JJ to Quit NDC?
Former President Rawlings, who is also the Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has threatened to quit the party if President Mills and members of his administration do not sit up.
“If we do not wake up to correct the mistakes, I will not have anything to do with the party. I have died so many times for the party, been humiliated both locally and internationally. I cannot die for the greedy bastards who have wormed their way into government,” was how he put it, when he met constituency chairmen drawn from twenty-two constituencies in the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday.
Rawlings said he noted fundamental mistakes in the Mills’ administration right from the onset, but when he publicly pointed them out to ensure that matters did not escalate, nothing significant was done to improve the situation.
Instead, he noted that some of his own colleague-NDC members, tried to insinuate that he harbours presidential ambitions. “We have brought people into our midst who are unknown to the party, people we do not know,” he said.
He charged the rank and file of the party, especially the footsoldiers, “to wake up and take their destiny into their own hands. When we won, I thought I could retire and write my memoirs, but I am not being allowed to that. I have suffered humiliation, assassination attempts, and abuse, and now I am facing the same with my party’s government? We seem to be afraid to right the wrongs of the past, and now the criminals of the past government are emboldened, and many have entrenched themselves in the military and other sensitive institutions.”
The former President could not, but charge members of the party he formed, to demand accountability from Professor Mills and his NDC administration, since, according to him, “there is no point in complaining about unfulfilled promises without a courageous attempt to confront government.”
The constituency chairmen sought audience with the former President to express misgivings about the break in communication between the party and government. They were particularly concerned about the failure of the Presidency to accord them audience, despite repeated requests, and said it was dampening the mood in the party.
But Rawlings said he was well-aware of the discontentment among most of the party supporters, saying, “they think you constituency chairmen are comfortable. Unfortunately, you are also in the same situation as they are.”
Spokesman for the group and constituency chairman for La Dadekotopon, Magnus Anyetei Sowah, said the supporters had spent years working for the party to return to power, but unfortunately the synergy between government and party had totally broken down.
According to him, the Ga constituencies had played a yeoman’s role in returning the NDC into power, and therefore noted that it was unacceptable that they were being ignored in such a shabby manner.
He mentioned how some members of government have sought to silence them by threatening them not to speak publicly about their disenchantment or face their wrath.
Furthermore, Mr. Rawlings said it was unfortunate that issues of electoral fraud that nearly caused the NDC to lose last year’s election, have not been brought to the fore, even though there was enough evidence to expose it, asking rhetorically, “do we not understand politics?”
For this reason, the former President said it was important for members of the party to make wise decisions during the ongoing constituency and polling station elections, to ensure that only people who genuinely care for the people are elected, saying “we should not allow this party to be destroyed by any self-seeker.”
Earlier last Wednesday, a group of former parliamentary candidates, drawn from the Greater and Ashanti regions, also called on the former President to express similar sentiments of discontentment with the party’s failure to accord its faithful courtesies and audience.
Their spokesperson, Augustus Kweku Eshun, said the government and party leaders had failed to take stock of how victory was achieved, noting that some policies being currently implemented by the government were unpopular with the people, and could affect the fortunes of the NDC in 2012.
The candidates, who took turns to express their grievances, said they were disappointed that some of them were being tagged as pro-Rawlings, and thus against the Mills administration.
“During the campaign, we all saw how former President Rawlings campaigned vigorously across the country for President Mills. How can anyone in his right mind now question our closeness to him? Is he not the founder of the party?” one of them asked.
The group said the party’s structures had weakened, and it was imperative that the founder took steps to check the problems engulfing the party. Former President Rawlings, in response, noted that it was important that the former candidates stay faithful and loyal to the grassroots supporters, and not pursue individual agendas.
“If we are faithful and loyal to what the people are saying, we will go a long way. I have heard disgraceful things. If they want to destroy government, they should go ahead, but they should not transfer that to the party. If I was a selfish person, June 4 and 31st would not have happened. “Some of our people are intoxicated with power, and have forgotten about the people. The NDC that was born out of the quest for justice is being destroyed, so NPP will return.”
The former President said the only way to ensure that sanity prevailed, was for the party faithful to be bold and defy attempts by a few to hijack the party, and ignore the will of the people. “We need to be truthful, bold and courageous, and tell the government that the NDC needs to demonstrate that there is something better than what the NPP offered,” former President Rawlings said.