While many Ghanaians attribute the 2008 electoral victory of the NDC to the active participation of the party’s founder, Jerry John Rawlings, Kwamena Ahwoi, in his controversial book, ‘Working with Rawlings’, has rather, shockingly, claimed that Mr Rawlings was rather working against the party’s candidate, the late John Evans Atta Mills.
Prof Ahwoi insists that former President Rawlings’ preoccupation was how to scheme against the larger interest of the NDC to make his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, upstage the late President Mills.
Prof Mills had worked with Mr Rawlings as a Vice-President, and had solely been declared as the party’s candidate for the 2000 election by the founder in the infamous ‘Swedru Declaration’.
In the 2008 election, the party’s founder was actively involved in the campaign, criss-crossing the whole country for his ‘beloved’ son.
Again, Mr Rawlings was the first to get to the last battle grounds, following the declaration by the then Chairman of Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, that judging by the close results, the country would have to go into a historic third round ballot in Tain, in the then Brong-Ahafo Region, to determine a final winner after two runs of voting.
However, Prof Ahwoi insists that the election was won for the late Mills by the ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ he says he trained to attack the party’s founder.
“In the midst of President Rawlings’ intrigues to get Professor Mills replaced and in the post- Legon ‘N’ Block congress era, a pro-Mills group of talented youthful intellectuals and activists emerged.
“They were dedicated to upholding the attributes and promoting the values of Professor Mills and defending him against vicious and unprovoked attacks. This was the group that was later to be castigated as ‘Babies with Sharp Teeth’ by President Rawlings”, Prof Ahwoi has stated in page 179 of the book that has been largely discredited by some leading names mentioned by the author.
Rawlings betrays Mills?
Prof Ahwoi says when the rank and file of the party were rooting for Prof Mills in the 2008 general election, having failed to secure victory for the party in the 2000 and 2004 elections, the founder was busy scheming to make his wife the party’s favourite.
According to him, as part of the ploy, Mr Rawlings used Dr Ekwow Spio-Gabrah and Herbert Mensah to spread rumour that Prof Mills was too sick to contest the 2008 elections.
“Some of Mills’ closest friends within the NDC also joined the rumour bandwagon with Spio-Gabrah being touted as the likely replacement, because he had come second at the Legon ‘N’ Block presidential primaries. It was rumoured, however, that Spio-Gabrah himself was being used as a decoy for a possible entry of Mrs Rawlings into the race as Mills’ replacement.
“With hindsight, this view may not have been too far-fetched, given that in 2011 Mrs Rawlings was to challenge Professor Mills in the NDC presidential primaries when Professor Mills was the incumbent President,” the book states in page 176.
It adds: “the agenda to replace him, therefore, became more frantic, with some of Professor Mills’ so-called ‘closest friends’ working closely with President Rawlings and others to ‘replace’ Professor Mills as the NDC presidential candidate.”
“In that connection, President Rawlings tried to get Professor Mills to step down or be replaced as the NDC Presidential candidate for the 2008 elections, after he had been elected by the party at its 2006 Legon ‘N’ Block elections.
Prof Ahwoi also states that even when it was obvious that the party was not going to heed to the founder’s schemes of getting Prof Mills out of the way, Mr Rawlings didn’t give up to the point of ridiculing the NDC’s slogan, ‘I care for you’, chosen for the election.
“The message did not appear to have gone down well with the NDC founder, Jerry John Rawlings… Rawlings stormed the Kuku Hills Campaign office one early morning and asked to meet Professor Atta Mills and the entire office staff, ending up openly ridiculing candidate Atta Mills for adopting the ‘I care for You’ message,” Prof Ahwoi states.
Source: Daily Statesman