Mahama “Too Nice” A Prez…Rawlings’ Verdict On His Protégé@ 55

Weeks of investigative sorties undertaken by this paper close to the home of former Ghanaian first family suggest all is not well as former President Jerry John Rawlings is said to be torn between openly rallying around his former protégé, President Mahama and his administration in defiance of his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings or accepting his wife’s wishes to ditch the sitting president and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at this trying moments. Flawless information available to The Al-Hajj indicates that after his not- long-ago “crookish monster” statement at UDS campus, in apparent reference to some doubtful characters encircling President Mahama, tough-talking founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress is reported to have slumped into quandary over how to handle the young Mahama administration which has recently come under severe censure from dissatisfied members of the party and the opposition. A report in last October edition of the US-based Africawatch magazine speaks of how the former military strongman has been trapped in a predicament ever since John Mahama became President, relative to the posture of the mother of his adorable children and soul-mate of 36 years, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, whose rapport with the President remains anything but cordial. Though, he was last week seen with President Mahama in a hearty mood at two separate state functions in Accra and Takoradi, recent media reports suggest Mr. Rawlings, who is on record to have unkindly pounded all administrations in the fourth Republic but has kept a loud inexplicable silence since John Mahama became President, was to begin ‘whipping’ the infant regime with his customary ‘boom’ speeches. Indeed, on the occasion of the conferment of an honorary degree and commissioning of a statue in acknowledgement of his contribution to the establishment of the University of Development Studies at the UDS campus in Tamale, Mr. Rawlings provided a teaser of ‘boom’. However, sources told The Al-Hajj the speech was much watered down purposefully to ‘shield’ his protégé, Mahama whiles at same time, pacifying his wife Nana Konadu, the two antithetical figures at the two opposing sides of the nation’s former military strongmen. Chairman Rawlings, as he is affectionately called by the cadre corps, immediately after the Tamale event retorted to aides who pleaded with him to give the President some time “We voted for him; John; is he we voted for, we didn’t vote for anybody from his friends or family. He must stamp his authority and deal with the bad nuts around him and the rot in government”. According to reports, though his speech at UDS largely portrayed deep seated disappointment with President Mahama’s inability to assert his authority in battling corruption and his failure to reign in “the crookish monsters” around him, Rawlings nonetheless, felt obliged not to over- expose the President to the ‘wolves’ within the NDC and outside the party, at the same time, the former president didn’t want to be seen forsaking his better-half, an unforgiving critic of the Mahama administration and who is yet to settle with the party she helped hubby to establish; the NDC.” This is said to have informed his decision, whiles delivering the keynote address at this year’s Hogbetsotso festival of the people of Anlo held last month to call for public support to assist President Mahama to efficiently manage the country and rid it of corruption, stating, although President Mahama is a fine leader “who perhaps is too gentle for the current political dispensation, some personalities around him have attributes, that cannot auger well for the smooth management of the state”. The former President’s accommodating heart towards President Mahama (to the chagrin of Konadu) after the death of Professor Mills, whom he lambasted so much to the extent that his wife broke away from the NDC after a fruitless attempt to unseat the then sitting President to form her own party; was to demonstrate what close associates say “how he sought to shepherd Mr. Mahama to a higher stardom”. But, according to one insider, the NDC founder’s frustration with President John Mahama also found expression in his speech at Tamale when he stated: “A political observer once said to me that our President is a President for the future when democratic institutions and behavior will be like some advanced countries like Switzerland, Denmark, etc. In other words he could easily make it as President in those countries and possibly the United States. But that style appears inappropriate for Africa and an opportunistic society like ours”. The Al-Hajj has learnt that former President Rawlings is incensed by the seeming arrogance within the corridors of power exhibited by certain appointees and operatives very close to President Mahama and the latter’s inability to face them head on. “President Rawlings’ fear is that the behavior of those gentlemen and women in government could smear the whole administration and spell doom for the party and the government”, a close pal told this paper Rawlings’ frustrations with his once protégé, President Mahama was in full display last Monday when he said to journalists at the residence of the South African High Commissioner to Ghana “…by the time John (Mahama) the fourth also got on board and with his nature, he’s not autocratic, he’s an easy going person, I’m not saying it is healthy, being so easy going, everybody was just taking advantage and everybody is doing whatever they want wherever”. Confidantes of former President Rawlings have told this paper that the former air-force pilot-cum-head of state who has abundance of intelligence from the heart of the Mahama administration by virtue of his many years as the Head of State, expects President Mahama to carry out a major shake-up of his young administration to rekindle the hopes and aspiration of the NDC grassroots and the people of Ghana in general. “Even if a needle falls down in this government, Rawlings will hear the noise. Remember he has very close loyalists within both the party and the government especially in the security set up because he has served this country at the highest level for over nineteen years, more than any other person in history”, a source revealed on condition of anonymity.