Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings
By and large, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings is a popular figure in Ghana. She is the darling wife of the former President J. J. Rawlings, and by virtue of her marital relationship with him as the Head of State, she became the First Lady of Ghana, an honorific title of respect and admiration.
In that position, she played a dynamic role in the empowerment and upliftment of women to the status of equality with their men counterparts by forming and leading the 31st December Women Movement (DWM) which was instrumental in significant ways.
One, it helped in lobbying the powers that be to give political appointments to women. Thus in the heydays of the DWM, a sizeable number of women were moved into positions of government, while other were propped up and urged on to attain their political ambitions.
Two and more practically, it enhanced the financial capacity building of women, assisting them to set up small-scale business enterprises like gari-processing, fish-smoking, dress-making and catering for which women have natural abilities and skills. In this way, they earned incomes to help in taking care of themselves and their families.
Besides, Nana Konadu is well known for her characteristic trait. She is a model of Ghanaian Culture, particularly in the area of dressing, usually wearing the indigenous “Kaba” with the “abotre” and shoulder sheet to match. This outfit portrays her high sense of modesty and propensity to promote the patronage of Ghanaian fabrics (wax prints) for dressmaking which is a boost to the local textile industries.
In all, Nana Konadu has distinguished herself as a patriot and philanthropist who has won numerous friends at home and abroad. No wonder the formation of the fan group friends Of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) to support her cause.
When it comes to politics, she had been reserved and reticent except working behind the scenes, organizing the DWM members to rally round the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by her dearest husband. And during electioneering campaigns, she sat on the platforms together with him, giving him the desired moral support. As the saying goes “Behind every successful man there is a woman”.
Similarly, in the scheme of things in the NDC party, she was more or less marginalized, not holding any post except when in the course of changes in the composition of the governing body of the party she became vice-chairperson. Even in this position she was silent on issues.
But come the time of the NDC primaries to elect the flagbearer for the 2012 general elections, and Nana Konadu comes out bold and strong like and Amazonian woman to challenge the incumbent President J. E. Atta Mills for the position. Her campaign strategy was hurl a volley of criticisms at him with the support of the FONKAR group.
Briefly, it was alleged that Atta Mills’ government is tainted with corruption, favouritism and incompetence, having failed to solve the persistent socio-economic problems of the country that will alleviate the hardships of the mass of people.
In that case, with Atta Mills as the NDC presidential candidate for the coming general elections, the party is in danger of losing it. Therefore Nana Konadu must come in to lead the party to victory at the polls.
By thrusting herself into the flagbearership race, contesting Atta Mills, she stepped on people’s toes and incurred their displeasure. Thus she was persuaded to withdraw but went ahead. And what happened? A humiliating defeat!
Clearly, it meant that the campaign of criticisms against Atta Mills, could not work. Therefore, after the Sunyani Congress, with the heavy blow of defeat, Nana Konadu was expected to cease and desist her critical actions and join in the campaign to get Atta Mills elected (GAME) in the upcoming presidential election.
But no way! She still continues to spit venom and fire, vehemently criticizing the Government. Her latest outcry is over the state of the economy.
At the gathering of women from 25 African countries participating in the MILEAD Fellowship International conference held in Accra recently, Nana Konadu alleged that prevailing economic conditions in the country make it a highly expensive place to live.
Note her words “Ghana is one of the most expensive countries on this continent. Very, very expensive. We have to find a way of knocking that down”. She believes that the economy” can be run differently” to improve on the standard of living of the people.
Rather regrettably, her allegation has been faulted, being considered as a figment of her own imagination as there is no research data to support it. This is unlike the mercer’s ranking of most expensive cities in the world which is authentic and authorative as it is based on evidence of the realities on the ground.
In the current research findings, Ghana is conspicuously missing in the list of 50 top countries ranked as most expensive in the world and it is not included in the eleven African countries featured in the ranking which places Luanda, Angola as the world’s most expensive city, followed by Tokyo, Japan, N’Djamena, Chad and Moscow, Russia in that order.
Admittedly, on reflection, one is puzzled about the intention and action of Nana Konadu, telling the international audience about the economic conditions in her country, and what is more serious, giving wrong information about the existing situation thereby creating anxieties and fears in the minds of the audience at the conference.
In this regard, pertinent questions have been raised, what was her motive in choosing to speak on a malicious topic? Was it of any interest to the audience? Did she realize the negative effects of her action, scaring away potential foreign investors?
Indeed, it can be seen that while Nana Konadu tries to criticise and accuse Atta Mills and his government of lazities and shortcomings, she exposes herself to public criticisms by her utterances at the gathering which were uncalled for or misplaced.
And so therefore one may ask. What perception does she create for herself? A friend or foe to President Atta mills, the government, the NDC party and the country?