NDC IN DISARRAY … Over Konadu’s umbrella claim
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
The threat by the former first lady to take back the logo of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) if the party does not revert to the ideals of probity and accountability espoused by her husband, Jerry John Rawlings, has left Akatamansonians in disarray.
While some party bigwigs are finding it very difficult to grapple with the reality of the issue, others are contending it, claiming that the logo was the collective handiwork of grassroots members who had the party at heart.
On Thursday, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings stunned the nation by publicly claiming ownership of the NDC symbol of red, green, white and black umbrella with the head of an eagle on top.
She noted in a letter to the party’s Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Agyei, through her solicitors that the disparagement of the logo had been manifested in disrespect for her husband, disunity of the party, and lack of accountability by some key party leaders, and that if steps were not taken to address her grief, she would have no option than to take back the party’s iconic symbol.
According to the former first lady, the artwork was her exclusive property, and had the right to withdraw its usage at any time she feels like doing so.
No sense in Konadu’s letter
Responding to the issue on an Accra-based radio station, Okay FM, the General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, refuted the former first lady’s claims, and argued that there was no sense even in the letter she wrote to the party.
According to him, it was unfair for Nana Konadu to claim ownership of the party’s number one insignia, since the NDC, from 1992, had been using the famous ‘Akatamanso’ logo in all its operations.
He entreated followers of the party not to lose concentration by the claims of the wife of Mr. Rawlings, but rather focus on the party’s onerous task of retaining power in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
Collective work of Cadres
A friend of the Rawlingses and a founding member of the NDC, Enoch Teye Mensah, also commenting on the issue on Joy News, told listeners of the Accra-based radio station that Nana Konadu cannot claim ownership of the ‘Akatamanso’ logo since it was the collective artwork of a group of cadres at a meeting held in Cape Coast some years ago.
Mr. Teye Mensah said after a collective decision was reached on forming a new party out of the military junta that overthrew the Third Republic under President Hilla Limann, their next action was to design a logo for the new party. In this regard, he said, one of the allied parties, the EGLE Party, proposed the use of the eagle to represent the new party, but that was resisted.
According to him, Nana Konadu’s led 31st December Women’s Movement, which was also part of the coalition, suggested the use of the umbrella, and after a careful study of the proposals put forth by members of the allied parties, a collective decision was reached to put the eagle on top of the umbrella to make the logo of the new party, NDC.
Asked who designed the logo, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing mentioned Mr. Rawlings and one Kwame Addo.
He was surprised that the former administrator of the copyrights office would confirm the claims by Mrs. Rawlings when there were no official publications backing it.
Konadu undermining Rawlings’ stature
Also commenting on the former first lady’s claim was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Kwadwo Adu Asare. He said he was disappointed by the action taken by the former first lady, and cautioned that her doings were undermining the position and stature of her husband, John Jerry Rawlings. Mr. Adu Asare was speaking on Newsfile last Saturday on Joy FM, which is also aired live on Multi-TV respectively.
According to the Adentan MP, some party members who were wooed to join the NDC because of the ideals of Mr. Rawlings were beginning to feel disappointed, a situation, he attributed to the claims of ownership of the party’s logo by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
“Some of us are beginning to feel very disappointed in her, and I think the earlier we went blunt on some of these issues the better …some of us are in this party because we believed in the ideals of her husband.”
“I have grown up to respect President Rawlings, and I can consider him as one of my mentors… but in the last two years, I am beginning to feel disappointed and disconnected with the ideals that I thought or the very principles I thought he stood for,” the MP was quoted as saying on Newsfile by myjoyonline.com
He described Mrs. Rawlings battle over the ownership of the ‘Akatamanso’ logo as unpalatable, especially, at a time the party was busy wooing the electorate for the December polls.
Mr. Adu Asare questioned the motive behind Mrs. Rawlings’ action in registering the copyright of the logo in 2010, at a time she was the Vice Chairperson of the party.
He said the NDC had, unquestionably, used the logo in five general elections without any dispute over it.
Mr. Adu Asare vented his spleen on the Copyright Administrator who endorsed the documents that gave the rights of the logo to the former first lady, accusing him of erring, and questioned his competence.
Arrest copyright official
Also reacting to the controversial claim of ownership of the NDC’s logo was a deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji last Saturday.
To him, he sees no reason why the copyright official, Nana Bosomprah, who registered the NDC’s logo in the name of the former first should walk the streets of the country as a free man without been arrested by the law enforcement agencies.
Nana Bosomprah, a former administrator of the copyright office, has confirmed on several radio networks in the country that the said ‘Akatamanso’ logo was the exclusive property of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
According to Mr. Ablakwa, the former administrator had serious questions to answer over why he should register a recognised party emblem without consulting the executives of the NDC.
“You have been called upon to register the emblem of a political party which has existed since 1992 with known operatives, known national executive members, and you could not write to the general secretary of the party or the chairman of the party to find out that there is a demand or a claim for the emblem of the party. So you want to find out if there is any objection,” Radio Gold quoted him as saying.
Struggle for control of power
Despite the contentious stance of the above-mentioned personalities, a member of the Reform Party, an ally of the ruling NDC, Percy Annan, commenting on Nana Konadu’s claims on radio XYZ’s Current Affairs show, The Analyst, on Saturday, said what was happening in the NDC was a clear manifestation of the struggle for control of power. However, he cautioned that the path chosen by the former first lady was a path of destruction, which could lead to the Rawlingses losing their popularity very soon.
“The nature of what is going on is a struggle for control and power over the NDC, and by extension, the government. What is unfolding is essentially a mixture of messianic delusions, dynastic ambitions for themselves [Rawlingses] and their children.”
“As for Mrs. Rawlings, I see her as an object of pity; she has to go along the road she has cut for herself, which is a path of destruction for her and Mr. Rawlings. It will come to a point when Mr. Rawlings will stand by a street corner and will have nobody to acknowledge his presence,” radioxyz.com quoted Mr. Annan as saying.
Lecturer claims ownership of NDC logo
A part-time lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr. Ebo Ocran, who was incensed by the claims of Nana Konadu, waded into the controversial issue on Saturday, claiming the logo was rather his.
He told listeners of Joy News that he originally designed the logo in London with a bald eagle with its wings spread and holding the Ghana map, but later realised that the designed had been modified with the eagle on top of an umbrella.
“The eagle head is still where it is, what used to be the wings has changed over the years to become an umbrella. What used to be the legs of the eagle has now become the handle of the umbrella…”
“At the time I was young, I didn’t know that you couldn’t use national symbols as party paraphernalia. So when it was brought to Ghana they had to drop the Ghana map, because that belonged to the people of Ghana,” the lecturer was quoted as saying by Myjoyonline.com
Produce evidence of logo ownership
However, unfazed by the hullabaloo surrounding the ownership of the NDC logo, Counsel for the former first lady, Stanley Ahorlu, has dared Nana Konadu’s critics to produce evidence of ownership of the iconic ‘Akatamanso’ symbol.
Mr. Ahorlu, on Joy News last Friday, said his client had proof of ownership of the said logo with the evidence boldly established at the registry.
He said any person with contrary evidence must be ready to produce it.
NDC must get a new logo
To save the NDC from wasting time fighting for the ownership of the logo at the law courts, a member of the Akatamansonians legal team, Abraham Amaliba, has advised the party to immediately explore all available means at its disposal to design a new party symbol and embark on a nationwide publicity in that regard to its followers.
Mr. Amaliba gave the advice on Citi FM’s news analysis program, The Big Issue Saturday, and hosted by Shamima Muslim.
According to the legal practitioner, should the party fail to heed his advice, it could go into the 2012 elections without the famous iconic ‘Akatamanso’ symbol. “The party should meet quickly on this matter, because if we wait till, say, two months to the elections, and she goes to court, naturally, the court will place an injunction, and when an injunction is placed, it means both parties cannot use the symbol, and NDC will be left without a symbol,” he cautioned.
“Instead of us trumpeting our achievement, we will be in court fighting over just a symbol (so) we should quickly hand over the symbol to her, replace it with another one, educate our people to know what the symbol is,” Mr. Amaliba advised.
Though he admitted Nana Konadu’s claim was a contentious legal issue that could only be resolved at the law court, he noted that it would be prudent for the party to take his advice, since the Copyright Act as at now recognises the former first lady as owner of the party’s logo.
“The fact that she has registered the symbol is not conclusive enough unless it is impeached that she obtained the symbol fraudulently,” Mr. Amaliba argued. To him, Nana Konadu’s decision was embarrassing to the party, and prayed that she does not carry out her threat.
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=44419