General News of Wednesday, 16 May 2012Source: citifmonline.com A research fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr. Michael Kpesah Whyte, has given indications that the former first couple – the Rawlingses – have lost their relevance and impact in the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to Dr. Whyte, former President Rawlings’ ability as an election winning icon has diminished over time making specific reference to the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections.
Dr. Whyte was speaking to Citi News on the latest developments in the ruling NDC and perceived rift between the party founder and his family and the Mills-led government.
Dr. Whyte said: “There is no evidence to suggest that Rawlings in the NDC is what makes NDC win elections. You know very well that in 2000 when Rawlings was incumbent he ran around this country, North, South, East, West, Centre, everywhere campaigning for the candidate he had chosen at the time which was then candidate Atta Mills, he lost to former President Kufuor.”
“In 2004, he campaigned again across the country and everything yet Atta Mills lost. By 2008 he had fallen out with Atta Mills, he came back on the campaign trail at the last moment and Atta Mills won by a very slim margin. I don’t see that there is anything in all this to suggest that former President Rawlings is an election winning machine,” he added.
The political scientist was, however, quick to add that former President Rawlings still has enormous influence on the Ghanaian political terrain with the ability to attract a huge following, but doubts whether such crowds automatically translate into votes.
He said: “Former President Rawlings has the magnet to attract people, but as to whether attracting people to yourself or people liking and loving you necessarily translates into electoral fortunes is something that we haven’t seen in this particular trajectory.” **