National Democratic Congress’s General Mosquito, lately drawing the ire of former President Jerry John Rawlings, has shot himself in the foot. In the process, however, General Mosquito has dawn the fury as well of the NDC’s Council of Elders for arming enemies of the NDC, particularly the opposition New Patriotic Party, for comments he made about flaws and gaping holes in the party’s constitution in his recent interview with Africawatch.
In doing that, he has not only done huge damage to the party but emboldened Jerry John Rawlings in his moves to engage JEA Mills in a perpetual war of attrition.
The bombshell, published in the April edition of the magazine, by General Mosquito’s logic and argument, exposed the NDC as a weak party leaning on the political props of Jerry John Rawlings to sustain power, whilst lauding their opponents, the NPP, as a more stable and virile party in terms of its structures.
When the question was posed regarding what the NDC was doing this election to smother the flames of conflict existing between the President, who is also the NDC flag bearer and Founder Jerry John Rawlings, Asiedu Nketia, the NDC’s General Secretary, in his attempt to use the platform provided him by the newsmagazine to hush-hush or justify the current situation in the NDC, lamented: “there is some difficulty about the NDC situation, where we have a living founder and our party’s constitution recognizes his office. Now, when you go to the sections that deal with the council of elders, he is named as the only permanent member in the constitution, but it does not leave it there: it goes ahead to recognize him as the permanent chairman of the council. So you have other members on the council of elders who have at one point or the other served under him when he was president.”
Reports reaching DAYBREAK incite that the remark has created more storms for the party than General Mosquito expected, particularly because the Council of Elders, led by ailing Harry Sawyer and Mrs. Mary Grant felt it was time to heal the party and the feud between the Founder on the one hand and JEA Mills: and Mrs. Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and the NDC over the last arm-twisting flag-bearer Congress and recently the ownership of The Umbrella.
Constitutional experts have intimated that the statement alone exposes the NDC and its Constitution and provides leverage and sufficient grounds for Jerry John Rawlings to keep demanding his pound of flesh in his dealings with the NDC. Already, NDC stalwarts argue, the courts have found it difficult pinning down his scribe when the case for his suspension went to the bar of justice. Traditional rulers, too, from the Volta Region, home of the ruling administration’s largest electoral basket, are doing diplomatic shuttles to get the Founder and President sit and talk over wine in the interest of the NDC.
According to NDC insiders, why therefore the General Secretary did not therefore see through the interviewer’s mischief is worrying; and for him to blame the NDC constitution, they figured, was exposing the strength of the NDC as a party. What the Fante Caucus, especially felt was that the General Secretary should have used diplomacy in replying the Africawatch, rather than getting into constitutional matters which was not the topic of discussion.
Again the statement about the NPP’s constitution, which Asiedu Nketia unintentionally lauded, did not go down well with the party’s leadership because in saying “when you go to NPP, for instance, their council of elders is not necessarily participating in frontline politics. So when there is a contest, they have the moral courage to call everybody around and say this is what we have decided and that is the best way to go and they whip everybody into line” has been taken serious, and the party hawks-apart from the Castle-is considering how to deal with the political damage internally and externally.
Find below excerpts of the statement:
Q: This being an election year, is the NDC leadership taking any steps to end the feud between President Mills and the Rawlingses?
A: We are doing whatever is within our power to do, but what makes our effort difficult is the structure of the party’s constitution. For instance, each of the parties in Ghana-including the NDC- has a council of elders. But when you go to NPP, for instance, their council of elders is not necessarily participating in frontline politics. So when there is a contest, they have the moral courage to call everybody around and say this is what we have decided and that is the best way to go and they whip everybody into line.
There is some difficulty about the NDC situation, where we have a living founder and our party’s constitution recognizes his office. Now, when you go to the sections that deal with the council of elders, he is named as the only permanent member in the constitution, but it does not leave it there: it goes ahead to recognize him as the permanent chairman of the council. So you have other members on the council of elders who have at one point or the other served under him when he was president.
It is the function of the council of elders to settle disputes among the various factions within the party, so if you have a situation where the chairman of the council of elders is involved in the dispute, then it becomes very difficult to deal with it in the ordinary way that other councils of elders in other parties would have dealt with it. And it becomes much more difficult for the national executives committee to approach, because there is a council of elders to which we all defer in matters like this. But now that the issue is about the chairman of the council of elders, who else has the power to deal with it?
So in this situation we cannot use the party’s structures because of this special difficulty we have. But we are doing our best in the circumstances to get this normalized.