Jerry John Rawlings at the congress
?Mr. President, fellow Ghanaians it is said that we should not throw out the baby with the bath water, but what do we do when some of the babies in the tub are babies with hard teeth, biting and spewing some very horrible invectives? Should they not be lowered out with the dirty water? After all one bad nut is all it takes to spoil the taste in your mouth.
?When we find ourselves at a wooden bridge with some planks rotten, do we wait to get new planks before removing the rotten ones or do we remove the rotten ones immediately?- JJ Rawlings, August 30, 2012.
Yesterday was a bad day for National Democratic Congress (NDC) government appointees with unusual dental structures, as they came under fire from former President Jerry John Rawlings.
Although euphemistic, the remarks appeared to fit some government appointees who are dentally challenged, and who have a penchant for hurling invectives at those who express dissenting opinions about the line the party is toeing.
It was an opportunity for the former president to retaliate for the verbal onslaughts he suffered at the hands of such propagandists who rained invectives on him anytime he took exception to happenings within the NDC.
His speech at the party?s special delegates? congress in Kumasi was shrouded in innuendos and euphemisms which saddled his audience with the task of decrypting the remarks.
He referred to the sharp-teeth babies who had used such teeth to bite some members of the party who worked indefatigably to win power for the political grouping.
?Mr. President, fellow Ghanaians it is said that we should not throw out the baby with the bath water, but what do we do when some of the babies in the tub are babies with teeth, biting and spewing invectives?? he asked.
Mr. Rawlings questioned whether such babies ?should not be lowered out with the dirty water so that we can concentrate on the many good babies? After all, one bad nut is all it takes to spoil the taste in your mouth.?
For a man who has incessantly demanded the ouster of some appointees in government, the innuendo-packed remark was another opportunity to state his point and to above all tell President John Mahama that his demands were unwavering.
For those who thought he had finished with the parables, he threw another one regarding a rotten, wooden bridge and how to cross the death trap.
?When we find ourselves at a wooden bridge with some planks rotten, do we wait to get new planks before removing the rotten ones or do we remove the rotten ones immediately to prevent the potential loss of limbs and lives?? he asked. It was a rhetorical question, but his audience and the rest of Ghanaians did not find it challenging in understanding the emphasis on the need to drop some government appointees and apologists whose continuous stay in positions of authority did not augur well for the integrity and the overall image of government.
Fingers were immediately pointed, on social media networks, at acid tongues like Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, deputy Minister of Information; Kojo Twum Boafo, Executive Director of Ghana Free Zones Board, who operates his official duties from radio stations; Castle boy Nii Lantey Vanderpuye; Peter Boamah Otukunor; Kwesi Pratt Jnr of pro-NDC CJA fame; and Iddrisu Bature of NDC Al-Hajj rag tag.
Mr Rawlings charged the party to re-engage and remain focused on its core values, ideals and traditions of truth, honesty, integrity and justice, which had remained contentious and the source of differences between him and the NDC in government.
The former president was not charitable to those he said were sitting in the comfort of their homes, both in Ghana and abroad, waiting ?for others to win the elections for them?.
?Those who in the past have been sitting in the comfort of their rooms and waiting for others to win elections for them, they should also come out and go through the forests of Ghana and have a feel of campaign this time around?Can we under the Ghana of today say that we feel the same way of wanting to die for this country?? he asked.
It was a make-or-break speech, whose bottom-line was that President John Mahama could only win the December polls when he restores integrity to the presidency.
?Electoral victory will depend on a number of things -how quickly you can restore integrity to the Presidency, your government and to the party.?
While some portions of the speech such as President John Mahama?s prompt response in ordering the Electricity Company of Ghana to provide streetlights to some villages when he (Rawlings) made the request, were direct, others were shrouded in innuendos and parables.
When the time was due for him to make his remarks, the suspense was too obvious to be ignored, as the leadership of the party in particular wondered what direction it was going to take.
President Mahama had beads of perspiration, with his confidence level evidently low.
By the time he was done with his speech, his audience were busy decrypting what cynics described as the parables of rotten bridge, the sharp-tooth politicians and the baby in the bath.
Whether or not his counsel to the leadership of the party to return to the basics would be heeded, remains to be seen.
?These are defining moments for the party and as we find ourselves at the crossroads, let us use this gathering to get back to the noble principles and values that have always distinguished us from other political traditions,? he said.
By A.R. Gomda