A vice chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, on Tuesday called for peace in the party split down the middle between supporters of President John Evans Atta Mills and former President Jerry Rawlings saying the party must win the 2012 elections, but it must not destroy itself in the process of doing so.
Dr Spio-Garbrah, who was a cabinet minister under President Rawlings, is said to be considering the possibility of contesting the flagbearership of the party, as nominations close on Tuesday, May 10.
However, in a message posted on the internet, he was vague about his intentions in that direction.
He said: “Whether I pick up a nomination form today, 10th May, 2011, the last day for picking up a form, will depend on my view of whether I reach the conclusion that peace in the NDC is more possible with me in the race or with me outside the race.
“So, peacemaking in the NDC is still my objective and better late than never. President Rawlings, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and President Mills and their supporters should be able to accommodate themselves under the large NDC ‘Akatamanso’, and if I need to become a candidate to help them to do so, then may God Help Us All.”
President Mills and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, have picked up nomination forms to contest the primaries scheduled for Sunyani July 8-10.
In the message entitled “NDC at the Precipice – Last Opportunity for Peace and Unity,” Dr Spio-Garbrah said many people had enquired about his plans on contesting the flagbearership because he was a candidate in the December 2006 race that elected President Mills as the candidate of the NDC.
He said while some people had asked him to stay neutral, others had asked him to throw his weight behind one of the two candidates while a number of his supporters had asked him to contest.
“It has been a period for deep reflection, prayer and consultation. In the words of some, if my father and my mother are going through a ‘political divorce’ it is better not to get involved or to support one side against the other.”
Dr Spio-Garbrah said other supporters, however, had stated that he needed to go beyond simply staying neutral in these “divorce proceedings”, and had encouraged him to continue to pursue the “Peacemaking and Unity” in the NDC that he began some weeks ago.
“This is why appeals must continue to be made to all right thinking members of the NDC, especially the Founding Fathers, the Council of Elders, the President and Leader, the National Secretariat and specific individuals whose voices carry weight within the Party to strive for a negotiated resolution of the current crisis before open warfare is declared,” he said.
“What would be the point of winning an internal NDC battle only to lose the more important war at a national election?” he asked.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said in 2006, a similar attempt at fend-mending was planned between those supporting his campaign and President Mills,
but this was eventually scuttled, leading to long-term adverse effects.
“If current trends in the party continue, the NDC baby may end up being cut in two at and after July 10, 2011,” he said.
However, he said, “like the true mother in the Solomonic story of two women contesting over the motherhood/ownership of a baby in (the Bible) the major claimants to the NDC’s future must agree to keep and own one united NDC family after the July Congress than to take pieces of a divided baby.”