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General News
NDC Hits Road 5/24/2007
Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Prof John Evans Atta Mills has taken his campaign to a new level, as he tries to get artisans, kenkey sellers and taxi drivers on board. Prof Mills was seen at Mamprobi-Banana Inn in the Ablekuma South constituency in Accra flagging down and waving at taxi drivers, ostensibly to sell his message of “I care for U” to them.

The former vice president and his campaign team stormed IBM Banana Inn in eight vehicles, including two pickups bearing his picture with the inscription, “I care for U”. Prof Mills’ sudden appearance in the area caused a little stir, with some drivers struggling to find out what was going on. Even though no vehicle stopped, some drivers waved at the NDC flagbearer while others just sped off. Prof Mills recently launched a house-to-house campaign to whip up support for his flagging campaign. The changed strategy came on the heels of a tongue-lashing ordeal he suffered at the party’s family meeting held at the Coco Beach Hotel, Nungua in Accra.

During the session, party gurus including former President Jerry John Rawlings took turns to lambaste him. According to them, Prof Mills was not doing enough to recapture power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP).However, the criticisms seemed to have paid off, as the flagbearer was all fired up, embarking on a newly-embraced house-to-house “I care for U” campaign strategy. The former vice president had so far visited Weija and Ablekuma North constituencies, whose seats are being held by the NPP.

At the Banana Inn yesterday, Prof Mills visited the slum areas, shaking hands with everyone, while contemporaneously drumming his message home. Some residents, mostly children, joined the campaign trail. There was no fanfare, as the NDC campaign team moved sluggishly to houses, chopbars, and joints with the message of “vote for me”. Every passer-by was given a handshake as Nii Lante Vanderpuye and other members of the campaign team served as leaders of the march.

Having failed thrice in a row to clinch power for the NDC, the former Number Two Citizen appeared desperate to change his fortunes. His first acclamation by Rawlings as flagbearer, in what came to be known infamously as ‘the Swedru Declaration’ did not go down with some NDC apparatchiks. Still eager to lead the party to victory, the former Law professor presented himself again for two more elections, but failed miserably to change the fortunes of his party. The last party polls to pick a flagbearer was perhaps the most keenly contested.

Although Party Founder Rawlings sought to create the impression that he had no favourite in the race, party insiders believed he preferred the law teacher.The founder was known to have visited a number of NDC strongholds a few days before the polls to seek votes for the man whom cynics refer to as “the anointed man”.

Shortly after winning the hearts of delegates, Prof Mills’ infirmity became a story on the media landscape, especially when he had to seek medical attention in far away China.From China, the law teacher who dismissed the story of his ailment as nothing but manouvres by his detractors to throw spanners into the wheels of his works, relocated to South Africa. He attributed the transfer to his inability to understand his Chinese doctors.When he eventually gave an insight into his ailment, he said it was a sinus problem which he said manifested in his voice.He told the media that his emaciated form was the result of a regime of weight-shedding as prescribed by his doctors.

The angry law teacher had asked those he considered cynics whether he was a superman who could not fall ill.“Who does not have a hospital card in the country?” he asked rhetorically at the time.His predicaments appeared to be unending when the man who had supported him all along to lead the NDC, lashed at him for not doing enough to prop the opposition party.

The house-to-house campaign preceded his visit to Akosombo to find out just what was happening at the dam. Political observers described these moves as Mills’ response to the plodding of his godfather, Rawlings, and the recent bashing he received during the family crisis meeting.

D. Guide

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