It is emerging from the highly controversial and finger-pointing Book, “Working with Rawlings” written by Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, that former President John Dramani Mahama and some leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decided to gradually alienate the party’ founder because of what they described as his systematic attacks on late President John Atta Mills.
The NDC kingpins accused former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu for the apparent estrangement of the party’s founder from core members.
Writing under the headline “Rawlings and Mills: The Falling Out”, Prof Ahwoi chronicled on pages 199 to 209 of the inflammatory book, how different people have different recollections of when the falling out between Rawlings and Mills began, as well as the reasons for the falling out.
John Dramani Mahama
For instance, Prof Ahwoi indicated that President John Dramani Mahama felt that the incessant attacks that President Rawlings launched against President Mills were unfair.
“He (John Mahama) traced the cause of the attacks to President Mills’ failure or refusal to prosecute members of the previous Kufuor administration.
“John Mahama said President Mills used to complain to him about President Rawlings’ attacks and he had no doubt that the attacks affected President Mills psychologically,” Prof Ahwoi disclosed.
The current NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, who was Minister for Local Government and Rural Development under President Mills, also descended heavily on the wife of the party’s founder.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, according Prof. Ahwoi, “was also of the view that Nana Konadu had a long-term hidden ambition to lead the NDC and become the President of the Republic. She therefore saw Mills as a rival and as she watched Mills develop his own independent base within the NDC, she feared that not only would her husband’s charismatic hold over the party be lost; her own ambition would be lost as well. She was therefore key to the falling out between President Rawlings and President Mills.”
What President Mills described as “Rawlings’ animosity towards him,” Ofosu-Ampofo concluded, “was one of President Mills’ greatest worries throughout his presidency.”
Mr Kwame Peprah, who was President Rawlings’ Minister of Finance on the other hand “traces the souring of the relationship to the campaign for the 2008 elections from which Rawlings was visibly absent”.
“He (Kwame Peprah) has a very strong suspicion that Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings played a major role in the souring of the relationship.”
Mr Kwame Peprah’s suspicion, according to Prof Ahwoi, “is supported by his recollection that on Mills’ winning the presidential election in 2008, Nana Konadu submitted her list of preferred women for ministerial positions. Mills collected the list all right but did not use it.”
Nana Ato Dadzie
According to Prof. Ahwoi, Nana Ato Dadzie, President Rawlings’ Chief of Staff, was of the same view.
“He (Nana Ato Dadzie) traces signs of the souring of the relationship to 2007 when Rawlings started complaining that his views were being disregarded.
“Like Kwame Peprah, Nana Ato Dadzie was also convinced that Nana Konadu was one of the key factors that led to the souring of relationship between Rawlings and Mills. He also thought Rawlings believed Mills was too soft for the kind of game that was to be played, meaning, campaign for the 2008 elections”.
According to Prof Ahwoi, Nana Ato Dadzie believed the climax of the soured relationship, “was when Mills won the presidency and refused to order the prosecution of NPP officials who had served in President Kufuor’s government and who, in his view, had committed crimes.”
Dr Kwesi Botchwey
Again, according to Prof Ahwoi, “Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Rawling’s PNDC Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning and NDC Minister of Finance under President Rawlings, held similar views. He identifies Mills’ refusal to prosecute NPP officials as an important reason for the soured relationship. His additional reason however was more interesting and more illuminating.
“He (Dr Kwesi Botchwey) thought that Rawlings felt that Mills, on becoming President, had got the listening ear of Captain Kojo Tsikata (retired), a one-time Rawlings confidante with whom Rawlings had fallen out. He said he believed Rawlings strongly felt that Captain Tsikata was ‘poisoning’ Professor Mills against him (Rawlings)”.
“Finally, Dr. Botchwey was convinced that Nana Konadu must also have played a key role in the souring of the relationship between Rawlings and Mills. In his view, even if Nana Konadu did not start it, she clearly aggravated the tensions between the two”.
When Prof Ahwoi asked the form the signs of the soured relationship took, Dr Botchwey was quick to point to “the persistent visceral abuses that Rawlings hurled at Professor Mills and which hurt Mills badly”.
“He (Dr Botchwey) mentioned occasional conversations he had with Mills when the latter was President during which Mills would plaintively ask in Mfantse: ‘Na Jerry koraa, ose ma ye no den?’ (But what at all does Jerry say I have done to him?)
Rawlings’ Minister of Trade and Tourism and High Commissioner to Malaysia under President Mills, Ambassador Dan Abodakpi, according to Prof Ahwoi, also expressed similar sentiments.
“He (Dan Abodakpi) blames Rawlings’ hostile attitude to Mills on the over-ambition of Nana Konadu whom he accuses of seeing Mills as a rival who had usurped her legitimate entitlement to leadership of the NDC and presidency of the country. He concedes though that, initially, the relationship between Rawlings and Mills was excellent”.
Meanwhile, Mr Dan Abodakpi is so far the only notable and true NDC leader who has officially issued a disclaimer on the aspects of the book attributed to him.
Mr Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, variously Rawlings’ Minister of Information and of National Security, has a completely different perspective of the Rawlings-Mills relationship.
“His view is that when Rawlings realised that he could not have his way with Mills, he decided to psychologically destabilise Professor Mills that the latter would be forced to resign. He felt that the public ridicule that Rawlings subjected Mills to was all part of this psychological warfare or as Rawlings liked to put it, “psychological operations” or “psy-ops”.
Other NDC leaders who, according to Prof Ahwoi, accused the NDC founder of wrongful attacks on late President Mills are Rawlings’ Minster of Youth and Sports, E. T. Mensah; one of the senior brothers of the author of “Working with Rawlings”, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi; and Ludwig Hlodze, Special Assistant to President Mills.
Rawlings not needed?
It is interesting that neither NDC 2020 candidate John Mahama, his running mate nor the leadership have distanced themselves from the sentiments and conclusions in the book.
It appears they agree with Prof Ahwoi that they do not need President Rawlings in this year’s campaign and if they make any headway he should not get anywhere near the NDC.
Former President Rawlings is being consigned to Nana Konadu’s National Democratic Party (NDP).
The Battle is indeed joined.