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Opinions of Saturday, 9 July 2011

Columnist: Dagadu, Nii-Osah

Why delegates must elect Nana Konadu

Sometimes in life, there is the need to make certain radical changes to the status quo. This kind of shift is not made because of the inability of the current operating system to perform its minimal designated functions, but rather, the need to move beyond its present levels in order to lead us to our desired expectations.

In measuring efficiency, there is a tendency to be content with our output because our basic expectations have been met. Satisfaction with our present levels, unknowingly, leads to mediocrity because we fail to put in extra efforts that will yield greater results. We should aggressively update our methods in order continue to stay ahead of our competitors.
It is foolhardy for us to believe that once we have used those same methods to achieve a particular purpose in the past, a repetition of that will do the trick again. It is also possible for one to argue that in electoral politics, things do not work that way but in drawing a strategy for a contest, you look at the strengths of your opponent and fashion out a plan to neutralize it.
The fact that it is the norm for all sitting Presidents to go unopposed in a party’s primaries does not mean we should allow an uninspiring President, who by deed happens to be an exception to that norm to lead us into battle again, especially not when the stakes are higher. We should be bold and depart from that line. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) should not fall victim to the Gaderene swine fallacy. In R. D. Laings “Politics of Experience” which he elucidated on the fallacy, he mentioned that from an ideal vantage point on the ground, a formation of planes may be observed in the air. One plane may be out of formation. But the whole formation may be off course. The plane that is “out of formation” may be abnormal, bad or ‘mad’ from the point of view of the formation. But the formation itself may be bad or mad from the point of view of the ideal observer. In particular, it is of fundamental importance not to confuse the person who may be “out of formation” by telling him he is “off course” if he is not. It is of fundamental importance not to make the positivist mistake of assuming that, because a group is in formation this means they are necessarily “on course”. This is the Gadarene swine fallacy, which is also connected to the books of Mathew, Mark and Luke.
It is based on this that numerous people from all walks of life are calling for the NDC to return to its core values of probity, accountability and transparency. These are values which if upheld would make sure that the party does not deviate from the mandate it was given by Ghanaians. It is because of the sanctity of these principles that made us endure eight years of agony in opposition. As a leading member of the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR), I have interacted with several people, both believers and non believers of the course I represent. The common denominator of our conversation is that the Mills/Mahama led government is the lesser of the two evils when compared to Ex-President Kuffour’s administration. Admittedly the present NDC government is performing better than the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but it still falls short of the hopes, aspirations and expectations of the party and Ghanaians at large. We still fall short of the standards we set for ourselves both when we were in opposition and after we took the reins of power.
The present NDC government is behaving like a “virgin government”. We act like we have never been in power before. Certain mistakes would have been excusable if this was the first time we have formed a government. But for a party or tradition that has almost 20 years of governing experience certain errors and lack of discretion should not be tolerated because we should have drawn lessons from our earlier experience in government. How come, only two and a half years into our reign, the zeal, passion and euphoria that characterized our victory have all too soon vaporized into thin air? Do we have the confidence to taunt our main political opponents that they are going to be in opposition for the next thirty years? The answer is a big no, because the energy and vigor with which our party’s foot soldiers prosecuted our campaign has vanished. This is as a result of the weakening of the party’s structures to the extent that the party can no longer convey them to their aspirations. At this point, I would want to liken the NDC to a dying patient whose heart is effectively not beating on its own. Through defibrillation, which is the sending of powerful electric shocks through the heart, there is a likelihood of resuscitating the heart to function once again. In the emergency case of our cherished NDC, Nana Konadu is our only credible defibrillator who possesses the needed credentials to reactivate the NDC.
Nana Konadu is a very strong lady who has been neck deep in the formation and nurturing of the party. She is one of the only few people who are well placed to fill the leadership void we have in our party. With regards to the formation of the NDC, prior to the lifting of the ban on party politics in 1992, certain elements within the presidency where not in support of the establishment of the NDC. This was because of their ulterior motives which was to take advantage of the structures, programs and policies that had been put in place through the mobilization and organization of Ghanaians towards the pursuance of a common national agenda. It was through the perseverance of Nana Konadu and other like minded comrades that assisted the then chairman Rawlings to found the party. The struggle to make it a very strong political party did not end there. There was continuous outreach endeavors to bring more people into our fold through attractive self help projects that where spearheaded by women who happened to be the backbone of the NDC. She has acquired a lot of experience in politics and governance as a result of the participatory role she played in both the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and NDC. She re-demarcated the boundaries of the role a First Lady played. Hitherto, most African First Ladies limited themselves to the management of the presidential household. As a staunch women and child activist, she stood for social advancement and played a very crucial role in the grass root mobilization of women to be part of the developmental efforts of the country. Notwithstanding the fact that Africa has a lot of qualified women who could contest elections, most of them were not politically established. Nana Konadu has her own strong constituency within the party. As president of the 31st DWM, which has for a long time been the breeding grounds for women leaders within the party, she is coming on board with over two million potential votes. The party has also taken advantage of the well established structures of her organization to do its political work. In addition, we need a candidate who is bringing on board, something which can add to the success of the party. Her organization has always been a shoulder to rest on in moments of difficulty for the party.
Since independence we have had ten presidents, out of this number, none of them have been a woman. We have created a sort of a patriarchy. We have in one form or the other put stumbling blocks in the path of women from rising to the top in politics. Irrespective of their number and enormous contribution to nation building they have never had the opportunity of controlling and managing the resources of the state. It is my belief that, it is now time for us to try something new, not just for the sake of experimenting, but because we have been looking at issues from the same perspective for 54 years without much success. Fate has presented us with a strong woman who has risen through the ranks of politics on her own steam. We have always advocated for the need to include women in our decision making processes, but in another breath we have limited their participation to only parliament and the district assembly levels. We should look beyond this and look forward towards the presidency. The age long argument has been that women are weak and not strong enough to occupy the position of the presidency. Yes indeed, most men are stronger than women but the job of a president does not involve the physical strength for lifting of timber or the carrying of concrete blocks. Even if it involves these physical activities a trip to Makola or Agbogboloshie markets to see women carrying heavy sacks of maize or cassava would disabuse our minds about the weakness of women and the sort of energy they have.
In talking about the unsuitability of women to lead the country, our concerns have been about their efficiency and ability to take bold and firm decisions. These attributes we look for can also be absent in the male sex. However, Nana Konadu has exhibited these attributes with distinction. She can be soft and also bark when the situation calls for that attitude. In addition, there are unique geographical advantages her selection as the flag bearer of our party has for our electoral fortunes. There is satisfactory evidence to show that a candidate derives some support from her home region. This stems from the fact that research has shown that amongst the consideration that voters make in determining who to vote for is the issue of ethnicity. In formulating a strategy to win a contest you look at the strengths of your opponents and then you fashion out a plan to neutralize it.
The might of the NPP lies in the Ashanti Region, it is their “world bank”. There is clear evidence to show that by just chalking a huge percentage of votes there, they can win the general election. A reduction in the size of votes it obtains in that region can severely affect their chances of victory. We in the NDC cannot afford to let this chance of electing an already well marketed brand to slip by. Why vote for one president whilst you can vote for two at the same time? By voting for Nana Konadu, we have voted for two presidents, in that she will benefit from her spouses’ 19 years of presidential experience. Hand on heart, She is a very good bargain, buy one get one free.

Nii-Osah Dagadu
Leading Member(FONKAR)