Former Ghana leader's wife in new fight with ruling partyBy FRANCIS KOKUTSE in Accra | Sunday, May 13 2012 at 16:10
Ghana’s former First Lady Nana Agyeman-Rawlings has set in motion a grand plan to take control of the party which her husband founded but which she now claims has been hijacked by people driven by “personal gains.”
Her move could likely destroy the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) ahead of December’s elections or could even end up with her being taken to court for seeking to wrestle ownership of the party’s emblem.
Last year, Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings tried to take over the leadership of the party but lost out to President John Evans Atta Mills.
Her latest power foray is taking place at a time the party should be preparing to contest a General Election. This does not seem to worry the ex-First Lady, who fired her latest salvo by claiming ownership of the party’s emblem, a matter that is likely to be fought in court.
The NDC emblem has an umbrella painted in black, red, green and white colours with the head of an eagle on top.
According to Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings’ lawyer, Mr Stanley Ahorlu, “we have written to the national executives [to inform them] Nana Agyeman-Rawlings has withdrawn her permission for the party to use the emblem.”
The NDC was founded by former President Jerry Rawlings; but since leaving office, he has vociferously complained that his successors have strayed from the ‘vision’ the party was founded upon.
In 2010, Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings apparently filed through a third party to patent the rights to the NDC emblem, according to a former copyright administrator Nana Bosompra.
This was 18 years after the NDC was founding, prompting party activists to conclude the filing was for mischief purposes.
“Nana Agyeman-Rawlings has again shown that, she does not wish the party well and would do everything to cause the disintegration of the NDC,” lamented party activist Alhaji Musah Issaka.
“Her husband has himself not shown good faith by constantly disgracing President Mills in public even though he is supposed to be the founder of the party.”
According to Alhaji Issaka, the Rawlings family basically want to destroy the NDC after Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings' attempt to lead the party came a cropper.
Party leaders are also questioning her claim to the party emblem, with Works and Housing minister Enoch Teye Mensah, a former close ally of the Mr Rawlings, saying the emblem cannot be monopolised by an individual.
“She cannot claim ownership of the emblem. It was the collective work of a whole lot of people and not the brainchild or intellectual property of Nana Agyeman-Rawlings,” Mr Mensah said.
The former First Lady’s office refused to comment on the issue when contacted by Africa Review.
The most persistent question that is cropping up in the public domain is why did Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings wait until two years ago before registering her claim to the emblem?
A man claiming to be a part-time lecturer at the University of Ghana, one Ebow Ocran, has emerged insisting he drew up the original emblem.
Lawyers are also arguing that under Ghanaian law, ownership of the intellectual property of artistic works excludes political symbols, logos and emblems.
Nana Bosompra, the former copyright administrator, has weighed in with a clarification that registration of any intellectual property by the copyright administrator was just an assumed right which could be challenged in court.
If it turns out she put out wrong information regarding her claim to the emblem, she could very well be prosecuted and risk jail term.
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