Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, on Saturday stunned many party enthusiasts and participants attending the NDC’s delegates’ conference, with a one-sentence message when he was given time to address the delegates.
Rawlings, who is known for his strong-worded and passionate public addresses, gave a rather short address, to the disappointment of many.
Rawlings, who mounted the stage to a rousing welcome, was appreciative of the enthusiasm of the audience, but said he would have wished for the “spirit of the old days,” suggesting the period in which he actively served the party.
“I can imagine, how we would have wished for the spirit of the old days. Is it possible to bring it back? I hope so,” he said.
Delivering his key message to the audience, Rawlings said the party must begin to listen to itself, suggesting that the party must not ignore counsel from its members.
[bringing back the old spirit] can only happen if we cultivate the habit of listening to ourselves. I want to make an appeal, that we listen to ourselves,” he concluded.
The last time Rawlings commented on developments within the National Democratic Congress was when he delivered an address at the 39th-anniversary durbar to mark the June 4 uprising.
At that gathering, he said the NDC now resembled an older incarnation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“Our party has almost become a clone of what the other side used to be. Elitism and gross display of affluence have almost engulfed us and as I stated in 2017, we are still at the crossroads….Unfortunately, we have consistently distorted the history of June 4 and 31st December mainly for parochial reasons… a great deal of the distortion of facts concerning the history that eventually gave birth to our party the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has come from our own, from within,” he said.
Possible reasons for Mr. Rawlings’ brief message
Suggestions are that Mr. Rawlings may have an assignment elsewhere for which reason he had to make his speech short this time round, since he left the venue right after the speech.
Others are however of the view that it is an indication of the fact that his heart and mind have practically detached from the party, as a result of several events in the past, that led to his wife leaving the party ahead of election 2012, to lead a new party.
For this reason, some believe that he has lost his influence and interest in the NDC.
Some NDC members in the past also blamed Mr. Rawlings for the party’s defeat through his constant criticism, which they believe became an advantage for the NPP then in opposition.