Prime News Ghana

Rawlings in cahoots with Akufo-Addo to unseat Mahama

By Noah Akuaku Sarpong
Former President JJ Rawlings welcoming Nana Akufo-Addo when he paid him a visit last year
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As the November 7 2016 general elections in Ghana draw closer, the political and power out-come dynamics are getting clearer. The two main players in this year’s Presidential contest without a doubt remain the same as in the last election.

 President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) will battle it out with Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). As the Americans will say, it is too close to call, at this moment.

And as it has always been the case in previous elections in Ghana, various power blocks have begun to pitch camp with one candidate or the other.

Naturally, and in normal times, each of the candidates enjoy unconditional support and open endorsement of past and current functionaries and officials of their political parties. The chiefs have also started queuing up with their own unsolicited/or solicited endorsements of their chosen candidates.

In other words, former President J.A Kufuor will naturally be throwing his weight -overtly and covertly – behind Nana Akuffo Addo since he was elected President on the ticket of the NPP twice with Akuffo Addo’s support.

In the same way, former President Rawlings in normal times should be seen to be a natural ally of President John Dramani Mahama since he (JJ) is the NDC founder and first President to be elected on the ticket of the NDC of course, with the support of John Mahama. Indeed, former President Rawlings appointed John Mahama as deputy communications minister during his tenure as President in the first NDC regime.

But are we in normal times here in Ghana? Many political observers, including yours truly, see otherwise. It may not be so clear what is going on within the NPP but many believe that the faction that got removed forcefully from office including Chairman Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong and Sammy Crabbe may be working covertly against the fortunes of Nana Akuffo Addo. President Kufuor is believed to be the mentor and god -father of this gang of party stalwarts.

However, this notion remains a conspiracy theory since these people including President Kufuor have all openly endorsed Nana Addo for President 2016.

On the contrary, the NDC’s founder Jerry John Rawlings and his wife have given political watchers a different picture to observe. Since the last election in 2012, Unlike President Kufour who has appeared on his party NPP platforms to defend his record and has openly endorsed Akuffo Addo, Former President Rawlings has either criticised the President John Mahama and the NDC government with the least opportunity, or, to the surprise of many of his party followers, endorsed Nana Akuffo Addo of the opposition NPP with praises.

In 2012, Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings, wife of the former President Rawlings, founded a new political party – the National Democratic Party (NDP) – as a break away party from the ruling NDC. With a long speech that chastised the NDC and President Mahama in late 2012, former President Rawlings endorsed the NDP and its candidate Nana Konadu Rawlings at the Kumasi sports stadium.

Subsequently, the NDP, unable to present a candidate for the elections in 2012 due to their inability to satisfy the EC’s requirements, openly endorsed Nana Akuffo-Addo of the opposition NPP in a last minute effort to see the NDC government of John Mahama in opposition.

The NDP and its leader Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings have declared their intention to run for the 2016 general elections once again. The wife of the former President has taken every opportunity to demonstrate in words and in deeds that she wants to see President John Mahama and the NDC in opposition in 2017 because according to her, corruption and incompetence has become the hallmark of the ruling NDC party.

Many in Ghana believe that the political activities and goals of the former first lady are not different from those of her husband Jerry John Rawlings, while, others also believe that the NDP, founded by Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings is a mere appendage of the opposition NPP whose financial support of that party is meant to divide the NDC to make way for the NPP to rule Ghana.

In 2014, former President Rawlings predicted that John Mahama and the NDC will lose the 2016 general elections. (See general news of 13 November 2014).He said as it stands now, the John Mahama-led administration is no longer attractive to Ghanaians because government and party officials have “compromised their integrity.”

This year 2016, former President Rawlings has not changed his mind on the NDC and he has not hidden his political agenda. Indeed, he has been very active in many political activities and state or official functions. He has also been talking to the media about his feelings.

He recently told Ghanaians in a TV interview that he does not see the difference between the performance of the late President Mills – who he predicted would have lost the 2012 Presidential elections with the NDC but for Mills’ untimely death – and that of current President John Mahama – who he blames for going astray and not fighting corruption as he claims.

The former President in an interview on GHONE TV on Friday March 18 2016 said, ‘‘When I look at him (Mills) and look at this John Mahama, they have too many commonalities except that this John has not lined up people on the promise of a job to insult and fabricate things against me and my wife and family as Mills did. This John has not done that but that is not to say that John Mahama is not also going astray’. Former President Rawlings added‘This President Mahama claims he is fighting corruption but I can’t really see that’.

Contrariwise, former President Rawlings has openly praised Nana Akuffo Addo of the opposition NPP for what he calls his ‘bold leadership’ as well as for the opposition party’s efforts in exposing corruption in the NDC government.

This open praise of the opposition leader by the ruling NDC’s founder in 2016 follows an historic and unprecedented visit by Nana Addo and his entourage to the Rawlings Ridge office a few months to the 2012 elections to occasion his {Rawlings} support for his {Nana Akuffo-Addo} bid for the Presidency.

That visit to Rawlings by AkuffoAddo generated massive controversy among NDC followers and supporters who saw that move as an endorsement of the opposition leader by their party founder against his own party’s candidate John Mahama in that election. Others saw it as a betrayal of the NDC by its own founder and his wife.

Nevertheless, that established relationship between former President Rawlings of the ruling NDC, his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings and Nana Akuffo Addo of the opposition NPP however appear to persist up until now.

Many public occasions have witnessed hearty, joyous and prolonged moments of exchange of pleasantries between former President Rawlings, his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings and Nana Akuffo Addo of the opposition NPP.

Contrastingly, this is not the case when former President Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings encounters President Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama in public and official occasions. Whiles President John Dramani Mahama maintains that cordiality and friendly posture towards Mr. and Mrs. 
Rawlings and paying no attention to their open criticisms of him, Grim faces from the Rawlings’ is what he gets in return, to the surprise of many observers of Ghanaian politics.

This consistent and conflicting behaviour of former President Rawlings has led to the unavoidable conclusion by many within both the NDC and NPP that former President Rawlings, his wife and secret allies are actively working – covertly and overtly – in cahoots with the opposition NPP and its leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to unseat President John Dramani Mahama and the ruling NDC from power in 2016.

The truth or otherwise in this observation and conclusions will be more or less evident as we draw closer to November 7 2016 and as the campaign heats up to a crescendo.