GHANA: No Rawlings, No Vote? Bring it on, Nana Konadu! – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings has carried her self-seeking agenda to a new level. This time, it is a case of pure blackmail against the Mills-led government. The gist? “No Rawlings, no vote!”

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As part of her “Thank You” tours around the country, she landed at Tamale over the weekend. Before she delivered her message, leading members of her loyalists’ group, FONKAR had launched a new campaign slogan for the 2012 elections dubbed “No Rawlingses: No vote.” The slogan was outdoored at the Tamale GNAT Hall to send a message to the government that if it chooses to neglect the Rawlings, it will have itself to blame.

Nothing but cheap politics, to say the least. And it could only come from such desperate people who have gradually but steadily reduced themselves to a laughing stock, hiding behind the Rawlings enigma to attempt twisting arms.

There is no dispute over Rawlings’ monumental accomplishments, much of which is evidently clear in the massive development projects that his government undertook in many parts of the country, especially the rural areas, which accounts for the high regard in which the beneficiaries continue to hold him. Other tangible achievements of Rawlings re indelible and cannot be easily washed away by his detractors’ mischief or contempt for him.

But any attempt to raise the Rawlings factor to the kind of level that Nana Konadu has done raises very serious questions, particularly when analyzed within the circumstances that surrounded Rawlings’ self-constituted authority and reasons for entering political office through the barrel of the gun. Every genuine observer of our contemporary political scene will not miss the fact that by orchestrating the overthrow of the SMC and the Limann administrations, Rawlings had put on his shoulders the heavy burden of using the resources of the country to outdo those he had undermined. Thus, he had no choice but to do what he did.

Nonetheless, for the almost 20 years that he rule d, he couldn’t solve the country’s systemic problems, especially that of bribery and corruption, which was at the centre of his stentorian denunciation of the SMC and Limann administrations—and further carried over to include the Kufuor government. At his exit from office, Ghana’s economy was still in tatters and the standard of living despicable, something that has persisted long after him. His government added its own bundle of problems, though!

Against this background, any attempt to project Rawlings as the be-it-all-and-end-it-all in Ghana politics falls flat on its face. Those who admire and support him will continue to uplift him while his detractors will want none of him. It is not as if without him, nothing will move on in the country. Seeking to use him as a smokescreen is the height political immaturity and wanton mischief. It won’t cut butter!!

Nana Konadu should know that at this point in Ghanaians’ efforts to grapple successfully with their existential problems, they are more prone to supporting anybody who can solve such problems. They don’t really care who does so but they are not looking forward to Rawlings to do so. He has already presided over affairs and is not expected to return to power to re-enact the drama.

Again, Ghanaians have had the opportunity to live under the Kufuor government and are almost three years into seeing what the Mills-led government is doing or failing to do. They will decide how to cast their ballots next year, based on factors other than this fixation on Rawlings.
Should the NDC lose the elections, it will not be because the Mills-led government failed to satisfy Rawlings’ aspirations but because of stated failures that would have made the government unattractive to the electorate anymore. It will be because the electorate don’t see President Mills as capable of solving their problems and won’t want to entrust their destiny into his hands for another four years. It may also be because of President Mills’ inability to assure the electorate that a second term under him will not be a replica of what has unfolded over the past three years and is likely to continue into next year.

The Ghanaian electorate are not ignorant; they are smart enough to read deeper meanings into events. They will not vote against President Mills because of Nana Konadu’s qualms against his government, especially her whining that the government has neglected her family. Ghanaians know better than seeing the Rawlings household the way Nana Konadu is doing. They will hardly judge President Mills by the yardstick that Nana Konadu is brandishing all over the place. Those who don’t like Rawlings will not turn round to like him because of Nana Konadu’s allegations and, hence, vote against President Mills.

Other factors will determine how they will make their political decision. One such factor is clear: the image of the NDC as a fractured political camp. The Ghanaian electorate will consider the head-butting going on in the NDC and question the motive behind Nana Konadu and her husband’s incessant denunciation of the government that they had laboured to bring into being and draw the line between those working for the national interests and the self-seekers that the Rawlingses have become. They will wonder why the Rawlingses are muddying the political waters just because they are not being allowed to have things done their way. Having already come across as desperate, power-hungry, and insatiable, Nana Konadu and her husband seem not to be the beacon anymore and should not deceive themselves that the Ghanaian electorate will do as they wish.

I am puzzled by this unrelenting penchant for mischief on the part of Nana Konadu and want to predict that from her utterances all over the place, she is poised to take her political ambitions to other points of waywardness. Probably, she is nursing hopes of contesting the Presidential elections as an Independent Candidate and is only using her “Thank You” tours to wet her feet. Testing the pulse of the electorate this way seems to be part of her agenda, which also includes a persistent undercutting of President Mills and his administration. If that turns out to be true, she will go nowhere because she is a non-starter. The very factors that contributed to her being humiliated at the July Congress of the NDC in Sunyani are not gone. They will bounce back and add to new ones to give her a devastating blow, which should completely shatter her and all those following her.

Using her husband as a crutch to support her own political ambitions will not work well for her and she will definitely have a tough call to respond to from all angles, both within the NDC and outside it. And there are many of such tough calls already.

When nitty comes to gritty, Nana Konadu will realize only after the fact that she has chosen the wrong path to tread. Maybe, after all that has happened to her so far, she is only attempting to retrace her steps away from the cul de sac that she has boxed herself into and is behaving only like a dying donkey, kicking the hardest. If she were politically savvy enough to know what has got her to this dead-end, she would choose better means to navigate the political terrain.

She needs to do just one thing: to take a hard look at the people surrounding her as FONKAR who, to say the least, are not worth anybody’s bother in Ghanaian politics and to relent. Who is Kofi Adams, to begin with? And for him to be the pillar behind her as she continues making a fool of herself all over the place?

All over the world, women who have been fortunate to rise to the level of First Lady have proved to be content with that status and do all they can to retain public goodwill and respect, especially if the cards stacked against them won’t favour them in any bid to become Presidents of their countries. What is it about Nana Konadu that makes her think that she is different from all these First Ladies?

As Fate will have it, Nana Konadu is making a bad name for herself. By her ill-thought-of public posture and utterances, she is gradually descending into the depths of the drain and shouldn’t be surprised if she ends up being the most despicable First Lady Ghana would have ever had since independence.

Let those who think that without Rawlings Ghana can’t move on hold themselves in readiness for what they will be least prepared to face. And let them not vote for the NDC because of Nana Konadu’s intrigues and machinations. By the end of the 2012 elections, they will know how foolish they’ve been for toeing the wrong line. “No Rawlings, no vote” is a vain slogan that will catalyze nothing but self-destruction—the kind of political suicide that won’t solve the NDC’s problems. It is for cowards only.

The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of