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Rumor Mill of Monday, 25 February 2008


Jerry vrs Mills

Mutual suspicion and mistrust have suddenly taken centre stage in the affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), as party founder Jerry John Rawlings and flagbearer Prof John Evans Atta Mills trade accusations over the latter's health status.

At a crisis meeting called to find a lasting solution to the lingering health issue of Prof Mills and the way forward for the party last week, it emerged that the two leading figures have some differences as regards the way forward.

Sources at the meeting, which took three days starting from Wednesday, told DAILY GUIDE that Mr. Rawlings was not particularly happy about the attempt to link him to the campaign to oust the flagbearer.

According to the NDC founder, it was Prof Mills who hinted him in December last year that he was backing out of the race, citing ill-health.

Mr. Rawlings explained that Prof Mills had called him from South Africa in December, telling him that he would "not go again".

Realizing that such information was too serious to be discussed on the phone, the former president said, he advised Prof Mills to see him on his return to Ghana.

Rawlings said Prof Mills had passed on the same message to another associate.

However, when the NDC flagbearer returned from the trip, he never brought up the subject again, leaving the NDC founder in the dark.

The former president therefore expressed disappointment over the way his former vice president had handled the issue about his health, particularly the accusing fingers pointed at he Jerry Rawlings.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that the damning statement on the health of the flagbearer by Michael Teye Nyaunu, MP for Lower Manya Krobo, calling for the stepping down of Prof Mills was informed by the earlier submission by NDC presidential candidate that he could not carry on again.

The NDC founder pointed out that, going by the support he had given Prof Mills over people like Dr. Obed Asamoah whom he had known and worked with over a longer period, he never expected such treatment from his former Number Two man.

When the issue came up at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, Prof Mills denied talking about resignation.

The NDC flagbearer claimed that he was referring to a Committee of Joint Action (CJA) meeting that he could not attend, throwing Jerry Rawlings into a state of shock.

The former president could not believe his former vice president because of the gaping contradiction in his statements.

The two NDC leading figures were told to take it easy and the meeting adjourned to the next day, where they broke into caucuses.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that it was based on that meeting that Mills' communication chief, Koku Anyidoho indicated that the NDC flagbearer was not attending the state banquet in honour of the visiting US President George Bush, Jnr.

However, upon the intervention of the US Ambassador, Prof Mills and the former President attended the function.

Mr. Rawlings also accused Prof Mills of not informing him about his recent trip to South Africa for the medical review, heightening his suspicions that the NDC flagbearer was not well.

The former president was also not happy that Mills' campaign had been hijacked by the Fante Confederacy with Mahama Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central, and Nii Lante Vanderpuije in tow.

Mr. Rawlings blamed Prof Mills for NDC's lethargy saying that "when a plane crashes, it is blamed on the engine but most often it is the pilot," referring to Mills leadership.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that some supporters of the NDC may storm Kuku Hill in protest against the Fante Confederacy in the days ahead.

One of the key figures in the Fante Confederacy was said to have boasted that he would install a president in the country, alluding to his control over Mills.

However, the flagbearer conceded that even though he did not speak to Mr. Rawlings before he emplaned to South Africa, he left a message with Victor Smith for the founder.

Prof Mills had wanted to discuss the issue of his running mate when Jerry Rawlings stopped him midway, asking him to clear the doubts about his health before proceeding on John Mahama as his choice for vice president.