Monday, August 15, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, August 15, 2016

Former President Jerry John Rawlings sounded philosophical when he addressed members and supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the party’s official campaign launch at the Cape Coast Stadium yesterday.

Mr. Rawlings, who founded the NDC but appears to have taken a back seat in its affairs lately, told the massive crowd that it would be in the ruling party’s interest not to underestimate the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the country draws closer to the December 7 general elections.

“This campaign is going to be a challenge and more demanding,” he said, adding, “I can tell you that the NPP can’t be underestimated. You know it and I know it…Mimic them as some of us are doing and we will run into problems.”

At the campaign launch, themed: “Changing Lives, Transforming Ghana,” the NDC formally introduced its presidential candidate, John Mahama, who is seeking a re-election.

However, conspicuously missing was the much-talked-about manifesto which the party said would be launched in two weeks’ time in Sunyani, the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital.

Warning the NDC about the threat posed by the NPP, Jerry John Rawlings - former military leader who wore a straight face throughout the event – said, “The calculation I want to put before you is that by virtue of who and what they are, their character and mannerism, will necessarily give rise to what you and I are in the NDC. In other words, by virtue of who we are and where we have come from, how we came about into being, I keep saying that we cannot afford to fight them on their terms.”

He posited, “It’s important that we fight them on our terms. In other words, let’s not mimic their behaviour. Let us reach into the principles and the values that brought us the power. If we can hold on to these principles, we will move away into the future and no one can ever defeat us.”

In effect, ex-President Rawlings said the contest ahead is not an easy one and added that the NDC had become weaker because it had abandoned its core values and that it could not fight the NPP without its values.

No Endorsement
What was clear at the launch was that the former president did not endorse President Mahama for a second term.

He rather used the platform to call for a clean campaign and wished NDC supporters who had gathered at the stadium travelling mercies.

He said he would wait after the elections and go around the country “to rebuild the party.”

He also poked a fun at his daughter, Zenator, who is the NDC’s parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korley, Accra, when he said in Twi and translated as “You see Zenator? She has opened her ears waiting attentively to hear what her father is going to say,” before calling her “Osu Lagata.”

 All the attention shifted on Mr Rawlings after he had spoken, as people showered praises on him for close to 15 minutes, with the former president waving at the crowd amidst NDC songs.

There was what looked like protocol breach when actor John Dumelo was given the platform to speak after the former president had addressed the gathering.

President Mahama also skipped Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur in his salutation before apologizing for the breach in protocol.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the change that the NPP was promising was already here.

Politics Of Insults
Earlier, instead of telling the electorate what the NDC government would do in the event that President Mahama had a second term, most of the speakers took turns to run down the opposition parties, particularly the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

NDC Director of Elections, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, sought to portray Nana Akufo-Addo as a violent person and said he (Nana) had not been able to maintain unity in his party.

“Why try someone who has not been able to keep the peace in his own party after President John Agyekum Kufuor handed him a peaceful party in 2008?” he asked the crowd.

Youth and Sports Minister Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, said Nana Akufo-Addo was ‘short’ for the presidency, saying, “The presidency is not for short people.”

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