Rawlings embraces Nana
It was all smiles, mutual respect, frank expressions and a friendly atmosphere at the ridge office of former President Rawlings, when the leader of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, paid a courtesy call on him.
Nana! Rawlings called him as he sat close to his once fiercest political rival, in a room packed to capacity with journalists and cameras ready to capture every bit of the historic meeting.
“Yes Sir!” Nana responded, as he extended his hand in greeting to the man who thought it almost a taboo to let his name fall from his lips.
“I will play the role of my own linguist. You are welcome, and at the same time, to ask ‘amanie’ [purpose of visit.]”
Nana Addo, who was at this moment feeling more relaxed in the company of his new friend on the other side of the political divide, and beaming with smiles, told his host the purpose of his visit, with Nana also choosing to be his own linguist.
Nana Addo told his host that the time had come for the principal actors in the country’s political scene to find a way to talk to each other, rather than at each other, as has been the situation in the country over the period.
He said it was time to gather synergy to ensure that the coming elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, and to find from the different political perspectives and backgrounds, a way of working together to ensure that the country was moved forward in a united manner.
This ended Nana’s ‘amanie,’ in what could be described as the introductory scene of the discussions.
Having full knowledge of Nana’s purpose of visit, Mr. Rawlings turned to his guest, who sat on the next seat to his right, and almost in a tete-a-tete atmosphere said:
“I am equally privileged and honoured to receive you in this office, and I am hoping that this meeting will also send a clear signal to our supporters that we will be expecting nothing less than very vigilant, but free and fair elections, devoid of violence, in areas we may consider our strongholds.”
At this time, the two had turned the discussionsinto a friendlier one, with each talking so close and low that newsmen struggled to capture their voices on their recording gadgets, with others virtually resting their recorders on the laps of Mr. Rawlings, who was speaking at this moment, but the best part of the conversation was yet to come.
“The next point I will like to draw your attention to, is that I may not be very active on the campaign trail.” Mr. Rawlings continued, “So you can be rest assured that you probably won’t be hearing the tie tia [short].”
This statement from Mr. Rawlings drew a loud laughter from all present, who understood what he really meant.
During the 2008 electioneering campaign, Mr. Rawlings often referred to Nana Addo as “that short man [tie tia],” often avoiding mentioning his name.
“That reminds me of the 2008 elections,” Nana Addo retorted, amid laughter.
Finally, Mr. Rawlings continued, assuming a more serious posture and emphasizing that what he was about saying next was his personal submission.
“While we expect either John Mahama or Nana to win this election, should you be able to win this election, can the NDC supporters enjoy the same degree of security and freedom under your government, as the NPP have enjoyed under the Mills and Mahama government?” Mr. Rawlings asked rhetorically.
Mr. Rawlings’ concern was borne out of the fact that this had been the concerns of many of his party members
“They have been very nervous, and I know what a good deal of them went through under the Kufuor regime, and that’s part of the nervousness that is creating the stress and the tension in our camp about going into opposition. There are a few other reasons for it, but at the appropriate time I will speak to those,” he said.
He added that it was important for Nana Addo and the NPP to give the necessary assurance that if voted into power, “supporters of the NDC can enjoy freedom and justice as NPP followers.”
Nana Addo, in response, assured Mr. Rawlings and the entire country of his commitment to safeguarding the basic human rights and dignity of every Ghanaian under his leadership, irrespective of their political affiliations.
“This is where we have to get to in Ghana, a situation whereby a change of power in itself doesn’t pose a threat or danger to any particular section of our society,” Nana Addo noted.
The two discussed common issues of corruption, and the need to deliver Ghanaians from the shackles of poverty.
The discussions ended with hopes of a possible one in the near future
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