National Democratic Congress (NDC) founder and former President Jerry John Rawlings has been analyzing what he says are the causes of the humiliating defeat his party suffered at the hands of its main political opponents – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – in the recent general election.
The NDC lost both the presidential and the parliamentary elections to the NPP, with the main opposition candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, elected president with 5,716,026 votes, representing 53.85%, to beat incumbent John Dramani Mahama, who garnered 4,713,277 votes (44.40%), with a difference of over 1.2 million votes.
The wind of change also swept through parliament, with the NPP taking control of the legislature by winning 171 out of the 275 seats, while the governing NDC managed to get 104, leaving the NDC in a state of shock, as accusations and counter accusations are being traded over the defeat.
Even though the NDC has set up a 13-member committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the defeat, former President Rawlings claims that impunity, arrogance, disrespect, corruption and opulent display of ill-acquired wealth could not be overlooked as some of the causes for the NDC government’s downfall.
Mr Rawlings, who appears poised to take over the party, celebrated the 31st December ‘revolution’ with a few cadres in government, as the current appointees were conspicuously missing.
Some of the few faces at the event were Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, outgoing Greater Accra Regional Minister; Samuel Nuamah Donkor, former Health Minister; Goozie Tannoh, who is said to take over the NDC leadership as the next flagbearer; Hudu Yahaya, former NDC General Secretary and Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, former National Security Coordinator.
Speaking at the Revolution Square in Accra as part of events to mark the 35 anniversary of the infamous 31st December uprising, Rawlings stated, “I don’t think I was the only one who saw the writing on the wall. Many people from our very own party I believe could see the writing on the wall that we were going to lose this past election. It was obvious a long time ago that we wouldn’t make it. Our general negativity, impunity, disrespect and corruption were taking us further and further downhill.”
According to him, “We lost the elections way before the 7th of December because we persistently and unrepentantly stayed on the slippery slope to the humiliating defeat, despite the several warning lights right in our faces.”
He stressed, “About the time when most were living in the painful reality with stress and anger, that’s when some of us chose to be more impervious to reality. We had lost so much goodwill.”
Even that, he said, “I kept providing the warning whenever and wherever I could, and in public as well. But no, once again the uncouth and uncultured in our party and government chose to insult and disrespect some of us.”
He seemed pained by the fact that “the genuine and true founders and elders (warriors and youthful fighters) of what has transformed into the NDC were being disregarded and disrespected way back from 2008 after victory was delivered on a silver platter.”
For him, “The NDC’s painful and massive rejection at the polls is indicative that we have lost the moral high ground that sets us apart from others”, even though he said, “Great lengths were taken to draw the attention of the party……….. but none of it will be tolerated or accommodated.”
With the passage of time, the former president noted, “A few selfish and greedy characters soon began to jump on board and there were some good people, very good people, but leadership and the command structure did not empower them to override those who were destroying the party and the government.
“I have worked with good people all my life. I have worked with bad people all my life. Some wicked, some with character defects, but-evil natured people must be kept away. Some of us, however, do not seem to have the cognitive intelligence to recognize their presence.”
The man could not fathom why and how leadership of his own party was feeling smug and comfortable because they thought the hidden division in the NPP’s leadership was going to work in their favour.
He exclaimed, “How so wrong could we be? How could we have for one minute made the mistake of thinking that the disloyalty at the senior leadership level was going to percolate into the grassroots of the NPP?”
Stressing that God’s given directions for leadership are the principles of integrity, probity and accountability, Rawlings noted, “These principles are embedded in the collective conscience of the grassroots. There was a gaping disconnect between leadership and the masses as the latter were left disillusioned.”
To make matters worse, he revealed that “The ordinary man felt even more insulted by the crass display of wealth by people who should have known better.
“If the masses knew about the detrimental effects of the greed and avarice perpetrated by some of our own people in leadership, they would never forgive us. Examples abound all around us. You need not stretch your imagination at all. If we all don’t do some careful introspection and openly show remorse for the betrayal of the people’s trust, we might not recover in time for the next election.”
“The oppressive machinery will not desert us voluntarily. We need not shrink from honestly facing the conditions in our party and country today. This is the time to pre-eminently speak the whole truth, frankly and courageously,” he admonished.
“But rather than facing the obvious truth about why we lost, Rawlings once again has to be made the scapegoat of their failures.”
The former president was, however, of the conviction that “This time around our people have seen through it and we would embark on the right steps to regain our moral high ground.”
That, he said, was because of “the moral high ground that we have abandoned and on which the new leader is now standing,” [referring to President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo].
By Charles Takyi-Boadu