Revealed: What Rawlings demanded during meeting with Volta Chiefs
5/18/2012 10:30:49 AM -
Information available to the New Statesman indicates that President John Evans Atta-Mills and his government have decided to campaign for a second term in office without eliciting the support of the man widely acclaimed to have ensured victory for the National Democratic Congress in the 2008 general elections.
The Mills-Mahama administration came to this conclusion after founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, had outlined four demands which have to be met before he agrees to join the party's campaign trail.
These demands were deemed unacceptable and 'unimplementable' by the Mills-Mahama administration, thus the decision to campaign without the Rawlingses in the run-up to the December polls.
The NDC founder's demands were made to Chiefs from the Volta Region who called on him on April 24, this year, in an attempt to resolve the divisions that have rocked the ruling party since 2009.
Mr Rawlings' first demand was the removal of the Ahwoi brothers, namely Ato Ahwoi, widely regarded as the de-facto Prime Minister of Ghana; Kwesi Ahwoi, the Minister of Food and Agriculture; and Kwamena Ahwoi, from the inner sanctum of the Mills administration.
According to sources close to the Rawlingses, the Ahwois form the integral core of persons he constantly refers to as the 'greedy bastards'.
Secondly, President Rawlings has asked that his 'double sweetheart', Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, be treated with respect as he considers the continuous maligning of her personality as a deliberate ploy by the Mills administration.
Rawlings cites the disgrace and embarrassment meted out to her at Cape Coast during her nationwide 'Thank you' tour she embarked on after the Sunyani congress, whilst outsiders view the refusal by the Mills administration to pay the GH¢5 million judgement debt owed Nana Konadu also as a bone of contention.
The third issue the NDC founder wants resolved is the apparent decision by President Mills to reward NDC members who have denigrated his personality and continuously rain insults on him, as a result of the divergent opinions he expresses about the government.
Last, but not least, was the demand for the Mills administration to return to the principles of probity, accountability and social justice, which according to Mr Rawlings, have been abandoned by President Mills after winning power in the 2008 elections.
The response to these four requests by the Mills-Mahama administration was swift and unequivocal: NO was the answer to all four demands made by the NDC founder. This response thus necessitated Tuesday's boom by Rawlings where he stated that 'for as long as they hold onto power and with some of our supporters persistently refusing to see the truth and what should have been done, then it becomes difficult to take back our party.'
The big issue for the NDC ahead of the December poll, therefore, has to do with campaigning. According to castle sources, the NDC is well aware of the fact that President Mills does not have the strength to undergo the rigours associated with this particular campaign.
The NDC recognises the growing popularity of Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP Presidential Candidate, in perceived NDC strongholds, mainly as a result of the nationwide listening campaign he embarked upon, coupled with his soaring popularity in NPP strongholds.
The NDC is also well aware that Vice President John Dramani Mahama will not be able to excite Ghanaians and most importantly the electorate on his own and have therefore proposed to create a major platform, akin to the Ferdinand Ayim Memorial lectures created for Dr Bawumia, where he can also show his competence in handling the Ghanaian economy.
Ordinarily, the NDC would have preferred to have a three pronged campaign, with Rawlings, John Mahama and President Mills, similar to the structure they had in 2008. But with former President Rawlings now out of the campaign loop, the NDC, according to Castle sources, 'does not know what to do.'
The NDC admits that drawing up a campaign strategy without President Rawlings will be an expensive one, and according to Castle sources, the Mills-Mahama administration intends to kick off its 2012 campaign in August, with a budget reported to be within the region of $100 million.
'Our biggest challenge is to paint the picture of the NDC being able to pull crowds to campaign rallies, therefore creating the impression that the party can pull crowds without the Rawlingses. This will hopefully create a buzz around which we can rally our grassroots supporters, especially within August and September,' a castle source told the New Statesman.
The pulling of crowds to NDC campaign rallies is to be done by bussing supporters to rally grounds, thus the need for a huge campaign budget of $100 million.