Is Konadu Agyemang Rawlings’s Political Future Dead?

Mon, 24 Dec 2012 Source: Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK

The 2012 Presidential Election that culminated in the Electoral Commission (EC) declaring President John Mahama of the NDC, President Elect resulted in two major political casualties. However, all the post election discussions seem to be restricted to Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP. In my view, the victory of President Mahama and NDC will equally have ramifications on the political fate of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and her New Democratic Party (NDP) and that subject also deserves some discussions. In this sixth of post election series, I intent to analyse the implications of this victory on the political future of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, the former First Lady and the party she formed to contest the December General Elections.

Sometimes I am amazed when Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (hereinafter referred to as Konadu) is referred to as Yaa Asantewa. It is an accolade that she does not deserve because it belittles the courage and achievement of Yaa Asantewa. Again, Ghanaians have wrongly been made to believe that Konadu is the Founder of the 31 December Women’s Movement, a title she cannot honestly hold. She was not a founding member of the Movement but only inherited the Movement when most of the original founders fled the country for their lives under the PNDC. The CPP Vice-Presidential candidate in the December elections was one of the original founders, who was Mrs Bawa at the time (see my article “Konadu Agyemang Rawlings is not the Founder of 31st DWM”, Ghanaweb May 26, 2012 for the original founders). I give her credit for nurturing the organisation into what it is today, though it is no secret that without the use and misuse of state power and resources, she could not have done that.

When it was first reported or rumoured that Konadu was interested in contesting the late President Mills for the flagbearship of the NDC, initially, some pundits assumed it was a joke but they were mistaken as she went ahead and challenged the late President but suffered a humiliating defeat at the party’s national congress. Not satisfied, feeling cheated, too ambitious or either deluded to believe that Ghanaians wanted another Rawlings as their head of state, or ill-advised by political novices and sycophants around her, she formed her own political party in October 2012 to contest the December Presidential Election.

As the Rawlingses do not believe in democracy unless they are in-charge, she was coronated as her party’s presidential candidate. Without state machinery and political power at her disposal to order people and state institutions as she pleased, she could not even complete simple presidential nomination forms to be accepted as a candidate. With that monumental incompetence and failure, her presidential ambition in 2012 died a natural death when the Electoral Commission disqualified her for not meeting the deadline. The party only managed to contest some parliamentary seats after an unsuccessful legal challenge to compel the EC to give her more time to file her candidacy.

Many doubted the real intentions of Konadu and her party as to whether they genuinely believed that she could win the presidential election. Their obvious and singular purpose was to deny victory to the NDC and its presidential and parliamentary candidates in the December General Elections. She narrowly fell short of asking voters to vote for the main opposition party by calling on Ghanaians to reject NDC. It is even suspected that Nana Akufo Addo might have mistaken that to be a blessing for him and publicly announced that Konadu had given him her support. Probably that was one of the signs of the impending defeat. Fortunately or unfortunately for both, her wish of seeing the NDC, the party her husband founded with her active participation and until contesting the primaries was a member of the National Executive into opposition has not materialised.

So what is the political future of Konadu in the next four years if the victory of President Elect becomes President (and there is no evidence so far that that would change)? Politically, Konadu has two options whatever the outcome of the NPP planned petition to the Supreme Court regarding the result declared by the EC. In a scenario of the President Elect being confirmed President, Konadu’s political future will suffocate under NDC rule for the next four years. Her party (NDP) will also suffer death at birth or will be still born. However, under this scenario, President Mahama could show magnanimity, pardon her for her poor judgement and bring her into the fold of NDC. However, the chances of this happening may be slim since there will be stiff opposition from within the party.

On the other hand, in the unlikely event of NPP’s petition to the SC being successful for NDC to go into opposition, there is the strong possibility that the Rawlingses could take over the NDC. Again, in this scenario, her NDP is most likely to be incorporated into the NDC. Though probable, the chances of this happening are also remote because some of the ‘greedy bastards’ in the party will give them a good fight for the control of the body and soul body of the NDC. They will certainly not allow the Rawlingses to take back the control of the party without a fight.

In the end Konadu will be a loser, even if for the sake of party unity, she is brought back into the NDC. She would be a weaker voice and have no power or influence whatsoever as she once was. She is almost like a fish that has been taken out of water and left on dry land. She will be gasping for breath to survive in the wilderness. She will be in political Siberia.

Konadu either miscalculated badly, her thirst for political power incapacitated her reasoning ability or those around her led her astray, big time. Her political fall, in fact, would be more catastrophic than that of Nana Akufo Addo. At least, Nana Akufo Addo could still be an Elderly Statesman within the NPP and in Ghana. The NDC General Secretary is even talking about a position on the Council of State for him (though this might be a sarcastic proposal). I will suggest that President Mahama seriously considers appointing Nana Akufo Addo as Free SHS Tsar but I am unable to make such recommendation for Nana Konadu. Is Konadu’s political future in Ghana yaamutu? Like any outstanding issue/s emanating from the December presidential election, only time will tell. What do you think?

I will continue the post election series in the new year with analysis of why Nana Akufo and NPP lost. Merry Christmas to all Ghanaweb readers and contrinutors.

Columnist: Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK