The once cosy relationship between the Ahwoi brothers and former President Rawlings went sour after Ato Ahwoi, a former Secretary (Minister) of the PNDC, refused to contest the late Prof. Atta-Mills.
According to Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi, if his brother had contested Atta-Mills, it would have been a betrayal of a good relationship Ato Ahwoi had with Atta-Mills. Therefore, the Ahwoi family did not take it lightly when Rawlings requested Ato Ahwoi to do so.
“A number of incidents occurred, but I think the major one that really created the problem was in 2006 when Prof. Mills was supposed not to be well and Rawlings I think was trying to get a replacement for him as the NDC candidate. He approached my senior brother Ato Ahwoi to contest Prof. Mills in the NDC primaries (sic) and we took offence because Jerry [Rawlings] knew the role that Ato had played in getting Mills out of the comfort of academia to come and join the turbulence of Ghanaian politics,” Prof Kwamena Ahwoi told Citi News.
He added, “he knew that there was a very close camaraderie between us [Ahwoi family], especially Ato and Prof. Mills and therefore, I thought that he was asking us to betray Prof. Mills”.
He indicated that Rawlings later fell on Eddie Annan whom he persuaded and eventually he [Eddie Annan] lost overwhelmingly to Atta-Mills.
Atta-Mills won the primary with about 81% of the total valid votes cast, followed by Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a former Education Minister, with 8.7%. Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, a former Defence Minister came third with 8.2% and Eddie Annan was last with 1.7%.
Prof Ahwoi stated that Eddie Annan regretted his contest against his close friend Prof. Mills.
“That is what would have happened if Ato had agreed to contest him [Mills]. It was from that time that the drifting apart started . . . and it got worse when Mills became President and Jerry [Rawlings] began his attacks on him,” he said.
Prof. Ahwoi claimed Rawlings’ persistent verbal attacks on President Atta-Mills nearly forced the latter to resign as President of Ghana, but it took him and some other prominent members of the NDC about four hours to convince Prof Mills to stay in office.