Mills Now Brick Wall: Angry NDC Chairmen Say
They claimed that the Presidency had failed to liaise with the foot soldiers who worked hard to win the 2008 elections for the NDC and this was causing great discontent among the rank and file of the party.
According to them, a brick wall has been erected around the President, thereby preventing them from having any contact with him. “After the election, they barricaded themselves and forgot about us,” they told the party leadership in Parliament.
This was the general consensus among 23 out of the 27 constituency chairmen of the party in the region who held a three-hour marathon meeting with the Majority caucus in Parliament, led by Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin and Chief Whip Enoch Teye Mensah.
They were led by the constituency chairman for La Dade Kotopon, Magnus Anyetei Sowah. According to the chairmen, efforts at channelling their concerns had been rebuffed at both party level and at the Castle.
Several attempts to see the party’s National Chairman, General Secretary or the President had all met with brick-walls with explanations that the three personalities were not readily available.
“At the presidency, we have been told that when the President is ready we will be called but that call has not been forthcoming months after our meeting requests were submitted.”
According to the chairmen, they had been yearning to meet the President and the party leadership to inform them about the feeling on the ground, but aside the Founder, former President Rawlings, there had been deliberate attempts to sideline them.
The chairmen said aside the lack of consultation with them, it was disturbing that the Mills Administration did not deem it fit to appoint any of the 27 constituency chairmen or executive members to any position in government.
“None of us was appointed a Minister, head of public institution or board. Ironically, it is people who retired from active politics after the 2000 loss and others who openly flirted with the New Patriotic Party that are today around the President.
Constituency chairmen, executives and members who fought day and night with the President to clinch victory have been totally forgotten,” they said. According to the group, the 2008 elections was a make-or-break one, and several of their members sacrificed their jobs, property and time to make victory certain; but they had all been completely ignored since President Mills took power.
The constituency chairmen also accused some of the MPs from the Majority side of deserting the party at the constituency level since they won their seats and asked the leadership to call them to order.
“Two of our colleagues lost their jobs during the NPP era for being openly NDC, but no effort has been made to look into their cases and these people are out of work and unable to cater for themselves.
“There is also the sad story of a constituency chairman whose properties were totally burnt at Gushiegu but no efforts have been made to assist him, and now he is destitute and living in a shack.
We need a party that really cares for its people. This does not augur well for party cohesion, unity and development,” they cautioned. Bagbin and E. T. Mensah expressed gratitude to the constituency chairmen for bringing forward their grievances, assuring them that their concerns would be relayed to President Mills and if possible, a meeting arranged with the President for those concerns to be discussed in detail.
It would be recalled that the constituency chairman had earlier met former President Rawlings to express misgivings about the break in communication between the party and government. Anyetei Sowah said the Ga constituencies had played a yeoman’s role in returning the NDC to power and they found it unacceptable that they were being ignored in such a shabby manner.
He mentioned how some members of government had threatened them not to speak publicly about their disenchantment or face their wrath. Former President Rawlings said he noted fundamental mistakes right from the onset of the Mills Administration and publicly pointed them out to ensure that matters did not escalate but unfortunately nothing had been done about it and rather some persons had been trying to insinuate that he harboured presidential ambitions.
“We have brought people into our midst who are unknown to the party, people we do not know. 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.
“Let us wake up and take our destiny into our own hands. When we won I thought I could retire and write my memoirs but I am not being allowed to. I have suffered humiliation, assassination attempts, and abuse and now I am facing the same with my party’s government?” Rawlings fumed.
Earlier last Thursday, a group of former Parliamentary candidates drawn from the Greater Accra 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.
The spokesperson for the group, Augustus Kweku Eshun, said the government and party leaders had failed to take stock of how the victory was achieved, noting that some policies being currently implemented were unpopular with the people and could affect the fortunes of the NDC in 2012.
“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,” Former President Rawlings noted.
“Some of our people are intoxicated with power and have forgotten about the people. The NDC that was borne out of the quest for justice is being destroyed so NPP will return?” he asked. 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.
Present at the meetings were Council of State member Emmanuel Adzei Annang and Nii Afotey Agbo, aka Lion, MP for Kpone Katamanso and Minister of State at the Castle, as well as former parliamentary candidates.