President John Evans Atta Mills got the shock of his life when his former boss, Jerry John Rawlings, told him point blank that he should be ruled out in the NDC campaign for the December 7, 2012 elections.
Mr Rawlings, the NDC founder, made his views known at a Castle meeting between him and the president.
According to a Castle source, Mr. Rawlings did not mince words when he said ânoâ to the request, dazing the president in the process.
The former president attended the Castle meeting with his aide and spokesperson, Kofi Adams who did not sit in the meeting.
Narrating what ensued when the former president appeared at the Castle, a development which was over-spun by NDC propagandists, the source said the whole issue started when Mr Rawlings was in Somalia on official assignment.
A call was sent to him by President Millsâs head of security at the Castle, Colonel Attachie, to inform him that the president wanted to talk to him.
The former president, the source said, asked why such a request had to pass through him âbut when eventually they spoke, JJ said he was away in Somalia but would contact him upon his return.
âWhen JJ returned to Ghana, he proceeded to the Castle where his host told him that he did not hate him, to which the former president asked, âsince when did I say that you hate me?ââ
With that aspect of the preliminary exchanges over, Mr. Rawlingsâs host said he wanted to find out whether he would support him in the forthcoming campaign but the NDC founder declined.
âJJ told him that he would not campaign for a sinking ship,â the source said, adding that since the former president characteristically âdoes not keep things in his headâ, he relayed what transpired at the Castle to his confidantes when he returned.
Mr Rawlings used the visit to wish the president well since he was meeting him for the first time since the latter returned from the United States for medical review.
However, since the meeting, NDC apologists have twisted what transpired at the Castle, claiming that Rawlings would lead the NDC campaign.
With rumours that President Mills might not be active on the campaign trail, the NDC would have to evolve an unusual strategy for the season.
There have been conflicting reports from the Castle as well in the NDC as to whether President Mills would actively campaign for his re-election campaign, as his operations director at the Castle, who is also the NDC parliamentary candidate for the Odododiodoo, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, and his communications chief, Koku Anyidoho, are not speaking with one voice.
The NDC propaganda secretary, Richard Quashigah, even made it worse when he said the president would only be waving to party people at rallies.
While Koku claimed the president would campaign, Nii Lantey insisted the âold manâ would not be part of the mainstream campaign but rather stay in the office and work, giving credence to the speculations that Mills could not endure a long haul campaign.
Nii Lantey told Citi FM of Accra that the president had a lot on his hands including official duties and would therefore not shirk his responsibility.
âHe has to stay in the office, do what he has to do in the office and when time permits that he has official duties to perform outside the office, he will do so and his work will talk for him,â he claimed.
The situation has given much room for speculation, with some linking the presidentâs supposed inability to campaign to his degenerating nasal twang.
The promoters of the newly-formed National Democratic Party (NDP) have indicated that the former president is part of the party.
According to the interim general secretary, Dr Joseph Mamboah-Rockson, Mr Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, were part of the NDP.Â âYes they are behind the NDP and they will strongly campaign for us after we have launched our party,â he confirmed last Friday after submitting the party registration forms to the Electoral Commission (EC), accompanied by an aide to Mr Rawlings, Emmanuel Saint Osei.
By A.R. Gomda