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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has put up a spirited effort of praising former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings lately.

The desperate opposition party has been engaged in the entirely new political game of virtually taken up the job of communication for the Rawlingses. Pro-NPP newspapers splash screaming headlines purporting sympathy for the Rawlingses whilst the party’s communicators go on air and scream their voices hoarse either in praise of, or defence of the former first family to spite the Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

In what looks like a reciprocal gesture, the former First Couple have been making public statements that seem to be giving the NPP and its flagbearer, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a.k.a. Mr ‘All die be die,’ a huge relief since the former President is noted for being a chronic pain in NPP’s neck. Former President Rawlings has recently made a public pronouncement in acknowledging the spirited defence put up by the NPP for him and his wife in recent times.

Speaking to students at the University of Ghana last Friday, the NDC Founder had this to say: “There are attempts at destroying the NDC and propping the CPP. Look at how they tried to destroy me and my wife and the opposition had to come to our defence and building its credibility on it.”

The Catalyst has learnt that this is a campaign strategy the NPP has adopted in a bid to woo the Rawlingses to soften their usual hard stance on the party in their public pronouncements with the hope that it would be sustained through the 2012 general elections campaign period.

The NDC Founder has been infamous in his scathing criticisms of the NPP, especially the erstwhile Kufuor regime and Nana Akufo-Addo in particular. He minces no words in pointing out wrongdoings he believes took place under Mr Kufuor’s watch. He bluntly accuses the NPP of being responsible for barbaric killings under the Kufuor regime, thievery and corruption among others, which crimes he chastises President Mills for lacking the political will to investigate and bring the NPP culprits to justice.

Many an NDC person The Catalyst spoke to agreed with the former President’s concerns but disagreed totally with his method. They were of the view that the solution does not lie in telling off the President in public in the manner the Rawlingses are going about it.

The NPP has obviously found solace in the Rawlingses ahead of 2012 and has taken particular interest in the affairs of Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR), the group that has been propagating the presidential ambition of Mrs Rawlings and acts as a voice for the former First Family. The NPP played a supplementary role unofficially to FONKAR in championing the 2012 NDC flagbearership attempt of Mrs Rawlings through their newspapers and communicators, which ended in a 3.1% loss at congress for the president of the 31st Women’s Movement as against 96.9% for her sole contender, President John Evans Atta Mills.

NPP elements have also been exerting pressure on the Mills government regarding the accommodation issues of the Rawlingses since fire razed down their Ridge residence on Valentine’s Day some two years ago.

Political pundits who spoke to The Catalyst following former President Rawlings’ latest public pronouncements on the Mills government say the NPP is playing smart by caching in on the troubles in the NDC to make political gains, as recognised by the former President in his Legon speech.

According to one such pundit, that the NPP is jumping to the defence of former President Rawlings, their stark political enemy, and he in turn is giving recognition to the gesture, is testament of a semblance of a marriage of convenience between the two. He however believes this relationship will not last. Former President Rawlings’ surprised appearance at the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation launch a month ago has also sent out signals that he has softened his stance on the NPP, due to what he referred to as President Mills’ inaction.

Attack On Fifi Kwetey’s Parliamentary Bid

Former President Rawlings also used the opportunity to hint on his opposition to the parliamentary bid of Hon Fifi Kwetey, deputy minister of finance. In a subtle reference, he said “Togo constructed their road to the main border but the NDC refused to construct the Aflao end blaming the MP and trying to replace him with their man.”

Anybody with a little knowledge of the geography of Ghana will know that the former President was referring to the Ketu South Constituency. The MP, Hon Albert Zigah is currently facing a fierce contest on the ground from Hon Fifi Kwetey, who has declared his willingness to represent the constituency in the next Parliament.

The once confidant and starkly fearless defender of former President Rawlings made a declaration of interest to represent the constituents of Ketu South in Parliament over a year ago and The Catalyst can state on authority that he is doing very well on the ground. He fell out of favour from the Rawlingses following his opposition to Mrs Rawlings’ failed NDC flagbearership bid at the Sunyani Congress.

Hon Fifi Kwetey openly opposed the 2012 NDC flagbearership bid of Mrs Rawlings who managed to secure a paltry 3.1% as against President Mills’ 96.9% and it is turning out to be payback time for the Rawlingses to ensure the deputy finance minister also fails in getting the nod at the primary to contest the Ketu South parliamentary seat in 2012 to represent his constituency in parliament. Interestingly, this is happening at the time when there is a wave of hunger and thirst by the NDC, particularly the Volta region, which prides itself as NDC’s ‘World Bank,’ to send critical voices to the next parliament to avert the current appalling scenario of dominance by the NPP Minority.

Espousing Akufo-Addo’s Negative Popularity

When the Vice President of Cuba, Easterban Lazo Hernandez, who was on a working visit in Ghana, paid a courtesy call on former President Rawlings at his Ridge office on Monday, the former President used the occasion to further indicate his abhorrence for the way the Mills government is conducting the affairs of state. In the end, he placed the NPP presidential candidate, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ahead of President Mills on the popularity scale.

He noted that even though the NDC is in government, it is weaker than the opposition NPP, alluding that the NPP flagbearer is more popular than NDC’s President Mills, as a result.

The former President claimed some innocent people were jailed under the erstwhile Kufuor administration and yet the Mills administration had failed to “seize the moral high ground and do what you have to do, you say the status quo must remain. So today we are in government but we are weaker than the opposition.” He also accused the Kufuor regime of ethnic discrimination and deliberate undermining of independent state institutions and could not understand why the Mills government could not investigate such violations in less than 48 hours.

The former President is certain that if the government had corrected the misdeeds of the NPP administration, “this government would be flying high; Prof. Mills would be sitting so high for the next 20 years, the next 16 years, the next eight years. ...today we sit here with the opposition figure as the most popular politician,” he lamented.

Some have however said that former President Rawlings assertion is wrong since the popularity associated with the NPP’s second time presidential candidate is one that is negative. The NPP flagbearer has come under enormous bombardments about issues of drugs use and women in recent times.
Source: The Catalyst

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