Politics of Friday, 24 February 2017
Posters of former President Jerry John Rawlings have popped up announcing him as the preferred candidate to chair his own party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), so as to restore its values of integrity, probity and accountability.
It is not clear who are behind the posters, which come with a picture of Mr Rawlings, with the inscription: “Papa J for National Chairman. Probity and Accountability”.
The NDC lost the 7 December 2016 elections to the New Patriotic Party and its flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo. President John Mahama and the incumbent NDC at the time polled 44.40% while Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP won by 53.85% of valid votes cast.
Right after the NDC’s defeat, some party members including Greater Accra Regional Organiser Anthony Nukpenu blamed Mr Rawlings for the defeat. According to him, Mr Rawlings “did not just stay out of the campaign”, but also “did a lot of things which resulted in voter apathy in the Volta Region and other areas to ensure we lose the elections.”
Mr Nukpenu told Adom FM in an interview on 13 December 2016 that Mr Rawlings also “deliberately worked against the party in so many ways to undermine the integrity of the NDC and its flag bearer to make sure we were defeated at the polls.”
In his address on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the 31st December revolution, Mr Rawlings, who has always accused his own party and its leadership of losing the core values that endeared the NDC to the masses – a situation he blamed for the party’s defeat – said: “… Some handlers and manipulators, who have profited from our past two governments want to promote a lie about the reasons for our failures in order to perpetuate their hold on the NDC party.”
“I don’t think I was the only one who saw the writing on the wall. Many people from our very own party I believe, could see the writing on the wall that we were going to lose this past election. It was obvious a long time ago that we wouldn’t make it. Our general negativity, impunity, disrespect and corruption was taking us further and further downhill. About the time when most were living in the painful reality with stress and anger, that’s when some of us chose to be more impervious to reality. We had lost so much goodwill.
“I kept providing the warning whenever and wherever I could, and in public as well. But no, once again the uncouth and uncultured in our party and government chose to insult and disrespect some of us. The genuine and true founders and elders (warriors and youthful fighters) of what has transformed into the NDC were being disregarded and disrespected way back from 2008 after victory was delivered on a silver platter.
“With the passage of time a few too many selfish and greedy characters soon began to jump on board. There were some good people; very good people but leadership and the command structure did not empower them to override those who were destroying the party and the government. I have worked with good people all my life. I have worked with bad people all my life, some wicked, some with character defects but evil natured people must be kept away. Some of us, however, do not seem to have the cognitive intelligence to recognize their presence.
“All the while we were feeling smug and comfortable because we thought the hidden division in the main opposition’s leadership was going to work so well in our favour. How so wrong could we be? How could we have for one minute made the mistake of thinking that the disloyalty at the senior leadership level was going to percolate into the grassroots of the NPP.
“God’s given direction for leadership are the principles of integrity, probity and accountability. These principles are embedded in the collective conscience of the grassroots. There was a gaping disconnect between leadership and the masses as the latter was left disillusioned. To make matters worse the ordinary man felt even more insulted by the crass display of wealth by people who should have known better.
“If the masses knew about the detrimental effects of the greed and avarice perpetuated by some of our own people in leadership they would never forgive us. Examples abound all around us. You need not stretch your imagination at all. If we all don’t do some careful introspection and openly show remorse for the betrayal of the people’s trust we might not recover in time for the next election. The oppressive machinery will not desert us voluntarily. We need not shrink from honestly facing the conditions in our party and country today. This is the time to pre-eminently speak the whole truth, frankly and courageously.
“But 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 would embark on the right steps to regain our moral high ground. The moral high ground that we have abandoned and on which the new leader is now standing.
“Let me assert my firm belief that the intrinsic ability of the NDC to rejuvenate and recapture the moral high ground is in no doubt. But it lies with the silent majority who would have to rise up and activate processes that will cleanse us,” he noted.
The NDC has currently set up a committee chaired by Prof Kwesi Botchwey to do a post-mortem of the party’s loss as part of efforts to gather itself for the future.