Former President Jerry John Rawlings
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has fired another salvo, insisting that even if the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is keeping the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government on its toes, it is failing woefully to put its house in order ahead of the 2020 general election and beyond.
Mr Rawlings said recent happenings in the NDC are showing that the party he founded is heavily divided; and until they resolve their differences, they can’t win power.
According to him, the party is not unified, not in touch with the grassroots and did not inspire confidence in the electorate during the run-up to the last elections, and called on the party to re-embrace its core values of truth, integrity, probity and accountability.
“The voice and force of conscience and conviction is the only true weapon that the party needs to re-organise itself towards 2020 and beyond. Having a voice of conscience and conviction comes with true sacrifice.
“Those who hold strong beliefs and stand by them tend to suffer abuse, ridicule, insult and sometimes physical abuse; but they remain resolute because truth cannot be adulterated,” he told a gathering of former NDC metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) who are working hard to unite the rank and file of the party ahead of the 2020 general election.
The former appointees held the conference in Accra under the theme, “Re-organising the NDC for Victory 2020.”
According to the former president, “The NDC seems to have become masters of destroying our own and spend endless resources denigrating rivals because their opinions vary. Some of the words that have been exchanged between party members in the past few weeks and months make me wonder how we expect to sow unity and stability in the National Democratic Congress.
“The NDC was not a unified party in 2016. The NDC was not in touch with the grassroots in 2016. The NDC was not a bastion of stability in 2016 and the NDC sadly did not inspire confidence in the majority of Ghanaians in 2016.”
He said that the time has come for the party to wean itself from “those seeking power only for economic benefit,” and advised, “My message to all gathered here today is, let us wean ourselves of selfish tendencies and desire to seek political power for economic benefit. That cancer has eaten deeply into our party.
He stressed, “The strength of the NDC lies in attaining political power through the power of the people, not the power of the affluent.”
The NDC founder pointed out, “We suffered a painful loss in 2016 and while it is important that we do not allow that loss to retard our progress, we also have to recognize the truth in what caused our losing the election and exorcise our party of the ills that made us lose, in spite of the considerable resources at our disposal.”
The common denominator in the NDC flaws, according to Mr Rawlings, “were the lack of conscience and conviction in our dealings with the electorate.”
Tracing the NDC’s contribution to national development, the former president said, “The NDC’s contribution to the socio-political stability of Ghana was due to our desire to embrace participatory governance, allowing the grassroots to have a significant say in the branches, wards, constituencies, regional and national affairs.
“Today many of those who hold high office in the party are personalities who first identified their leadership qualities from wards and branches. The ideals that guided and projected them to leading party figures were their unparalleled conscience, sense of conviction and unbridled desire to sacrifice for God and country.
According to him, “As a party, we succeeded against many odds to become a leading political force in the country. Our presence in the national political arena has contributed more than significantly to the success of the Fourth Republic and engendered the kind of public discourse and maturity of the electorate that has benefited the country in no small measure.”
Former President Jerry John Rawlings posited, “As we hold this dialogue to plot an agenda for a positive performance in 2020, we have to take due note that the re-organisation is a process that involves embracing our party’s core ideals and ensuring that we are not swayed by the crass monetization of Ghanaian politics, which used to be alien to our party and which unfortunately, has contributed rather notoriously to the surfeit of negativity and divisiveness plaguing our party.”
He charged, “Let us pursue truth with a conscience and the power of conviction – a belief in the ideals that established this party, a belief in the battles that we had to fight since 1979 and a quest to embrace ideas in an atmosphere of tolerance and brotherliness.”
By William Yaw Owusu