By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
May 3, 2011
Nana Konadu has actualized her ambition by picking nomination forms from the NDC Headquarters to contest the Flagbearer position with President Mills. From what has transpired already, I can say that she is a non-starter already. But poised to cause confusion, she will now begin her campaign of calumny. She must be put where she belongs. My approach here is a meant to serve that purpose.
Basically, let me give her the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact that as a full-blooded Ghanaian, she has every right to participate in the democratic process at all levels, including making herself available to contest the elections in any capacity. She has already chosen to do so and picked her nomination form at the NDC headquarters in Accra. I have no qualms at all with her exercise of that democratic right.
What I have qualms with is the obvious: she is a nuisance and not the kind of leader that Ghana needs in our contemporary times. She has more questions to answer than any answer that she may think she has for Ghana’s problems. I have already written many opinion pieces to explain reasons for my not seeing her as a good quality material to lead this country and don’t want to revisit those reasons here.
But let me just say that her stubborn resolve to do what many people have advised her against will only lead to one end: either she is totally rejected at the NDC Congress to confirm the people’s sentiments against her or she is chosen to replace President Mills and send the NDC into a total disarray. We don’t even have to wait for that occasion before exposing and rejecting her for what she is.
Her contention that she is challenging President Mills because she wants to take the NDC back from “hijackers” is as puerile as won’t persuade me beyond what I already know about her. The NDC needs more than itself to be able to win elections in Ghana. Those who carry the “swing votes” and her opponents in the NDC far outnumber those deceiving her into thinking that she matters to Ghana.
Again, we have already condemned her intentions as unwarranted, especially within the context of the overarching suspicion that her husband is using her to return to power through the backdoor.
To confirm that apprehension, she did the predictable today. When she got home from the NDC Headquarters, she went straight to her husband and handed over her nomination form to him. It’s a glimpse into what will happen if ever she gets the chance to be in office. She will be used by her husband to prosecute the kind of agenda that Ghana doesn’t need—an agenda that his tumultuous reign implemented, which didn’t take the country beyond the lurch at the time he left office.
Then, to set the tone for the negative politics that he is bent on using his wife to do, Rawlings bared his teeth and made utterances that are really worthless and in a very nasty taste. Let’s hear him as he received the nomination form from his wife:
“The task ahead will not be an easy one. We will be fighting all kinds. If we are not fighting the opposition, you have the enemy also on one hand and you have the traitor also on the other,” he said, adding, “so we have to remain very vigilant.”
Unpacked, this statement is nothing but a call to fight. By referring to others as “enemies” and “traitors,” Rawlings seems to be creating a very bad atmosphere for the kind of politicking that will create more problems for the country. And true to his nature, he didn’t mention who these enemies and traitors were.
And here is how MyJoy Online summed it all up for us: “Ex-president Rawlings has drawn the battle lines for what will arguably be a fierce contest between his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and the sitting president John Atta Mills for the flagbearership role of the governing National Democratic Congress.”
These are very strong words to use in describing political opponents. No one should tolerate such foul language any more. Politics is not an avenue for wrenching the necks of others, as I have all along been saying in my opinion pieces. But to Rawlings, politics without violence will be too dry and boring. Thus, he is using this entry of his wife into the race as an opportunity to create conditions for violence.
Rawlings is the backbone of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings’ political ambitions; Ghanaians hate this move toward a dynasty and will not in any way subscribe to her claims or the rationale behind her wanting to wrest the flagbearership from President Mills. Why is so dangerously ambitious?
Let me reiterate my position here that Nana Konadu is only seeking to curry favour from fanatics of the party so that she and her husband can return to the corridors of power. She is not the kind of peacemaker or prime-mover that any serious-minded Ghanaian will want to have as a President.
For now, Nana Konadu may be enjoying the brass-band music heralding her ambitions and go ahead to lock horns with the incumbent, thinking that she will defeat him and take over the leadership of the NDC. As she claimed, her candidature is the “beginning of taking Ghana back to where it belongs.” As if Ghana has ever belonged anywhere else apart from the gloom that she and her wrong-headed husband had pushed it by January 7, 2001 when they left the economy in a shambles, which has been the main problem facing successive governments. The reality on the ground will definitely prove her wrong that Ghanaians are really not interested in her leadership. She shouldn’t think that the NDC is the same as Ghana.
She has too many skeletons in her cupboard to scare the voters away from the NDC. She may think that those fanatics following her will make her day but she will be woefully deceived because the vast majority of Ghanaian voters know better not to allow wayward sentiments to take the better part of them on Election Day.
I pray hard that even at the NDC’s congress, those who seek the welfare of the NDC and the country will prove to her that she has chosen the wrong cause to fight. They should do all they can to reject her outright because giving her the green light will not win political power for the NDC. She may be interested in taking over the reins of the party from those she and her husband are vainly portraying as “CPP members” but she can’t win the Presidential elections. She is just not well cut out for it, which will give the NPP’s Akufo-Addo a joy ride to the Osu Castle (or Flagstaff House?). Any vote from any NDC delegate that favours Nana Konadu will be a waste.
History will surely judge her and her husband harshly.
There is only one means to stop this nuisance that the Rawlingses continue to pester Ghanaians with. That is the removal of the Indemnity Clause from our constitution to help us revisit the happenings in the period that Rawlings was in power. The Kufuor government’s half-hearted approach to tackling the problem through the National Reconciliation Commission only worsened the situation. It didn’t help us solve any problem and those who appeared before the Commission to reveal their pains and apprehensions didn’t get any closure. The distortions of the Rawlings era remain as the country’s bane.
Paying money to those victims can’t be the solution. It lies elsewhere, which is to re-open those cases and ensure that decisive action is taken to punish all those implicated in the atrocities. We have lessons to learn from Chile and Argentina on this score. The re-opening of cases that happened in the 1970s and 1980s in those countries, especially during the era military rule, has helped these countries identify some of the crucial bottlenecks against social cohesion; and they have solved these problems in many ways, the most important of which was the punitive actions that have been taken against the culprits.
Although punishing these culprits will not bring their lost ones back to life, it solved the fundamental problems that jolted those systems. We in Ghana must also move forward to re-open those cases and ensure that nothing in our constitution hampers genuine efforts to unearth the truth behind those atrocities. If we do so, we can move toward preventing any recurrence of such atrocities. And that will be a good way to prove to Rawlings that all that happened under his rule cannot be allowed to fade away. He must be made to face the music as his past deeds or misdeeds are replayed to him. Knowing him for what he is, he will capitulate in the end and come to realize that there is an end to everything that is mortal.
Those saying that it will be dangerous to abrogate the Indemnity Clause are being cowardly and unproductive. They are part of the problem that militates against our progress as far as oneness is concerned. Let us muster up enough political will and moral courage to deal with the Rawlingses menace once and no more before it plunges this country into chaos again.
I am worried at the unpleasant upshot of what Nana Konadu has begun, which will create more problems than we may anticipate. I can foresee something ominous already. Assuming that she wins the elections at the NDC’s congress—which will hamstring President Mills and force him to resign in protest—we expect the Vice President to step in. Without a doubt, the Vice President is also not someone that the Rawlingses have spared in their scathing verbal attacks on the government. What happens if he also chooses to resign in protest? The Chief Justice then becomes the President until next year’s election gives us a substantive President?
What Nana Konadu has put in motion may not be as simple as the fanatics following her may think. It is a kind of “coup d’état through democratic means,” which is a novelty in our circumstance, but which will have very a damaging sequel. The Rawlingses are problems that we have to deal with and we must not relent until we put them where they belong.
On a higher note, if by Nana Konadu’s miscalculation she succeeds in sending the NDC back into opposition, I strongly advocate that a future NPP government must immediately take very resolute measures that will help Ghanaians deal with the Rawlings menace once and for all. For far too long, they’ve been given the long rope but our own apathy has prevented them from using it to hang themselves. Now that they have cunningly found ways to call our bluff, we must stand up and prove to them that Ghana is not their personal property to toy with. For how long must we tolerate these trouble makers even as their behaviour irritates us to the marrow? Must we continue to allow them to behave as if they are the only pebble on Ghana’s political beach?
There is no room for the kind of Bubonic Plague that Nana Konadu intends to cause in our contemporary Ghanaian politics. She is a painful reminder of those dark days. We will do better without her presence.