A lot has gone wrong for the NDC since they won power. The party has become more fractured in power than it was in opposition. We know who is in charge but we don’t exactly know who is in control. The centre is simply not holding.
The party’s so-called founder, Jerry Rawlings, has moved from barking to near-begging – just to maintain some relevance in the ruling party. The press statement he issued last week was as pathetic as it was unnecessary. After being ignored for close to two years by his protégé, President Atta Mills, you would have thought that he would get the message and walk quietly into his inner sanctum to watch, pray and hope that Mills fails so he could thump his chest and say “I told you so” to the whole nation. But Rawlings is nothing if not a fighter – all brawn, little brain. Or so I thought…
The guy is on to something. I can feel it. That press statement claiming that government and party functionaries have been going round the country discrediting him and his wife, seems to me to be part of a strategy to make his wife, Nana Konadu, the NDC’s presidential candidate for 2012.
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In that statement he makes it clear that he doesn’t like the way Atta Mills (or whoever is controlling the government machinery) is running the show.
“Do I have a problem with Atta Mills?” he asks and then answers: “yes, I do.”
You may not like Atta Mills but I think he deserves full applause for the manner he’s kept Rawlings way beyond the touchlines. If it were a football match at the Accra Sports Stadium, you could say that Atta Mills has successfully kept Rawlings, his political benefactor, confined to the upper rows of the Osu popular stand. Mills has proved those who thought he would be Rawlings’ puppet (or poodle) wrong and in so doing he’s got Rawlings pissed off – big time!
So if Rawlings has a problem with Atta Mills it has as much to do with his exclusion from the administration as his own stated reason for those differences – that is Mills’ “refusal to pursue the moral mandate of the people – to reinstate truth, transparency and most of all justice into the fabric and psyche of the nation.”
Whatever that means.
Rawlings’ idea of dealing with the problem and getting himself back in power is to foist his wife on the party.
“Let me remind all concerned that we won all our elections,” he says in the statement last week, apparently referring to the elections he won in 1992 and 1996 and Mills’ electoral defeats in 2000 and 2004.
“We” refers to Jerry John and Nana Konadu and it’s quite annoying the way he tries to make the point to create the impression that he went through some bruising electoral battles and came up tops. In 1992 I was a teenager but even then I knew that those elections were a sham. In 1996 I was almost out of my teens and I knew that the polls then were a little more competitive than they were in 1992 but even so, Rawlings won because Ghanaians didn’t want set a mad lion on themselves. In 2000 we just could not wait to see him out of power and he (and his party) were shown the exit in a grand style.
Rawlings appears to be under the illusion that he and wife make a winsome pair and that if he campaigned and helped Atta Mills to win in two rounds, he can help his wife to win without breaking sweat. It is this illusion that has sparked the campaign, mostly run from his hamlet in Tefle, to get Nana Konadu to run for the presidency in 2012. It doesn’t surprise me that just days after issuing that “we won all our elections” statement, our street corners are strewn with posters and banners proclaiming Nana Konadu as the best leader for Ghana after 2012.
As the next elections draw near, those in the NDC and in government who are not so drunk on power must know that the party is on very shaky grounds. They need to more than double up to ensure that they stay in power. Even if that happens, they may need to bring up a new candidate because, on the ground, a lot of Ghanaians are convinced that Atta Mills is not providing the purposive leadership this country needs. Let’s just say he’s doing his incompetent best.
Atta Mills needs a miracle, the sort that saw Jesus feeding 5000 people with five loaves of bread, to win a second term. Personally, I’ve almost written him off – and it’s ‘almost’ because I believe that miracles do happen. Rawlings knows that a lot of people within the NDC itself have lost confidence in Atta Mills and for that matter there may be a vacuum that would need to be filled. Since he needs a proxy to bring him back to power, and with Atta Mills having ‘betrayed’ him so, he can’t trust anyone better than his wife.
But the NDC would make a big mistake to put up Nana Konadu as their presidential candidate. They are better off putting up a John Mahama or a Spio-Garbrah. Even Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah has a better chance of winning a presidential contest for the NDC than that wife of Jerry John Rawlings. They know this fact but the NDC likes to make mistakes. It seems to be one of their major learning aids. I won’t therefore be surprised if by dint of some monumental mistake and a heavy dose of manipulation (which has already started) Rawlings manages to get his party to select his wife as their presidential candidate. The reason why the NDC doesn’t want to create an electoral college like the NPP has done is because the status quo affords the Rawlings loyalists one of the best opportunities to get his wife to run for the presidency.
At the party level Rawlings can do his worst. But I am sure he won’t get his way at the national level – even if he puts in place a rigging machinery like he did in 1992 and ’96. Ghanaians are wide awake and the same vigilance that made it impossible for the NPP to pump up the figures from Ashanti in 2008 will not allow the NDC (and Rawlings) to tinker with the polls in 2012. Otherwise, we are doomed. If Nana Konadu rules this country for just three days she would set us back by 30 years. That’s like taking us back to the 1980s when her husband was riding roughshod over us with iron fists that struck anyone who dared to speak out against him. She won’t be any better. Besides frying ‘gari’ what does she know about leadership and nation-building? She and her husband led us for almost 20 years and took us nowhere. So, Nana Konadu for president? No way! I’d rather choose Atta Mills and write him off again!