The Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the party’s 2020 presidential candidate, John Mahama, on Monday, 16 November 2020 failed to receive the children of the late founder of the party, Jerry Rawlings, in his office as scheduled, Asaase Radio can report.
Described as humiliating, the delegation led by Ambassador Victor Gbeho and Colonel (Rtd) Joshua Agbotui, went as scheduled by former President Mahama, to pay him a visit at 8am to officially inform him about the death of Rawlings. They arrived to a locked office before 8am and waited for half hour until the cleaners showed up to put the office in shape. They waited for an hour with no staff around to receive them. Eventually the children, Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Yaa Asantewaa, Amina and Kimathi, who arrived in the country from Italy at the weekend, had to return home to receive other scheduled visitors, a source close to the NDC headquarters, who arrived at 8.30am for the occasion, revealed to Asaase Radio.
Rawlings died last Thursday, 12 November at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital after a short illness. He was 73.
The NDC, led by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, has been critical of the decision by the Rawlings family to opt to first inform the President of the Republic of the death of the first President of the Fourth Republic.
They have accused President Akufo-Addo of “grieving more than the bereaved,” even though the bereaved here may itself be debatable considering the frosty relationship between the late NDC Founder and the current leadership of the party.
He evidently had a better relationship with President Akufo-Addo, in spite of their well-publicised past as staunch opponents.
Indeed, at the funeral of President Rawlings’s late mother in Keta a few weeks ago, he took the microphone to lambast the NDC leadership for trying to turn the solemn occasion into a party event.
Hijacking the funeral
The NDC leadership has already started capitalising on the passing of the former President with the General Secretary admonishing supporters at Sunday’s quickly arranged vigil in Accra to “win the 2020 elections” for the Founder.
President Rawlings himself had earlier raised doubts about the party’s chances, announcing after John Mahama’s nomination last year as rather to prepare the ground for another attempt for Mahama in 2024 and not a serious challenge for 2020.
It was seen by the NDC leadership that the decision to allow President Akufo-Addo to let the state control the funeral as an attempt by the ruling party to deny the NDC fully exploiting the death.
After piling up pressure on the family and lambasting them for going to see President Akufo-Addo first and not the Leader of the NDC, the children led by the NDC MP for Korley Klottey, Zanetor Agyeman- Rawlings, finally succumbed.
They showed up at 8am this morning as planned. But the host stood them up. At the time of filing this report, no reason had been offered by Mahama’s office for the snub.