Rawlings fights President Mills
President John Atta Mills Yesterday's National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the first since the party came to power, was dominated by Jerry John Rawlings spewing out his guts, as he passed a vote of no-confidence on President John Evans Atta Mills' governance approach.
Not even the deliberations in the meeting chamber could match the sharp reproaches by ex-President Rawlings when he spoke to the media after the encounter.
The no-holds-barred meeting was held at the Royal Majesty Hotel, Nungua.
Describing the recent appointments by the President as a show of mediocrity, the ex-President was in an abrasive mood as he scowled at the man he campaigned for as being slow in the manner in which he was running the country.
President Mills was conspicuously absent from the meeting, which was characterized by leading members of NDC pouring out their disappointments over dashed expectations.
Ex-President Rawlings came close to giving a clue to the source of President Mills' headline-making “there is only one President in the country” outburst, when he remarked that the government was not asserting itself and thus allowing the opposition “to undermine its authority”.
Rawlings said 'usurpers' with parochial interests had hijacked the Mills Administration and these elements were hell-bent on entrenching their positions on the ruling government.
He said some of the usurpers who had been hiding in rat holes during the heady days of the electoral campaign, had today surfaced to make themselves decision-makers.
“The NDC's victory was borne out of the corruption of the NPP but when the new government fails to take action to arrest the situation, then society crumbles and corruption becomes the order of the day,” he said.
The former President disclosed that he was particularly worried that erroneous impressions were being created that he had his men within the current ministerial structure and hence had no reason to complain.
“Stories have been told about how my wife also has about six cronies with major appointments. Let me make it clear to you that we were not consulted on the majority of these appointments.
And even in situations where there have been any consultations at all, no effort has been made to give us feedback if counter opinion has prevailed,” he stated.
Explaining those Rawlings was referring to as usurpers, Alhaji Iddrisu Bature told Citi FM in Accra that the former President's targets were P.V. Obeng, Chairman of the Government Transition team, Kojo Tsikata, the Ahwoi brothers and Kwame Peprah, former Minister of Finance.
President Mills, it would be recalled, amused a delegation of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) he hosted at the Castle recently during which he expressed misgivings about what for him was an attempt by a group of people to run a parallel government in the country.
The innuendo-packed rhetoric prompted Ghanaians to make their own deductions since the President did not mention names.
Ex-President Rawlings said the slow pace administration of President Mills was acknowledged by a large number of NDC kingpins at yesterday's meeting.
Party Founder Rawlings was not charitable to President Mills' aides and others in his company, describing them as taking undue advantage of his sluggishness.President Mills had earlier cautioned government officials not to take his humility and respect for rule of law as a shortcoming.
As to ex-President Rawlings' position on the appointments made so far by President Mills, he had this to say: “There is quite a bit of mediocrity. I think the party is aware of the problems and the party must make sure its voice is heard.
They have got to be a lot more assertive. They have got to remind people who've been elected that they are not independent candidates. They were elected on the platform of the party.
“We should not be seen to be behaving as if we were elected on our individual merits. We were elected on a party platform because of a certain campaign agenda central to the party's ideals.
If we do not consult and act as if we owe no responsibility to the people of this country and the rest of the party structure, then we will be killing the party.”
Ex-President Rawlings' first open attack on President Mills was when he descended on the First Gentleman for retaining certain personalities from the previous administration in office.
This was greeted with the immediate retirement of the Chief of Defence Staff and Inspector General of Police among others.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama however fended off the fractious remarks of the founder, suggesting that there were no cracks in the party.
“Every political party has divergent opinions,” he said, explaining that the way these were managed, would make or break such a political grouping.
He said he was not going to be drawn into reacting to the personal outbursts of individuals, which was certainly a reference to former President Rawlings' abrasive remarks.
“I wouldn't say at this time that we have cracks but have different shades of opinions and there are all kinds of power centres that need to be managed in terms of going forward,” he told Citi FM.
Subtly asserting that these would not affect the fortunes of the party, he added that the NDC would win the 2012 elections.
Key party personalities including Clend Sowu, former MP for Anlo, reportedly poured their hearts out about how the party they fought to get to power was marginalizing them in terms of appointments and the like.
Sowu said the basis of the acrimonious relationship between President Mills and Rawlings was the rejection of a report submitted on forging a harmonious relationship between the two party gurus, which he authored.
Party Chairman Kwabena Adjei had even before the NEC meeting complained about the overwhelming influence of P.V. Obeng in the government, a development he found unseemly.
Just last Friday, the National Security Advisor to the President, Brig Nunoo-Mensah (rtd) fretted over his frustrations, as his proposals for key security appointments had been shot down on the grounds of politics.
He added that the military had been desecrated with the introduction of partisan politics.
By A.R. Gomda