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Opinions of Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Columnist: Ablorh, Raymond

Is NDC dancing towards political divorce?

One of the most innovative if not creative political advertisement I
watched on TV during the 2008 electioneering period in Ghana was this:
somebody knocked a family’s door; they opened; and, a soldier’s boot
made the entrance… It’s a response to the then candidate
Prof. Attah Mills’ ‘door –to- door’ campaign at the time. The message is
that the NDC’s sober presidential candidate knocks the door and the
soldier you know unexpectedly enters. More explicitly,
Prof. Mills’ opponents put it, “A vote for Mills is a vote for
Rawlings”; and, with a political sales boosting irony, “buy Attah and
get Rawlings free” they reiterated the 2000 and 2004 messages, which
glued him to Dr. Rawlings in a servant and master posture. Matters
got worse for the aspiring president when in response to a question he
said he would consult his former boss or seek his advice every other
day. Since nobody wanted Dr. Rawlings to rule Ghana from the
ex-presidents’ office, journalists and people from the general public
continued to seek prof. Mills explanation to that otherwise harmless
statement. So hard, he tried to convince Ghanaians that he
is, and would be his own man in government. But, not even did his
exhibition of positive defiance via the appointment of his vice, John
Dramani Mahama against the wish of the Rawlingses persuaded people
enough. Today, the sober melancholic president is now
uncomfortably situated between his promise of consulting his former boss
on issues; and, the promise of being his own man. The
real problem here is that the current and former presidents are some
miles away in character; and in the varied personalities impacting their
leadership styles, thereby, making it extremely difficult for the two
to dance in their tiny room of compromise. The soldier, by
his nature and training is radical; he is an employer of the
unconventional approach of doing things; and, the professor, by his
intellectual exposure and his very nature is sober. The latter seems to
be more concerned with fulfilling those moral promises of being his own
man; of being a father for all; and, of not being vindictive, with the
ultimate purpose of leading his Better Ghana agenda. According
to the Rawlingses, President Mills isn’t doing enough to throw the so
many former government officials the NDC perceived to be corrupt into
our choked prisons. As reported on the front page of the
Daily Graphic of Tuesday, 7, 2011, by Della Russel Ocloo, the former
president in his speech at the 32nd edition of the June 4th celebration
in Kumasi recently said that leading members of his party’s government
had gone into a pact with officials of the erstwhile New Patriotic Party
(NPP) regime to overlook corrupt practices on both sides. Government
officials, he said, were dipping their hands into state resources in
their attempt to amass individual wealth at the expense of Ghanaians who
elected them to serve their interests. Early on, former
president Rawlings has made a lot of passion concentrated criticisms
against the president he campaigned for vigorously for not ‘listening’
to him; and, he has condemned virtually all those around the president.Knowing
the ex-president background, some might wonder if he isn’t simply
painting everybody black to prepare the ground for another adventure,
which not even his children and FONKAR members would allow. But,
what is more conspicuous here is the modicum of correctness in the
NPP’s assumption that former president Rawlings had plans to remote his
ex- subordinate in government. Paradoxically, those who would be
languishing in prisons were President Mills forcing them to eat a piece
of Tsatsu Tsikata’s pie are rather talking at him for not listening to
the founder of his party; the pathological untruth talker who now has
become a truth talker to them. Meanwhile, should he obey
him and carry out his measures unedited, their message would be,’ we
told you so! Rawlings is controlling him”. And, even now, if the law
gravitates towards them heavily, they would still have a convincing
message: the president is now making efforts to please his former boss. But,
are president Mills and his men in government not to blame too? They
supported Dr. Rawlings anytime he came out with serious allegations
against J.A Kufour and his men in government. Even when he
disrespectfully insulted former president J.A. Kufour; comparing him to
Ataa Ayi, the notorious armed robber, they cheered him up. Which
evidence did the ex-president showed them before they supported all
those wild allegations he made against former government officials?
Anyway, maybe, the old professor, having learned from former vice
president Arkah’s experience, kept his good counsels in those days to
avoid taking some resounding cheek beatings and heckles. No wonder his
boss loved him so much. But, on a more serious note,
Ghana’s longest serving foreign minister, Obed Asamoah, a former
confidant of Ex President Rawlings who fell out with him in a power
tussle in 2005, seems to understand the ex-president’s attitudes towards
President Mills better than most people do. In an
interview with Stephen Gyasi Jr, published in the November, 2010 edition
of the Africawatch magazine, Dr Obed Asamoah expected Ghanaians to,
“understand Rawlings, in a way, because he invested a lot in the person
(Prof. Attah Mills, for emphasis) and he must feel sorely disappointed
that the person is perhaps not performing the way he thinks he should
perform.” According to Dr. Asamoah, perhaps Mills is
denying Rawlings certain things; he is not bringing him into the picture
the way he expects it to be; so naturally, he is frustrated. “Basically
he (Former president Rawlings, for emphasis) is somebody who is very
individualistic and it’s his nature,” the former Attorney General said. Then
President Rawlings unilaterally announced Prof. Mills at Agona Swedru
in 1998 as the party’s candidate for the 2000 presidential election,
according to the former foreign Minister, without consulting any of
them. “We all were sitting on the platform and then out of the blue he
made the announcement…And, thereafter he sought to consolidate the
position and fought relentlessly and vehemently against anybody who
thought otherwise,” Dr. Asamoah recalled. Certainly, the
former president wouldn’t do all that for nothing. He had both easy to,
and difficult to perceive motives at the time. Nobody could tell whether
the two men agreed on something before the Swedru declaration. So, only
the two of them understand what is going on better than Dr. Asamoah. Dr.
Rawlings, now a frontline critic of the Mills administration is
vehemently supporting his wife, just the way he supported Prof. Mills
from 1998 to 2008. He believes Nana Konadu could better do what Prof
Mills doesn’t want to or is unable to do for him, the NDC party and for
Ghana. He doesn’t believe in president Mills anymore and would find it
extremely difficult to campaign for him for the 2012 elections. Nonetheless,
the Professor as usual has maintained his sober self. On a few
occasions he told journalists, the former president, as an experienced
man, has every right to criticize him as if he doesn’t see the venom
with which his former boss spits the wild allegations on him. And, with
an attitude fit for the pulpit, he has called for a clean insult-free
campaign. But, could Dr, Rawlings and his people give
Prof. Mills and his men samples of the painful political injections they
gave Dr. Obed Asamoah, Kwesi Botwe and their supporters at Koforidua in
2005? Maybe, no; not this time. Would they support Prof.

Mills should he come out victorious? Well, they have told us they have
nothing good to campaign about, so the answer is close to obvious. And,
would they stay in a stale political marriage? Perhaps, they would
prefer separation if not divorce. Prof Mills wouldn’t like
even mere separation but it seems the NDC is dancing vigorously towards
political divorce in Sunyani. If they escape divorce then this whole
thing could be stage managed as some dreamingly want to believe. And, if
its stage managed then they deserve a global award for such a
sophisticated political stage management.

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