Daily Guide -- NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC Congress (NDC) supporters from Zongo communities, especially Nima, on Sunday, November 20, 2005, descended heavily on former President Jerry John Rawlings, calling him all manner of names. The supporters, mostly women, called the former president names like dandurunwa, shege, evil man, ofri jato, among others for declaring that, Sonu people, referring to Zongo indigenes should not hold positions, outside the Northern regions.
The NDC founder, who was accused of playing the tribal and religious cards at the Greater Accra NDC women's congress, at the party headquarters in Kokomlemle, Accra, when he openly supported Ms Vivian Ankrah, openly broke down, when the Nima women rained insults on him. Hajia Hawawu, a deputy regional women's organiser was the choice of the Nima women.
Hajia Hawawu's crime was that she supported Dr Kwesi Botchwey's Presidential bid for the 2004 elections.
When the insults were becoming unbearable, Mr. Rawlings broke down in tears, went to his vehicle, and drove off, leaving his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings behind.
Not even an attempt by his bodyguards could restrain the ferocious women from dishing out more insults to the former president.
When a bodyguard wanted to hold one of the angry women, he was met with a spontaneous yell of, “kill us, we know you people are murderers. NDC will lose 2008. We will advise ourselves.”
The former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, was not spared, as she received her own insults from the women.
According to the women, Mrs. Rawlings was jealous of Hajia Hawawu's beauty, that was why she teamed up with her husband, to campaign against her, and went ahead to liken her forehead to “a grinding stone.”
The former first lady had stated that, NDC was founded on the blood of her husband, and that those who were not happy could leave the party. She said, people should not be elected to hijack the party, and destroy it. Mrs. Rawlings was not happy about what she described as perceived rivalry between the NDC women, and the 31st December Women's Movement.
Contrary to the former first lady's claim that, the movement is a non-governmental oranisation (NGO), she declared at the NDC regional congress that the movement is part and parcel of NDC.
The former president had offended the Zongo women, when he declared that, sonu, referring to Zongo people have hijacked the party in Accra and Ashanti Regions, at the expense of the indigenes.
Mr. Rawlings also, explained that he did not impose Prof John Evans Mills on the party, as its flagbearer for the 2000 elections, saying that, it was the work of the committee of ministers, who came up with the then vice president's name.
But, while explaining out the imposition of Prof Mills, through his “Swedru Declaration”, the NDC founder openly canvassed for Ms. Vivian Ankrah, who eventually, won the regional women's race with 46 votes, to Hajia Hawawu's 25. After campaigning against Hajia Hawawu, the former president requested for a reconciliatory meeting, which resulted in the insults heaped on him by supporters of the deputy women's organiser.
“After you left her to lose the election what do you want from her? Get out, she will not see you.
“We now know that you hate us the Zongo and Northern people. We put our lives on the line for you, and defended you, it is now that you know we are strangers, and have hijacked the party, and that we should leave the political terrain for Gas and Ashantis. We shall advise ourselves”, the women stated. In view of the unguarded utterances of the NDC founder, the Greater Accra Zongo woman caucus of NDC, have taken a swipe at him, describing the comments as unfortunate.
In a petition sent to the former president, the women protested against his disparaging comments, and his advice that they should go to the North, if they want to hold office in the party.
The petition also, condemned the attack on Hajia Hawawu Sule, simply because she contested against the favourite of the former president, Ms Vivian Ankrah. “Your speech of last Sunday's ( December 20, 2005's event of regional women's conference is a stab on our back, which is unfortunate. And if care is not taken, it will lead to the withdrawal of some of us from the Zongos,” the petition which was also copied to the national, regional and constituency executives, stated.
The petitioners acknowledged that, in every election, there was bound to be a winner and a loser; however, the circumstances that led to Hajia Hawawu's defeat, was because of the tribal and religious dimension, introduced into the contest by the former president.
The petitioners indicated that, Hajia Hawawu, has been a strong pillar behind the Greater Accra NDC women's group, especially from the Zongo communities, and therefore her defeat was a big blow to the party unity, in the Zongo communities in Accra and the country, at large.