Former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings has said that the late John Evans Atta Mills wanted to relinquish his position as the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2006 after realising his health was in a bad state.
As a result, he held a meeting with other party members to position themselves in order to contest for the Presidential Primaries because of Prof. Mills’ ill health but some them after Mills returned from South Africa convinced him to hold onto the position.
The former President said these party members rather pitched Mills against him, telling him that he [Rawlings] was not working for his good.
This was contained in a reply dubbed “THE INTEGRITY OF TRUTH” to a book written by Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi titled “Working with Rawlings” which chronicles his working relationship with Rawlings which the former President describes as fabrications.
The former President of Ghana said even though Mills went ahead to contest for the 2008 elections regardless of his ill health, he continued to give his support not because he wanted anything but because he wanted the NDC back into power.
READ THE PRESIDENT’s STATEMENT HERE
MILLS’ PRIVATE CALL TO RAWLINGS
After his landslide victory in the 2006 NDC Primaries, candidate Mills travelled to South Africa for medical treatment. While in South Africa, Mills put a call through to President Rawlings and indicated his desire to forego the candidature for the presidential election owing to his medical state. Following this conversation, President Rawlings held a meeting with some leading members of the Party to express concern about the state of candidate Mills’ health, and urged them to identify recognisable party members who could step in. President Rawlings is on record as having suggested that some known personalities in the party should position themselves to demonstrate that the NDC had enough Presidential material.
Bizarrely, Kwamena Ahwoi has written a lengthy diatribe about how Rawlings coerced his brother (Ato Ahwoi) to contest Mills ahead of the primaries, leading to the breakdown of their healthy relationship. It should be stated on record, that President Rawlings took the responsible and pragmatic approach after he received that politically unnerving call from Professor Mills. He consulted the Party leadership to take strategic steps to fill the gap which by Professor Mills’ account was imminent.
Urging some members of the Party to position themselves for a potential contest, was in no way an attempt to undermine, sabotage, betray or malign Professor Mills as the author shamelessly infers in his book. More disappointing is the impression created that he was and is unaware of that critical phone call from Professor Mills (while in South Africa) to President Rawlings. It is rather telling of him to deny this well-known crisis merely in his bid to deride and denigrate the genuine efforts of former President Rawlings to arrest a crisis.
When Professor Mills returned to Ghana, meetings were held with him without the knowledge or participation of President Rawlings, where Professor Mills was convinced by those present, not to withdraw his candidature and actually made to believe that President Rawlings was working to undermine him. That, was when the mistrust begun, and Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi was and is well-known to be one of the master-architects of that manipulative agenda that pushed a very unwell candidate Mills into the 2008 General Elections.
It must be noted, that at no point did President Rawlings support Professor Mills in his bid for presidency, with the aim or intention to manipulate Professor Mills should he become President, despite the attempts of various individuals to peddle falsehoods and sow disunity.
Having worked with Professor Mills on various policy and manifesto achievements during his presidency, the aim was to support him and the NDC party back into government, for the good work of the pre-2000 NDC Administration to continue. After nineteen (19) years of working alongside various individuals with different motives and political beliefs including his political opponents, President Rawlings had acquired enough experience in people management to not be as unsophisticated in his relationship with Professor Mills as the book seeks to misinform.
President Rawlings was critical of President Mills’ administration, there is no denying that, in usual manner, this was done openly and with the best of intentions. He had meetings with President Mills offering counsel and suggestions strictly to the good of Mills’ presidency and that of his government. Rawlings has always remained consistent in his open and bona fides criticisms of President Mills’ administration which, to date, are still outstanding matters. These include:
1. The failure of the Mills Government to investigate the assassination of the Yaa-Naa and forty (40) of his elders;
2. President Mills’ inability to look into the death of Alhaji Issa Mobilla, the late Northern Regional Chairman of the CPP;
3. The failure of the Mills Government to investigate and prosecute genuine fraudulent activities within President Kufuor’s administration; and
4. The lack of dedication to the Party ideals of probity and accountability, as well as the monetization of the NDC internal electoral processes.
THE 2008 NDC CAMPAIGN
In his bid to justify his version of events, the author goes as far as stating that President Rawlings was visibly absent from the 2008 national election campaign. Without needing to belabour a well-known and publicized fact, this account is absolutely false! President Rawlings and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings travelled extensively to campaign for candidate Mills and these campaigns were covered by the media and are a matter of public record. The documentary titled – An African Election – filmed during the 2008 campaign and election visibly shows the former president on the campaign trail with steely and unparalleled determination.
President Rawlings and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings were actually an integral part of the NDC campaign structure for the 2008 election. He started his campaign in Sankore in the Brong Ahafo Region, and subsequently visited all ten regions, visiting some towns and villages twice, sometimes walking long distances in the process. President Rawlings traversed the whole country and made headlines by being the first to reach Tain, in the Brong Ahafo Region when that town became the eye of the storm during the election, leading to the legendary “third round”. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings campaigned in not less than 15 major markets in Greater Accra Region, after which she moved straight to the Volta Region to start work. She also campaigned in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Western Regions. She is also on record as having loaned vehicles and countless other resources to the Party towards the elections.
Lest we forget Admiral Owusu Ansah, a courageous and patriotic member of the NDC who in spite of his failing health, joined the campaign trail shunning the comforts of his home in Accra in order to have Mills elected. This is a tribute to Admiral Owusu Ansah and patriots like General Nunoo-Mensah, who have selflessly sacrificed their lives, livelihoods and comforts for the Party; to then have one callously divisive individual, who in an attempt to increase book sales, insults and attempts to nullify the role and importance of these individuals.
Admiral Owusu Ansah, the true and dedicated members of the NDC owe you a debt.
Unsurprisingly, the author is ‘unaware’ of the campaign presence of the former President during the 2008 elections. Neither Kwamena Ahwoi, his brother nor majority of their cronies was on the campaign trail, preferring to stay in the comforts of their homes in Accra, perpetually leaving the hard work of getting the party re-elected to others, but always being first in line for political appointments.