Mills At Sea •News Analysis
Prof John Evans Atta Mills is now torn between calling the bluff of the Rawlingses and toeing their line over his choice of a running mate.
Today should have been the day of reckoning for the former Vice President but for a last minute disclosure that the Prof will not make the fateful choice as thought. Instead, the news will tarry a while as a complex procedure, including meeting the party elders would precede the breaking of the news to anxious party supporters.
Prof Mills is facing one of the most challenging moments in his political career as all eyes transfix on him to see which way he would tilt.
This is the moment for him to put paid to the argument over whether he is his own man or depends on the decisions of his mentor, Mr. Jerry John Rawlings and his spouse.
In the ongoing confusion over who the Prof chooses as his running mate, a decision which rests with him as stipulated by the party's constitution, things appear to have fallen apart.
Prof Mills was naturally compelled to come up with the famous “I am my own man” in his attempts to parry the perception that his umbilical cord is still tied to the Rawlingses.
To choose Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu Mahama and please the Rawlingses or go for John Mahama and damn the consequences of displeasing his mentor's wife is what is at stake today.
The situation has been aggravated by Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings' daring of the former Vice President to go against her wish and choose somebody but Betty Mould Iddrisu.
This seeming ultimatum was worsened by the former First Lady's position that this time around the 2004 situation where the Prof was treated with kid's gloves would not be tolerated; She will have the opportunity to deal with the Prof if she still wields the superwoman stature of the pre-2001 days should he declare his independence.
These are not halcyon days for Prof Mills. From his health status, now it is whether he can choose his running mate independent of some interest groups.
Prof Mills has to as well satisfy his Fanti Confederacy elements, whose grip over him is also another factor he cannot avoid without some bruises.
Their position is poles apart from that of the Rawlingses and reflects the deep schism which has visited the NDC camp in recent times.
It appears that the running mate issue is very central to the electoral fortunes of the Prof, having failed in previous polls to garner the necessary numbers to give power to the NDC.
In 2000 he picked Mr. Martin Hamidu but the choice did not translate into an electoral triumph.
Perhaps this negative development informed his decision to look elsewhere. At a meeting in Mr. Eddie Annan's residence, he was entreated to pick Hon John Mahama, but a vacillating Mills went for Mohammed Mumuni, but here too, the necessary dividend did not come.
In 2004 Prof Mills still wandering in the political wilderness met with Baba Kamara, a businessman who served as Deputy Treasurer of the party and made him an offer of running mate.
When arrangements changed, such was not communicated to Baba Kamara and he sat in limbo until it became glaring that he had been dumped by an unstable Prof Mills.
Perhaps the Prof's decision was in conformity with the dictates of the Fanti Confederacy not to look that way.
The Rawlingses are said to be uncomfortable with the influence of the Fanti Confederacy elements over their man. The arrowhead of the confederacy is boasting of making a president in Ghana, ala Mills.
Political observers have wondered whether the problem is about the flagbearer or the running mate, as the latter appears to be taking centre stage in the ongoing imbroglio.
The flagbearer himself said he was looking for that personality who would garner more votes to his kitty in the forthcoming election, a disclosure which underscores his reliance on what change the choice can bring onboard.
Even though the three northern regions were consistent with their support for the NDC in the past and recent elections, the same cannot go for the home base of the presidential candidate - Western and Central regions - where Prof Mills performed abysmally.
With the former First Lady being challenged to descend from what some NDC elements describe as her superwoman level, perhaps Prof Mills has been primed for a stand-off with “she who must be obeyed.”
By A.R. Gomda