Opinions Tue, 28 Dec 2010
Part IBy Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
December 27, 2010
Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings seems to be playing a game of hide-and-seek with Ghanaians, in general, and the NDC, in particular, as far as her immediate future political ambitions are concerned. I have said it before and will continue to say that she is not the person to retain the NDC in power at the 2012 elections. Any mistake to choose her over President Mills will spell the party’s doom and consign it to the political wilderness, where it will remain for long.
Nana Konadu’s behind-the-scene manouevres to torpedo President Mills as the NDC’s Flagbearer for the 2012 elections are not figments of anybody’s imagination. It features prominently in this game of hide-and-seek that the Rawlingses have set in motion. Keeping people wondering whether she will bounce into action as a replacement for the incumbent fits into that agenda. She has betrayed that manouevre, being in the news these days and telling her admirers that she will give them hope in 2011. Immediately, the chips are beginning to fall in place. What HOPE does she have that the NDC under Mills lacks?
This subtle way of massaging people’s feelings is her strategy for testing the waters to determine her next move, which she has already outlined but is keeping close to her chest. After all, both she and her husband have already set the ball rolling to discredit President Mills for a peculiar purpose. In this scheme, turning President Mills into a dog and giving him a bad name so as to hang him should pave the way for Nana Konadu to realize her ambitions.
The cunning approach to this cause is obvious. An NDC-based front such as the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings (FONKAR) has already outdoored a Web site to project her and posters on her have been designed and circulated. If she has nothing up her sleeves, why won’t she make her voice heard on all these manouevres? Indeed, the Rawlingses have a bone to pick with President Mills and are gathering forces to replace him with Nana Konadu as the NDC’s Flagbearer at the next polls.
Why are those in the Rawlings’ camp so quick to find fault with President Mills’ government just two years into its four-year tenure if they could cope with the 19 years of Rawlings’ trial-and-error administration which left office without solving the problems that had necessitated its overthrow of the Limann administration? Or are they saying that they will excuse the Rawlings government for its inadequacies while jumping on others who haven’t had the benefits of longevity in governance? What sort of muddled thinking informs this kind of jungle politics? But wait, a minute. It’s all part of the scheme to position Nana Konadu as the NDC’s Flagbearer for the 2012 elections.
Even before she could tell us anything definitive about her ambitions, though, her husband has freed himself by stating that he is not interested in taking away power from President Mills. Fair enough. Rawlings knows that he can’t do so unless he wants to perish in the attempt. And he doesn’t want to perish as he nurses hopes of becoming the First Husband (just a reversal of roles if his wife’s bid to become President succeeds!). He didn’t tell Ghanaians what they wanted to hear: Will Nana Konadu challenge President Mills for the slot as is suspected and indicated by the current goings-on?
One thing is clear: Rawlings’ disclosure hasn’t really solved any problem or plugged the holes that he has led the NDC’s foot-soldiers to punch in the credibility of President Mills’ government. Their scathing verbal attacks on President Mills and his government are debilitating enough for concern. Whether it is part of their grand agenda of dislodging President Mills or not, Rawlings and his wife have already succeeded in providing the ammunition that the NPP and the other parties need to use in their attempt to undo President Mills. That is why his disclosure should be taken with a pinch of salt.
At a higher level, his disclosure still leaves open-ended the question about his wife’s hidden agenda, which has been the most worrisome development in the ranks of the NDC for many months now. By owning up to his own political (dis)interests, Rawlings has added more zest to the tongue-wagging going on about his wife’s own aspirations.
Three days ago, it was being rumoured that Nana Konadu would bell the cat for us to know her true intentions, regarding the rumours that she was gearing up to dislodge President Mills. She didn’t bell the cat but chose to dance around it, taunting Ghanaians in one way or the other and keeping the lid tight on her immediate future Presidential ambitions. Even though numerous calls have gone to her to clear the air, she hasn’t done so.
From the jockeying being done on her behalf by the FONKAR, I have no doubt in my mind that she will go ahead to challenge President Mills at the NDC’s congress in 2011. At that moment, the time-bomb that has been ticking within the ranks of the NDC all this while will explode and leave behind numerous casualties, the most obvious of which will be the NDC itself. I stick my neck out to say aboveboard that this game of hide-and-seek that Nana Konadu is playing will definitely not end in her favour. Many reasons attest to my claim:
1. NANA KONADU’S LIABILITIES
Nana Konadu is not a unifier. In her political activities, she hasn’t been known as someone who can provide the leadership qualities to hold the party (or country) together. She has already given clear signals of her interest in factionalism and the dogged determination not to see eye-to-eye with those she disagrees with. Such a person is not needed at the helm of affairs in the NDC as the party prepares to face the electorate for a renewal of its mandate.
The transition from an NDC that has all along been fashioned on a one-man show (personality cult of the Rawlingses) to an NDC that must have a future beyond the confines of the Rawlingses needs a unifier. Rebranding the NDC and giving it a more convincing posture may be really tough but it can be done with the determination to take the party beyond the fixation on the Rawlingses. Keeping the NDC united and reinforcing its social democratic ideology demands more than a mere replacement of President Mills with the female counterpart of Jerry Rawlings.
President Mills didn’t win the 2008 Presidential run-off just because Rawlings and his camp of revolutionaries told the voters to choose him over Akufo-Addo. He did so because he came across to the electorate as credible and politically mature enough to shoulder the responsibilities of the high office for which he was craving. Ghanaians trusted his personality and the fact that he had no skeleton in his cupboard to be wary of. Can we say so for Nana Konadu too?
2. NANA KONADU’S LACK OF POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACUMEN
Nana Konadu doesn’t have the political acumen to lead Ghana in this 21st century. Even though for almost 20 years she was the First Lady—a status that might have given her some glimpses into the exercise of power—her experiences have not prepared her to become the substantive President that Ghana needs. Those impressing on her to take the bull by the horns are only preparing favourable conditions for her to be gored at the polls. Pitted against the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo, she will be a pitiable contestant because she will be no match. That’s what her handlers must take note of and recant from their mission of mischief.
It is undeniable that in her status as a First Lady, and playing the frontline role as the woman behind a “successful” man (Rawlings), she influenced some decisions and acts of commission or omission of the Rawlings administration, which may create the impression that she has gained some experience in governance. We know that she influenced her husband very much in the appointment of certain people to office (including the well-known Kumasi air-head, Okumkom Nana Akwasi Agyemang, who later turned coat when the political tide turned against the NDC). She was also all over the place, either reinforcing her husband’s presence or carving a niche for herself as a “strong woman,” a role that has earned her the unimpressive nickname of “Jezebel” among her political opponents.
The image of a “strong woman” that she used the ambits of the December 31st Women’s Movement to create may suggest that she is popular; but it is a misleading impression. The atmosphere in the 31st December Women’s Movement isn’t a smooth one. There is so much in-fighting, back-biting, and head-butting going on, which doesn’t leave me in any doubt that her own power base can’t even claim to be strong enough to give her the full backing that she might need to stand on her feet to be reckoned as a future President.
Reality points me to another conclusion. Her so-called popularity is restricted to a fraction of the NDC circles because even in the NDC family, support for her is not overwhelming. The ultimate harm that she will do to the NDC is that she can’t bring in the much-needed political capital, especially from floating voters, let alone all NDC followers and sympathizers. Her political sword will cut in many ways to cause havoc. That’s the danger to avoid if the faction projecting her has any genuine desire to make the NDC viable long after the Rawlingses have paid their dues to Nature.
To be continued…
Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.