Saturday, 20 October 2012

Why Ghana doesn't need Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and the NDP.

'Ghana's former first lady to run for President' read the Reuters headline just at the beginning of the week. Of course its impact on the support that the ruling party command in Ghana despite the Deputy Minister for Sports suggestions, was unavoidable. The Rawlingses have successfully perpetuated a personality cult around their political career and this has benefited the NDC no end. It looked as though the NDC would have to convince its members that they still stand for the principles they always stood for, without the Rawlingses' support and not-so-silent guidance. They also had to complete the herculean task of proving that they were completely different from the NDP, essentially founded on exactly the same principles.

According to the Reuters article posted above, the NDC (henceforth 'the Congress') did not think that the NDP ('the Party') posed a real threat to them in the polls; neither did many political analysts and neither did I, truth be told. I don't think the NDP would have made a significant mark on these elections. I think Ghana has not yet faced the gender leadership question and I don't think they are ready to have that discussion. Therefore, the 2771 to 90 NDC primaries result is not just symbolic of how many people supported then-President Atta Mills, but also of how few people wanted a woman to lead them. This I thought was the Congress' trump card. They didn't explicitly play this card, but I do believe that subconsciously Ghanaians were repelled by the idea of a female President and all other things remaining equal, John Dramani Mahama would always collect the majority of left-wing votes. If the Congress were pushed to the point of needing to close the Rawlings question, their best bet would have been to blur the lines of difference between a Presidency of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and the tried and tested Presidency of her husband, JJ Rawlings. Nana Konadu and JJ Rawlings - the value is the same.

Ghana has been at the mercy of the Rawlings family for over 3 decades, both directly and indirectly. Many will recall that JJ Rawlings came into power first with a devastating coup and a military regime lasting 3 months, before handing over to a civilian government that he endorsed. He then collapsed that government and imposed a second military regime for 11 years before winning questionable elections in  1992 and completing his second term before handing over the mandate of power to John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001. All that time his wife was there behind him, very influential and never explicitly pushing for greater human rights, or more democratic accountability. Even as the Congress were no longer in power the Rawlingses as a pair sought to question and undermine the integrity and competence of President Kufuor and then President Mills when the Congress regained power. Can Ghanaians think of one point in time since his first attempted coup in which President Rawlings and his wife has respected the voice of the people and the democratic principles by which we now live?

The EC has saved the NDC from a sweat inducing campaign where they would have to differentiate themselves from what is essentially their political identical twin and declare independence from their ideological parents as any child (brain child or birth child) would have to do one day. I don't think that Mrs. Rawlings' disqualification works in NPP's favour. If anything it works against them as it takes a very big dark cloud from above JDM's head. Dr. Edward Omane Boamah's declaration is definitely off the mark. But one thing is certain. Where this disqualification benefits the NPP, it also benefits the CPP, PPP, PNC and the rest of Ghana. The Rawlings era, I believe, is now over. The EC created the headstone and it is up to the NDC and the rest of the Ghanaian political arena to recognise it and work towards the maturation of Ghana's politics marked by the strengthening of civil society and real communication between the everyday Ghanaian and his government, not just one family screaming the loudest.

No comments:

Post a Comment