July 6, 2011

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament have prevailed on the former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings to step down from the party’s presidential race, Majority Leader Cletus Avoka has disclosed.

The ruling party goes to congress from July 8 to 10 in Sunyani to choose a presidential candidate for next year’s presidential election, which is keenly being contested by the sitting president, John Evans Atta Mills, and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings.

As the campaigns hot up and the aspirants roundup their bid to win more delegates’ support, Mrs Rawlings Tuesday met the MPs to sell her ideas to them to win their votes.

Ironically, the MPs wished the jinx, where a sitting president was not contested internally, was not broken, and therefore entreated her to allow President Mills to sail through unopposed.

Mr Cletus Avoka told Joy News, after the closed door meeting with the MPs that, “[The appeal for her to step down] was our first request. We told her that we wished that in Sunyani we are going to have affirmation of one aspirant, and not a contest.”

But the former First Lady, whose spokespersons have discounted any idea of her bowing out on various platforms was unmoved, Mr Avoka indicated.

“She appreciated our request but she said that, may be it could have come earlier.”

Nevertheless, according to the Majority Leader, she was persuaded further to rescind her decision, stating that, “I tried to let her understand that it is still possible for people to step down even on the congress grounds.”

Mr Avoka said it was a sheer coincidence that their request was brought forth when she met them on Tuesday, explaining that they (MPs) had wanted to tell her earlier, but never had the opportune time to tell her their “peace of mind”.

He also confirmed the purpose of the meeting: “She came to solicit the support of the NDC Members of Parliament to back her during the congress coming on in Sunyani this weekend so that she emerged as the flagbearer of the NDC for the 2012 general elections. That was her request.”

Mrs Rawlings was, however, commended by the MPs for her support for the party, and particularly on women empowerment and child development, which contributed “significantly” to the development of Ghana, Mr Avoka said.

“We commended her but we tried to explain that it is important that we emerged from Sunyani more united than ever before. So we appealed to her to accept the verdict, not just her but all the aspirants, to accept the verdict of the delegates in Sunyani, so that together we can build the better Ghana agenda… if anything at all, they should desist from foul language because we still need each other at the end of the day.”

However, in an interview with journalists after the meeting, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings said issues discussed were limited to the party’s structure at the constituency and the welfare of parliamentarians.

“Just issues that affects parliamentarians. General issues that affect their well being,” she emphasized.

Moreover, Michael Teye Nyaunu, MP for Lower Manya and Campaign Co-ordinator for Nana Konadu, who was at the meeting indicated on Joy FM that no amount of persuasion would curtail their candidate’s ambition.

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission says it has resolved a dispute over how delegates at the NDC congress would vote.

Its Public Relations Officer Christian Owusu-Parry said both teams are satisfied with the arrangements and that all was set for the polls on Saturday.

Source: Myjoyonline.com