Prof Mills was forced by the NDC to stand the 2008 elections with ill-health—JJ Rawlings
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has accused some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party of forcing the late President, John Evans Atta Mills in standing the 2008 polls with ill health.
According to him, that made it difficult for him to receive the needed medical attention to prolong his life.
His accusations came after the NDC stalwart, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi misrepresented the relationship that existed between the NDC founder and the late President in the run-up to the 2008 general elections.
It will be recalled that Mr Ahwoi in a controversial book “Working with Rawlings,” accused the former President of attempting to sabotage Professor Mills’ presidential ambitions by trying to replace him with Ato Ahwoi.
“Jerry Rawlings invited Ato Ahwoi to his Ridge residence and prevailed on him to contest the presidential primaries against Prof Mills. Ato says he was astounded because Jerry knew his relationship with Prof Mills and also knew the role that he had played in 1996 in convincing Prof Mills to agree to become his running mate,” portions of the book stated.
In a statement, Mr Rawlings explained that the late President called him to South Africa, where he had gone to receive medical treatment.
He expressed that Prof Mills explained that he wanted to forego his desire to run the presidential race due to his medical state.
Ex-president Rawlings described as bizarre, Kwamena Ahwoi’s lengthy diatribe about how he (Rawlings) coerced Prof Ahwoi’s brother, Ato Ahwoi to contest the late President ahead of the NDC’s primaries – leading to the breakdown of their healthy relationship.
According to him, Mr Ahwoi instead forced Prof Mills to contest the polls despite his ill health against his will.
“When Professor Mills returned to Ghana, meetings were held with him without the knowledge or participation of President Rawlings, where Professor Mills was convinced by those present, not to withdraw his candidature and actually made to believe that President Rawlings was working to undermine him,” Rawlings said in his response.
“That, was when the mistrust began, and Mr Kwamena Ahwoi was and is well-known to be one of the master-architects of that manipulative agenda that pushed a very unwell candidate Mills into the 2008 General Election,” he added.
Following the conversation, Rawlings said he informed and urged party members to “identify recognisable party members who could step in,” insisting that some known personalities in the party should position themselves for the role.
Rawlings, therefore, rejected claims that Ato Ahwoi was forced to contest Mills in the NDC’s primaries ahead of the 2008 general elections.
According to a statement from the office of the former President, there was no “attempt to undermine, sabotage, betray or malign Professor Mills as the author shamelessly infers in his book.
It should be stated on record, that President Rawlings took the responsible and pragmatic approach after he received that politically unnerving call from Professor Mills.
He consulted the Party leadership to take strategic steps to fill the gap which by Professor Mills’ account was imminent.”
“It is rather telling of him (Kwamena Ahwoi) to deny this well-known crisis merely in his bid to deride and denigrate the genuine efforts of former President Rawlings to arrest a crisis,” Rawlings clarified.