By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
During a courtesy call on him by some members of a group called Afrikania Mission, former President Jerry John Rawlings was widely reported to have remonstrated that he did not campaign for his former protege, the now-President John Dramani Mahama in 2012, and that Mr. Rawlings had neither voted for his former shit-bombing Communications Minister (See “Rawlings: I Did Not Campaign For Mahama; Didn’t Vote” Daily Guide/ Ghanaweb.com 5/6/15). We also know for a fact that the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, had deliberately and mischievously disqualified the Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings-led National Democratic Party (NDP) on some dubious technical grounds having to do with the NDP’s filing of its registration papers in order to qualify both Mrs. Agyeman-Rawlings and her party to contest Election 2012.
The over-ambitious former first lady was, of course, clamoring for her husband’s old job. The Afrikania “missionaries” – I suppose the group is part of the legacy of Osofo-Komfo Damuah, the man who conferred the blasphemous accolade of “Junior Jesus” on the prematurely retired junta coup-plotter and the first “elected” president of Ghana’s Fourth Republic – we are told, had gone to Mr. Rawlings to formally invite the latter to an African Spirituality Exhibition scheduled for Sept. 21, 2015. It was amidst the oral presentation of the invitation to the former faux-revolutionary Chairman Rawlings by the leader of the Afrikania Mission, Prof. Kwakuvi Azasu, that Mr. Rawlings reportedly interjected his protest to the effect that he had neither campaigned for nor even voted for the then-Interim President John Mahama.
We must also quickly add that the Afrikania missionaries are protesting the official prohibition of libation at all state functions, first, by the now-late President John Evans Atta-Mills, and presently by the latter’s former arch-lieutenant and current substantive President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama. But that the Afrikania Mission’s African Spirituality Exhibition is scheduled for Sept. 21, the totally fabricated official birthday of modern Ghana’s first president, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, may, in of itself, signal the ideological proclivities of the Afrikania “missionaries,” which may have absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with traditional African religion per se, but everything to do with strategically hogging media limelight for the promotion of the group’s own parochial interests.
We underscore the latter fact because Prof. Azasu, the leader of the group, was also reported to have said that in view of the fact of a remarkable percentage of Ghanaians neither being Christians nor Muslims, it was imperative for the ritual practice of libation to be respected, recognized and legitimized at all state functions. The Afrikania “missionaries” may be aptly envisaged to have a legitimate cause, considering the fact that Judeo-Christian prayers are recognized and observed at all public and state functions. I also, personally, remember writing and publishing an article or two about the flagrant misguidedness of the anti-libation Atta-Mills edict at the time of the official announcement to the afore-referenced effect. More so because Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution clearly articulates the imperative need for the separation of Church and State.
If so, then allowing for the offering of Christocentric, as well as Islamocentric, prayers at public and state functions is in gross violation of our social contract as a sovereign nation. It also reflects poorly on the caliber of our country’s present leadership. But what we are more interested in here is the fact of whether former President Jeremiah John Rawlings voted in the 2012 general election. We have absolutely no interest, whatsoever, in knowing whom Togbui Avaklasu I voted for. What we are primarily interested in is squarely the fact of whether Mr. Rawlings exercised the bounden obligation of his franchise.
In other words, if it happens that he had, indeed, voted in Election 2012, then we have no other choice but unreservedly commend him for the same. But if, on the other hand, Mr. Rawlings had flatly refused to vote in the 2012 general election, then such failure immediately and retroactively invalidates the constitutional legitimacy of Mr. Rawlings’ two-term presidency. And the country’s historical and political record ought to promptly reflect this significant fact.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York