By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
April 16, 2011
Having seriously scrutinized the kind of politics being done in our contemporary Ghanaian context, I can confidently say that anybody who supports Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings’ bid to contest the NDC’s flagbearership doesn’t really love the NDC. Nor does such a person love Ghana.
The foregone conclusion is that former President Rawlings is hiding behind his wife to attempt circumventing the Constitution (which debars him from returning to power) as he seeks to rule Ghana through her. It is a simple ploy to use Nana Konadu as a surrogate, which Ghanaians must reject outright before it turns out to haunt them. I will explain why I am sticking my neck out to be so brazen. Nana Konadu’s ambition is driven by nothing but unbridled mischief and a deadly appetite for power. If that is not the only motivation, then, what else is? Despite all the clear demonstration by Ghanaians of their resentment for a Rawlings dynasty—and the fact that Rawlings’ rule in Ghana wasn’t all that rosy—why is Nana Konadu bent on pushing her luck?
Against all suasion, she is creating more trouble in the NDC, which she and her husband claim to be their property. They are quick to blame others for the problems facing the NDC forgetting that they are the culprits themselves. Surely, a house cannot be repaired when the owner is destroying it.
A reasonable monitoring of public reaction to her ambition should have by now given her (and her backers) a clear indication of the vitriol that Ghanaians harbour against her as far as hindsight is concerned. Most people who don’t enthuse over the re-emergence of the Rawlingses in the corridors of power will hate to see her back on the scene. She may claim to be exercising her democratic right but it will be an exercise in futility. Ghanaians are too enlightened to know why she is bent on her mission.
Her main justification for embarking on this politically suicidal mission is nothing but the spurious feeling that she wants to use her flagbearership to “take back the NDC” from the supposed CPP activists that she and her husband perceive in President Mills and his government members whom they have accused of destroying the NDC.
Her main objective, then, is party-based and borne out by selfishness and power hunger. She thinks that the NDC is losing grounds and must take over so that she can lead the foot-soldiers to rebuild it. She naively thinks that her political success depends on those foot-soldiers. Granted that she even succeeds in becoming the flagbearer, does that assure her of a Presidency? I don’t think that building the NDC into a strong party will necessarily fetch her votes from the electorate. It is one thing being the darling of one’s political party and another being so in the eyes of the electorate. A strong NDC under Nana Konadu doesn’t translate into a Presidential victory for her. That’s obvious. The cracks in the NDC cannot be filled with this move alone. If that is the motivation for her decision to challenge President Mills, she is already a non-starter. What does she think that the huge majority of Ghanaians who support President Mills will do if he is hounded out of the way? Switch to her side? They will not, which will be a huge liability to ditch the NDC at the 2012 polls.
In Ghana, where ethnicity plays a decisive role in politics, one need not go far to conclude that the kind of hostility that the Rawlings faction is displaying toward President Mills has already done much damage. If they succeed in bulldozing their way through the terrain to truncate his political life, they will be putting the final nail in the NDC’s coffin. And Ghanaians will bury it without any remorse.
The Fantes will certainly advise themselves, knowing very well that President Mills is the first one among them to have become Ghana’s President but not fairly treated by those now under-cutting him. The Fante vote may swing political fortunes; and the NDC members must learn the bitter lesson that election 2004 taught them. Being mindful of this ethnic influence should make them cautious in their handling of this volatile issue.
Ruling Ghana must go beyond the narrow scope of one political party. It is an arduous task that demands the kind of intellectual and administrative acumen that Nana Konadu lacks. Rabble-rousing doesn’t solve national problems; yet, that’s all Nana Konadu has up her sleeves.
Those supporting her are helping her damage the party’s interests all the more. She is simply doing what will rock the boat until it runs aground. How does a genuine party member attempt to solve internal problems by creating more problems?
Rather intriguingly, the Rawlings faction seems to have forgotten one basic truth about the way the NDC does politics. In the pre-2000 electioneering period, the main slogan of the NDC was ‘CONTINUITY,” by which Rawlings and all those campaigning for the then Vice President Mills sought to create the impression that the NDC needed to be retained in power so that the successor could continue with the foundation that the Rawlings government had laid. Ghanaians didn’t buy that argument; but the essence of that slogan of “CONTINUITY” isn’t lost. Would continuity be good only for an anticipated transition from Rawlings to Mills and not be the same for a Mills Presidency from January 7, 2009, to the next phase? That’s another issue to challenge the thinking of the Nana Konadu followers.
If Nana Konadu and her supporters love Ghana, they will not attempt to foist her off on the system, knowing very well how much of her husband’s adversities she is bringing into the equation. Ghana deserves better than a Nana Konadu leadership. She is carrying a political baggage with ugly contents.
Even though President Mills’ government hasn’t yet solved the problems that Ghanaians face in their daily lives, it is able to provide the congenial atmosphere for the people to live in peace and tranquility. This achievement contrasts sharply with the “reign of terror” that Rawlings presided over. Most Ghanaians will admit that they prefer living their lives of poverty in peace than swimming in wealth under an autocratic leader whose regime instilled fear in them and abused their human rights.
The background from which Nana Konadu has emerged conjures ugly memories that Ghanaians will be better off avoiding. I am talking about the horrendous happenings under her husband’s rule and the mud splashed on hers as an integral part of that government (being the First Lady all that while). She was the woman behind her “successful” husband when he was the President. Ghanaians won’t all too soon forget.
Considering the fact that the main bone of contention which has divided Rawlings and President Mills is the latter’s refusal to haul NPP functionaries before court and to manipulate the system to imprison them on allegations of corruption, one can confidently foretell the direction in which Nana Konadu will move the country if she gets her way. She is being driven by nothing but the penchant for vengeance. She sees herself as the appropriate person to enforce her husband’s vindictiveness against the NPP elements.
Such a bilious person is not good for Ghana politics. She is venom-filled and there is no doubt in my mind that if she gets her way, she will do worse things than her husband did in the 19 years that he ruled the country.
There are too many reasons why any support for Nana Konadu will be misplaced. So far, we haven’t heard anything encouraging from her to suggest that a government under her will enunciate and implement better policies than what we’ve had so far since the beginning of this 4th Republic. All she bothers us with is about President Mills’ inability to keep the NDC together.
I challenge her to declare one policy initiative that she has up her sleeves which will solve the problems for which the NDC’s foot-soldiers are unhappy with President Mills. If she does, it may change impressions about her. Otherwise, she will continue to fall out of status for some of us.
Ghana cannot be built on mere temper tantrums; but that is the trump-card for the Nana Konadu camp (and the Rawlings faction within the NDC). They are more interested in sitting back to nag, complain, and find fault with everything that this government does or doesn’t do. By choosing to sit on the fence and be captious all this while, they come across as either lazy or wicked saboteurs (as Frantz Fanon will tell them).
For some of us, the issues that the NDC has to tackle to remain in good standing in the eyes of the electorate go beyond party lines. That’s why we will continue to draw attention to the problems that the NDC faces and why it is wrong for anybody to think that President Mills is the cause of any woes that they may be facing for which they think that making life unbearable for him will be the solution.