Rawlings Smash’s His Glasshouse boil with Abacha’s Stone – Part I

Rawlings Shatters His Glasshouse Bubble with Abacha's Stone 1


We guess this is another sad day for Ghana indeed? Or something else?

RawlingsNo, merely one of those sad days Ghanaians have always known and lived with. Nothing new, really!

Rawlings, the sacred god of probity, accountability, and transparency finally admits to accepting money, $US2 million rather than $US5 million, from one of Nigeria’s infamous kleptocrats, the late General Sani Abacha.

Perhaps, this news comes as a great surprise to some given his stature as a man who stood firmly and boldly against public corruption and moral decadence in the Ghanaian society, among others.

Yet whether the money itself was $US2 million rather than $US5 million, or otherwise, is not the issue here, but rather the posthumous circumstances surrounding Abacha’s legacy as a kleptocrat tend to adulterate Rawlings’ justification for accepting his friend’s largesse when, he, Rawlings, explained to The Guardian, that Ghana was in dire straits at the time and badly needed cash infusions into the system to salvage a drowning economy. This sounds plausible yet untenable.

One wonders if Rawlings would have openly owned up to this scandalous controversy if not for President Muhammadu Buhari’s moral vigilance, oversight and active investigation into public officials who have been suspected of stealing Nigerian money, of course an investigation that would eventually come to include the Abacha family and his friends, inside and outside Nigeria.

Rawlings falls within the latter, of the category of those of the Abacha circle of friends living beyond the immediate geopolitical margins of Nigeria, those worthy of his booty.

Even more significantly, perhaps, Abacha was strategically and tactically prescient and, like some of his predecessors, knew a day would certainly come when Nigerians would chase him out and for this reason, he may have sought out strategic new friends, as the international community closed in on him and tightened the noose around his government, who could offer him shelter in case the worse happened.

In other words, Abacha would certainly need a sanctuary if and when his government was toppled. And perhaps Rawlings was one of the few he could trust in Africa to provide this sanctuary when the need arose.

We may have to add that, this contention of ours is merely a working hypothesis and we have no corroborating evidence for it, and also because other than that, namely our working hypothesis, we see no reasonable, convincing explanation for Abacha to extend that largesse to Rawlings.

Perhaps also, in more ways than one Kweku Baako, Jr.’s contention, which we have already alluded to elsewhere in these pages, that Rawlings’ admission to taking Abacha’s money was a preemptive maneuver on his part, a difficult position he has to take in anticipation of President Buhari’s publication of same. If he has any corroborating evidence to that effect, then he should divulge it for the court of public opinion to conduct an informed evaluation of it as it were!

Unfortunately, Baako. Jr.’s open hatred of Rawlings’ sometimes clouds and even undermines the moral authority of his investigational and policy judgments. His alleged quick defense of President Mahama in the Ford Expedition Controversy, for instance, is a special case in point.

On the other hand, our critique of Baako, Jr. should not constitute a bone of contention in that his view or investigational interpretation of the matter could be correct though it calls for additional corroborating evidence.

That said, it is President Buhari and the Nigerian themselves who can help us cut the Gordian knot of this unnerving scandalous controversy.

Of course, President Buhari can do better given his association with the Umaru Dikko Affair, so-called, and the imprisonment of Fela Kuti, perhaps one of his most serious and courageous critics, though as a human being we should also acknowledge his fallibility, a highly contentious issue Wole Soyinka takes up in an essay titled “The Crimes of Buhari.”

Unraveling this Gordian knot in the context of legal prosecution of the matter could, however, be potentially difficult in Ghana given the divisiveness of our partisan politics, the constitutionally enshrined Indemnity Clause and other limiting constitutional instruments, the latter of which could potentially be interpreted as “statutes of limitation” for reasons of political expedience.

Even so by merely capitalizing on Ghana’s presumed dire straits as a condition for accepting the money, Rawlings’ insidiously sets himself apart from the likes of Mills, a man he has never allowed to rest peacefully in death, on the moral high ground of personal incorruptibility.

But why will he consistently deny ever receiving this money for eighteen long years, if we may ask?

The protracted denials lend some credence to Baako, Jr.’s and our theory that the investigation which President Buhari is presently overseeing is gradually catching up with him and, for this very reason, and possibly this reason alone, he needed to come up with a strategic excuse to help him successfully manage if not negotiate the scandalous disgrace that should potentially follow publications of any incriminating investigational reports by the Buhari government and its agents.

Perhaps Aliyu Ismaila Gwarzo, Abacha’s National Security Advisor and the man who allegedly delivered the money to Rawlings, can throw some light on this raging controversy in a promised tell-all memoir through which, among other things, he, Gwarzo, hopes to clear his name, to neutralize the popular or mainstream fiction of Abacha as a kleptocrat and, possibly, to expose the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his one-time boss, Abacha, a man Wole Soyinka once called “a sadistic dictator,” and all those who may have been interested in or behind his passing.

Of course, again Gwarzo maybe the answer to the controversy.

But his boss ordered and had Ken Saro-Wiwa, a fine writer, an activist and one of the redoubtable leaders of the Ogoni People, hanged, with some Nigerians also holding the view that Abacha may have had a hand in Fela Kuti’s death, rather than from HIV-AIDS complications, just as the military brutalized…mercilessly beat…his mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and later threw her through a window of Fela’s house located on his Kalakuta Republic.

Fela Kuti’s cousin’s, Soyinka’s piece “The Canonization of Terror,” is a tell-all blockbuster critique of the regime of Abacha! Here is Soyinka on Abacha:

“Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.

“We are speaking here of a man who placed this nation under siege during an unrelenting reign of terror that is barely different from the current rampage of Boko Haram…”

Thus, that Abacha money could have been blood money…sakawa money.

Was the money a bribe?

If so, what was it for?

In other words what was the money exactly used for if we are to believe the questionable contents of the song Rawlings has been singing about since the matter resurfaced?

Thus far we appear to have only Rawlings’ side of the story in Ghana, and we probably will never know the details of the story if for any reason (s) Gwarzo does not spill the beans, or if President Buhari decides to protect Rawlings by covering up that part of his sweeping investigations.

Finally, we should also remember that Rawlings took up this issue with Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, the latter of whose “gargantuan” head Soyinka makes fun of in his memoir “You Must Set Forth At Dawn,” both of whom may not have particularly taken the matter “serious” enough to pursue it to its logical conclusion of investigational satisfactoriness.

Hear is Peter Tosh’s “Glass House” for you, our Dear Rawlings:

“If you live in a glasshouse…

“Don’t throw stones…

“And if you can’t take blows brother…

“Don’t throw blows…

“Caught behind I back…

“You lied to grumble…

“And before I face…

“You always a fumble…

“You build your world on lies and illusions…

“But you never know that…

“This is the conclusion…

We shall return with a concluding installment, Part 2!


Ghanaweb. “Abacha Gave Rawlings $5M, Not $2M…Baako Insists.” July 13, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Abacha Gave Me $2M, Not $5M…Rawlings.” July 11, 2016.

Source: Francis Kwarteng

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