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Opinions of Saturday, 30 April 2011

Columnist: Adu, Kwesi

Nana Konadu Bumps Into A Roadblock In Sefwi

By Kwasi Adu

“When you go, tell Mrs. Rawlings, that this is the territory of the people that she and her husband call ‘greedy bastards’. They are our own people. They are our brothers and uncles. Let them know that all the area stretching from Bibiani to Sefwi Wiawso, Juabeso, Bia and Akontombra belongs to the people whose kinsmen they have been insulting since 2007. Those people are part of us; and we love them. We need to tell you that when it is forbidden to eat fish from a particular river, you do not find old fishing traps in that river. Go and tell them that this is what the NDC in this area is saying to them. ”.

This was the devastating rebuke inflicted on Mr. Kofi Adams, NDC Deputy General-Secretary and three others, who visited Sefwi Wiawso last week, in an attempt to solicit support for the candidature of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings for the NDC flagbearership. Mr. Kofi Adams and his team had gone to meet NDC executives in the five Sefwi constituencies. Their first stop was Sefwi Wiawso where the NDC Executives advised them not to bother about going to the other Sefwi constituencies because they would get the same response. Mr. Kofi Adams did not listen. He continued to Juabeso where his team received an even sharper negative response.

According to one Constituency Executive member who was at the meeting, Mr. Kofi Adams showed his immaturity and ignorance of the socio-cultural dynamics of the Sefwi area when he told them, among other things, that the NDC in Ashanti would want an Ashanti candidate. It was like showing a red flag to a bull. “When we support a candidate, we support him or her on the basis of their political ideas, no matter their tribal origin. If he expected us to support Nana Konadu purely on her being an Ashanti, then he came to the wrong place. Any Sefwi person, whether NPP or NDC, will tell you that”.

Unfortunately, for Nana Konadu, there was another member of the Executive, who hails from Ashanti and whose home constituency shares a common border with the Ashanti constituency where Nana Konadu originates. He is reported to have responded to Mr. Kofi Adams, saying that the NDC has never won an election in Nana Konadu’s constituency. “She cannot even win for NDC in her own home-town constituency. How could any Asante NDC member have said that?” he asked Mr. Kofi Adams.

The desperation of the Nana Konadu campaign team is forcing them to venture into the arena of tribal politics by wrapping her in the Ashanti flag.

One has to give it to them. Nana Konadu and her supporters have some nerve. How they thought that they could be more popular than the Ahwoi brothers in their own backyard beats the imagination. However, it shows their over-bloated sense of personal invincibility in the country.

Another member of the Executive at the Sefwi Wiawso meeting reportedly asked Mr. Kofi Adams whether, as a member of the NDC National Executive, he had not broken the party guidelines by declaring support for a potential candidate. He was reported to have replied that he had not broken any guideline since he was doing so in his personal capacity.

A member of the meeting expressed resentment at any notion that the party belonged to any individual. He was reported to have added, “As a businessman, I own my company; but that is different to belonging to an association. As a founder of the party in this constituency, I cannot say that I own the party in this constituency. People must know the difference between owning private property and being a member of an organisation, even if they think that they initiated it”.

For a long time, I have resisted to agree with the saying that “those that the gods want to destroy, they first make mad”. However, after learning of Nana Konadu’s attempted forage into “bastard” territory, I am beginning to believe that there may be some truth in that saying. How they thought they could make inroads into Sefwi Wiawso from where the Ahwois hail, is amazing.

The Rawlingses appear to the oblivious of the fact that however popular a party may be nationally, if there are no credible local people, with whom the local population can strongly associate, you have no winning chance.

One member of the Sefwi Wiawso constituency Executive was cynical when he retorted angrily after the meeting: “You will see! The only way the founder and his wife will get themselves out of this tight corner is for themselves to deliberately line up people who would appeal to them to withdraw. However, even that would be too late because everyone would know that it is stage-managed. We know them and know how they operate. When their house got burnt down, there was this shameful display of always sitting by the burnt ruins expecting people to come and console them. That is the way they will chicken out of it. This time, it won’t work.”

However, anybody who knows ex-President will acknowledge that he is not chicken. By the accounts coming from the Western Region, the reaction of party executives that Mr. Kofi Adam’s team met ranged from lukewarm to rejection.