By Margaret Jackson May 20, 2012
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has battled so many forces since it won the 2008 elections. Apart from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which is hell bent on wrestling political power from the NDC through whatever means, the NDC has also been on the receiving end from its own founder, Papa Jerry Rawlings, who has heavily and relentlessly criticized the Mills administration at any given turn or opportunity. Therefore, with about six months for the December 7 elections, there is some apprehension in certain quarters of the NDC concerning the chances of the party.
One of the biggest dilemmas facing the NDC today involves Papa Rawlings. Whilst there is a school of thought that the NDC cannot win the elections without Papa Rawlings being on the campaign trail, there are others who also think the NDC can thrive without him. I personally was one of those who voiced out my concerns about the supposed ‘beef’ between President Mills and Papa Rawlings and urged the NDC gurus to try and mediate between the two heavyweights by ‘using’ Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings since she is the only one who can talk things over with Papa Rawlings.
But recent events and pronouncements have made me change my mind on the call for well-meaning NDC gurus to mediate between President Mills and Papa Rawlings. You would recall the events leading to the suspension of NDC Deputy General Secretary, Kofi Adams. He was caught on a recorded telephone conversation scheming with Gabby Otchere-Darko on how he would work to ensure President Mills’ defeat in the December elections. The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC met over the issue and immediately suspended Kofi Adams to allow investigations to go on unimpeded. It was reported that Papa Rawlings and Nana Konadu were at the NEC meeting but had to leave to attend to other pressing needs.
Days after the suspension of Kofi Adams, who is the spokesperson of the Rawlingses, Papa Rawlings issued a statement condemning it. In that statement, Papa Rawlings lambasted the NDC leadership by stating that, “"They have lost so much moral high ground and now one of the most truthful, forceful, logically minded personalities of integrity in the party leadership is being treated like an outcast to serve a parochial and unpatriotic interest.” Papa Rawlings also accused President Mills’ government of fast speeding Ghana into an abyss, and urged Ghanaians to seek God’s guidance in honest, unpretentious prayer of supplication since the nation needs real and true awakening.
One would have thought that if Papa Rawlings has any misgivings on the suspension; he would have used the NDC’s proper channel of communication to express his thoughts rather than issuing a public statement to condemn it. On one begrudges Papa Rawlings; he is free to say or do anything he wants. But when it comes to party issues, I think there are other ways to do things. Every party has a way of addressing grievances or issues. Papa Rawlings should therefore, not regard the NDC party as his little gallery whereby he can stand up and lash at the party and its leadership any time he feels like doing so. Even though Rawlings is the founder of NDC, the NDC party is much bigger than him. The party comes first and not him!
Just look at the way Rawlings unloaded on the NDC leadership on May 15 during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the 31st December Women’s Movement by calling on the NDC leadership as traitors. And whilst he referred to the NPP as enemies Rawlings cunningly called for the removal of the NDC from power since according to him he cannot fight the traitors and enemies at the same time. The NDC family which stood by Nana Konadu when she was almost jailed by the NPP folks is now regarded as a family full of traitors. Wonders shall never end!
And we should expect more accusations and lambasting on June 4 when Rawlings celebrates the 33rd anniversary of the June 4 Movement. Since the constant attacks on the NDC leadership by Rawlings does not seem to have a tail end, it is making many NDC party faithful highly uncomfortable going into the 2012 elections.
The 2012 election is NDC’s to lose it, since the party has everything going for it. The party has done everything in terms of its solid economic and ground breaking achievements to win it hands down. The party only has to highlight those achievements to draw the attention of voters. The NPP folks are very much aware of this, which is why they always love it when Rawlings lambasts the government. Much as the NDC faithful would have loved that Rawlings joins the campaign trail, judging from the current political barometer, it looks like the NDC would have to adopt a 2012 campaign strategy without Rawlings. That should be the party’s “Plan A’ strategy. It is hard but that seems to be the gospel truth.
They say time like tide waits for no one. Therefore, with less than six months to go the NDC should not waste its time in trying to bring Rawlings on board the campaign trail. The party should rather work hard to eschew apathy which has affected some rank and file of the party. Since Rawlings is highly unpredictable, the party should rather gear its efforts in whipping up the enthusiasm of its members. Like I said in one of my articles, the 2012 elections would be won by any party that gets most of its members to the polling stations to vote.
There is one thing that many NDC members may not have taken into account or considered. Rawlings has insulted President Mills since four months into his presidency. He has used so many foul-tasting words on the president, which has been captured on tapes by the NPP. Therefore, what ammunition do you think the NDC would be giving to the NPP if they should see President Mills and Rawlings on the same political platform? If Rawlings should mount the same political platform with President Mills today, what is he going to say about President Mills? If even Rawlings says something good about President Mills, would it be hypocritical or genuine?
At this point, it seems Rawlings has crossed the Rubicon. He is the only known NDC capo who has lashed at the government repeatedly; therefore, it would be in the best interest of the NDC to go without Rawlings during the campaigns because all the nasty things that Rawlings has said about President Mills’ government would be used by the NPP against the NDC.
If Rawlings eventually decides to join the campaign which is highly doubtful at this time, what he would say to undo the nasty things he had said should be his own chitchat or headache. But my strongest believe at this point is, NDC should have a “Plan A” campaign strategy. And that strategy should exclude Rawlings from the 2012 campaigns! And I strongly believe that if the NDC campaigns well by selling its own brand and achievements it will coast to victory. The NDC family can win without Rawlings; therefore, they have to go without him.