It has emerged that former President Jerry John Rawlings did not attend the conference of former metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) who served under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
According to a source, he did not want to share a platform with immediate past President John Dramani Mahama.
We have been informed that the whole programme, organized by the former MMDCEs, appeared to have been sponsored by the camp of former President Mahama as part of his so-called ‘unity walk’ strategy; and as a result, Mr. Rawlings – founder of the NDC – was not fully convinced about the motive and so was being ‘tactful’ in the scheme of things.
Although the opposition party is yet to open nominations for presidential hopefuls towards the 2020 elections, Mr. Mahama – who sent the NDC crashing out of power in 2016 – has hit the ground running with his ‘unity walk’strategy.
He said he is yet to declare whether he will become the NDC flagbearer and give the presidency a third shot, but his fiery speeches were reminiscent of a candidate in a campaign mood.
Our sources revealed that the ex-president is expected to announce his candidature in the last lap of the ‘unity walk,’ which has been described as ‘Mahama walk’ in the Volta Region.
Mr. Rawlings was invited to speak at a ‘solidarity meeting’at Mensvic Hotel in Accra last Saturday, but sources say he allegedly refused to show up and rather asked one of his longtime NDC allies, Samuel Nuamah-Donkor, to represent him.
“In an apparent show of indifference, Mr. Rawlings, who was initially prepared to attend the event, refused to step at the venue of the meeting after being informed that Mr. Mahama was attending,” the source claimed. It added, “He (Rawlings) subsequently reluctantly nominated Mr. Samuel Nuamah Donkor to read a speech on his behalf after he was prevailed upon by his handlers.”
Mr Rawlings similarly ignored Mr. Mahama at the first State of the Nation Address delivered by President Akufo-Addo in Parliament, and only offered a cold handshake at the commemoration of the silver jubilee of the 4thRepublic at the Black Star Square in Accra.
The source indicated that it appeared the party’s founder had not forgiven Mr. Mahama and some of his henchmen for the apparent trashy treatment they meted out to him and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, during Mahama’s presidency.
President Rawlings has not hidden his intention to call for a new direction for the NDC since he said the Mills/Mahama government lost the ‘moral high ground’ and accused them, especially, Mr. Mahama and his appointees, of being corrupt.
In 2016, he told the NDC at a congress that he was waiting to take the party back and re-organize it by January 2017, suggesting that he did not think the then ruling NDC was going to win the December 2016 general election, and it indeed happened.
In the speech read on his behalf at the MMDCEs’ conference, the NDC founder said, among other things that, even if the opposition NDC is keeping the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government on its toes, it is failing woefully to put its house in order ahead of the 2020 general election and beyond.
Mr. Rawlings said recent happenings in the NDC were showing that the party he founded is heavily divided and until they resolve their differences, they can’t win power.
According to him, the party is not unified, not in touch with the grassroots and did not inspire confidence in the electorate during the run-up to the last election and called on the party to re-embrace its core values of truth, integrity, probity and accountability.
By William Yaw Owusu