GHANA: JJ And Mills In Crunch Meeting Over ‘Greedy Bastards’

Former President Rawlings (l) and current President Mill

President John Evans Atta Mills and his political god-father, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings and former security capo, Captain Kojo Tsikata are said to have met last Tuesday in a secret engagement at the Flagstaff House (Jubilee House) to mend their frosty relationship, the Daily Guide newspaper has learnt.

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Castle sources indicated that the crunch meeting was held to deliberate upon a number of nagging issues and re-focus the ‘dying’ relationship between them ahead of the 2012 presidential candidacy of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), vis-avis the divisive and conflicting signals the subject is emitting. The agenda on the table was “sack the greedy bastards and get my support, or maintain them and face Nana Konadu At the NDC congress” later next year.

President Mills is said to have accepted to reshuffle the cabinet early next year, which will lead to the exit of most of the mediocre ministers. The relationship between ex-President Rawlings and President Mills is anything but smooth. The NDC founder has incessantly rebuked Prof. Mills for what he regards as his slowness in implementing the NDC agenda of seeking justice.

The rarity of the meeting, the first in a long time, can only match the choice of the venue in terms of surprise – the Flagstaff House – a place which had sufficient denigration from the NDC when it was in opposition. Details are scanty about how the meeting was brokered but the Daily Guide newspaper can vouch that it hinged on a number of conditions put forth by the man whose bashing of President Mills has become household knowledge on the political turf. Significantly, Captain Tsikata, who wields a heavy dose of power in the Mills government, is rarely seen at public engagements.

He was said to have had an icy relationship with Rawlings for a long time but now the stakes to win power in 2012 have brought the two men who ruled Ghana for much of its post independence lifetime tighter. The outcome of the crunch meeting, Daily Guide hard, would determine whether or not ex-President Rawlings would lend this support to President Mills as presidential candidate in 2012, as supporters of both camps – Mills and Rawlings – have loudly proclaimed their entrenched positions in the media.

The meeting was held against the backdrop of an ongoing public debate, especially in the media, as to whether President Mills would attract the blessing and for that matter the bee-hive campaign trail support of the ex-President, the man who ‘anointed’ him as his political successor. Daily Guide sources hinted that Mr. Rawlings has demanded that he would only alter his position and impression about President Mills when he reshuffles his cabinet as early as possible to drop the ‘Team B players’.

Mr. Rawlings had specifically asked that some ministers and appointees whom he described as ‘greedy bastards’ and others seen as non-performers, arrogant and corrupt be replaced by what cynics would prefer to classify as ‘Team A persons.’ The Team A and B reference originated from the categorization of ministers by Ekwow Spio-Garbrah when he descended upon Mills’ alleged non-performing administration in a Daily Graphic article, a discourse which brought to the fore the internal discontent in the NDC. Ato Ahwoi, a confidant of President Mills, who holds a special place in the incumbent administration, does not amuse ex-President Rawlings and many believe he is one of the greedy bastards referred to in the infamous speech.

It is yet to be seen how President Mills would succumb to this demand which he has managed to parry since his mentor started querying him for non-performance in the early days of his administration. The NDC is scheduled to discuss the presidential candidacy at a national executive level in a meeting this week, but how this would tie in with the outcome of the Rawlings, Mills and Tsikata meeting remains a subject of conjecture.

The NDC party has faced strings of intra-party disagreements, some of which border on what opponents of the Mills government regard as the inefficiency of the man they claim to have supported to come to power. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings’s perceived intention to challenge President Mills in the party’s presidential primary, as bolstered by the former First Lady’s supporters, has muddied the waters further.

The media has been awash with claims and counter-claims from the supporters of Nana Konadu and those who have vowed to see President Mills bear the NDC flag for the 2012 polls.

With the woman herself not coming out publicly to state her position, coupled with her husband’s stance that the Rawlingses would not compete for the presidency, uncertainty remains a feature of the volatile situation. The Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR), a political pressure group which recently launched a website for the former first lady, has not hidden its agenda of promoting Mrs. Agyeman Rawlings for the presidency.

As to whether the secret meeting would deliver the NDC from the throes of the divisive confusion eating into the fabric of the Party remains a matter for the future to establish. One thing for sure is that should President Mills succumb to the demands of ex-President Rawlings and uproot the “greedy bastards”, alongside the arrest of persons he think should be in jail, he would have opened a new front in the challenges besetting the ruling party.

Daily Guide