Rawlings denies claims Nana Konadu wanted to succeed him as president

The former president Jerry John Rawlings says the allegations about his wife are mere fabrications, aiming to erode his wife’s legacy in the NDC

Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings has denied allegations that the former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings intended to run for president in 2000.

The claim appeared recently in Professor Kwamena Ahwoi’s memoir Working With Rawlings.

The former local government minister and member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) alleged that Konadu wanted to succeed her husband, Jerry John Rawlings, as president when he was leaving power in 2000 to 2001.

On page 191 of the book Professor Ahwoi writes: “Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings had been harbouring presidential ambitions and in 2000 had believed that she would be the one her husband, Jerry Rawlings, would hand over to.”

But Rawlings said that not only are such claims false, but they are also intended to tarnish Nana Konadu’s hard-earned reputation.

Konadu supported Mills

In a statement rebutting Professor Ahwoi’s claims, Rawlings described the allegations against his wife, insisting she was not even in the country at the time.

Nana Konadu was abroad working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the run-up to the 2000 elections, he said, and could not have held any other ambitions.

Rawlings further argued that his wife actually supported and campaigned for John Evans Atta Mills, the presidential candidate for the NDC in 2000, when she returned from her assignment with the WHO.

“At no point did she indicate to President Rawlings or members of the party that she had any intention or inclination to be the flagbearer of the party,” the statement from the former president’s office said.

“On her return to the country, she rapidly rolled out her campaign strategy and machinery in support of Professor Mills. Yet another fact that can be easily and publicly verified.”

“Ploy to erode Nana Konadu’s role in NDC

Rawlings described Nana Konadu as one of the people who worked hardest to secure repeated electoral victories for the NDC. He said the allegations against his wife are mere fabrications targeted at eroding her legacy in the party.

“The role, hard work, strategy and organisational talent that Nana Konadu applied to build and propel the NDC to countless victories can never be eroded,” the statement said.

“The various attempts to not just discount the central role she played, but to also deride her, is symptomatic of the myopic selfishness of characters within the NDC who cannot appreciate the fact that in so doing to pioneers of the party, like herself and others, you have no history to speak of.”

The statement added: “To peddle falsehoods in the name of hearsay as a justification for the blatant lies in the book is unbecoming of an academician, albeit with the sole intention of creating the impression that Nana Konadu had a role to play in the so-called Rawlings versus Mills tale. 

“Nana Konadu played an integral role in the development of both the PNDC [the Provisional National Defence Council, the military regime that Rawlings led from 1982 to 1992] and the NDC, and the attempts by the author to denigrate her and nullify the key strategic and organisational role she played is yet another disappointment of the book.”

E A Alanore

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