In a move seemingly alien to Ghana’s tempestuous and sharply divisive and accusatory politics, opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo Thursday called on the founder of the governing NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, at his Ridge residence in Accra.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings and the flag-bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party engaged in such an unusually friendly chat, showed great deference to each – former foes – that even Mr Rawlings himself conceded “This is real bonanza; we’ve never seen this in Ghana before.”
Welcoming the NPP flag-bearer and his entourage, the former President said, “Nana, I will be playing the role of my own linguist, and to ask, amanea” to-wit, what is your mission?
The purpose of the visit, Nana Akufo-Addo said, was to start a good dialogue because “the time has come in our country where the principal actors in the political scene found the way to talk to each rather than at each other which has been the case in our country for a very long time.”
He said he was sure that all the political leaders were concerned about the need for the December polls to be conducted in good spirit and in a transparent and peaceful manner.
The NPP flagbearer said his visit was also to “assure you of my own commitment to a credible [electoral] process in this country.”
He said it was about time the increasingly chaotic and divisive politics gave way to a situation where “we all move together in a united manner.”
Former President Rawlings on his part assured the NPP flag-bearer he may not be deeply involved in this year’s electoral campaigns and that he should rest assured he will not be called a short man on the campaign platforms as he (Rawlings) had done in the past.
Referring to the fact that the NPP flagbearer and President John Mahama are the front runners in the election, Mr Rawlings demanded assurance that NDC supporters will enjoy equal security under an Akufo-Addo presidency as NPP supporters were currently enjoying.
“While we expect either John Mahama or Nana (Konadu) to win this election, should you be able to win this election can the NDC supporters enjoy the same degree of security and freedom under your government as the NPP have enjoyed under the Mills-Mahama government?” the ex-president asked.
Responding to Mr Rawlings’ request, Nana Addo stressed it was time for Ghana’s democracy to mature to the extent where “the change of power in itself doesn’t pose a threat to any particular section of our society”, promising he was personally very keen on ensuring that was guaranteed.
“…There is nothing for anybody to be afraid of…” Nana assured and Mr Rawlings replied, “I’m really glad to hear that…”