The heavy defeat suffered by former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings at the hands of President J.E.A. Mills at the National Democratic Congress’(NDC) national delegates congress in Sunyani over the weekend has led to speculations that former President Jerry John Rawlings has lost his seemingly mythical influence on the party he founded.
The party’s chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, will have none of that.
Dr. Adjei who was supported by the former first couple against Dr. Obed Asamoah during the party’s 2006 congress to elect new party executives seems to have fallen out with the Rawlingses as they supported another candidate (Dr. Asamoah Tutu) to challenge him at the 2010 special delegates congress.
He insists, nonetheless, that it is not right to say that the NDC has gotten rid of its once enigmatic leader.
“We are just growing; we are not purging ourselves at all. We are growing; we knew the importance of the founder at a certain point in time in our maturation process and if we have been to a situation that has changed to accommodate new ways of looking at our party in order to adapt and to survive, then we have to do so but expressions like ‘purging yourself of Rawlings’ do not help us at all.”
Dr. Kwabena Adjei who was speaking to Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, said he does not think the NDC has weaned itself off the influence of Jerry Rawlings but it is time to adapt to changing times.
“We respected him; he was with us; we knew what he did, we know his legacy but it has come to a time that we think we must add to the legacy but the methods of doing so have changed. That is all,” he stressed.
Reacting to concerns of how the party intends to reconcile its differences with the party founder, Dr. Adjei stated that it is too early for people to expect anything from the Rawlingses on the campaign trail and that they should be given time to heal from the Sunyani event.
“Between now and the campaign time is a long period no matter how short, but it is the time that people will think things over and decide - let’s say Rawlings and the wife will think things over and decide - whether they will go to the campaign platform or not,” he explained.
He said if Mr. Rawlings’ contribution is required on the campaign trail and it might not be coming, they will have to strengthen the party the more: ”we will go to the grassroots to work harder. We will work harder than before.”
GBC debt musical chairs and reconciliation
Asked whether the NDC was indebted to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Kwabena Adjei said the government should respond to such issues as he is not aware that the party owes the state broadcaster.
“I don’t know about our indebtedness to anybody but maybe it is true so we will find out and see what we can do about it… It has not been brought to my notice.”
On Tuesday, the Minister of Information had asked GBC to speak to the party to resolve any outstanding debt issues.
On the perceived animosity in the party prior to the Sunyani congress, Dr. Adjei said the party had washed its dirty linens in publicfor far too long and that it is time for that to cease. He said the party has a strategy to reconcile those who are aggrieved but it is too early to begin.
“It is not easy immediately after losing for anybody to initiate any reconciliation responsibility rule so we have to take our time and I don’t think that it will be in our interest for anybody from outside to force it,” he noted.
He said it will be inimical to the party’s interest if he discloses how they intend to carry out the reconciliation process as it is an internal process.
Dr. Adjei said it was wrong for people to assume that the party repeatedly fails to seek reconciliation from past congresses. He said he had personally tried to work with some senior party members to solve such problems in the after congress but that is the extent to which they could go because people are at liberty to choose whether to be part of the process or not, adding “If after losing the election the loser – even though we have assured the loser that she is not vanquished – still wants to do something else, we have to take time to build mutual understanding between us.”
He recounted how he handled his defeat in his bid to become an MP in the past, insisting that everyone entering politics must know that defeat will certainly come and it is good to be “good losers” when it comes while working to ensure that it does not happen in the future.
The NDC chairman denied pre-congress allegations especially by the group supporting former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, that delegates had been bribed or were being intimidated. He said “there is no truth in whatever allegations were made.”
Dr. Kwabena Adjei said people were determined to make whichever decision they wanted to make on the election day and it is not good politics to peddle such falsehood because one foresees defeat.
He however called on such groups to provide concrete evidence, if any, so that the executives can investigate and work on them.
He welcomed the decision by the former party chairman Dr. Obed Asamoah to return to the fold of the NDC, describing him as a brother.
He said elections are about numbers and even if one person joins the party, they will embrace him with open arms.
Killing the cat and the Justice system
Dr. Kwabena Adjei who made the controversial statement that "there are many ways of killing a cat" in reference to what some party members thought were indications of rot in the Judiciary, in an apparent u-turn says the nation needs to follow due process in solving criminal issues.
“The world is watching us… and we have no intention of reversing the gains we have made. Let the wheels of justice run,” he sermonized.
He said government wants to develop a harmonious political atmosphere by using due process so that political parties will not fear being in opposition.
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