Former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has finally told the story about why she decided to contest President John Evans Atta Mills for the flagbearer position of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2011 ahead of the 2012 polls.
Even though President Mills did not live to contest the 2012 elections, Nana Konadu said the late president had indicated that he was going to do one term in office but on assumption of office he changed his mind and sought re-election.
Nana Konadu claimed she therefore jumped into the ring and contested Prof Mills for the NDC slot, but the late president, with incumbency advantage, floored her.
It was arguably one of the bitterest political contests in the country’s political history, which pitched members of the same party against themselves.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE during a courtesy call on her by leadership of the newly reconstituted Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (FONKAR) – a group committed to championing her ideas and ideals – Mrs Rawlings recalled that sometime in the year 2008, the late President Mills, who was then a candidate for the NDC, came to see her at the office for her to get members of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM) – of which she is the president – for the members to campaign for him.
“He did tell me in the room, not alone, with about 12 people there, that he knew he would do one term of the presidency,” she revealed.
Even though, according to Mrs Rawlings, “He gave his reasons why”, she failed to tell the journalists the exact reason Professor Mills gave for his decision to go for only one term.
This was in response to queries that she used FONKAR as a conduit to launch her presidential ambition in the year 2012 when she decided to contest then President Mills for the flagbearership position of the NDC.
That, she said, was because “at the time when I was going for the contest, having discussed it with my husband (former President Jerry John Rawlings) and other people, it was really clear that he (Mills) wasn’t gonna go.”
That was what informed her decision to go into the contest since she knew Mills was not going to seek re-election.
She therefore seemed to have been taken by surprise when Mills made a sudden U-turn.
But as to why Mills had changed his decision not to go for a second term, she could not tell, saying, “the rest is history for all of us to learn from or maybe read about, which I’m sure will be written.”
That notwithstanding, she hinted that “the details of what happened before Sunyani will be written and what actually happened in Sunyani will be written. I don’t want to go back to that era.”
The former first lady, who broke away from the NDC and formed the National Democratic Party (NDP) after the NDC Sunyani Congress, asserted, “I just want you to know that FONKAR came along as the wave was building up; so they joined in the way and it picked up with us. I had no control over them. I’m not a child, I’ve been in the political frontline for a long time; I’ve lived in a family where politics was being played from Nkrumah’s time, even before Nkrumah’s time. So I know the politics of this country and what it should be like, where it will take us.”
She therefore stressed the need for those who do not know the antecedents of FONKAR “not to mislead Ghanaians in any way; the truth must always be said…but as for them doing it before I took a decision or they pushed me into a decision….is not true at all. The truth is what I’ve told you; so this time, we are already in the game.”
Mrs Rawlings is contesting the 2016 elections under NDP as its flagbearer making her the first woman to take a shot at the presidency.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu