Feature Article of Thursday, 14 July 2011
Columnist: Appiah, Gifty Andoh
Direct political “soccer” in terms of who plays what position at what time may not be of particular interest to many including myself; in fact my experience with political contest even at the student level has proven my heart “unfit” for the game as it stands. Of extreme importance however is how the game will benefit society and impact lives of the supporters and spectators who legitimize the game and make heroes out of the players. Of importance is whether or not their spectators and supporters are not just considered as useful tools of consensual power takeover at a given point in time when they are fiercely pursued.
Scraping directly personal political denotations from my writings come rather easily even if I did not intend to. On the occasion of the “FONKAR GAME” however, I’m unable to let the issue of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings go to sleep. With news of her presidential dreams initially passing for a huge joke, graduating to a political prank, and becoming for me, a “test of the waters”. I was only convinced that she meant business after I realized she could not even afford a concession speech and as “General Mosquito”put it, “ was overcome by emotions” after the results were declared. She meant business indeed and didn’t seem to have expected such an outcome. Great optimism.
I can agree with Kweku Sakyi – Addo when he says that “artists are unconventional”. An artist herself, Mrs. Rawlings’s move was indeed unconventional and a break away from the status quo. This attitude is worth emulating and that is what this write-up is all about. For me, the contributors to her failed bold attempt are mainly historical and strategic in nature. Yet another is the skepticism her presidential aspiration was met with.
Opinion formation is obviously not the preserve of the individual psyche and makeup but also environmental and social influences which are sped on by good old media. I had my reasonable share of opinion manipulation and became torn between accepting my feministic convictions which endorsed the idea of a female presidential aspiration and the persona being portrayed in the woman. I only admired those who could out rightly predict a miserable take-home for her and adjusted my instincts to wait for the results since the Ghanaian voter today is appreciably unpredictable.
With a number of historical, political and social antecedents against her, I was tempted to believe that the very idea of feminism at Ghana’s presidency was an informant to the many concerns raised. I may be wrong though. My point however is this; perhaps, her case was different and that for politically strategic and timing purposes, failure was inevitable in her case. Success for her on the other hand, would have been historic; the first female president, the first to ever face up to a sitting president within the same party and the first ex president’s spouse to have ever done the above in Africa. This is what our women with potential should be encouraged to initiate. Big dreams, big ideas, the right and positive attitude to achieve. A sense of confidence and a great deal of woman power- which shook up the entire National Democratic Congress.
Many people in her shoes would tremble and coil at the very authoritative and financial advantages wielded by incumbency. Yet, she could not be dissuaded and stood still until the very end and indeed gave the men a run for their resources. By this historic contest, many useful lessons have been learnt not just by the NDC but the entire country especially politicians. In effect, her failure has resulted in an achievement which will go down in historic records and for which reason I think Mrs. Rawlings should rejoice at least.
Whether or not her husband’s support helped, one thing is evident; The “Konadu Power” stirred up the entire party, shaking its very foundations as admitted by leading members of the party, including president Mills himself. Suddenly, a greater effort towards a certain unity required to bruise a certain elephant in 2012, all too soon, party discussions was all about Peace and unity like never before.
Like Mrs. Rawlings, women should defy social barriers to take up the mantle of leadership; rising above wishful thinking and standing sturdy in the face of stronger opposition. Too much of the status quo, too much fear of standing out, too much negativity and too much “PHD” (pull her/him down) attitude amongst us as a people and especially as women. Political parties can promise the percentages and actually appoint a few women but women would have to be in the appropriate state and actually avail themselves for such position. Even then, two things happen; these women are either accused of “fa woto b3gy3 golf” or are met with unnecessary backbiting and the likes. This must stop.
As we continue to wait in anticipation, we hope against hope, that subsequent feministic moves for higher office will not be met by such opposition but encouragement and that women will stop as they say being their own enemies; that women will come out of their shells and avoid excuses for not being active in the nation’s political soccer, bearing in mind that it took all three of “Taka, Tika and Gangale” to achieve collective success; and above all, rising above the political game of who is what at what time to instead focus on the need for results as against talk which we seem to do best.
Gifty Andoh Appiah (firstname.lastname@example.org)