”
“We ask, if not just for commercial exploitation, why won’t more sublime titles such as Working with the NDC or Working in the Public Service in Ghana be chosen for such a book? We do not take away from the right of the author to select a title suitable to him. But why must is it always be about Rawlings? Any secret? Anyway, we know the name ‘Rawlings’ sells.”
Read below the full statement from the Volta Youth Forum:
MR JOHN MAHAMA: BE WEARY OF SOME OF YOUR ‘KINGMAKERS’
The month of July ended with the release of what some described as the self-righteous and vain glory book entitled, working with Rawlings by Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi. Unsurprisingly, as noted by some earlier reviewers, the name of Mr Rawlings was again exploited for commercial interests and underserved adulation by people who have always sought to project themselves as the perfect strategists of the NDC and Ghanaian politics. The book and the interviews that accompanied its release made some sweeping comments and issues which only qualify as hearsay coming from someone who is expected to raise the bar by virtue of his experience and professional standing as an academic. We in the Volta Youth Forum condemn in strong terms these lingering attempts by some Rawlings-made personalities to bastardize, obliterate, wipe and reduce his influence and standing for the parochial interest of projecting themselves to levels they never attained in the footprint of history. Whether they like it or not, history recognizes it that Rawlings is the NDC and the NDC is Rawlings. No underserving glory and heroism will change that fact.
One of those unverified and disputable comments was the ‘fact’ according to the author that ahead of the 2008 general elections, Flt Lt J.J. Rawlings, the Founder ( undisputed title) of the NDC attempted to undermine the party’s Presidential candidate, Prof. John Evans Attah Mills ( of blessed memory) by scheming for his replacement. Ordinarily, this allegation should not deserve a response from anyone knowing very well it fits into the deep rooted hatred for Mr Rawlings by some of those who now want to twist history in order to claim some undeserved glory of being the founders of the party or the ‘kingmakers’ of the party.
But we need to respond since history is at stake. We start off by asking two simple questions as follows: Who in the NDC can claim to love Prof. Mills more than Mr Rawlings? Who in the party can claim to have supported and campaigned for Prof. Mills more than Mr Rawlings? The undeniable truth is that although Prof Mills was a self-made academic and astute professional of the highest level of integrity, as far as political life is concerned, it was Mr Rawlings who brought him to the limelight. Since 1996, Mr Rawlings had given his full support to Prof Mills politically. He had on many occasions attested to the integrity and professional competence of Prof. Mills. Indeed, Mr Rawlings had paid heavy prices for his unalloyed support for Prof. Mills. He had lost very close friends and political associates who felt aggrieved about his unrepentant support for Prof. Mills.
The first of such reactions was what culminated into the first implosion suffered by the party in the year 2000 when Mr Goosie Tandoh and a host of party loyalists and Rawlings associates left the party to form their own party –National Reform Party. But this did not deter Rawlings. Not even a painful defeat in the 2000 elections when Prof Mills was the Flagbearer discouraged Mr Rawlings. He still supported and campaigned tooth and nail for Prof. Mills in the 2004 elections which the party again lost bitterly to its arch rival, the NPP. Rawlings’ continuous support for Prof. Mills ahead of the 2008 elections was what led to the second major implosion in the party when personalities such as Dr Obed Yao Asamoah and Mr Bede Ziedeng and Madam Frances Essiam left the NDC to form their own political party, the Democratic Freedom Party, an event some political analysts saw as a good omen that hugely contributed to the second- round narrow victory of the NDC in the 2008 general elections.
It is important to uncover the fact that ahead of the 2008 elections, no one in the NDC can be said to have campaigned for the party’s Presidential candidate and Parliamentary candidates more than Jerry Rawlings did. He was seen nearly everywhere campaigning for his beloved Prof. Mills sometimes at the peril of his health and against the advice of his medical doctors. As the head of the three-pronged campaign strategy by the party, he was the one who was feared by the ruling NPP at the time. Some of those who now claim to know everything about the party were hardly seen on campaign platforms. Even if they did, their messages and voices were only feeble and insignificant to the NPP. They did not matter to the NPP. We vividly recall Rawlings’ entry into Tain ahead of the announcement of the ‘Third round’ of voting by Dr Afari Djan, the EC Chairperson. That entry into Tain by Mr Rawlings did not only throw confusion into the ranks of the NPP, but it more importantly led to the narrow victory the NDC chalked in that election to the disappointment of then candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Meanwhile, it is important to reveal that some of those who now constitute themselves into a strategic caucus in the party were politically docile in the post-defeat era of the NDC. Some of them had publicly resigned from the party and had announced to the whole world that they were out of active politics. Others too had claimed at the time that they were sick, hence they were absent in the activities of the party. Again, it is important to put on record that between 2001 and 2008 when the NDC functionaries were being politically persecuted by the Kuffour-led government, some of these people who now claim control of the heart and soul of the NDC were conspicuously absent from the political scene. At that torturous period when it was not fanciful to talk, it took very few bold and courageous individuals such as Mr Rawlings, Hon. Alban Sumani Bagbin ( Minority Leader at the time), Dr Tony Aidoo, Mr Victor Smith ( the Spokesperson of Mr Rawlings at the time), Ama Benyiwaa Doe, Asiedu Nketia, Hon. John Mahama, Dr Ben Kumbour, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Mr Baba Jamal to sustain the NDC. Where were some of those who now claim the heart and soul of the NDC?
The other assertion by Prof. Ahwoi that the late Mr P.V. Obeng was one of those Mr Rawlings referred to as ‘greedy bastards’ in the Mills’ government could not be true. This flies in the face of Rawlings’ publicly acknowledged commentary about and commendation of Mr P. V. Obeng. This is a man Mr Rawlings has always singled out for mention for his integrity, so how could Mr Rawlings be referring to him as one of the ‘greedy bastards?’
Meanwhile, Mr Ahwoi’s revelation that upon the NDC’s assumption of power in the year 2009, he Ahwoi, Mr P.V. Obeng and Mr Alex Segbefia had prepared up to one hundred dockets for the prosecution of former functionaries of the Kuffour-led government only for Prof. Mills to shoot down the call for prosecution only goes to strengthen Rawlings’ publicly expressed ‘beef’ with Prof. Mills. Every active observer of the political space ahead of the 2008 general elections will recall that the NDC campaigned on the mantra of anti-corruption with a promise to prosecute corrupt elements in the NPP government. The NDC promised to find and prosecute the killers of both Ya-Na and Alhaji Mobila both of whom were gruesomely murdered by unknown assailants. The NDC won power only to renege on its promise, so why won’t the Founder who had made these issues his main campaign mantra not be angry when it appeared the party and government were drifting from their campaign promises?
As for the other issues of Mr Rawlings not wanting Democracy ahead of the 4th Republic, that is no news really. Who in Ghana does not know Rawlings’s reservations even up till now about the ills of unbridled Western style Democracy? He, unlike some others, has never shied away from expressing his views on some of these issues, so that should not have found its place into a book at all. It is no revealed fact. At best, it is just a recap of what the public already know.
The revelation by the author that he and some senior kingpins in the government had unleashed some relatively young party and government functionaries termed ‘babies with sharp teeth’ on Mr Rawlings as a strategy of containing him is however interesting. Unknown to the author, he is casting those young individuals who know themselves and are known by the public as people who do not have a mind of their own. They are pushed around and used to do other people’s bidding for political gains. Simply put, they are hatchet men and women. Yes, that may have worked in the past, but to such individuals, until they come out to clean their soiled names and identities, they will live to bear the brunt of this revelation one day despite they may be doing well politically today. They should remember that for their own future in politics, it will be in their interest to come out and confirm with reasons or reject in no uncertain terms the assertion by Prof. Ahwoi.
For the other issues raised in the book, distinguished party folks such as Hon. Dan Abodakpi had either poured cold water on them or doubted their factual accuracies. The NDC Founder himself has promised to deal with the author and his content by revealing the hidden facts.
But while we await this response from the Founder, we seek to find out one more thing. Why is it that despite their purported claim to wit, war chess, stratagem, skills, expertise and knowledge, some of those who claim kingship titles in the NDC fear to put themselves up for elections either in the party or nationally? Why do they only ride at the back and the political fortune and success of others? Why are they hardly seen on political platforms only to emerge as occupants of juicy positions at GRA, NCA, ECG and GNPC? Why do they love and cherish only those national assets? How blessed they have been in the party!
We would have wished that the thousands of true cadres and party functionaries who had been in the trenches since June 4, 1979 had gotten just 1/64 of what some of those kingmakers enjoy in the party and government. Aren’t they deserving of it too? Aren’t the millions of ordinary Voltarians across the length and breadth of the country who continue to support the party against all forms of vilification, dehumanization and name calling deserving of some of these CEO positions and oil proceeds and investments too? Or their roles end just immediately after the vote whilst the Kingmakers now assume their ‘rightful positions’ in deciding who occupies which position in the government? ‘Monkey dey work for the kingmakers to chop?’ Expectedly, one would have hoped that given their claim to the magical wand of political success and victory, they will not remain only kingmakers but king themselves by contesting elections. Is it the case that contrary to their public image, they do not really enjoy strong base and constituency in the party? How many people are they able to influence to vote for the party? Are such people overrated or are living in the past?
Notice is served all such individuals that none of them can ever destroy or obliterate the J. J. Rawlings legacy. As Mr Dan Abodakpi put it, it is a waste of time. It is an exercise in futility that is leading nowhere. He will forever remain an important part of the political history of Ghana. He is no saint, but history will forever shine on him as the boldest and the most courageous leader of this country who took very unpopular decisions to bring this nation to where it is today. He will find favour with history for being the main architect of the 4th Republic, a feat no book or agenda can deny him of. He has seen more serious betrayals and attacks in the past than whatever may be happening now, but he has survived them all. Can those people ask themselves how they will be remembered by history?
Again we ask, if not just for commercial exploitation, why won’t more sublime titles such as Working with the NDC or Working in the Public Service in Ghana be chosen for such a book? We do not take away from the right of the author to select a title suitable to him. But why must is it always be about Rawlings? Any secret? Anyway, we know the name ‘Rawlings’ sells.
Finally, we feel pity for Mr John Mahama and Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang who are making overtures to the Founder and other important party folks to join the party’s campaign. And they appear to be succeeding only for some ill-timed, self-aggrandizing issues to be derailing the efforts of the campaign team and the candidate. Is there an agenda unknown to the Flagbearer? We advise the campaign team and the candidate to remain resolute like the ruling party. But we advise him to be weary of some of those ‘kingmakers’ who themselves hate to be kings. Let no one pretend to love him more than he loves himself. He should be skeptical about some of those kingmakers who unashamedly prefer the sweetest part of the meat whenever the meal is served. They should now be told that the board room strategy is too much. They should hit the ground, the trenches, the mud, the ghettos and the hamlets to campaign for the party just as the Party Executives and thousands of unrecognized party loyalists and enthusiasts are doing even though they will never get the opportunity of being the Board Chairs of GRA, NCA, GNPC, ECG or BOST. Every such person should be told to stop feeding on the sweat of the teeming masses of ordinary party folks whose toil bring the power to power only for the government to be hijacked by the so called experts and caucuses. But one wonders what the motivation of those self-acclaimed power brokers and kingpins is in doing what they are doing at this eleventh hour to a critical national election. To rock the boat and turn round to blame Rawlings again?
The Volta Youth Forum