The question of the sort of political chemistry that really exists between the first families of the Mahama’s and the former first family of the Rawlings’ has become a curious and urgent question for many political actors and observers in Ghana to answer.
This question has been brought up recently by the open determination by the President John Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama to get Zanetor Rawlings, daughter of former President Rawlings elected into Ghana’s parliament to join his possible next government in 2017.
And this is against the backdrop that Dr. Zanetor Rawlings has failed to meet the basic requirement to be a registered voter in Ghana and an active member of the NDC for the past five (5) years for which reason she is currently facing a court challenge to her qualification to contest as a member of parliament under the national and party constitution and guidelines.
After having fallen out during the period of 2007-2008 in the run up to picking a vice presidential candidate for the NDC, relations between the two families remained strained until after 2012 when President Mahama was elected to serve his first term as President.
President Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings opted to support Madam Betty Mould Iddrisu as running mate to Prof. Mills for the 2008 elections against John Mahama but Prof. Atta Mills disappointed Rawlings by picking John Mahama as his running mate in that election.
During the tenure of Prof. Mills as President and John Mahama as vice President, former President Rawlings became the most rancorous critic of their administration ( He called them thieves, greedy bastards, corrupt, unprincipled, babies with sharp teeth etc). President Rawlings openly campaigned against the Mills administration.
President Rawlings also openly showed hatred for President Mills and vice President John Mahama. In his bid to prevent vice President John Mahama from succeeding President John Atta Mills, former President Rawlings rooted for his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings to contest President Mills in the 2011 NDC Presidential primaries. His wife was utterly humiliated with barely over 3% of the delegate vote in that contest.
As incorrigible as Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings is, she went ahead to form a new political party the National Democratic Party (NDP) which formed an alliance with the opposition NPP and its candidate to take power away from the ruling NDC and John Mahama. Former President Rawlings opted to support his wife and failed to campaign for the NDC and John Mahama in 2012.
In 2012, President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC retained power – with the active opposition of Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings and their family and allies.
Interestingly and intriguingly however, former President Rawlings suddenly started playing ‘good cop’ with President Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama immediately power was retained by the NDC in 2012. Unlike during the reign of President Mills, the former President has been charitable in his criticism of President Mahama and his style of governance.
Indeed, so far, he has only sought to occasionally criticise – without any attention from the public or the media – some of the appointees in JM’s government. Many people in Ghana feel that there is more to criticise about the John Dramani Mahama government than there was about the John Evans Atta Mills government.
The only difference is that President Mills refused to entertain the ‘double face’ of the Rawlings family whose methods seeks to dine with the President privately and castigate him publicly as a government. And that may have accounted for why President Mills and his cronies desisted entirely from entertaining the Rawlings family.
With President Mahama, former President Rawlings, instead of following his usual holier-than-thou chorus of probity and accountability, social justice, transparency and anti-corruption etc etc which should compel him to be more venomous with the JM government as he was rancorous with Atta Mills government, he appears to have again buried all these values and principles of the June4 which he originally rendered meaningless rhetoric by indemnity clauses inserted into the 1992 constitution to prevent Rawlings and his family from accounting to their own principles and professed values.
Perhaps, Rawlings now knows that people do not take him serious when he tries to be publicly sanctimonious. But does his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings know that her meaningless public anti-corruption rhetoric does not tongue-fool the public?
The Ghanaian public are well educated on the state owned enterprises and seized private landed properties of private citizens, including prime state lands which were coveted and appropriated by the Rawlings family under the guise of the 31DWM, a private Non-governmental women’s organisation owned by Mrs. Rawlings. Currently, the 31DWM office building at north ridge is under litigation in court by a private Ghanaian family whose private home it is that was confiscated using PNDC decrees by the Rawlings family for their own private use.
But out of perhaps delirium, the former first lady Konadu Agyeman - Rawlings wants the Ghanaian people to believe that she has the integrity to be President of Ghana – better than President John Mahama.
Rawlings is trying hard through any means necessary, to make his own family a part of the JM government because he is at the verge of political extinction. He is doing this by pushing his first daughter Dr. Zanetor Rawlings into the JM government through the parliament of Ghana. And President John Mahama is not only known to be financially and logistically supporting the bid of Dr. Zanetor Rawlings to enter into government, his wife; Lordina Mahama has taken every public opportunity to demonstrate a warm relationship between her and the Rawlings daughter as well as to Mr. Rawlings himself. Lordina Mahama, Ghana’s first lady seems charmed by the sudden ‘good cop’ posture of Mr. Rawlings and his daughter. And she seems to be enjoying it. But could this be a poisoned chalice?
Whiles President Rawlings is hoodwinking President Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama to put his daughter in a present - future NDC government, his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings is on rampage, playing the ‘bad cop’. She is playing her role pretty well.
Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings is so adamant in her opposition against the Mahama’s. She insists that John Dramani Mahama is not competent enough to be President of Ghana. She feels and believes that she is more qualified to be President than JM. She endorsed Nana Akuffo Addo the opposition NPP Presidential candidate in 2012 after her own failed attempt at running for President. She recently announced her intention to run for President in the 2016 general elections. And she continues to berate President John Mahama and his government through the mainstream media.
At public state functions besides her husband, Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings shows her disdain for the President John Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama with a grimaced face hiding behind dark glasses. Many times, her husband, J.J Rawlings also puts on a similar face in public. Nana Konadu cannot even pretend, or does not want to pretend, about her disdain for the Mahama’s. Nana Kondu Agyeman – Rawlings openly hates President Mahama and his wife and she is not apologetic about that.
So: what at all is the motivation for Mrs. Mahama who is embracing Zanetor Rawlings publicly and appearing to show more support for the political ambitions of the Rawlings daughter than her own mother Nana Konadu Agyeman - Rawlings who is openly campaigning against the NDC and President John Dramani Mahama.
Many questions come to mind about this on-going political chemistry between the Rawlings’ and the Mahama’s.
Is it the case of ‘keep your friends close..and keep your enemies closer’?
Are the Mahama’s keeping the Rawlings’ closer because they are the enemies?
Why will the Mahama’s be actively sponsoring and promoting the Rawlings daughter into government at a time that her own mother Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings is actively working against his government and for the opposition NPP and probably supported by her husband and NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings?
Yes probably. Rawlings has always rooted behind his wife throughout their family’s political rebellion against the NDC 2 government. He rooted with her to run in the primaries against President Mills. He also stood by her in her determination to form a new political breakaway party in 2012. President Rawlings gave the longest speech against the NDC government of John Mahama in 2012 during the launch of the NDP campaign in Kumasi, Ghana’s second biggest city, after the capital. Rawlings has openly endorsed the hostile political activities of his wife against the ruling NDC government.
There is nothing, not even a signal, to indicate that Rawlings and his wife are currently politically divergent. They may be working in opposite directions – like the good cop and the bad cop – but their political goals have always congregated.
Nor is there any signal to suggest that Dr. Zanetor Agyeman - Rawlings herself, who is being bulldozed into the NDC government by her father J. J Rawlings and sponsored by the President and his wife, is not working in tandem with her mother Konadu Rawlings.
Despite running as an NDC parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle constituency, Zanetor Rawlings has been unable to publicly endorse and commend any good works of President Mahama’s government. She has also failed to take public positions against her mother who has continually accused President Mahama of corruption and incompetence.
So what exactly is the end game for the Rawlings’ who are obviously struggling to remain relevant at a point when Ghana has moved on? Do they actually want to eat their cake and still have it? Can the Rawlings family continue to overtly and covertly work against the John Mahama government and in support of the opposition NPP whiles at the same time, having the largesse and active state support of the President and his family and government?
Has President Mahama completely neutralized and compromised former President Rawlings into hearing no evil, seeing no evil and speaking no evil of his government, with the promise in exchange, to keep him relevant through his daughter Dr. Zanetor Rawlings in power?
What about Konadu Rawlings, wife of Mr. Rawlings who is currently in bed politically with the opposition NPP? How does Mr. and Mrs. Mahama plan to handle her? Or does the President not still realise that he cannot negotiate with the Rawlings family separately? Once one of them is not with you, none of them is with you, or so they say.
Many of us who are observing from a distance will be totally shocked to see President Mahama continue to alienate more and more of his core supporters in the NDC who are angry about his ‘kids gloves’ treatment of the Rawlings’ who have never hidden their wish to have John Mahama and the NDC out of power in the present – future. Some of these supporters believe that Rawlings and his family are being opportunistic and hypocritical after having campaigned against the ruling party and the President in the last elections.
They also believe that Rawlings has totally lost his political value in terms of the credibility of his campaign message and therefore should be left by the President to remain in political oblivion going into 2016 elections. Some are also worried about the level of apparent weakness and lack of independence on the part of the President John Mahama in his relations with the former first family, and they fear he could eventually become a puppet of the NDC founder and his family.
Will President John Mahama succumb to the machinations of the Rawlings family, continue to give people reasons to continue to be suspicious of allegations of corruption made against his government and be remote – controlled from the back, which could ultimately lead to him losing power to the opposition NPP’s Nana Akuffo Addo or will he concentrate and focus on the people who believe in him and are working to retain him and his government in power come November 2016?
Time will tell!
Source: Maame Adjoa Sarpong/GH REVEALER
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