Monday, April 23, 2012

The tale of two ex-presidents: Kufuor to support NPP in their first rally as Rawlings continues to snub Atta-Mills

May Day will mark the beginning of the campaign season for the NPP's presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, with a rally planned for the town of Bekwai in the Ashanti region. Akufo-Addo will be joined by his running mate Mahamudu Bawumia (who was his running mate in 2008) and a host of party elites including the current Minority leader in parliament, the party's National chairman,  the Ashanti regional chairman, as well as MP for the constituency. Most significantly, ex-President Kufuor is also set to join the rally, the first sign that he will be active in the NPP's 2012 campaign.

In the 2008 campaign Kufuor, who after two terms was illegible to run again, did not take an active role in the NPP's campaign. This was compared to Rawlings who actively supported the Atta-Mill's team, attending rallies and drumming up support in regions of Ghana in which he is still considered the modern-day father of politics (most notably in the Volta region and some parts of the three northern regions).

Rawling's support for Atta-Mills dwindled since he took office and over the last two years has seen him out-rightly condemn the NDC's handling of the country's affairs. Last month, ex-president Rawlings went to the trouble to announce that he would not join the NDC's first rally that took place in Jamestown, Accra, said to be annoyed that his name was used to publicize the event without prior agreement.  Again this week, Rawlings restated that he remained defiant in his position against the president. It should be noted that the Rawlings' dissatisfaction earlier this year culminated in his wife Mrs Nana Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings running against Atta-Mills in the NDC party primaries (although she gained only 3% of the party votes).

Many analyst suggest Rawlings has the power to make or break the NDC campaign precisely because of his popularity in certain parts of the country, with turnout likely to decline in these areas without a significant effort from the Atta-Mills team.

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