NDC Will Lose 2012 If Its Integrity Is Not Restored - Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has cautioned the newly elected national executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to restore the party's integrity or prepare to bow-out of government. He noted that if the party failed to restore its integrity then "it will decline to the level of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and nature will take its course. "The weapon that we have to stay in office is our integrity. Therein lies our strength. No amount of money the NPP pushed into the last elections could defeat us. If we undermine our integrity then we should be ready to bow out," the former president explained. Addressing the newly elected national executives of the party, who called on him at his Ridge residence on Friday evening, Ex-President Rawlings noted that the NDC could do much better than it was doing, stating that every effort that could be put in place to restore the party's integrity should be employed. "That is what we did to defeat the NPP. We cannot do that unless we do our own internal cleansing," he said. Commenting on the recently held party elections across the country, Former President Rawlings called for investigations into the electoral malpractices that characterized the process. He said some delegates were imposed on the party in certain areas. In other areas, he added, the security agencies were used to prevent some legitimate candidates from exercising their rights. "If we sweep these under the carpet we will remain weak. Our strength comes from recognized personnel, who have worked hard amongst us," he stated. Flt. Lt. Rawlings, who is also the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the NDC, admonished the party not to perpetuate the misdeeds of the NPP. "We cannot rectify the misdeeds of the NPP if we cannot cleanse our own selves," he added. The former president, who is also the founder of the NDC, said hundreds of Ghanaians, who suffered persecution under the NPP, should have their cases reviewed and justice restored to them. He said some lost their jobs because of ethnic or political affiliation and such victims should be invited to state their cases for investigations. "You will be surprised at the thousands of letters you will receive," he said. Flt. Lt. Rawlings also called for investigations into the conduct of some District Chief Executives, whom he claimed are working against the aspirations of the country and ignoring and disrespecting the NDC's party machinery. Again, he called for an enquiry into the conduct of the 2008 elections saying that it was important that the party intervened to prevent the destruction of ballots in areas where fraud was reportedly perpetrated so they could be investigated. He added that failure to do so would allow fraud in the next elections again. Earlier party Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei, who introduced the newly elected executives, praised the party for a smooth Congress and said the newly elected executives had constituted a sub-committee to recommend nominations to the Council of Elders, which had been depleted over time. "We will hold a NEC meeting on February 4, next month and that meeting will fill the vacuum and legitimize our NEC so things do not go awry," he said. Dr Adjei said the party was weakened when some of its most experienced members were appointed into government but Congress had restored that strength. Council of Elders member, Mr Harry Sawyerr, who also addressed the meeting congratulated members for a peaceful election and said the Council would work very closely with the executives and offer advice when needed. The Council, Mr Sawyerr noted was looking forward to more nominations.