Jerry John Rawlings in a handshake with Nana Akufo-Addo after the meeting at his Ridge residence
President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Monday – Boxing Day – paid a visit to former President Jerry John Rawlings at the latter’s Ridge residence in Accra.
The visit was regarded as part of the ongoing gratitude tour by the president-elect to critical personalities and institutions since he was declared winner of the recent general election.
He had already toured the Northern, Ashanti and Western Regions. At the time of filing this report, Nana Addo was en route to Accra from his Western and Central Regional tour, which was said to have been massively subscribed.
The visit to the former president was a closed-door one, with none of the aides of the two personalities in attendance.
Sources said the meeting was very cordial and fruitful, with the two leaders smiling before the cameras after the parley.
Also absent was former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who also contested the election under the umbrella of National Democratic Party (NDP).
It is thought that the two would have discussed the issue of the recovery of state funds – the former president’s acerbic position on the Woyome’s money a household knowledge.
The only evidence of the visit by Nana Akufo-Addo is the picture of the two personalities in a handshake shortly after the closed-door engagement.
In his maiden speech after being declared winner in the polls, Nana Akufo-Addo was lavish with his remarks of gratitude to persons who contributed immensely towards his victory.
Beneficiaries of the kind words included former President Jerry John Rawlings and retired Captain Kojo Tsikata, among others, for their contributions towards his (Nana Addo’s) campaign, which obviously added a fillip to his efforts.
“To the senior citizens of our country who have given me invaluable advice over the years, amongst them, the former President of the Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings; the former Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Kofi Annan; Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene; the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. J.B. Danquah; the Chairman of the NPP’s National Council of Elders, the veteran statesman, C.K. Tedam and Captain Kojo Tsikata, erstwhile PNDC member responsible for National Security. I thank you for your counsel and for sharing your wisdom with me; and hope I can continue to count on you during the challenging period ahead of me,” Nana Akufo-Addo had stated in his victory speech.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) leadership and rank and file members did not take kindly to the unexplained advice the two persons – Rawlings and Tsikata – provided to the president-elect, describing their gesture as treacherous.
In their post-evaluation of factors which led to the defeat of the NDC, the leadership pointed at, among other things, the non-support of Rawlings to the campaign effort of the party he founded.
Former President Rawlings had described Nana Akufo-Addo as a man beyond graft – a description which jolted the image of the president-elect and incensed the NDC.
Jerry’s “babies with sharp teeth” is now a mantra, a description of the youthful ministers for their insulting nature. It has joined the many iconic political remarks on the public space.
His non-appearance at the NDC’s last rally, a few weeks ago – having used his name to advertise the programme – had many people concluding that the former fighter pilot was not ready to patch ways with managers of his political grouping.
Speculation was rife that the party leadership had sought to have him show up at the party’s last rally, but this he turned down.
When some NPP elements visited him to have him support their cause in stopping Togolese from flooding the frontier areas to vote in the local polls, he asked that the victor should be magnanimous with the loser at the end of the electoral exercise.
While asking that those who have stolen from the public purse using their political positions to do so be made to return the loot, he was quick to add that the process should be bereft of witch-hunting.