Paul Adom-Otchere revisits origin of Rawlings’ “Babies with sharp teeth” comment

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At the 2012 Special National Delegates Conference of the NDCMr. Jerry John Rawlings issued a challenge to then-President John Dramani Mahama. He urged President Mahama to remove certain individuals from his government, whom Rawlings referred to as ‘babies with sharp teeth.’

Rawlings criticized these individuals for using their influence destructively, causing divisions within the NDC. He claimed they had attacked party members who had worked tirelessly to bring the NDC to power.

Speaking at the NDC’s National Delegates’ Congress at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi, Rawlings expressed concern that these divisive elements were undermining the principles of probity and accountability upon which the NDC was founded. He believed that restoring integrity to the presidency, the government, and the NDC was crucial for the electoral victory of John Mahama.

Rawlings emphasized the need to rein in these divisive elements to restore unity and integrity to the NDC.

“…It is often said that we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater…but then what do we do when some of the babies in the tub don’t look like babies?

They are babies with hard teeth … (which they can use to) bite hard (and) spill some very horrible invectives,” the former president claimed.

“…Should they not be lowered even if we don’t want to throw them out with the dirty water…?” Mr. Rawlings queried, insisting that “one bad nut is all it takes to spoil the taste in your mouth”.

Twelve years down the line, the host of the Good Evening Ghana show on Metro TV, Paul Adom-Otchere, has revisited the delicate subject when he touched on a book, ‘Working with Rawlings’, Prof Kwamena Awhoi chronicled.

Mr. Adom-Otchere noted that the individuals being referred to by the late President Rawlings were North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a former aide to ex-president Mahama, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, and Dr. Edward Omane Boamah.

“Sammy Gyamfi was not there. Can you imagine, he was not there at the time? He must have been in JHS. But Sammy Gyamfi has come into a culture and it is a culture created by Kwamena Ahoi and Totobi Kwakye,” Mr Adom-Otchere said as he registered displeasure against the current actions by the NDC Communications Director.

“These are the men Rawlings called babies with sharp teeth because he felt they were insulting,” he added.

Meanwhile, a former Minister of Communication, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, has denied a narration by former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Prof Kwamena Awhoi, that he (Omane Boamah) was part of a group of young party stalwarts purposefully groomed to attack former President Jerry John Rawlings any time the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) attacked President John Atta Mills before his death.

“I have read excerpts of Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s book, ‘Working with Rawlings’ that appear to suggest I was among a group of young politicians, who were purposely engaged by him and others to respond to and ‘talk back’ at former President Rawlings for the latter’s attacks on the personality of the late President of Ghana, His Excellency John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills.

“Respectfully, I need to place on record that this claim is wholly and completely inaccurate and untrue”, the former presidential spokesperson said.

“As a young man and politician with core convictions”, Dr. Omane Boamah said: “I was never engaged nor could I have allowed myself to be used by anyone to talk back at former President Rawlings”.

He continued: “My principled stand in defending the late President Atta Mills, without insults, against attacks I thought were underserved was borne out of my respect and appreciation of the personality of the late President Mills – the Asomdwehene, his pureness of heart and other sterling and unique qualities that he possessed to a fault”.

“The suggestion that my defense of the late President was part of a deliberate ‘strategy’ by elders is irksome to me”, he said.

“It does not reflect my personality as a politician of conviction and not of convenience”, he noted.

“For the record, I state emphatically and unequivocally that any claim that I was a recruited participant in any such grand agenda could only be the result of an inadvertent error in recollection and not founded on anything that remotely resembles the truth”, Dr. Omane Boamah stressed.

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