Politics of Monday, 23 January 2017
Former President Jerry John Rawlings, as founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), needed to make sure the party survived, but “whether he has played that role effectively, he has a conscience, and I’ll leave it for his own conscience”, the Director of Elections of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu- Ampofo, has said.
He made the comment when host of Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show, Moro Awudu, asked him about how members of the NDC “should treat” Mr Rawlings following the party’s defeat in the 2016 elections, especially in the face of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s show of appreciation to the former president during his victory speech.
In that speech, Mr Akufo-Addo, then president-elect, said: “To the senior citizens of our country who have given me invaluable advice over the years, amongst them, the former President of the Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Kofi Annan, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, the former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. J.B. Danquah, the Chairman of the NPP’s National Council of Elders, the veteran statesman, C.K. Tedam, and Captain Kojo Tsikata, erstwhile PNDC member responsible for National Security, I thank you for your counsel and for sharing your wisdom with me, and hope I can continue to count on you during the challenging period ahead of me.”
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said: “I don’t know the motivation and what has taken place between the two of them [Mr Akufo-Addo and Mr Rawlings] but I feel strongly that President Rawlings is the founder of the NDC and has a lot of responsibility to ensure that the NDC survives and keeps on surviving.”
Following the NDC’s defeat, Mr Rawlings, at the 35th anniversary ceremony of the 31 December 1981 revolution, said the party must carry out some “introspection” and identify the factors for its loss instead of pointing an accusing finger at him for its electoral misfortune.
He said the party leadership, by losing the “moral high ground”, with its “crass display of wealth” had betrayed and left a “very gaping gap” between itself and the grassroots, occasioning its defeat in the elections won by the opposition NPP.
Mr Rawlings, who founded the NDC in 1992 following Ghana’s return to democratic rule and led the party to win two successive elections afterwards, was speaking at the Revolutionary Square in Accra.
The former military man had stayed away from the NDC’s campaign for the last two elections while his wife broke away from the party four years ago to form her own party.
He said: “…Rather than facing the obvious truth about why we lost, Rawlings once again has to be made the scapegoat of their failures. I believe this time around our people have seen through it and we will embark on the right steps to regain our moral high ground, the moral high ground that we abandoned and on which the new leader is now standing. Think about it,” he said.
According to him, the party would be better served in the aftermath of the outcome of the 2016 polls to do some “careful introspection and openly show remorse for the betrayal of the people’s trust”, lest it would not “recover in time for the next election”, adding: “This is the time to pre-eminently speak the whole truth frankly and courageously.”