Former President Jerry John Rawlings has incurred the displeasure of members of his own party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
It follows not only his vouching for the integrity and credibility of the flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, but his claim also that Ghanaians are yearning for a change of government in the November elections.
In a recent interview with The Guardian newspaper of Nigeria, Mr Rawlings, who is the founding father of the NDC, expressed concern about the deep-seated corruption in the current government and the frustration lots of Ghanaians were going through.
He therefore said, “They want to see a change for the better.
“A lot depends on the leader, his sensitivity, his will, his strength and determination, because the vast majority of the people are suffering from the decay,” he noted.
But these observations do not seem to have gone down well with some groups in the NDC, who are seething with rage, calling for Rawlings’ head.
Chief among them is the Social Democratic Forum (SDF) and the Friends of Atta Mills groups, who think the former president is working against incumbent President John Mahama’s re-election bid.
In a statement issued yesterday, spokespersons for the SDF, Manan Mustapha and Alhassan Issahaku, described Mr Rawlings as a tribalist and traitor, saying “Rawlings’ constant carping from the sidelines is the sign of a man in desperate straits.”
Aside that, they described him as “a yesterday’s man who has been reduced to irrelevance in national discourse, cutting a lonely, sad and desperate figure, one whose glory days of yore are a distant memory; a man who increasingly resorts to barbs and vitriol at the party he gave birth to and the man who now leads it.”
They noted, “In his latest desperate and shameful attention seeking grasp for relevance, he endorses Nana Akufo-Addo, citing what he perceives as the incorruptibility non-tribal agenda of the NPP presidential hopeful, it is treachery and disloyalty of the highest order.”
Since his departure from the highest office of president, the group claims “Rawlings has shown that his loyalty is only to himself and his ego because he has constantly criticised every NDC president, belittling them at every opportunity, and now in a new nadir, he seeks to curry favour with the enemy.”
According to Manan Mustapha and Alhassan Issahaku, “He seems to have a pathological dislike of Northerners. His constant unjustified criticism of President Mahama no doubt, stems from this animus” for which reason “it can thus be concluded that Rawlings is an incorrigible tribalist.”
They therefore asked rhetorically, “Was it not he who saddled us with a reputation for being an ‘Ewe party,’ a millstone that hangs around our necks that, to this day, we have not been able to shake off? Was it not he who, in office, surrounded himself with a cabal of advisors and ministers from his own ethnic group? Was it not he who cemented the NDC’s support base in the Volta Region to the exclusion of other regions?”
“Yet, Rawlings has the brass-neck to denounce tribalism, castigating our own people for stating facts whilst bestowing some sort of false halo above the head of Akufo-Addo,” the spokespersons charged.
“Lest we forget that Rawlings, during the Dagbon crisis, fanned the flames of ethnic discord in the North, claiming he had a tape that would shed light on the Yaa Na’s murder, a false claim that was not only self-serving but dangerous,” they recalled.
Whilst in office, the NDC boys said, “He used Northerners as cannon fodder on which he built his ambitions, discarding them when they were no longer of use.”
The group insisted, “Rawlings is a canker that is associated with our party’s name that must be expunged, describing him as “a liability who has lost his mind and the sooner we disassociate ourselves from this loose cannon, the better.”
In another statement, the Friends of Atta Mills (FAM) – also a splinter group in the NDC – also called for the immediate dismissal of Rawlings from the party.
They claimed that he is openly working to ensure the electoral defeat of the NDC in the impending presidential polls, hence it would be in the interest of the NDC to sack him.
According to FAM, Mr. Rawlings has been peddling falsehood about President Mahama and the NDC leadership aimed at weakening the strength of the party as the polls draw closer.
In a release authored by Gabriel Agah, acting National Coordinator of FAM, the group stated that Mr. Rawlings has on countless occasions worked against the NDC.
He particularly lambasted the former president for openly endorsing Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“He said Nana Akufo-Addo is not corrupt.”
Agah could not fathom why Mr. Rawlings, who claimed to be a true NDC member, could sing Nana Akufo-Addo’s praises, with the crucial 2016 polls some few months away.
He said Mr. Rawlings had again started rooting his support for the NPP flagbearer, just to stab the NDC in the back “so the NDC leadership should be bold and sack him.”
He suggested that he should not be allowed to attend any of the NDC’s meetings and programmes, because he is a mole and can reveal the party’s strategies to the NPP.
Agah, who sounded angry, told DAILY GUIDE that Mr. Rawlings was behind the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP), which he formed with his wife, to weaken the NDC and send the ruling political party to opposition.