By; Gifty Arthur
Ex-president, Jerry John Rawlings, has advised the government and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to ensure they supervise a free and fair election this year, to boost the image of the party.
According to the founder of the party, the NDC, has a huge responsibility to ensure that the up-coming elections are conducted in a free and fair manner, devoid of any unfortunate incident.
“We have to accept criticism in good faith. In office you have the opportunity to accept your weakness and better appreciate how others perceive of you.
The NDC, will have to lead all of us involved in the quest of power to ensure that this year’s election, be conducted in an atmosphere of transparency”, said the ex-president, when he paid a day’s visit to the NDC office complex of the NDC at Adabraka in Accra.
He advised the leadership of the party at all levels, not to be tempted by their opponents to descend into the gutters as the campaign for the election of the next president begins.
He urged the party and the government, to ensure a successful polls in November.
“Naturally the incumbent government must be feeling the heat of the criticism being the party facing critical assessment from the electorate, including myself and an opposition that is feeling justified and angry to unseating the NDC.Tempers may rise, angry words exchanged, but the NDC must not allow its desire to stay in power to compel its leaders at various levels to descend into the gutters and contribute to an atmosphere of insecurity”, he said.
According to him, “ensuring free and fair election, devoid of unfortunate incidents, will be a huge credit to the NDC, and we have a responsibility to direct all our operatives to comport themselves during the most trying moments of the campaign and election period.
We cannot win the trust of the people by putting up aggressive and abrasive behaviour. It will sour the electoral result and poison an already challenged political environment”, he noted.
It was the first time the founder of the party, visited the newly built ultra-modern party office, after it moved from it Kokomlemle office few years ago.
Former president Rawlings, who was joined by the third president from the party, John Dramani Mahama, was there to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the party.
The well-marked programme, was also attended by several of the party’s present and past executives, elders, past appointees and ministers, Members of Parliament (MP) and many others.
It was also used to honour several of the party’s heroes, who helped build the party to what it is today.
Though very young, the party, has democratically won four of the nation’s six elections producing three presidents, including the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills.
Prior to his going there, Mr. Rawlings, has had very frosty relationship with the party, especially the government, and so not many had anticipated that he would grace the occasion.
In 2012, when the party clocked 20 and was being led by the late president Mills, he did not take part in the celebration.
Mr. Rawlings, who has not falling short of heavily criticizing his party, challenged the governing party to speak with one accord, saying “it is unpardonable that multiple and contradictory responses from government officials to allegation against the government or party is commonplace”.
On his part, president Mahama, thanked Mr. Rawlings and his predecessor, Prof. Mills for nurturing his political ambitions by giving him the opportunity to serve as minister and vice president respectively, resulting in him becoming the third president of the NDC.
“To my predecessors, President Jerry John Rawlings and President John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory, I also say ‘ayeko’ we salute you”.
I John Dramani Mahama, I have been very fortunate to have cut my political teeth under your tutelage and supervision and I will forever be grateful.
I stand on behalf of all the members of the NDC to express our appreciation for your sterling contributions and sacrifices that you have made to bring us where we are today”.