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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Columnist: Al-Hajj

Nana Konadu - The Woman behind JJ’s Self-Destruction (Part 4 of 50)

Contrary to the wide held notion, especially within the National Democratic Congress (NDC) circles that, former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings was the woman calling the shots behind the scenes during her husband’s 19-year rule; this paper can today confirm that the opposite was the case.

For the duration of former President Jerry John Rawlings’ nineteen years rule, impression created was that Nana Konadu, popularly referred to as ‘Madam’ was the one behind major decisions, especially concerning affairs of the party.

However, research conducted by the Al-Hajj reveals the former military strongman in fact unjustly treated his better half in the same iron fist manner he ruled the country.

Even out of office as president, Nana Konadu, we found out has not had the benefit of a ‘real’ blissful marriage with Jerry Rawlings until the year 2005, when through divine intervention, Rawlings became a changed man as he pledged his unalloyed love and loyalty to his better half.

Born in Cape Coast on the 17th November, 1948 during the famous Accra riot to the successful but late J.O.T. Agyeman and his educationist wife, Nana Konadu attended the Achimota School where she met her would-be hubby Jerry John Rawlings, and continued to University of Science and Technology, where she read Art, specializing in Textiles.

From 1977 when Nana Konadu Agyeman married sweetheart Jerry Rawlings to sometime in 2005, she had been under the strict control of the military strongman to the extent that he prohibited her from engaging in any income generating activity.

However, she maneuvered and operated under the guise of 31st December Women’s Movement to personally acquire a number of interests in many establishments in the country on his blind side.

It can also be revealed that on countless occasions her spouse Rawlings, variously referred to as Chairman or president, ensconced in his fortresses, whether at Arakan, Gondar barracks or the Osu Castle; continually denied her the conjugal rights to her chagrin, yet she was incapable of acting in response.

The Nsawam Cannery, former assets of the defunct GNTC and a cocoa factory at Kpone near Tema are but a few of business interests Nana Konadu managed to acquire whiles she and hubby Rawlings were in control of the affairs of this country.

Much as Konadu between 1982 and 2000 occupied an enviable and unique position as the first lady of Ghana, her associates told us how unhappy she had been.

According to one of them who doesn’t want to be indentified; “madam though is seen by many outside as occupying a privileged and therefore pleasurable position, she wasn’t a happy person throughout the period the ‘oldman’ (Rawlings) was in office”.

Konadu, throughout her prime marital life with former President Rawlings lived a kind of solitary life as they never lived together as husband and wife for any significant period in their marriage since he was concerned with his work more than the family.

“Most of the time you can sense loneliness in madam and even the children as they grow up, because almost always it was difficult for them to have access to their husband and father who is most of the time addicted to his work rather than his family”. The source disclosed.

An Ashanti by tribe, Nana Konadu and hubby Jerry Rawlings of mix Ewe and Scottish descent have four children, three of them girls, Ezenator, Yaa Asantewaa and Amina and the other a boy, Kimathi. The couple also has some grandchildren. Stay tuned for part 5