The massive defeat suffered by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in last week’s general elections has created confusion among top officers of the outgoing governing party.
Gurus in the party are at one another’s throat over who actually caused the party’s humiliating defeat in the December 7 polls, with one group insisting that former President Jerry John Rawlings, who founded the NDC, should take the blame, saying he did not campaign for President John Mahama’s re-election bid.
The Greater Accra Regional Organizer of the NDC, Anthony Nukpenu, has insisted that no personality other than Mr. Rawlings contributed to the party’s defeat, claiming that he (the ex-president) continuously tagged the Mahama administration as corrupt and that gave the opposition the weapons to fire more salvos.
“We as a party have a founder in the person of Jerry John Rawlings and as party members, we felt he should be a protective cover for the party and the government; but he chose to arm the opposition against us,” he said, adding, “The NPP got to our heels by campaigning against us heavily on this so-called corruption perception and anytime they made that claim they claimed that the founder of the NDC is the one who said the president is the most corrupt person and his appointees are very corrupt so they should be voted out.”
Mr Anthony Nukpenu underscored, “So if you have this message being used against you by your political opponents and courtesy the founder of your party, it goes a long way to affect your political fortunes. And that has been one of the tools that caused us to have this humiliating defeat.”
He said President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo’s acknowledgement of President Rawlings in his acceptance speech was an indication that the former president ‘armed’ the opposition with a ‘weapon’ for the elections.
“One of the tools he gave them was corruption, and Nana Akufo-Addo in his acceptance speech congratulated him. On what basis was he congratulating him, thanking him so much for what he has done for him?” he queried.
Mr. Nukpenu also claimed the former president shut his doors to the NDC but allowed the NPP to come in, saying, “We as a party made moves to have a meeting with our founder, he did not agree; but he had the time and opportunity to open his doors to Volta Regional NPP executives to have a meeting with them.
“What is he telling the world? So things have gone bad; we don’t want to go there. I know the several moves that we made when we needed him and he turned us down. He has brought us to opposition which has been his call, so he should call us; we are ready to go to him.”
In JJ’s Defence
However, in a sharp rebuttal, the party’s National Organizer Kofi Adams, who was the Campaign Coordinator of the NDC, dismissed the Regional Organizer’s claims and said the party was yet to take stock and know what went wrong.
Kofi Adams, who was once President Rawlings’ spokesperson said, “Nobody has done any research to show why we lost, and until we have done so, the blame game must cease, and our former president and founding father must be allowed to have his peace while we work around a strategy to bring everything on board.
“We went into the elections with the hope and desire to win. We did not win the elections. Leadership would have to take the responsibility for our inability to win the elections. Let us blame nobody, especially our founder.
“Those of us in active leadership at the national, regional and at all levels, should take responsibility for what has happened and let us focus for the next agenda which is making sure that once we hold the government to its promise and also make sure that no matter what, we get back to power to continue the great job that the country deserves.”
The absence of the former president on the NDC campaign trail was so conspicuous that it has become talk of the town.
Apart from Cape Coast in the Central Region where the NDC launched its national campaign in August, Mr Rawlings was never seen at any NDC campaign event, including the manifesto launch in Sunyani, Brong-Ahafo Regional capital, in September.
Mr Rawlings refused to endorse John Mahama when he attended the Cape Coast campaign launch, but asked the party supporters to wait till after the elections before he would go round the country ‘to rebuild the party.’
He refused to disclose whom he voted for on December 7 when asked, saying that his vote was secret.
At a point when everybody was asking about the whereabouts of the former president in the NDC campaign, the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said brazenly that the former president was too old to campaign for the ruling party.
He had queried cheekily on Joy FM that “If Jerry is your father will you pull him to campaign at this age?”