Former president Jerry John Rawlings’ contributions to the formation, sustenance and the relevance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the nations’ contemporary politics can never be over emphasis.
Firstly, Jerry Rawlings it was, who led the NDC to its first electoral victory in the 1992 presidential and parliamentary polls. He again, led the party to win the elections four years later in 1996, which incidentally was his final tenure as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, a document he shepherded the nation to promulgate.
Since his exit from office in January 2001, Jerry Rawlings, who in 1998 was bestowed with the title of Founder of the NDC, has contributed immensely to ensure that the NDC survived as an opposition party for the 8-year period the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by former president Kufuor, was in power.
Mr. Rawlings has worked tirelessly, travelled the length and breadth of the country campaigning vigorously for the NDC which finally culminated in the party recapturing power in 2008 under the leadership of the late President John Atta Mills.
However, ever since the Mills administration was inducted into office on January 7th 2009, the ex-air force pilot and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings have never relented in breathing fire and brimstone on the neck of the young NDC government.
Indeed, for the nearly 44 months the NDC has been in office, the founder and his wife he prefers calling political soul-mate, have never on any occasion say anything positively to the NDC course. It is always either from one criticism or disparagement to outright vilification.
It wasn’t any wonder therefore when, for the first time in Ghana’s political history and may be in Africa too, Nana Konadu, last year fruitlessly challenged then sitting president Mills for the flag bearership of the party for the December 2012 elections, in the middle of his tenure in office.
President John Atta Mills, after all the verbal torment and assault suffered at the hands of the NDC founder, who is also the longest serving president Ghana has ever had, and his wife, Nana Konadu; finally succumbed to his maker on July 24th 2012.
With the sudden and untimely death of former president John Mills, many are those who are of the opinion that, his death would serve as a catalyst for the unity and forward march of the NDC.
No wonder when, for the first time in over a year Jerry Rawlings was publicly seen associating himself with the NDC at the just ended special delegate congress in Kumasi to endorse John Mahama as the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, the rank and file of the party gave him a rousing and tumultuous ovation.
However, instead of Mr. Rawlings ceasing the advantage of the inspiring moment and opportunity to demonstrate unconditional commitment to reconciliation and the attainment of peace and unity within the party, he rather chose to mount the moral high ground reproving everyone but himself, of iniquities and ethical turpitude.
In his speech at the congress which was laced with insinuation and euphemisms, Rawlings questioned why some people in the party and government must not be shown the exit if ‘unity’ is to return to the NDC.
“Mr. President, fellow Ghanaian it is said that we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater, but what do we do when some of the babies in the tub are babies with teeth, biting and spewing g invectives? Should they not be lowered out with the dirty water so we can concentrate on the good ones? After all one bad nut is all it takes to spoil the taste in your mouth.” He queried?
Adding: “When we find ourselves at a wooden bridge with some planks rotten, do we wait to get new planks before removing the rotten ones or do we remove the rotten ones immediately to prevent the potential loss of limbs and lives?”
By the logic of the above quote by the former president, if President John Mahama should heed to his call, to ‘toss-out’ the “babies with teeth and the rotten planks, won’t he be opening a new kind of worm in the part with just three month to go into the December critical elections?
The NDC founder also subtly lambasted the late former president John Evans Atta Mills when he challenged President John Mahama to cleanse the presidency and government if electoral victory in December should come his way:
“President John Mahama, today is your first hurdle towards being an elected President. Electoral victory will depend on a number of things – how quickly you can restore integrity to the Presidency, your government and to the party”.
The late president John Evans Atta Mills, whom the world paid glowing tribute to after his demise, has sacrificed his life so that NDC remains united and stronger, it is therefore regrettable and unfortunate for his former boss and NDC founder to use the opportunity afforded him to communicate with party faithful to reignite his personal grievance with the dead.
President Rawlings, by suggesting the presidency, prior to John Mahama’s ascension lacked integrity does not only amount to the denigration of the memory and legacy of the late president John Mills, but also an indirect indictment on president Mahama who served as Mills’ vice.
The NDC founder by his conduct at the Kumasi congress has indeed provided the opposition NPP with a potent campaign tool, and the NDC shouldn’t be surprise if they gleefully use it