The Resurrection Of JJ Rawlings

….A Broken Promise or Unfulfilled Aspirations?

DATELINES:“Kufuor enie, Ataa Ayi enie, 17 to Contest NPP Presidential Primaries, Professor J.E.A Mills is president-elect, Greedy bastards, political baloney, Petroleum Prices Hike, Nana Konadu for President, ‘All Die Be Die’ Fan Club Formed, Nagrat Strikes, Cholera Epidemic: 4,000 Cases With 61 Deaths Reported, Mensah Otabil: “Ghana Has Stopped Thinking”; how is President Mills cooping? Asante Fordjour at reports…

***The OmanbaPa Research Group


It is said that when a relationship is in crisis, each party may experience a wide range of feelings: disappointment, anger and blame, hurt, sadness, self-doubt, loss, guilt, uncertainty, anxiety and bitterness. Are Rawlings-Mills and their opposing forces feeling all of these if not one as it is uncommon for people in this trauma to move inconsistently from one feeling to another? What then, did President Mills not do or ought to have done but did not do, to warrant Ex-President Rawlings’ dissatisfaction and ultimate endorsement of his wife- Nana Konadu, to challenge his rule which they had been at the forefront of its realisation? Yes, many are those who might have been advising Rawlings-Mills in these difficult times- they may be acting as their godfathers, protecting their rights and positions. However, while maintaining awareness of their legitimate expectations, they may also need to be cautious that supporting a mentor in need can sometimes mean assisting him/her to understand and come to terms with unforeseeable consequences, or seeking compromises that a comrade-in-need may prefer not to make. The battle for NDC can never be a 2-horse race.

News Commentary and Analysis

We still remember that Flt-Lt J.J. Rawlings and other officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces, became famous by the perceived corruption of government officials and deep erosion in our country’s economy in the 1970s. Those aside are JJR’s last June 4 Anniversary prophesies at El-Walk Stadium in 2000, which I freely cite: “There has developed a creeping canker of lawlessness, the politics of attrition and other socially divisive and destructive tendencies that spelt the doom of previous governments… If Ghanaians persist in interpreting the “current democratic freedoms as a licence to cause civil and industrial unrest, abuse and vilify decent people, none of us, I repeat none of us will survive the serious upheaval that will definitely come as a consequence… God forbid another upheaval, but if it should come, the civilian front this time will pay a heavy price..,” he said.

In the heat of December 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections, the former HotFM Morning Show presenter- journalist Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah-Bonsu- who once questioned the then [current] NPP presidential candidate- Nana Akufo Addo, at his London-based hotel over abortion and the death of an undergraduate student at the University of Ghana, quizzed Nana Konadu at one of the polling stations in Accra, over the possible outcome of the election. We paraphrase as follows what Konadu had to say as televised on the UK- based OBE TV: “This election is a 2-man race- it is about two personalities where one of the leaders is a law professor and the other, a drug addict.” Indeed the law professor, who campaigned that he was drug-free, marginally, succeeded in winning the mandate of the Ghanaian to become the president of our country on 07 January 2009. Today-2011, Nana Konadu seems to suggest that she gambled on a wrong horse.

So Nana Konadu states that her NDC supporters and loyalists across the country, were becoming confused and therefore were pressurizing her with incessant calls, enquiring whether she would contest or not. She has this for the media: “I needed to take this bold step to at least give a strong impression in the minds of delegates that I will contest the election so that they could make their minds and not allow themselves to be bought with money.” By this the kingmaker Yaa Asantewaa- who has dominated the thickets of the Ghanaian political landscape for fast three decades, serves Vice President John Mahama notice that the succession dispute with the mass co-ordinated declaration for support for Professor Mills, whose throne is smeared with King Agag’s fatty butties, is over. Sounding victorious in the race, the Antoa nana hints that she is the secretly anointed David so Kofi Adams warns critics that Konadu is not to be [mischievously] confused with the Kwesi Botchweys.

There could be three or more interpretations here- the Obaa Sima Konadu has Rawlings’ support and approval and therefore, could not be intimidated at the congress by opposing forces. Nana has the financial and human resource base so; she is unscarred by the mass declaration. JJ and indeed herself; had been at the pinnacle of Ghanaian politics long before the advent of Mills, whom they indoctrinated. So Mills is no match. Nana has political base such as the Asante, East, Volta and of course, some parts of the North which Mills’ judicial promise, has miserably been thwarted? We must yes, keep our idol’s best interest in mind, but in this situation those interests might blur with the idol’s own preferences, antagonisms or strength of feelings. So it is vital for the Kofi Adams to recognise the boundaries of supporters’ role and limitations of their successes and tactics.

But Owusu Bempah reminds us of probity, accountability and social justice as the tenets of the Rawlings’ Revolutions which as he attempts to suggest, Nana Konadu is the true impressionist. Yes, she was! But if butts and bullets could not achieve these historical ideals then how could we manage this with sticks and stones? For most Ghanaians the June 4 and the 31st December interventions are unfortunate historical milestones in our country’s political calendar. So to them, the memories of these “revolts or coups” must be rejected as the said dates especially June 4, ignited a terrifying bloodbaths which climaxed public executions. As for example, the Ghana@50 documents at its web site that: “The tenure of the AFRC was a mementos three months until 24 September 1979 during which it ruled through the Council, Liaison Officers and Decrees and set out to punish the corrupt and the guilty, to ensure social justice and to restore the tarnished image of the armed forces.”

Photo Reporting: Rawlings & Co in June 1979

Yes, the then spokesman for the Armed forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) – Captain Boakye Gyan(rtd), had sought desperately in linking the June 4 Uprising to a derailed Free Africa Movement- the said clandestine military cult which, to paraphrase Gyan’s words, was formed within the military corps to launch continental African uprising that would have emancipated Africa from all sort of neo-colonialism and eventual establishment of a broad-based Africa Union government. Yet judging from the necessity and indeed the reasons glued to the 31 December overthrow of Liman-led Peoples National Party (PNP), the principles and the memories of June 4 and 31 December attempts as we understand now, failed its non-negotiable social-political awareness and accountability. Here, social justice which as the fates of NLC, SMCI/II and PNP leaders justifiably suggest, could have summarily crucify ideological blasphemers such as the Benyiwas, Alloteys and the Nketias.

Reading this against the current political disdains, we may probably be contemplating whether the Ghanaian politician and their followers can avert these warnings or should gleefully expect the Resurrection of Rawlings. With the level of intolerance, cheat, and disrespect prevalent in Ghana today, and the insensitivity and strong or swollen headedness of the Ghanaian political and ideological cabal and their associated cross-border insults, unsatisfying greediness, not forgetting the emergence of mass protest against proxy governments across our strategic frontiers, here, in the Arab world, it is indeed safe gambling that nothing short of Rawlings’ predictions could be held at bay if we remain on this track. Thus we might be confronted with the dilemma of military rule- the adventurism which most of us, justifiably, abhor because of decades of military recklessness.

Yet civilian rule had had its faults. President Mills, for example, has been crash-landing at our ports and harbours in an effort to demonstrate his desire to lead a social democratic party which has from the outset, been beset with not only with tractors buying and cars snatchings but also, transformed itself into “tender boards and vote racketeers”. As Nana Konadu alleges, some of the evils of multi-party democracy, is the raising fears among her supporters over vote-buying, compelling her to resign as NDC national executive to ensure that delegates who would entrust their mandate to her care, as the Daily Guide put it, were not ‘bought’ by what is being described as people in her NDC party, using money to buy the votes of delegates.

On the alleged vote-buying Nana Konadu who states that truth and reward for loyalty was going to be the deciding factor in the impending NDC polls, and not money, is said to have asked: “If all these things are happening in our party, why should I not be perturbed?” Assuming Nana Konadu’s complaints are founded then with the said mass endorsement of the sitting president’s candidature, one might also say that the NDC national delegates are being influenced or corrupted to deny the former first lady a level playing field. The context here is whether President Mills might still shift the balance on the Kufuor-led NPP, where the 17- candidates, were once accused of being corrupt and thieves and as a consequences, eroded NPP’s electoral prospects? The adverse implications here are that dreaming Nana Konadu stumbles on her tactics against Mills on July 8 Congress, both risk being quizzed whether NDC leadership, is pious enough to retain political power?

Notwithstanding Nana Konadu’s sweeping indictments on her ruling NDC not forgetting alleged incompetence of Professor JEA Mills which have been met with raft, names callings and insults from her critics, arguably, she remains one of the best strategic women thinkers in the “New NDC’’. Her desires and wants are confidently compared to that of the Nana Yaa Asantewaas of fame. But the Batures reject this assertion, stating that strategically, Nana Konadu has no political constituency to win the impending NDC flag bearer race. Owusu Bempah sees the contrary. Implying that Nana Konadu represents NDC’s politics and ideology- the one who can stamp her feet on the decoupling muddy and indeed disengagement of party from government as well corruption and incontrollable discontent of foot-soldiers’ agitations for which Mills appears miserably, hapless.

These opposing arguments appear shockingly, interesting. But since Bature states that he only began monitoring NDC [not PNDC], since 2002 and Owusu Bempah, in no distant past, accused of being Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen’s political sympathizer, we at the OmanbaPa Research Group @, deemed it fair and just in casting our research nets, deeper into the high seas. This is to explore a bit more about Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings. For Asomdweehene Atta Mills- much was not needed. His political adventurism, promises and what he has honestly achieved under 2-year as president: nationwide sword-cutting for developmental bid and diplomacy had been well articulated by his admirers in the “Blue Book”. It might have been for these reasons that social commentators such as the Batures, the Pratts and the Debras have their nervousness in atoning for the political sins of President Mills. But not for Nana Agyeman, stained with unpardonable political crimes such as identification haircut, divestiture of Nsawam Canary and family dynasty?

But was it not the same Nana Konadu who had been at the forefront of trekking with candidate Atta Mills to canvass for votes since 2000 even at the time she was being politically haunted for the Canary inside dealings? In our country where politics appears to be unprincipled and sometimes, anarchic with its associated ethnicity and tribal sentiments, one might be tempted to argue that the Pratts for example, seem not to be the rightful physicians to advise on Nana Konadu’s political asthma which over decades, she appears capable to manage and control. At least not where the Mills-led government appears to be dazed with foot-soldiers’ political violence and intolerance at grassroots and more recently, is being accused of high seas petroleum pilfering?

Judging from Nana Konadu’s political experiences, there are those within the NDC who speculate that it had been unpardonable mistake on Mills’ part to have denied the former first lady for such political positions like Foreign Affairs or Women and Children Affair Ministry. Others argue that Konadu has a workload of convincing this country why it should support her political bid while she competes with the man she recently campaigned on his presidential competences and righteousness- Nana’s team work spirit would be critically evaluated. Nana Agyeman campaigned fearlessly and relentlessly against the then ruling NPP, specifically, against the achievements and personality of the then President J.E.A. Kufuor as well as the professional and the moral righteousness of the NPP presidential candidate- Nana Akufo-Addo. But for others, Nana Konadu’s alleged walkovers on the then political heavy weights such as Mrs Susanna Alhassan, Mrs Anna Ennins, and Joyce Aryees, not forgetting the Sutherland Addys and Mary Grants, in the Provisional National Defence Council’s years, over the life presidency of the 31st December Women’s Movement, posed a risk to her presidential bid.

Having considered that alongside the solidarity she enjoyed during her trials under NPP regime as well as her contributions towards women empowerment, it is worth noting that Nana Konadu remains a force not only within the ruling NDC but also in Ghana and abroad. Thus having travelled extensively across country and abroad, attributing her political traits as that of the electioneering gimmicks of the Dan Larteys, Ward Brews and the Kofi Wayos would be arguably, an understatement of giant proportions for the life-president of the NDC women’s front. Wielding the sharpest axe in Ghanaian political history, Nana Konadu pointed the likes of Grace Omaboes [Maame Dorkono] and the Awurabena Essiams to their rightful political throne. Yes, in doing so to Mills and his CPP trustees such as Allotey Jacobs and the Ahwois, Nana Konadu runs the risk of plunging NDC political ideology into a double-dip ditch. Most commentators warn that this could cost Rawlings’ heritage which she desperately wants to preserve. But does Prez Mills have what it takes to guide NDC through these?

In Akan tradition and practices, whenever a sitting queen or king is being competed with for the very throne that s/he has a legitimate claim, then that chief or queen might have gone against the spirit ancestors whose blood forms the very foundations of his throne. Akans place higher premium on ancestral veneration which includes the respect for taboos and observance of sacred days such as Fodwor, Ebenada Kwabena, Awukudae, Yawuada dabone, Fofie, Dapaa and Akwasidae. Before the prospective candidate is enthroned as chief, he is tutored in all these and on his first public appearance, swears before his people to uphold these at the peril of his life. Among others are the demands on the chief to demonstrate leadership- bravery, command and control over his people. Those who showed little or no motivation in achieving this royal benchmark are either forced to walk bare-footed or pushed out of the throne. As witnessed in most contemporary chieftaincy rifts, there had always been yes, two parallels in this and the gambling twists had been family feuds and break-ups.

In this crack, negotiation- defined as a process of communication, usually between two individuals or group who have a vested interest in the issue being negotiated, is crucial. The vested interest here is the issue of who is to lead the NDC after July 8 2011. It is true that since 15 May 1979 to date, Nana Konadu has always exercised courage and perseverance even in the face of arm insurrection, where their lives had been obvious target. So Rawlings has legitimate legacy to protect but could these be achieved solely by JJ or through family lineage? The lesson here is that negotiation aims to achieve “fairness”- seeking to decide issues on what is described as merit rather than haggling or the adoption of entrenched positions which hinder a “win-win” solution. An honest “bargain” that results in a “win-win” settlement; facilitates good long term relationship with the other party as each side retreats partially, satisfied rather than yes, feeling defeated and arm-twisted!

Our free PR Advice: It seems to OmanbaPa Research Group that Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings is taking a huge risk without knowing the consequences. So what? The fundamental rules of principle centred negotiations are that: No side should be seen as losing and that mutual respect and trust should be maintained. Nana Konadu might certainly not affirm the rather erroneous beliefs of the Gyans, Limans, Alolgas, Achanas, Quashigahs, Arkaahs and more recently, the Obeds-Mills that family Rawlings, is not good at forging lasting relationships!

Compiled By OmanbaPa Research Group* Amendments or Editions- Prohibited Without Prior Consent*

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Written by

Gina is the Director of Health and Publisher, JusticeGhana Group.

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