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Apr 4, 2009 | Political

How NDC dumped Rawlings ... an insider acount

How NDC dumped Rawlings    ... an insider acount

Events in the recent past and currently unfolding appear to confirm what many in the NDC are reluctantly getting to terms with: Jerry John Rawlings's wings have been effectively clipped as far as the current breed of power blocs and brokers in the party he founded in 1992 are concerned.

Though Rawlings had all along suspected such a plot, anger at the failure of his men from the Volta Region had made him stick inextricably to the Fante Caucus for moral and political 

 In his view, these were more trustworthy than his own kith and kin, who in spite of clout that they had wielded since 1981, failed to make the party credible in the Volta Region by investing back home.

It is a fact that apart from Tsatsu Tsikata, who was a distant cousin, Rawlings did not trust any of the senior citizens in the party who hailed from the Region.

That was evident in his choice of Totobi Quakyi as National Security Adviser in his second term as replacement for Kojo Tsikata, touted as the man who sealed the 2008 NDC victory.

That lack of trust produced John Evans Atta Mills, who popped onto the scene as successor to Rawlings, following a search directed by Rawlings in the late '90s for a man from academia to succeed him.

Rawlings"s unorthodox strategies for fighting internal corruption at the time also led to self-defence mechanisms by the power blocs to contain him.

The self-righteous style of governance of the regime made it difficult for political appointees to improve their economic lives. A way had to be found out ultimately to clip Rawlings' wings.

The years 1992-96 was turbulent for the party. In spite of a seeming case of national stability and fool-proof party cohesion, power struggle in the party had heightened - in the wake of Tsatsu Tsikata's 'exploits' at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, which senior technocrats in the party and former Finance Minister Kwesi Botchwey's outfit has expressed concern.

The World Bank, which came in late to support the regime's economic reconstruction efforts itself had expressed worry about expenditures at GNPC in various correspondences.

The absence also of a vibrant media created loopholes that smart people in Government took advantage of to milk the State.

The saga of levies on cement, the $2.5bn loan, the subject of an ongoing legal tussle, raised by the Black American community in USA, which allegedly failed to land in the vaults of Chase Manhattan and non-transparent divestitures, including La Palm Royal, resulted in deep-seated internal strife, with the rifts deepening among the competing blocs.

In that ensuing dog-eat-dog environment, influence and power were key to surviving, or maintaining one's position.

Rawlings' decision to ignore the Volta power bloc, and rely on the boys from the Central Region provided the Fante Confederacy a firm ground to grab the opportunity that the trust of Rawlings elicited.

Mr. Rawlings was a practical man; not very interested in long, winding proposals, and for which reason his accusers say he gave Tsatsu Tsikata too much space

 The Fante Confederacy's credibility was enhanced by the huge role the Ahwoi brothers, Kwamena and Ato, Kwesi Botchwey and others played in designing the decentralisation and revenue mobilisation structures.

Rawlings hardly suspected any plot when he even heard that the search was not as wide enough as it should have been but that the Fante Confederacy had schemed to impose a candidate on Mills.

Rawlings was made to believe that Mills was Ga. He fell in step with the choice because of the trust and because he clearly did not want an Ewe succession.

With the power and influence that came the way of the Fante Confederacy also came the desire for more and more.After the Swedru Declaration, the cracks deepened, with the non-Fante PNDC Old Guards retreating and feeling more and more estranged.

"They're kicking me out of the party,” he would moan. By 2002, the full import of the plot had banged in the face of the Founder. Occasionally, he complained particularly to Obed, that he was being pushed out of the party.

At one time, Obed Asamoa told him that it was important to allow the structures to work, rather than him crafting strategies for the party. That, he explained, could be the reason for the seeming reluctance on the party to defer any issues to him.

Initially, he received minutes of proceedings by National Executive…Then a gradual exercise of ostracism; until Mills stopped visiting Rawlings or even calling him. By January 2008, a whole year had elapsed in which Mills, who had been anointed by Rawlings, had not met his Founder eyeball to eyeball.

It was when the KAMA Conference Centre running mate selection ceremony came off with the Founder locked outside that he realised that his fears were genuine. Even so, he decided to give the party and his Fante Confederacy friends the benefit of the doubt.

It was too late. The man, who had used force as a weapon to decide the way Ghana should go three different periods had fallen to the mind power of a small but powerful force from Fanteland - who are making abundant use of the friendly media to keep him in check – probably, forever.Rawlings is biding his time for 2012 – to prove who is in charge of the NDC.


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