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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Columnist: Adu, Kwesi

Nana Konadu Rawlings On Vote Buying

By Kwasi Adu

While launching her bid for the flagbearership of the NDC, Mrs. Konadu-Agyeman Rawlings accused the leadership of the NDC of buying the votes and support of party delegates who would vote at the party’s impending delegates conference in Sunyani to decide who would be flag bearer.

She stated, “A true blooded NDC leadership does not buy support, no we don’t buy support, a true blooded NDC leadership does not buy votes, we don’t buy votes, we work towards the votes, indeed we do not buy delegates. This tendency is destroying the spirit and the strength of the NDC and it’s a shame”.

Earlier, Mr. Rawlings, ex-President and now contending to be First Gentleman, also confirmed the vote-buying claim when he stated that their opponents have been offering contracts to Constituency Executives to buy them off. Mr. Kofi Adams, spokesperson for the Rawlingses also made a similar claim in his speech earlier. At that moment, I heard myself saying, “Here we go again”. In 2010, before the NDC Congress in Tamale, the Rawlings Axis made the same claims that delegates were being bought to vote for particular candidates. On 14 January 2010, Mr. Rawlings delivered what was called a “pre-conference message in which he stated “Sadly the past few months has seen the adoption of a canker that was best identified with the NPP and which will destroy our party if not stopped immediately …. We have all been witnesses to the terrible abuse of the process through the distribution of large sums of money to sway delegates to vote in certain directions. Those who are distributing these monies are members of government or government-sponsored candidates who have refused to sell their qualities to delegates but have rather chosen to buy the delegates. This is alien to the party and so embarrassing that we have become the laughing stock of our opponents and a painful reminder of the rot of the immediate past to our ordinary supporters who have sacrificed for the party through some very difficult periods”. When the election results were declared, his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, won the First Vice-Chairmanship position with 1,433, beating the alleged vote buyers, such as Mr. Huudu Yahaya, Mr. Kofi Portuphy, etc to second and third places. Mr. Kofi Adams, spokesperson for the Rawlingses, was voted as Deputy General Secretary of the party when he obtained 1,094 votes to beat four other contestants. Immediately after the Tamale elections, we did not hear the Rawlingses talk of vote buying again. That is, until now.

If we were to believe the Rawlingses that members of the Mills government distributed monies to delegates in an effort to buy their votes, then based on the results of the voting pattern in Tamale, one can safely conclude that either the voters were swayed by monies distributed to them or they were not. If they were, then how could the Rawlings Axis have won all those votes? On the other hand, did they also distribute their own monies and perhaps paid even more than the government bribing teams? If they were not , then the same candidates, having voted with their consciences just over a year ago, will do the same and vote with their consciences in July 2011.

In fact, if the Rawlingses still claim that money decided the results of the ballot in Tamale in 2011, then they are accusing the NDC delegates of having no integrity. What they would virtually be saying is that the party delegates are mercenaries, including those who voted for them. If they are not mercenaries, then the Rawlingses have no cause to be alarmed because the delegates will vote according to their conscience.

I am belabouring this point because I do not expect the Rawlingses, if they are defeated in July in Sunyani to attribute their defeat to vote buying. If the delegates could not be bought in 2010, how could the same people be bought in 2011? In fact, this is an appalling insult to the integrity of the NDC delegates by the Rawlingses.

It looks as if as far as the Rawlingses are concerned, if you vote for them, then you have not been bought; but if you vote for their opponent, then you have been bought. This is what happens when people get consumed by an excessive sense of self-righteousness, self-importance and arrogance. The danger of being afflicted by a condition in which a person feels that he/she is high and mighty is that, the sufferer does not realise it even when he/she is insulting the people whose support she/he seeks. I was reading the Bible the other day when I saw in Matthew Chapter 1, the genealogy of Jesus. It went. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom” aaaaah until it reached “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”.

As I read along, I began to wonder. If we were to apply this genealogy in relation to Mr. Rawlings’ so-called founding of the NDC, it would read as “And Rawlings begat Greedy Bastards”. Hmmmm!