For more than 10 years, there has been no love lost between John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings. The two men have never missed an opportunity to show their disdain for each other.
Rawlings thinks Kufuor is a “thief”. Kufuor says Rawlings is the devil – “Sasabonsam”. Whenever it suited them, the two men have levelled outrageous allegations against each other.
Do you remember when Kufuor claimed that Rawlings had gone to an Arab country to secure funds to buy weapons to destabilise the country? He couldn’t provide a single shred of evidence – for “national security” reasons, of course.
It doesn’t bear repeating that Rawlings believes strongly that Kufuor ordered the killing of Ya Na Yakubu Andani – and many others, even including the deputy MD of the Ghana Commercial Bank who was killed in Tema.
You see, both of Rawlings and Kufuor are drenched in needless paranoia – Kufuor has been living with a constant nightmare that Rawlings would unseat him and Rawlings thinks Kufuor has undone whatever good he believes he had achieved whiles in power.
At the height of their childish schoolyard rivalry, Kufuor decided to “withdraw” all of Rawlings’ “privileges” just to show who was in charge. That meant, among others, that Rawlings couldn’t use the VVIP lounge at the airport and officials of Ghana’s missions abroad were not obliged to lay out the red carpet for him as and when he happened to be in, say, London or Berlin.
The two men just hate each other… pure and simple.
When George Bush came around a few months ago, the two of them were seen smiling at each other and amiably shaking hands – pretending to be the best of friends. Photographs of the occasion were in newspapers, heralding a new era of reconciliation between them.
I knew then that it was a fluke.
Like two little kids desperate to please an uncle holding a loaf of bread, they were merely putting up a show for the most powerful man on earth. Immediately, George Bush got out, the two men were at each other’s throats again.
Now, Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu wants to do what George Bush couldn’t do. In fact, he wants to do what many others have tried and failed – reconcile Rawlings and Kufuor. However, the Asantehene says he will wait and make his first move after Kufuor’s tenure has ended.
My question is: why sweat it, Nana?
Who cares whether Rawlings and Kufuor are reconciled. If they didn’t consider it wise to be friends whiles they were both powerful men, why should we care when they become just another pair of ‘common’ Johns who only have next to no influence on the destiny of the nation?
I am sure that Otumfuo Osei Tutu – like most Ghanaians – has been very much aware of the enmity between Kufuor and his predecessor. If he cared so much, he should have acted much earlier than this. As one of the most respected men in this country, the Asantehene could have called the two men to his palace as far back as 2001 to knock some sense into their obstinate heads – when it became very evident that they hated each other. He didn’t. I don’t begrudge him… even King Solomon would have had trouble trying to get a paranoid president and his desperate, inexplicably embittered predecessor to see eye-to-eye.
Through it all, we tolerated Rawlings and Kufuor’s quarrels for the eight years – sometimes with bated breaths, praying that their silly stand-offs will not take our country to the brink. Thankfully, it didn’t. Now, the worse of the Rawlings-Kufuor ‘madness’ is well and truly (almost) over. In January both of them will be consigned to history.
As former presidents, I would expect both of them to know better and carry themselves as elder statesmen who deserve our respect. If they don’t wise up and they feel that the best way to make themselves ‘relevant’ is to continue insulting each other they should go ahead. No one should stop them.
Otumfuo will be wasting his precious time if he makes any attempt to ‘reconcile’ Rawlings and Kufuor. It just won’t work. The two of them may meet in the Manhyia Palace and vent all they want. For being so tolerant and allowing them to waste his precious ears, Otumfuo would then ask them to shake hands, hug (possibly kiss) and make up. And then what?
I don’t see Rawlings calling up Kufuor once every week to ask: “how are you doing, buddy? Have you received your pension yet?”
I will bet my last pesewa that Kufuor will never invite Rawlings to share a bottle of whiskey at the beautiful lobby of his (son’s) Hotel de Waawaaa as they discuss the latest treatment for erectile dysfunction – or any of the diseases that afflict old men.
I’m not completely giving up hope, though. Maybe – just maybe – they will come together and form an Association of Former Presidents of Ghana. Even then, I am certain they would still squabble!
It’s not my place to advise the Otumfuo. So those who have his powerful ears should kindly tell him not to waste his precious time on Kufuor and Rawlings. We’ve had enough of their silly bickering and we don’t really care where they take it next.