By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
There is nothing revelatory about Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ characteristically self-righteous assertion that from 1992 to 2000, as a “democratically” elected President of Ghana, Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings did not have a fixed salary (See “JJ Rejected Salary As President – Konadu” Ghanaweb.com 1/23/15). Well, the same questioned could be asked about whether retired Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings had a fixed income between 1982 and 1992; and the resounding answer is apt to be an emphatic “No!”
Indeed, I have personally written about this politically deceptive, purpotedly revolutionary and sacrificial phase of the political career of the bloodiest junta leader in postcolonial Ghanaian history. What all this self-preening poppycock means is that Mr. Rawlings is a pathological wastrel and/or kleptocrat who envisaged the incontrovertibly disciplined culture of a fixed income or salary to be flagrantly beneath contempt. Mrs. Rawlings clearly alluded to this much, when Nana Konadu recently told Mr. Bismark Brown, of ETV fame, that it was the Ghanaian state, whatever this mischievous characterization of patent grand larceny means, that catered to the needs of the former Ghana Airforce pilot and those of his family and close associates.
In sum, to fully appreciate how Togbui Avaklasu I immitigably scammed Ghanaians and our national coffers in the name of “revolution,” one needs to calculate the cedi sum or value of how much it took to support Chairman Rawlings and his widely rumored and allegedly high-hog living wife. I bet the figure that any meticulous and savvy bean-counter arrives at, would be at least four to five times higher than if Chairman Rawlings conscientiously and patriotically consented to the consignment of a salary regime, in much the same manner as subscribed to by his cabinet appointees.
The pertinent question to ask here is that were his alleged refusal to accept a fixed salary that cost effective, or frugal, and profitable to a cash-strapped nation like the Ghanaian at the time, why had Chairman Rawlings not insisted that all his minions of well-remunerated cabinet appointees also sacrificially forewent the incontestable discipline of a fixed salary? The fact of the matter is that the infamous leader of the faux June 4th uprising envisaged himself to be far bigger and greater than the entire country and our destiny. In the metaphorical language of Professor Ayi Kwei Armah’s classic novel The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Chairman Rawlings had slaughtered an elephant. And so it was all-too-natural and reasonable to expect that he would masticate to his fill with reckless abandon.
Of course, there is precedent for this wanton scam-artistry in the personality of Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, President Kwame Nkrumah, founding-patriarch of the so-called Convention People’s Party (CPP). To be certain, on the eve of his auspicious overthrow, President Nkrumah had effectively willed off the country to the key operatives of the CPP. Like Chairman Rawlings, barely a decade after him, Mr. Nkrumah had also cavalierly and comfortably off-loaded the burden of the upkeep of his Arabo-Ghanaian family unto the CPP political machine.
What this goes to show Ghanaians is that the affairs of our motherland and, to some of us, our fatherland, has since the close of the colonial era been effectively managed by pathological narcissists who only envisaged the super-imposed reflections of themselves and their families in the geopolitical confines of Ghana. Indeed, the preceding feudalistic state of affairs in the Ghana of the late 1950s and early 1960s was what prompted Dr. J. B. Danquah, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, to liken President Nkrumah to the revolutionary-era French monarch, Louis XVI, who envisaged himself to be metonymically synonymous with the identity of the French state and nation: “L’Etat C’est Moi!”
In a real sense, the kleptocratic Chairman Rawlings epitomized the Ghanaian state and nation between 1992-2000. He did not in any way “reject” a salary; he actually took more than his fair share of our proverbial national cake.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]