From left: Jerry John Rawlings, Valerie Sawyerr, Dr. Obed Asamoah
The recent ‘epistle’ penned by Valerie Sawyerr, a former Deputy Chief of Staff that sought to castigate former President Jerry John Rawlings and Martin A.B.K. Amidu, former Attorney General, has caused a major confusion in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The ensuing impasse has become so intense that some political analysts have expressed apprehension about the future of the leading opposition party – which just left government.
There are currently two visible warring factions – the camps of Rawlings and Mahama – who are busily trying to outdo each other in their respective bids to take control of the party before the 2020 general election.
Valerie, who enjoyed a cozy working relationship with John Mahama in a move akin to a proxy war, appeared to have set the tone when she accused former President Rawlings, founder of the NDC, and Martin Amidu of helping to send the NDC into opposition with their unjustified criticisms against the party.
Ms Valerie Sawyerr, whose father – Harry Sawyerr (of blessed memory) – served Rawlings as Education Minister, attacked the NDC founder for creating the impression that he is not corrupt, before turning her attention to Mr. Amidu, whom she described as ‘pompous with over-bloated ego.’
In the ensuing confusion, a former NDC National Chairman, Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah – who left the party to form the now defunct Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) in 2006 and returned to the NDC in 2011 – has jumped into the fray, praising Valerie for the audacious move to attack Rawlings.
Obed said he sent congratulatory message to Valerie for standing up to the former president.
“It is good for the country…people should speak their mind,” he said.
Dr. Asamoah, who served as the Foreign Minister and later Attorney General and Minister of Justice under President Rawlings, wondered, “Why should the division in the party be deepened because someone has spoken her mind?”
Dr. Asamoah, a former close pal of Rawlings, said on Joy FM that many people in the NDC were not happy with the manner in which the former president was criticizing everything in the party.
“Everybody else is a crook; he (Rawlings) is a saint. That is his attitude… no human being is a saint. Everybody else has his difficulties here and there but I must say that by and large, he (Rawlings) is way above average in terms of honesty and integrity. At least he tries more than the others. Everybody is in good standing to criticize; that has been my philosophy – anybody should have his freedom to speak his mind.”
He said the former president, per his actions, wanted to control the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills, that was why he selected him; but when the Prof. became somewhat unyielding after winning power, it did not settle well with Mr. Rawlings.
“In many ways it was quite obvious to me that he [Rawlings] wanted Professor Mills because he felt he could control him but when Prof Mills got the leadership and then won power, he [Mills] played an independent role and I think that didn’t sit well with him [Rawlings], and that is why he started attacking him.”
“People should not just worship people just because they happen to be Mr A or Mr B. I hate hero worship, particularly when it goes to the extent of ignoring the falls and mistakes of the person.”
Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, an NDC activist, who runs the pro-opposition The Al-Hajj newspaper, has called for the sacking of the NDC founder from the party because he claims Mr. Rawlings is indispensable.
He said on Citi FM that “He Jerry (Mr. Rawlings) has forfeited any legitimate right to remain the founder of the party. When the party ahead of 2016 election advertised that it was going to hold a rally at Mantse Agbona and he was the special guest, he issued a statement he is not going to be a part of it, because he has not been invited. Rawlings has forfeited his right to remain the founder of the NDC. Nobody is above discipline in any party.”
Bature, who criticized the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for suspending leading members of the party, has now seen wisdom in the NPP action, saying that the NDC should follow the NPP’s example of cracking the whip in order to instill party discipline.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP have demonstrated that nobody is beyond discipline in any political party. They took disciplinary action against high ranking members of their party and yet convincingly won the election. NDC can do the same; nobody is beyond sanctions in NDC, not Jerry Rawlings, not Martin Amidu,” Bature, a friend of the Mahamas, charged.
Koku Anyidoho, a deputy General Secretary of the NDC, has gone to the extent of saying Mr. Amidu was on the payroll of the NPP after the former AG had accused then President Mahama of appointing Charlotte Osei as the Chairperson of the EC in order to rig the 2016 elections.
Those clearly in the camp of former President Rawlings have not hidden themselves and have been firing from all cylinders
Michael Teye Nyaunu, former MP for Lower Manya Krobo who is a longstanding Rawlings ally, ripped into Valerie Sawyerr, saying she stooped so low to call the NDC founder names.
“As a matter of fact, when the revolution was founded, where was she and what role did she play to the extent that she could now insult the founding father like this – I am disappointed in her,” he said.
Dela Coffie, an NDC activist who is fast becoming a torn in the flesh of ex-President Mahama, lambasted Valerie Sawyerr for daring to attack the party’s founder asking, “Valerie, what exactly is the motivation for this your needless shenanigans against the Rawlings family?”
He continued, “As a true party activist, I feel like chewing you up and spitting you out as you did to Rawlings. But then again, I sympathise with you largely on humanitarian grounds – the fact that you are an old maid who might be having mid-life issues. Valerie, you can choose to be the poster girl for crass behaviour. You can even choose to be whorish for all I care, but next time you write a critical essay, make sure it is against gods with clay feet or you end up dancing naked in front of the intelligent public.”
A group calling itself “Friends of the Rawlingses” also waded into the fracas, chastising Valerie for ranting and even claimed that her position as deputy Chief of Staff was earned unmeritoriously and undeservedly.
A statement signed by the group’s convenor, Ibrahim Hardi, posited, “We are assuring this pretender, that if she doesn’t respect the late Harry Sawyerr, who gave all his heart and support to the founder, former president Jerry John Rawlings, during his working days, and allows jealousy to consume her, we will not look back again but treat her with the disdain she deserves.”
By William Yaw Owusu