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17.10.2006 Politics

Rawlings Rejects Attah Mills

By chronicle
Rawlings Rejects Attah Mills
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Eddie Annan claims 25% of party founder's support
Spio's men commend ex-President's neutralitiy

After riding on the shoulders of party founder Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings to get the nod to lead the largest opposition party in two consecutive presidential elections without success, Prof. John Evans Attah Mills, former Vice president, has finally been dumped by his boss and political maker.

The Chronicle can report on authority that the ex-President and godfather of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is finally fed up with what he sees as his former deputy's 'timid' attitude, which is diametrically opposed to his, and has finally decided to deny Mills his support, preferring to remain glued to his uncommon promise of remaining neutral in the party's upcoming delegates congress in December.

Campaign managers of Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization (CTO), told The Chronicle in an interview last week that they were so far happy with the level of neutrality demonstrated by the ex-President in the ongoing race for the party's presidential ticket.

Spio-Garbrah, who declared his intention to run for the flagbearership less than a month ago but has so far posed a major threat to Prof. Mills whom he had served diligently in the two past presidential elections, is said to be attracting Mr. Rawlings' full support.

This follows his open attacks on the ruling government during the launch of his campaign and his subsequent meetings with party delegates.

Mr. Rawlings was also said to have been moved by Spio's explicit message to party delegates that he would not be cowed into accepting electoral results without complaints if he is not satisfied with the procedures for the declaration of such results, only to whine later as Prof. Mills had.

Former ally of the twice-defeated NDC presidential candidate and arguably the candidate with the biggest bankroll, Mr. Eddie Annan, also confirmed the ex-President's neutrality when he granted the paper an interview over the weekend.

Mr. Annan, a 61-year-old businessman, bosom friend of the former first family's and bankroller of Prof. Mills and the party, who is also contesting for the presidential ticket of the party, said he was sure of at least 25% of the party founder's support.

With Mr. Annan now in the race himself, the former Vice President is said to be experiencing some financial glitches even though his Press Secretary, Nii Lante Vandepuye, had indicated in a previous interview that the law professor had what it takes to run an effective campaign that would secure him victory at congress.

The genesis of Jerry Rawlings' disgruntlement with his former Vice, who had remained loyal to him in the eyes of political observers, dates back to the run-up to the 2000 elections during which the paper gathered from sources within the party that there had been some disagreement between the two over the choice of presidential running mate.

According to our sources, at the time, the party founder wanted Prof. Mills to run with Dr. Yao Obed Asamoah, the renegade former chairman of the NDC, but Prof. Mills was torn between kowtowing to the wishes of his boss and pressures from the Fante caucus within the party who opposed Dr. Asamoah's candidacy.

The Professor finally decided to settle on the less popular Martin Amidu, then Deputy Attorney-General and deputy Minister of Justice as his running mate. The decision of Prof. Mills to avoid Dr. Asamoah, according to party insiders did not only incur the displeasure of Mr. Rawlings, it also strained the relationship between the party founder and Dr. Asamoah, since it is alleged that the latter blamed the former of not prevailing on Mills to endorse him as the running mate.

Professor Mills is also said to have lost a bit more of affection from Mr. Rawlings when again he settled on Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni against his (Rawlings) preferred choice of Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi in the Northern Region, who is generally liked by people of all political shades.

But what is said to have broken the camel's back as far as the loss of affection for Prof. Mills is concerned was his decision to keep mute over the 2004 presidential results, which, in the estimation of the NDC, was not a true reflection of the polls.

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