The frosty relationship and yawning communication gap between President John Evans Atta Mills and his ‘political godfather’ and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Jerry John Rawlings, appear to worsen and widen by the day.
Jerry Rawlings seems to have finally given up on President Mills. “To some extent, it is true (there is tension between Rawlings and Mills) because I keep telling him that he has surrounded himself with people who shouldn’t be there. He has surrounded himself with people who keep stabbing the party and some of us in the back.
I keep warning him that if he does not change, if he does not improve, he will be a one-term president. He is not listening now, and by the time he starts listening, I think it [will be] almost be too late. People are disillusioned with him and the people around him,” Mr. Rawlings told The Roots magazine in an interview, as quoted in the latest issue of Africawatch magazine.
Ex-President Rawlings does not care if his comments create unnecessary confusion as to who is in charge of the country: “They may or may not. But I will say it because I did not come [to this interview] for my party or my president, I came for a principle. And so long as you step aside or you don’t want to keep up with that principle, you will hear [from] me. I will talk.”
In its February 2011 issue titled, “Ghana: How 2012 is shaping up”, the magazine dissected the political terrain, focusing on the actions and inactions of both the NDC and NPP. It said Ex-President Rawlings “plucked” President Mills from “obscurity” as a tax commissioner into political stardom and campaigned vigorously for him to win the 2008 elections after two unsuccessful attempts; but upon assumption of office the law Professor wanted to be his own man.“It was a good idea but the process of getting himself out of Rawlings shadow was bungled by some of the President’s strategists who were more interested in protecting their own political space, and thereby sidelined and ignored Rawlings, making him a very angry and bitter man.”
Without Rawlings hitting the campaign trail for President Mills, it will be difficult for him to be re-elected, the magazine indicated, stating: “Most people like Rawlings because he speaks their language, even though he doesn’t live by it.”
In the magazine’s opinion, tension between Presidents Rawlings and Mills has become “Quite intense” and Mr. Rawlings does not hide it any longer and says the Ex-President’s fears are borne out of the fact that the actions needed to save the NDC from electoral defeat might come too late.
President Mills’s preferred posture, according to Africawatch, seems to be “a measured calmness” but Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, thinks “it is an issue that creates difficulties for us [the NDC] because it gives the impression of a party that is not united and solid, and that can affect our chances electorally.”“Though some of the concerns expressed by Rawlings may be genuine, the President’s men think that Rawlings’s open criticisms are not done in good faith. “They whisper that Rawlings’s wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman, will launch a challenge against Mills for the 2012 nomination at the party’s next congress, and that Rawlings is only trying to make Mills unpopular in order to give an undue advantage to his wife,” Africawatch posits.
It believes it would be a wise idea for Mrs. Rawlings not to challenge President Mills in an NDC primary because if she does she may not survive the fight but also believe that if Mrs. Rawlings contests the primary and loses, the “President’s candidacy will be weakened by Mr. Rawlings’ challenges.”
Another reality, according to Africawatch, that the NDC has to contend with is the President’s ailing health: “If he doesn’t get a good bill of health form his doctors, the president might not run for re-election. That possibility is very real and could be a nightmare for the NDC.
If the President decides not to run for reasons of poor health, Vice-President John Mahama, Foreign Affairs Minister Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Agriculture Minister Kwesi Ahwoi among others are likely to join the fray apart from Mrs. Rawlings.
Africawatch believes the Vice President “has dramatically stepped up his fundraising, expanded his political operation and is laying the groundwork for a possible run and will throw his hat in the ring at the appropriate time. He has a good personality but there are ethical and moral questions swirling around him.”
Source: Daily guide