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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Why Nana Konadu Rawlings Is Not Fit For A Dogcather

While we await the bright hope of voting in a constitutional government, it may be appropriate to talk about a woman some have dubbed a leader and even fit for the presidency. The name of the woman is none other than our notorious former first lady, Nana Konadu Rawlings.

Nana Konadu is the wife of Jerry Rawlings John. Rawlings as we all know is one of the most vicious, lascivious and repressive dictators our country has ever known. While Rawlings was mowing down and brutalizing our brothers and sisters, Nana Konadu enjoyed affluence at it finest, displaying assorted motley starched headgears that stabbed the sky with reckless abandon. She paraded, with her stiff and stoic demeanor, as a women?s rights advocate overseas at a time when our women were being sodomized with oversized batons and their private parts pepper bombed to oblivion. Oh ye mothers of Ghana! Have my sympathy!!

With a stiff cold steely demeanor she watched on while the blood letting continued shamelessly. Every so often, her name comes up as part of this grand scheme to deface the soul of mother Ghana. As if these undertakings were not shameful enough, Nana K. shamelessly took advantage of her husband?s brutal power to acquire state businesses and loans, as we?ve just learned, in the name of charity. The much discredited 31st December women?s movement is a classic example. Recently, news reports have it that the government of Ghana, narrowly escaping the claws of HPIC stardom, had to eat up a $2 million plus loan that this shady movement foisted on the poor people of Ghana. Prior to the latter, there have been numerous speculations about Nana?s effort to use front companies to acquire government companies on the cheap. Keep in mind that, this is a woman, like her husband, who had nary a mandate from the good people of Ghana. If Rawlings murdered Felli for obtaining a 40,000 cedi loan, must he not shoot his own wife? Of course in his demented mind they are above the law.

In fact, some even allege that Rawlings looked the other way while his wife grabbed from state coffers with all ten fingers. While we can?t firmly prove the veracity of the latter, we all know that, the Rawlings family as it exist currently, represents one of the most affluent families in Ghana. They are educating 4 kids overseas, own several luxury cars (including a jaguar), a speedboat, several houses, and land besides what Ghanaians pay out of their nose to support their wayward life style. Some speculate that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Talk about greed at its luminous best! This is certainly a far cry from an emaciated flight lieutenant who could barely afford food and was flunking out of the much maligned Ghana Army. Never mind his dubious Kafo didi chants!!

The story of the African woman, and the grace and strength that they represent has not been fully told. Growing up with a hard working, God-fearing, tough and loving mom, I can attest to the crucial nurturing role that women play in Ghana. I watched and observed other women as well and my impression is still very high of Ghanaian women. Despite the shabby way Ghanaian men treat their women in general, in my book, Ghanaian women are the kind that can stand up to an unrepentant son at the same time showing motherly concern. They are normally the voice of calm and unimpeachable source of strength. They stay behind with the kids while most men continue their irresponsible and wayward ways, by fathering more kids elsewhere.

Having said all the above, one might ask simply then, where did Konadu go wrong? Can anyone bill Nana Konadu as a leader and indeed fit for a president? I mean given her role in the most ghoulish regime in Ghanaian history? Is this the woman who is utterly despised in her own oseikrom? What do we know about her people skills or ability to manage? As if being the wife of a dictator is not enough reason for concern, do we want to coronate her to the presidency of Ghana?

Not too long ago, leadership focused on what traits one was blessed with. Then research proved that traits alone are not enough to indicate or guarantee good and effective leadership. So the focus shifted to behavior and situation. Lately the functional approach, contingency model, path-goal approach, adaptive-reactive model and many more considerations are in play when the topic of leadership pops up. The common theme, if not thread, that runs through most leadership literature is that a leader must have certain qualities, be situational, results driven, and most of all have followers. Leaders? act, not out of comfort but when the stakes are high and no one is looking.

What qualities can we talk of when considering the former first lady for the presidency? What leadership traits can we boast of when it comes to Nana Konadu? What did she do to stanch the killing and maiming? What did she say about the caning of innocent women? Let us cut her some slack by saying maybe she was afraid of the maverick and epistemically limited dictator that she gleefully married. What then has she said since her husband got defanged? What has she said to sooth the pain of those who are hurting? As a mother, were is her compassion? Instead, she is trying fruitlessly to justify the carnage and filthy looting that took place under the watch of her bloody husband.

Folks, leadership is about action and results. When the Rawlings regime was in power, this jezebel of a woman had all the opportunity in the world to put a dent in the suffering of the people of Ghana. She had the chance to pillow talk her ruthless husband to ease up on the innocent people of Ghana. She had the chance to champion the rights of all Ghanaian women. Time and time again, she chose partisanship and personal gain over ?statewomanship?. She chose the side of evil and ill-gotten wealth over common decency and human rights. Being the callous schadenfreude that she is, she was not able to sincerely speak up for the oppressed and poor women of Ghana when they needed her the most.

So whether you look at traits, behavior, situation, goals, motivation and any other leadership consideration, Nana Konadu does not deserve any decent consideration. Even if you gin up the facts, puff up the details and become a dewy-eyed optimist overnight, there is no way on God?s green earth that one can talk of leadership and Nana Konadu in the same sentence. The simple conclusion is that this woman was part of something ignorable. She was the steady and willing partner of man who decided to violate the collective will of the people of Ghana for his own selfish and egomaniac reasons. The biggest mistake Ghanaians, and for that matter the NDC, dare make is to even consider, in the slightest way, the possibility of having this woman in any leadership role. She is no Ester Ocloo nor does she even qualify to braid Yaa Asantewaa?s hair. In fact, she should thank the nebbish and wistful Kufour for not hauling her to jail. The problem with the Rawlings duo is that they don?t know when to quit while they are ahead.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Silver and gold have I none but what I have give I unto the peace loving people of Ghana. We are on a steady march and we will get there. Never again!!