THE FOUNDER of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, has dodged a lot of people, including his own party members who were sitting on thorns last Saturday at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra, thinking whether their founder would as usual unleash vitriolic attacks on the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The former President took the people by surprise by refusing to make utterances that would give more arsenals to the NPP to use against the NDC. Though he was not billed to speak according to the programme outlined at the launch of the NDC's party manifesto, Mr. Rawlings mounted the podium after Prof. John Evans Atta Mills had delivered his address, and held the hands of Prof. Mills and introduced him to the people.
As fear gripped party members who were then sitting on tenterhooks, knowing what the former President can do in terms of his extemporaneous utterances, were relieved when he rather delivered a short speech, where he noted that the NDC's manifesto was brilliant and that people need to be alive to witness the implementation of the policies of the party, and went ahead to extol the virtues of Prof. Mills, whom he described as a man of integrity and honesty.
Mr. Rawlings' brief remark was impregnated with philosophical sayings, stressing that the fight today was not between the Ashantis, Ewes, Gas and the Northerners, but rather a fight between the poor and the rich.
To him, for the manifesto to achieve its needed objective, the party needed to win the upcoming elections, which he was optimistic that they would. He noted that Prof. Mills would be able to solve the teething problems of the nation when given the mandate of the nation.
Prior to the ex-President's speech, he introduced some of the ex-military commanders under his regime. They were the ex-Security capos who were banned from entering military installations following his infamous meeting with them.
In the end, he asked Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah, the MP for Ningo Prampram, to lead a chorus to sing, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Immediately Prof. Mills took over the microphone from Mr. Rawlings, joy and excitement was written on the faces of leading party officials, including Members of Parliament to suggest that the founder had spared them the agony and trauma that they would have gone through, if a boom speech had been made.
Jerry John Rawlings electrified the venue when he appeared in the company of his wife, Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
The venue of the NDC manifesto launch was thrown into an electrifying mood when the leader and the flag bearer of the United Renaissance Party (URP), Mr. Charles Kofi Wayo arrived at the scene.
The applause was thunderous, when Mr. E.T. Mensah ushered the maverick politician into the venue of the function. The leader of Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Mr. Dan Lartey, followed Wayo's arrival.
The launch of the NDC's manifesto dubbed -”A Better Ghana” was well organized with all the speakers including the Minority Leader, Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Spokesperson on Communications, Hon. Lee Ocran, the chairman of the manifesto committee, Hon. Christiana Amoako-Nuamah, former Minister, Mrs. Betty Iddrisu Mould, the wife of the longest Defence Minister, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, John Dramani Mahama, the vice presidential candidate and Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the leader of the NDC among others, had a grasp on issues in the manifesto.
Minutes after the programme was over, the Communications Director of the NDC, Mad. Hannah S. Tetteh and the affable running mate to Prof. Mills, John Mahama, addressed the media and took them through some relevant points in their manifesto.
They answered various questions from the press and asked the media to call on them for further clarification if the need arises. Various cultural groups were in attendance to entertain the large members of the NDC that congregated at the Ghana Trade Fair Centre, in Accra.