Many Ghanaians appear surprised at what they call the ‘fake’ love being shown the late former President Jerry John Rawlings by leaders of the National Democratic Congress, having hounded him from the party he formed, and making no attempts to defend him when he came under constant attacks from members and sympathisers of the party.
A Facebook post by Benjamin Larbi, a close ally of the late Rawlings, appears to encapsulate the sentiments of those who are embittered about the conduct of the NDC: “Hypocrites, some of you will die early, as old boy’s death will continue to haunt you guys. For close to 13 years, you people could not make peace with him. Most of you even didn’t recognize him [as] the founder of your party. His wife became you people’s doormat. He died in pain and the same people now see him as their hero. God punish you all. #rest well, old boy.”
Recently, the NDC, including Mr Mahama, kept mute, and never uttered a word when Kevin Ekow Baidoo Taylor, a social media commentator, descended on Mr Rawlings, describing him as “a hypocrite” and “ass kisser”.
Kevin Taylor, who is said to have been contracted by former President Mahama “to do the hatchet job” of launching unprovoked attacks on opponents of the NDC 2020 presidential candidate, in a video titled “Rawlings, a Modern-Day Judas,” said Mr Rawlings was a hindrance to the NDC’s 2020 electoral victory.
“Ex-President Rawlings is a hypocrite and a modern-day Judas, who is selfish, bitter and filled with hate,” Kevin Taylor, who is said to be a member of the NDC’s communications team, stated.
“Rawlings and his lazy wife are the only people in Ghana today who think that this government, led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is even perfect than Jesus Christ himself. To me, I think such a man does not deserve to be a statesman,” he added.
He advised the NDC to look beyond the “hypocrite” JJ Rawlings because “he is greedy and selfish”.
“Any man who comes to power with a gun will never be satisfied with anything, and Rawlings is a clear example. NDC sympathisers, JJ Rawlings is not god; he is just a modern-day Judas. He is bad news…” he yelled.
It is not clear what caused the acid tongued young man to descend on the late NDC founder. But many found it disturbing that not a single NDC leader considered it worthy to reprimand the ally of former President Mahama for the acerbic words used on the late President Rawlings.
Founder or no founder
Also, while he was alive, key figures of the NDC denied Mr Rawlings as the founder of the party.
For instance, Alhaji Sanni, a former First-Vice Chairman of the party in the Ashanti Region, who wields a lot of respect in the party, in 2017, insisted that Mr Rawlings was not the founder of the party, and his claim went unchallenged.
“NDC is not for Rawlings; he is not the sole founder of our political party. The NDC has a lot of founding fathers, who are all over the various constituencies in the country and Mr Rawlings is one of them,” Alhaji Sanni stated during an interview on Asempa FM.
Barking dog, Volta god
As if that was not enough, other leaders of the NDC used every available opportunity to denigrate the late former President.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the party, while welcoming back Dr Obed Asamoah, a friend, and later foe, of Mr Rawlings, into the fold of the NDC at an event at the Arts Centre in Accra in 2012, said: “Now the barking dog whose actions forced you out of the NDC no longer exists, so I would have been surprised if you had continued to stay outside…”
Also, while leading an NDC ‘unity walk’ in Ho after his 2016 defeat, Mr Mahama called on NDC members in the Volta Region to grow beyond Mr Rawlings, who he described as ‘Volta god’.
“We have worshipped the Volta god for so long. It is time to build the party beyond individuals. No sacrifice would please him,” Mr Mahama said.
Meanwhile, Mr Asiedu Nketia has questioned President Akufo-Addo’s handling of issues relating to the funeral of the late Rawlings.
He claims that the actions of the President indicate that he’s trying to “hijack” the funeral of the former President.
“The President has refused to recognise that the man belongs to NDC, and he is the founder of NDC,” he said in a media interview.
“Everything about this funeral so far depicts an attempt by an opponent to hijack the funeral of the founding father of our political party, and we don’t think the funeral of our party founder ought to be organized somewhere, and we get invited,” he said.
He has, thus, indicated that the NDC would organise its own funeral for the late President, apart from the one to be organised by the state.