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General News Thu, 13 May 2004

Rawlings Swerved ...

Botchwey Recruited Into Mills? Camp

Investigations revealed that the campaign team of Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Presidential Candidate, has drafted a former finance minister in the (P)NDC regimes, Dr Paa Kwesi Botchwey, into the team, in order to bring vibrancy into the Mills-for-President campaign.

Dr Botchwey is currently a professor at Harvard University in Boston, USA. This is aimed at putting the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in shape to wrest power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), come December 7, 2004. To begin with, Dr Botchwey who packed bag and baggage for the US moments after he had lost the party?s presidential primaries, to Prof. Mills at the party?s congress in December 2002, has been tasked to help the Mills? campaign.

Newsmen learnt that Dr Botchwey was prevailed upon to assist the Mills, team, because he is a forceful speaker, a man given to oratorical skills, and someone who could stand toe-to-toe to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling party. Confirming these on Wednesday, a source close to the Mills campaign team told newsmen that Dr Botchwey?s assignment, would kick-start today, Wednesday, May 13, 2004, in the Central Region. The source stated that Dr Botchwey is expected to ride into the bushes and shores of the Central Region to launch a major and brisk political assault on NPP in the region.

Incidentally, both Atta Mills and Botchwey hail from the region. While Botchwey comes from Swedru Asafo, Mills hails from Ekumfi. The source intimated that NDC is so bent on winning back those lost seats to NPP in the 2000 general elections that, it has decided not to give NPP any chance, this time round.

The source hinted that NDC is determined to capture all the constituencies in the Central Region, in full, come December. The sources indicated further that the party has evolved a strategy calculated to ruffle NPP and give them a good run for their money. During the run-up to the NDC congress in 2002, relationship between the two, Prof. Mills and Dr Botchwey, were marred by differences between their main backers in the persons of the party?s founder, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, and Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, the chairman.

Dr Asamoah openly backed Dr Kwesi Botchwey, and publicly canvassed for votes for the former finance minister, in his speech at the congress to elect one of the two candidates as presidential candidate of the party.

On the other hand, former president Rawlings also made it clear that he had given his support to Prof Mills, and urged delegates to vote for his support to Prof. Mills, and urged delegates to vote for his former vice-president. At the end of it all, Prof Mills won with vote?s difference of over one thousand. The Former Finance Minister also served notice that he would invite former party members like Mr P.V. Obeng, and Capt. Kojo Tsikata (Rtd) back to re-vamp the party, and let it look more democratic. However, these were sharply opposed by the hard-liners in NDC, particularly those who thought that as founder, Flt. Lt. Rawlings, had to play an active role in the day-to-day running of the affairs of the party.

The source noted that: ?a lot of water has passed under the bridge, our sole determination is to grab the crown from President John Agyekum Kufour and his NPP, and we are succeeding.?

Source: _