The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) seems to be struggling to deal with actions and inactions in the past which made former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, who passed on suddenly recently, and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, alienate themselves from the party he founded.
The other day, it was a press conference by the late founder’s wife’s party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), that exposed the ‘double standards’, seeming disregard and disrespect meted out to Mr. Rawlings when he was alive by the leadership of the NDC; a press conference the NDC issued a caveat to its rank and file not to respond but could not challenge the claims.
Begging For Forgiveness
In the past week, the NDC had been sending emissaries behind the scenes to go and beg the former First Lady who was maltreated; compelling her to leave the party in 2011 when she tried to contest the sitting President John Evans Atta Mills to enable her to lead the NDC ahead of the 2012 general election.
Mrs. Rawlings after the NDC humiliation at the NDC presidential primary termed Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (FONKAR) and the Get Atta Mills Elected (GAME) at the Sunyani Coronation Park in 2011, decided to part ways and subsequently formed her own party, the NDP.
Council of Elders
Last Thursday, leadership of the NDC sent its Council of Elders led by its Chairman, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, a former Defence Minister, whose wife and former Attorney General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, used to taunt Mr. Rawlings and his wife, on that ‘peace-keeping mission’ to ask for pardon.
After a brief introduction, Alhaji Iddrisu, who later became a member of Council of State, referring to the late Rawlings said “even though he was Chairman of AFRC, Chairman of PNDC, he was not alone; he was with madam (in reference to Mrs. Rawlings).”
Mrs. Rawlings, some of her children and the late Rawlings’ family were at the meeting when the NDC leaders called on them at the Ridge residence of the former first family.
Alhaji Iddrisu was quick to admit to the fact that “for some obvious reasons, we of the NDC were not seeing madam, and I can say that it was our fault.”
“Those of us who are left here, it is our responsibility to bring that loving family into the party our father founded; we should bring everybody into the party our founder founded,” he said, adding “whatever occurred to madam, we have to apologise in all sincerity for us to work as a team.”
He said “since we started politics in Nkrumah’s time, the elders when they sit back and look at the screen, we are moving from realities; we just want power. Not power for the people but power for ourselves,” but also explained that “it is power to the people not power to those who are looking for it; if you are elected, you must be prepared to serve, not to be served!”
Alhaji Iddrisu therefore described the day as “a very sad day,” saying “we will pray to madam, the children and all the family members for us to bear heart; for us to be kind to people, for us to forgive those who have offended us.”
That, he said, was because “in the Muslim community, we pray five times a day; that is regular…and each prayer time, we ask for forgiveness even though we don’t know the offences we have caused.”
“For us human beings, when your fellow human being offends you, you don’t want to reconcile and yet if you have ever asked who is God, they say that the nearest person to you is your God; that is the person you will treat badly or nicely for your rewards in heaven,” he said whilst the former First Lady looked awed as like someone struggling to grasp the import for the message.
For that reason, Alhaji Iddrisu did not shy away from begging the family the late Mr. Rawlings left behind, saying “so I am appealing to all of you to pardon us…and let us implement our founders aim…”
He touted the late Rawlings’ credentials as a principled and down to earth person who deserved emulation, saying “as we knew our father (in virtual reference to the late President Rawlings), he was always for the ordinary people…even to such an extent that after the May 15 uprising, he openly declared in court that all those who followed him, he would take responsibility for them and he was sentenced to death by firing squad.”
He recalled, saying “lo and behold, there was another uprising and he was released; he was not only released, he led that group and those who invited him were the other ranks he used to be mindful of.”
That, he said, should serve as a lesson to all NDC people “wherever you find yourself, you must be mindful of those who matter; we must be mindful of those who follow us, we must serve them. That is when you will be happy,” in virtual reference to Asiedu Nketiah and his likes who started bastardising Mr. Rawlings upon assuming national leadership positions of the party.
Asiedu Nketia even boasted that they had succeeded in taming Mr. Rawlings whom he called ‘barking dog’.
Prof. Kwamena Ahowi, another NDC stalwart, wrote a book titled ‘Working with Rawlings’, and denigrated both Mr. Rawlings and his wife and even admitted that they commissioned young people in the party like Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, Okudzeto Ablakwa among others whom Mr. Rawlings later christened ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ to attack the founder anytime he criticized then President Prof. Mills.
The widow, Mrs. Rawlings sat quietly listening to the NDC emissaries and when Alhaji Iddrisu ‘realised’ the message appeared not to be going down well with his audience, he said “I think, I have to stop here; may he rest in perfect peace!”