By Frederick E. Aggrey
Former President Jerry John Rawlings appears to have stoked the fires set by the late President J.E.A. Mills some years back, when he told the people of Ghana to think about issues concerning them, instead of poking their noses into other people’s matters. This, he translated into the Fante dialect as “Dzi Wo Fie Asem.”
Speaking to the assembly of former Metropolitan, Municipal and District chief executives under the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in Accra on Saturday, the outspoken former president did not use the exact words, ‘dzi wo fie assem’, but nevertheless admonished the opposition party that they are very interested in keeping the current government on its toes, but have failed to address their own domestic problems.
“We are doing a lot to be heard in the public arena. The NDC is doing its best to put the government on its toes, but are we doing our homework well? Are we doing enough to inspire confidence amongst our own sympathisers? Are we doing enough to convince the vast floating-voter constituency?” he asked
To the former President, the NDC lost touch with the grassroots in the 2016 elections and was not an agent of stability, hence could not inspire confidence in the majority of Ghanaians, leading to their painful loss.
He also cited division as another contributing factor, saying, “the NDC was not a unified party in 2016.”
Mr Rawlings cautioned members attending the meeting, which was under the theme, “Re-organising the NDC for Victory 2020,” against selfishness as the party works to regain power in 2020.
“My message to all gathered here today is let us wean ourselves out of selfish tendencies and desire to seek political power for economic benefit. That cancer has eaten deeply into our party,” he said.
According to him, 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.”
Speaking against the symptoms of monetisation that has characterised Ghanaian politics, which, according to him, the NDC has deeply embraced, he advised: “As we hold this dialogue to plot an agenda for a positive performance in 2020, we have to take note that the re-organisation is a process that involves embracing our party’s core ideals, and ensure that we are not swayed by the crass monetisation 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 further reminded party faithful about their motto, which is Unity, Stability and Development, which was not created in a vacuum, adding, “the motto was borne out of the appreciation and belief that for our party and country to progress, we need to be unified in thought and deed; unified in truth and integrity; unified in transparency, probity and accountability, and unified with a powerful and firm conviction to provide an equal opportunity for Ghanaians of all walks of life.”
He asserted further that the NDC’s contribution to the socio-political stability of Ghana was due to their desire to embrace participatory governance and allow the grassroots to have significant say in the branches, wards, constituency, regional and national affairs.
He added: “Today, many of those who hold high office in the party are personalities who first identified their leadership qualities from wards and branches.”
He also added: “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,” referring to the current party leaders who developed through the cadre system.
He lamented further that the NDC was not in touch with the grassroots in 2016, adding that 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.
The common denominators in these aforementioned flaws were the lack of conscience and conviction in our dealings with the electorate.
He further cautioned his people that, “if we relegate the true ideals, we may attain power on a weak foundation and never be able to manage the country in an atmosphere of true participatory governance, which is what our successes have always thrived on.”
He advised party faithful to eschew selfishness as the party works to regain power in 2020, adding, “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.”