By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
December 26, 2010
Even though Nana Konadu hasn’t yet openly declared her intentions to challenge President Mills for the Flagbearership of the NDC at the 2012 polls, the writing is visible on the wall that she is involved in some manouevring for that purpose. I have no doubt that she is enjoying this game of hide-and-seek but will caution her to bury that ambition because conditions don’t favour her. Here is a continuation of why I don’t think she should attempt treading where she will cause more trouble for the NDC:
3. NANA KONADU’S PERSONAL IMAGE AND CREDIBILITY PROBLEMS
Nana Konadu’s personal image is dented in many ways. The heinous and cowardly act by Corporal Amedeka and his gang of murderers who used her official vehicle for the kidnapping and murder of the three High Court Judges and Major Sam Acquah remains as a big blot on her credibility. The Report of the Special Investigations Board might have left her off the hook but in the minds of many, she is culpable.
Such a person doesn’t stand well in the estimation of voters, especially if the NDC’s opponents target her during the electioneering campaign period to splash mud on her as being complicit in the excesses that characterized her husband’s era. Let’s not forget that there are people who are still bent on seeking justice for their loved ones who perished and will definitely do all they can to incite the electorate against her.
The circumstances under which Nana Konadu and her December 31st Women’s Movement took over the Nsawam Cannery (now Carridem) are not convincing to many people. More troubling is the fact that she was being prosecuted in connection with the illegalities surrounding that acquisition. But for Kufuor’s sudden interference in the judicial process, the outcome of that trial might have been anybody’s guess. Even though Kufuor’s exercise of the Prerogative ended her trial, it didn’t cleanse her from the dirt that the events had splashed on her. Many of her opponents still hold her in contempt over that issue and will be difficult to persuade to root for her or to win voters for her.
Nana Konadu comes across as a bundle of contradictions and has been involved in other issues that don’t redound well to her image. In one breath, she and her husband appear to be against self-acquisitiveness and castigate those they see as “making it”; yet, in the same breath, they don’t hesitate to own and enjoy material wealth. Their children have had good and expensive education overseas in circumstances that still raise eyebrows. The events surrounding the gutting down of their Ridge residence and their arm-twisting tactics against President Mills for not immediately rebuilding one according to their own specifications paint a nasty picture of them. They are not telling us what they are using their Adjiringano house for.
Then, the controversy surrounding the rehabilitation of Nana Konadu’s mother’s residence for her to temporarily reside in also raises concerns and doesn’t speak well of her as someone with a high integrity (as far as materialism is concerned). Let’s remember that those who lost their property or whose relatives suffered from the excesses of the Rawlings era will not be impressed by the fanciful manner in which Nana Konadu presents herself in public. Yet, the NDC needs the sympathy of every voter whose franchise can give it the political leverage it direly needs. Nana Konadu has antagonized many a voter already.
4. RESISTANCE TO THE RAWLINGS DYNASTY
There is so much resistance among Ghanaians against a creeping specter of dynasty. Under the Rawlings government, Nana Konadu’s face was all over the political scene and media landscape, making her a “surfeit.” Having already tasted the fruit of Jerry Rawlings, I don’t think that Ghanaians will want to be given a repeat dose. In the United States, Hillary Clinton suffered the negative backlash of this issue of dynasty in the 2008 race for the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate, which provides a good lesson for Nana Konadu to learn from. In another sense, this issue is one of the reasons why some people voted against the NPP’s Akufo-Addo and will do so again in 2012. The days of dynasties are over.
In countries where the wives of Presidents took over from their husbands, peculiar circumstances endeared them to the hearts of the citizens, which made them the beneficiaries of a well-deserved public sympathy. Let’s take the Philippines, for instance, where Corazon Acquino emerged as the President because of the huge public sympathy that her husband (Benigno Acquino) had evoked among the people when he was gunned down by the dreaded Ferdinand Marcos’ lackeys.
In countries that have women Presidents (Philippines’ Gloria Arroyo, Liberia’s Sirleaf Johnson, etc.), conditions favoured them, either because of perceptions that they were capable of unifying the country or lifting it out of the quagmire into which it had sunk over the years. Those women didn’t have to account for any sordid happenings surrounding their husbands’ political lives or to ride on the crest of their husbands’ political waves. Unfortunately for Nana Konadu, the contemporary Ghanaian situation doesn’t favour her. She has nothing new to offer Ghanaians that they might not have seen before. The truth be told, she doesn’t command as much respect and goodwill from Ghanaians as her handlers would want her to believe.
It is imperative for the functionaries of the NDC to learn lessons from the misfortunes of the latter-day CPP that can’t cut butter because it has lost touch with an electorate that has no connection with the man called Kwame Nkrumah. Although his legacy is evident throughout the country (and the whole world as a Pan-Africanist), the CPP can’t bask in his glory to stand on its feet today because history doesn’t favour it. The CPP died with Nkrumah.
The NDC risks falling into the same state, especially after the Rawlingses have gone the way of all mortals. That’s the crucial point to be cognizant of; and the NDC’s followers must not allow pettiness to becloud their good sense of judgement. Those bent on causing havoc in the party by forcibly ejecting President Mills from the Flagbearership position must be guided by good reason to recant. Instead of doing what will destabilize the party, they should work together to sustain it beyond the Rawlings personality cult.
Granting Nana Konadu’s wish to dislodge President Mills will dig the NDC’s grave and arm the electorate with the final nail with which to clamp the coffin for its burial on Election Day. The Mills-led government may not be performing to the admiration of its critics, but it has laid a good foundation on which to build for the NDC to retain power. All that is needed is for all those who matter in the NDC to put their acts together, sink their differences, and present a common front to Ghanaians.
Instilling trust and confidence in the people can help regain goodwill and reposition the party to brighten its corners. Doing so doesn’t demand any pulling down of the house from within. I insist without any reservation that Nana Konadu is not the answer to the NDC’s problems and the electorate will confirm so at the 2012 polls if she succeeds in bulldozing her way through to be the Presidential Candidate.
To save the party from itself, the best Nana Konadu can do now is to come out boldly to tell Ghanaians what her ambitions are. She will be helping herself if she says it as it is now: that she will definitely contest President Mills at the NDC’s congress in 2011 or that she will not do so. Either way, the implications for the party are dire. But they will be more crucial if she chooses to go against the grain. Political maturity and the benefits of clean conscience dictate that she should keep off the NDC’s Flagbearership position to allow President Mills build on what has been achieved so far to earn the nod from voters in 2012. His perceived failures can be tackled in a more mature manner than the howling match that Rawlings and his faction indulge in at the least prompting.
If Nana Konadu does the right thing, she will shame the devil. Then, it will behoove the NDC functionaries to put the party’s interests above their narrow personal quests and work together to retain the party in power or sink together if they fail to do so. If against all entreaties, Nana Konadu chooses to dislodge President Mills, the die will be cast for the NDC to have only one predictable end: it will not survive at the polls with Nana Konadu at the helm of affairs.
The party will fall into total disarray and its functionaries may not even get the opportunity to lick their wounds or to rebuild it. Then, both the founder of the party (Rawlings) and his wife (an unfulfilled Presidential Candidate) can take the party and shove it inside themselves. Such will be the tragic end of a political party based on an unproductive personality cult. Viable political parties survive on ideologies, not personality cults.