Folks, I am working on an opinion piece to “dissect” the launching of the NDC’s national campaign toward winning Election 2016. One major issue that has caught my attention is the presence and speech given by former President, Jerry John Rawlings. I regard his participation as a huge capital for all that it means. So also do I appreciate his deep insights and thought-provoking caution to the NDC.
And as he rightly said at the ceremony, the NDC shouldn’t fight the NPP on its terms. I reproduce his elucidating remarks here for emphasis:
“There are certain weaknesses that we have to deal with. …The NPP cannot be underestimated, you know it. They’ve been in existence for a long time and have been changing their name up to today. The nature of who they are, what they are, where they’ve come from, is something they are happy with and they will be there for a long time.
“The calculation I want to put before you is that by virtue of what and who they are, that will necessarily give drive to what you and I are in the NDC. In other words, by virtue of who we are, where we come, how we came into being, I keep saying we cannot afford to fight them on their terms, it’s important that we fight them on our terms, let’s not mimic their behaviour…” Mr. Rawlings warned.
According to him, if only the NDC can hold on to the principles that gave birth to the party, then the NDC will enjoy many years of victory. “…We will override any obstacle,” he assured. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/We-can-t-fight-NPP-on-their-terms-Rawlings-462619).
I regard this caution from Rawlings as the second best statement to have been made by him in his entire political life/career.
For the records, his first enduring statement came to the world during the “Court Martial” trial of him and his co-conspirators of the abortive May 15, 1979 coup attempt against the Supreme Military Council when he owned up to everything, saying “Leave my men alone; I am responsible for everything!”
Colonel Eningful and his team couldn’t believe that statement. They won’t live to see its implications. June 4 happened and took them away. The impact of that statement is not lost on us. Its import remains.
What Rawlings said at the launching of the NDC’s national campaign about how to fight the NPP is the second eye-popping statement from him to immortalize him as a seasoned politician who shouldn’t be undermined. he may have his qualms and quaint ways; but he is worth his sort. Here is why. The NPP, as he rightly dissected it, is what it is because of what it is. No one seeking to diminish its influence should be lured into its trap of cheap political rhetoric, violence, and chicanery.
Fighting to defeat it means adopting better strategies than what it is using. That is why it is important for the NDC and its handlers to know the history behind the NPP and how it does its politics so they don’t waste time, energy, and resources fighting it in its comfort zone.
Those of us who know what the NPP stands for won’t waste any breath challenging its operatives in the vain media warfare or self-tickling over trumped-up trivialities to cause political mischief.
There is a lot to glean from Rawlings’ admonition, which I hope the NDC will do. Brushing the NPP aside is easy. No need to engage its loud-mouthed and irritating communicators in any wordy warfare. Neglect them for what they are and concentrate on telling Ghanaians what the government has done, is unable to do and why, and what it intends to do if backed by the voters.
More soon. In any case, Rawlings has made my day; and I appreciate him for it. As I have kept saying all these years, I am a “Rawlings man”, even if I write to condemn him (and his wife) whenever they strike raw nerves. I remain a “Rawlings man”. You don’t like it? Go and drown yourself in the Atlantic Ocean!!
Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor