How Mr. Rawlings undermined his cloud

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 Source: Sidibe, Abdul Musah

From Bogaboga politics to shellacking: How Mr. Rawlings undermined his cloud

Politics, they say, is the act of the possible. When Mr. Rawlings tried to shove his

wife down the throat of the NDC delegates; he never anticipated that he is asking

the party to do the impossible, replace a sitting president half way his term, for

an unelectable candidate. The answer from the delegates is a resounding NO!. Over 96

percent of the delegate gathered at the Coronation park in Suyani rejected his call

and disagreed with his endless venom against the President.

The big loser of last night’s election is not Nana Konadu; but her incessant husband

who refused advice and in the process undermined his own credible and cloud in the

party. If Mr. Rawlings should learn anything from the congress, it is a tacit call

for his retirement from active politics. The result of the congress is also a

vindication of those us who have long called his bluff that the NDC is not his

personal property. We’ve also argued that the bogaboga politics of a group called

FONKAR, most of whom are not delegates of the party, doesn’t work in 2011 Ghanaian

politics. I personally pity Mr. Rawlings because he has unnecessarily back himself

into a tight corner. A corner that he will find it very difficult to get out of.

It is very obvious from the results of the congress that both both Rawlings and

FONKAR, a group I would refer to as the Fools of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings,

didn’t do their homework properly. To lose a congress by such a overwhelming margin

is the epitome of lack of political instincts. Considering that she even fell short

of Spio’s performance in the last NDC congress and she is the wife of the so-called


Come to think about it, every party has two groups; the party establishment

consisting of the elected officials of the party and the grass-root (rank and file

members). To win an election a candidate needs both groups or at least one them,

usually the establishment. If the establishment settles on a candidate, it is

usually very difficult, if not impossible, to defeat such a candidate. The reason is

that the party establishment can always work to convince the rank file that it is in

their interest to support the candidate of the party establishment’s choice. It

happens all time in advanced democracies. In the United States, John Kerry defeated

Howard Dean to be the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. John McCane

won the Republican party nomination even though he was not the favorite of the party

grass-root. Nana wasn’t grass-root candidate of the NPP in 2007. He narrowly

defeated Alan. But because he had members of the establishment on his side, he

prevailed. Mrs. Rawlings ignored the power of the party establishment in a

democracy. That is her biggest mistake.

Another disaster is the over reliance on groups such as FONKAR that is mostly

inexperience, often naive, and mainly foolish. It is obvious from the result that

they don’t represent the rank file of the party. TV3 interview a supporter of

President Mills and that of Nana Konadu on the congress grounds. The two debated on

why they think their candidate should be elected. But the lady supporting Mills was

a delegate; the gentleman supporting Konadu was not. That is a typical example of

FONKAR’s problem.. Mr. Rawlings and his wife should have taken notice from our

opponents, the NPP. When Nana Akufo Addo failed to secure the party’s leadership

for the 2000 election, he personally ensured that he had people close to him run for

party leadership. By the time Kufour ended his tenure of office a sizable majority

of NPP executives were Nana Addo favorites. This assured his candidature in the 2007

NPP congress. Even though the seating President didn’t endorse him. This should

serve as an advice for those of us interested in politics. You can not change

parties whether NDC or NPP from without, you do so from within. If 10 or 15 members

of the FONKAR were NDC executive, they could have made a better impact on the


Finally, there is a lack of sound political advice. This disaster and personal

embarrassment could have been avoided if there are seasoned political advisors and

the candidate is willing to listen. You can not unseat an incumbent president half

way in his term.The NDC will be stupid if they had changed Mills. What would have

been their campaign argument if she had prevailed; that an NDC president had failed

but another NDC president would do a better job? That would have been the most

absurd argument for even staunch NDC supporters with some brains. Besides history is

not on her side. This was tried in the United States, it failed. In 1979 Ted

Kennedy, one of the most recognized names in the United States, contested against

President Jimmy Carter when the latter was seeking reelection. Ted Kennedy lost that

election despite his family background and name recognition among Democratic Party

voters. Incumbent President are very difficult to defeat even by candidates from the

opposing party, let alone his own. The presidency has a certain sense of spirit that

makes voters very skeptical to change the person already in it. This explains why

most modern president in the U.S mostly had two terms. It is considered

unprecedented for a seating president to be defeated. Even in authoritarian regimes

people don’t revolt unless their economic and political rights are encroached or

perceived to be encroached.

When all is said is done with the NDC congress, i think we would all conclude that

political inexperience, couple with foolishness and lack of political instincts

cause the Rawlingses their cloud in the NDC. I was shocked and transfixed when I

watched Mrs. Rawlings got booed as she delivers her address at the congress. I

wasn’t surprised at my response; considering the Nana Konadu I knew in the 1980s and

1990s. I later convinced myself that the Rawlings cloud had but decimated without

rain in Ghanaian politics and even within the NDC. That is largely caused by the

Rawlingses themselves through their narcissistic behaviour. You can not forcefully

insist that everyone recognizes and respects you. Respect and recognition is

earned. People reserve the right to withdraw them. Unless they belong to the FONKAR

fanatics camp where Rawlings needs to be worship and praised like a cult.

Columnist: Sidibe, Abdul Musah