By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
June 10, 2010
The NDC seems to be heading toward a major crisis situation from which it may not recover all too soon. Its leaders (both in the party and government) must be told in a clear language that disaster is looming large over the party’s future political fortunes. As if not already burdened by the numerous problems threatening their internal cohesiveness, they are creating more trouble for themselves. Informed guesses being made by some well-placed members of the party that Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings will challenge President Mills for the party’s Presidential Candidature at the 2012 elections is the latest. This move is alarming and will compound the party’s problems. Eventually, it will sap the party’s life and lay it open to a humiliating defeat at the 2012 polls. Can the NDC not do anything to save itself?
So far, no word has come from Nana Konadu herself to confirm or deny the guess. Is her silence to be taken for consent? I may want to hold my breath for now and give her some benefit of the doubt. But it will not be out-of-place to forewarn her and her handlers that any eventual decision to settle on her as the party’s Presidential Candidate will help the NPP return to power on a silver platter. Nana Konadu is not what the new NDC needs to retain political power or to solve Ghana’s hydra-headed socio-economic problems. She is a “political goat” and shouldn’t allow herself to be cajoled into saluting the hyena!
I want to say in a brazen manner that Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings cannot become the President of Ghana, no matter what her handlers and publicists may want to do to promote her political ambitions. She cannot help the NDC defeat the NPP because she is carrying a heavy luggage of questionable contents. Let’s be bold to say it as it is to save ourselves from any painful regrets after the elections.
Several factors confirm my claim:
1. Her public image is questionable in several respects, still being dogged by the bizarre circumstances surrounding the June 30, 1982 abduction and murder of the three High Court Judges and Major Sam Acquah. In fact, despite the report of the Special Investigations Board that seemed to have absolved her, the fact cannot be denied that the use of her personal vehicle for that dastardly and heinous crime and the negative fallouts from that event have dented her image. In other words, she comes across as someone who still has some serious questions to answer. I don’t think that she has a clean slate. Her credibility is in doubt.
2. Having come across as equally bellicose (just like her husband), she seems not well-cut-out for the kind of politics that our democratic dispensation entails. Having not been spared the smear campaign by her political opponents, the mud that has been hurled at her still sticks and it will be difficult for her to persuade the electorate that she is what her husband is not. To those who demonize the Rawlingses at will, Nana Konadu is part of the problems that they have not ceased accusing Rawlings of creating for the country. She is known to them as a “Jezebel”; and, to all intents and purposes, this impression is damaging. She may claim to be otherwise, but it doesn’t really wash away that negative image nor does it matter because in politics, it is not how the individual sees himself or herself that wins votes; it is how the electorate perceive such a candidate that does the trick. Voters to whom the Rawlingses have been painted black will cringe at the mere mention of her name. Such a candidate will begin the race from a position of weakness. Outside the NDC circle that blows her horn, she is not well-perceived and should be told the truth.
3. The fear of an emerging Rawlings dynasty detracts from her worth. Who wants a Rawlings dynasty in Ghana? Ghanaians are discerning enough to pooh-pooh such a move. Indeed, as a reminder, let me say that some of the arguments that deflated the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo’s Presidential ambitions in the 2008 elections verged on this fear of a dynasty. The situation is, however, more alarming in the case of Nana Konadu because the nearly two decades of her husband’s “no-nonsense rule”—and her own domineering presence on the Ghanaian political scene—have left sour tastes in the mouths of those who continue to demonize the Rawlingses. And their damaging anti-Rawlings campaigns carry weight!
Considering the militaristic background of the Rawlings political family and their peculiar rough-house political manouevres, it will be difficult for a Nana Konadu-led NDC to outdo the NPP in the race to grab the sympathy of floating voters.
4. The internal atmosphere of the NDC itself stands threatened. Any decision to field Nana Konadu will cause an irreparable harm to the NDC and the party will implode. It is certain that such a move will torpedo the party and drown it in the high seas of Ghanaian politics. What will become of the faction supporting the current government? Vote for her? They will not. Disaffection will push them to give their protest votes to other parties, which will worsen the NDC’s woes. A divided NDC cannot match an aggressive and determined NPP in the fight for votes at the 2012 elections.
5. Choosing Nana Konadu is just a grand design to create avenues for Rawlings to return to the political stables and rule through her. This anathema will not be tolerated by an ever-alert Ghanaian populace. Indeed, this issue will surely be harped upon by the NPP and it will definitely win it enough political capital to remove the NDC from power.
6. Notwithstanding whatever her supporters may say in her favour, I am of the opinion that Nana Konadu is not what the NDC needs to redeem itself. She can serve the party (and Ghana) better where she is now. After all, she has already made a name for herself as the former First Lady (for almost two decades) and the founder and leader of the 31st December Women’s Movement. She is known for her unwavering efforts at empowering Ghanaian women, which is enough political credit for her to be content with. Unless she wants to prove otherwise, she must be satisfied with what that role has fetched for her and spare Ghanaians any needless nuisance.
7. The stark truth is that our Ghanaian society is still heavily patriarchal. Despite the rhetoric of emancipation of women and the faint cry from some gender activists for a female President in Ghana, the conditions are not ripe for such a change. In any case, if Ghana should have its first female President, it cannot be in the person of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings. She must remember that she doesn’t even command the overwhelming support among Ghanaian women nor can she turn the table overnight to grab their goodwill just because she is a woman seeking to be Ghana’s President. The voters will look beyond this masculine-feminine dichotomy and vote according to several issues that don’t seem to favour her.
Those in the NDC supporting Nana Konadu to nurse this over-ambitious desire must not forget that the NPP also has a big following among Ghanaian women. Any claim that votes will come from members of the 31st December Women’s Movement to boost her chances is deceptive. Membership of the Movement has dwindled over the years; and there is no guarantee that all members will vote for her, anyway.
8. The mistaken belief of the Rawlingses that they are following in the footsteps of the Clintons of the United States must be dismissed outright as worthless. Ghana deserves better than this fruitless effort to commit that kind of misguided political fraud.
The NDC’s woes seem to defy solution, apparently because of the intransigence and belligerence of the Rawlings camp. What Rawlings said at Tamale last Friday has worsened the problems and given cause for concern. Indeed, it is baffling that the very person who is touted as the Founder of the NDC should be at the helm of this intra-party wrangling, which is fast destabilizing the party and threatening its credibility and desire to hold on to power.
Some of us have on several occasions drawn the attention of the Rawlingses to the destructive nature of their strategies for intra-party politicking and called for self-restraint. We have cautioned them that the NDC cannot survive the whirligig of Ghanaian politics if they continue to make pronouncements that demoralize its members and divide their ranks. We have drawn attention to the fact that a viable political party outlives its founders. But from what has emerged so far, it appears that the Rawlingses haven’t yet listened to reason and are bent on widening the gulf between themselves (and their followers) and those in favour of the Mills administration.
As if unaware of what they are doing to destroy the party, they continue to spew out verbal garbage anytime they enter the public sphere. Even in their private circles, they seem to be expending all their energies and resources scheming against the government that they toured the country to persuade the Ghanaian electorate to bring into being. What a travesty of political justice!
If the hidden agenda behind all this head-butting is to create favourable conditions for replacing President Mills with Nana Konadu to contest the 2012 Presidential elections, there will be nothing for the NDC to gain. The party is sowing the wind and will reap a whirlwind in the end. Those behind such a move will live to rue the day.
Any machination against President Mills will only work against the NDC’s own interests. After all, what is it about the party’s manifesto that President Mills is not implementing and which Nana Konadu will implement to warrant her being elevated as such?
If the this treachery is being motivated by dissatisfaction with the “go-slow” approach of President Mills to governance, there are better ways to solve the problem than recourse to this puerile tactics of calumny. The NDC’s National executive Committee should find better ways to handle matters. This dangerous bickering within the political party in power is not conducive to Ghana’s democracy. It is a serious national security risk that must be tackled. Unfortunately, however, it seems the NDC’s so-called bigwigs are powerless and incapable of solving the problem, having either become emasculated or having already lost credibility because they have also been infected by this virus of factionalism. If so, shame on them!!
The bottom-line, however, still remains clear that Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings can save herself from political demise and the NDC from humiliation if she abandons any ambition to re-enter the corridors of power and win the accolade as the first female President of Ghana. It is a mirage, which she might see from afar but not grab on close contact. The reality of the contemporary Ghanaian political condition doesn’t favour her. Ghana deserves better than this over-bloated ego. Too much of the Rawlingses already!!