The 9th of July 2011 shall go into the history books as the day the Rawlings Empire was brought down to earth. It was the day the insipid presidential ambition of the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (NKAR) took a humpty dumpty fall with a spectacular crash before delegates of the NDC in Sunyani and millions of others following the election on TV, Radio and the Internet. It also brought down with it the myth that no one wins power in the NDC without the support of Mr. Rawlings. Not only did the professor go into the contest without Rawlings's blessing, but took on Rawlings himself. What Konadu's team had portrayed as a battle for the soul of the NDC, ended up as a no-contest as she only garnered a paltry 3% of almost three thousand valid votes against the Professor's 97%. The resounding thrashing should teach the former first lady two lessons. The popularity of one's spouse is not necessarily transferable in electoral politics. Secondly, a fly weight boxer does not take to the ring to fight a heavy weight just because she speaks faster than the big man.
The former first family and the FONKAR led campaign team threw all kinds of invectives at the sitting president to provide justification for attempting to deny him the opportunity to lay claim to a second term, a largess that was enjoyed by all his predecessors in the fourth republic. To Mr. Rawlings, the president has surrounded himself with 'greedy bastards' who used to be his whipping boys. He also wanted so many people associated with Kufuors eight years reign in jail for what they have been rumored to have done. Mr. Rawlings held the President and the judiciary responsible for the failure to deal with his political enemies, his own way. NKAR said the president lack boldness and thought it was time to take the party back to the rank and file. But the representatives of the rank and file delivered a stern rebuke to the former first family. By the massive rejection at Sunyani, they reminded the Rawlings' and the band of novices who championed their campaign that they are entitled to their opinions but not to their own set of facts in an information free society. They rejected politics of vindictiveness and vengeance and exposed Konadu's presidential ambition for what it truly is - an ill advised attempt to perpetuate a Rawlings dynasty to ensure an unending supply of the cult life style of the Rawlings'.
Suggestions that the congress produced no winners other than the NDC are just attempts to make defeat less painful for Nana Konadu Rawlings. But she is not fooled by the humility of the victors even though she failed to reciprocate that gesture by refusing to be gracious in defeat. She has been openly humiliated and she knows it. Challenging a sitting president against the good advice of your friends and wining only 3% does not flatter your political judgment. The defeat is made worse by the fact that you bear the Rawlings name. Suddenly, the illusion that Rawlings can win any election in the NDC is shattered in a moment of political naivety. I found it ludicrous that respected minds like Spio Garbrah seem to endorse such thinking. But today, the NDC has delivered a very important message; the party has outgrown Mr. Rawlings.
The comprehensive drubbing seems to have annoyed the former first lady who walked out on the President before his victory speech. She is not used to being rejected by her 'husband's Party'. Nothing is far from the truth, The NDC made Rawlings, and not the other way round. Konadu, borrow a handkerchief from Alan Kyeremanteng and wipe your tears. It is humbling to be openly rebuked when you think so highly of yourself, but it is good medicine for a haughty spirit.
I'm sure the Rawlings' were expecting some kind of beating at the congress. They set the tone to explain away imminent defeat when they accused the Atta mills camp of doling money to the electorate and intimidation through sitting arrangements and the presence of CCTV. That perhaps would have been the basis of a break away party that will continue to sing the praises of the Rawlings'. If the margin of defeat hasn't taken away the winds out of their sail, then they are the dumbest students of politics. That might be the case as Mr. Rawlings had for many years expressed his disdain for democratic politics which perhaps is too cumbersome for him to get grips of. He wasn't smart to understand that he had lost the political master minds behind his own victories to President Mills, leading him and his wife into a kamikaze political mission in Sunyani. Mr. Rawlings is a class act in double standards. With a straight face he will accuse his opponents of acts he has committed with impunity. Can the Konadu campaign swear that they didn't pay delegates any money to get Konadu elected? They forget the delegates are witnesses. How does Mr. Rawlings who superintended the worst human rights atrocities in our history gather the courage to accuse Mr. Kufuor of human rights abuse and murder? If justice must be sought in this country, the indemnity clause in the constitution should be scrapped so Rawlings can face justice for toppling the Limann regime illegally.
It takes humility to know when one's time is up. The self proclaimed Junior Jesus (JJ) should have learnt from John the Baptist who testified of the real Jesus in John 3:30, ' He must increase, and I must decrease'- humbly accepting that the shine must leave him to another actor in the scheme of God's plans. The former first family seems to have forgotten about their very humble beginnings before fate smiled on them and snatched Mr. Rawlings from jail to the cover page of our political history. Since that fateful event on 4th June 1979 and subsequent events of notoriety on 31st Dec 1981, they had created a cult around themselves which was propped up by the State's instrument of terror. Goaded on by praise singers who clapped at every mundane joke by their Junior Jesus. They lost all traces of humility and all but declared themselves as gods. Rawlings slapped who he wanted to slap and kicked who Konadu thought was worthy of a boot. A sitting vice president, the late Arkaah, and Selasi Dzentu , a former boyfriend of one of their daughters, were recipients of their generosity in being mean and vindictive. There were many other grown men and women who were rumoured to have taken their slaps in their strides.
What they hadn't realized was that, the Rawlings phenomenon rested on two pillars- the state terror machinery and goodwill of Ghanaians, mostly NDC sympathizers. After Kufuor took away the former in 2000, it was held up only by the latter. It was not only dangerous but ill advised for the Rawlings' to toy with that good will. Perhaps they were fooled by Konadu's election in Tamale as a vice chairman of the NDC. When President Mills refused to respond to the daily insults coming from the Rawlings household, political common sense should have taught the Rawlings' that they were increasing the stock of sympathy accounts for a man whose very demeanor attracts sympathy. With such a resounding defeat, it must be obvious to the Rawlings' that the goodwill account has been expended needlessly on vituperations and insults. All dreams of a Rawlings dynasty must be shelved for now as the last cradle that props the empire falls flat.
One lesson the Rawlings' should never forget from the congress was eloquently delivered by the Vice President, who proved to be a master of communication, in three words- Taka, Tiki, Gangale. The attempt by Mr. Rawlings to match his wits fell horribly flat and was only outdone by the bigger fall of the presidential ambition. I'm not sure even NKAR understood what the Osu Alata Kolomashi joke was about. The difference in class was telling. Rawlings suggested in his speech that he might be attending his last congress. If he has thoughts of retiring from politics, I can assure him the body politic will not miss his destructive interference, good riddance! If he is thinking of floating a new party, then he certainly hasn't learnt the lesson of the three birds. But for now, the empire has been cut to fit the size of Konadu's scarf, a scanty 3%.