Former President and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, has dismissed assertions that there exists a rift between him and Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the flagbearer of the party, over the choice of a running mate.
A source at the office of the ex-President told The Chronicle that Mr. Rawlings had no role to play as far as choosing of a running mate was concerned.
“There is nothing like a rift between them. The paper that carried the story was being mischievous, trying to create something out of nothing. Rawlings has no role to play. Prof. Mills knows when and who to select,” the source said.
The source further stated that the perception of a rift should be treated with all the contempt that it deserved, stressing that Prof. Mills was not just anybody that could be pushed around.
“He is a man of intelligence, dignity, respect and has control over the affairs not only of the NDC but also of state.” But close at the heels of the Rawlings' denial is the unconfirmed news that his alleged preferred candidate, Mr. John Mahama, communications director of the party, has been given the nod after all and would soon be officially introduced.
The latest development has also defeated the argument for the selection of a Northerner-Moslem as the man to partner Prof. Mills.
In a chat with The Chronicle some members of the campaign team of the flagbearer stated that the Statesman newspaper that reported about a rift between the founder and leader must have got wind of the choice and knew for a fact that the named person had the capacity to bring the NDC back to power.
“Do you know what they are after? Let me tell you, these people are trying to put the NDC in a fix so that if at the end John Mahama was given the nod, then they would claim that the former President put pressure on Prof. Mills to select him to prove that he is not of himself,” said a Mills' aide.
“They are afraid and just wanted to bring confusion into the party, but I can assure you that, this year, with John Mahama in the boat, the NPP will lose abysmally.”
When the paper pushed the source about the name of Mr. Baba Kamara, described by the Stateman as Mills' choice, he said, “A lot has been said about the man. He is very good by all standards but since the Prof. is the one who has the prerogative, in consultation with the council of elders, to nominate a running mate, I don't think that if Mr. Kamara is dropped from the list, it would affect the fortunes of the party.”
Other names that were initially making the rounds were Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, NDC ranking member for Constitutional and Legal affairs and MP for Kumbungu, and Mr. Kamara, ex-national deputy treasurer of the party.
The Statesman newspaper published that there was a rift between the flagbearer and the founder over the choice of running mate.
According to the paper, the ex-President was rooting for Mahama while Prof. Mills favoured Kamara.
Prof. Mills himself has also dismissed as mere speculations any crevice between him and the founder.
He has also denied that he had made up his mind about a running mate, saying that he was for now concentrating on campaign strategies.
In an earlier interview Prof. Mills indicated to The Chronicle that at the appointed time, he would come out with the name of his partner.