Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has revealed that her mother did not want her to marry former President, Jerry John Rawlings.
According to her, Mrs Felicia Agyeman was not for the marriage to the army officer and hence questioned her on why she has decided to marry an army officer.
The former first lady who was speaking on Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV on Tuesday as monitored by GhanaNewsPage.Com said the mother who is late could not fathom why she chose to marry Rawlings whom she met at Achimota School.
In her newly launched book, It takes a Woman, Nana Konadu revealed how the disapproval from her mother almost ended her relationship with the Military officer.
Surprisingly, her father, the late JOT Agyeman was in favour of the relationship which would later become one of the most successful marriages in Ghana.
She attributed this to the boldness with which a determined Rawlings approached the father to talk about the relationship.
“I think the difficulty was with my mother, my father didn’t complain because Jerry had gone to see my father already…you know, he’s always been bold…,” she revealed.
Interestingly, the mother of Jerry Rawlings was equally not enthused about the marriage either.
Although she will not describe her relationship with her in-law as ‘frosty’, she however agreed that she was not in the best of terms with her.
Nana Konadu had previously described how she met Jerry Rawlings in another forum in the following words.
“I actually met Rawlings in another school. But I was taken from that school. My mother took me to an experimental school for some time, then she took me to Ghana International School, then I wrote my Common Entrance and went to Achimota School. It was in between those schools that I met Rawlings. But he noticed me at Achimota School. We were in the same class.”
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (born November 17, 1948) was the First Lady of Ghana from 4 June 1979 to 24 September 1979 and 31 December 1981 to 7 January 2001, both times under President Jerry John Rawlings.
She schooled at Achimota School, where she met her future husband Jerry John Rawlings. She continued at the University of Science and Technology, where she read Art, specializing in Textiles. She was a student leader and an executive of her Hall of residence, Africa Hall.
Nana Konadu got married to her sweetheart, Jerry John Rawlings, an Airforce Officer, in 1977. She gave birth to her first child Ezenator Rawlings in 1978. Two other daughters and a son followed later; Yaa Asantewaa, Amina and Kimathi.
I had no knowledge of Rawlings’ coups
The former First Lady, has also given insights into her role in some of Ghana’s historic events.
The wife of former President Jerry John Rawlings and Military Leader of the PNDC that committed the failed coup of May 15, 1979, and the successful coup of June 4, 1979, has revealed she had no hand in the planning and preparations prior to these events.
Nana Konadu detailed that it was only after the acts had been committed that she was informed in both instances.
Narrating the sequence of events as she recalled to the host of Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, the Former First noted that prior to the failed May 15 attempt, she came back home from work to meet her husband with some military friends assembling “something”.
She heeded to their request to prepare a meal for them after which they left the house without giving her a hint of what they had planned to do.
The coup, which was Ghana’s third military coup was planned and carried out by a section of junior officers and corporals led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings within the Ghana Armed Forces who were aggrieved by the governance style of General I. K. Acheampong.
After the failed attempt, Rawlings and his charges were arrested and imprisoned.
“He left home, came back with some of his military guys. They were doing something, I think fixing a table or something. I came home, it was one of those days I closed early and they wanted to eat so I fixed something for them and when they finished eating they said they will be back,” Nana Konadu recalled.
Getting Tsatsu to defend Rawlings in Court
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings also gave an account of how she assembled a team of lawyers to represent her husband at the trial.
According to her, she had to reject a team of well-established lawyers arranged for her by her mother to defend Rawlings after the failed coup.
The Former First Lady explained she was convinced the only people who could defend her husband were people with conviction on the issue.
She then drove to the University of Ghana campus where Tsatsu Tsikata was a lecturer to convince him to step in as lawyer for the imprisoned Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
Subsequent events and on the advice of Tsatsu Tsikata resulted in the formation of a team of lawyers led by Senior Counsel and Ghana Bar Association President at the time, Adumua-Bossman.
“So we drove all the way to Adabraka and then he said I should wait in the car he would go up and talk to the guy, all the time I didn’t know who it was. He went up, spoke to him and came back and said the guy wants to see you. He is interested so let’s go and when I went it was Adumua-Bossman,” she added.
My mum told me about June 4
The June 4, 1979, coup happened after some colleagues of the former President broke into the prisons and released him.
A public broadcast announcing the takeover of leadership was done at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to formally indicate a change of government.
However, just like the May 15 failed coup, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings says she had no idea the June 4 coup was going to take place and the subsequent public broadcast that followed.
“When the broadcast came I didn’t hear it. It was later my mother came to the house and said I had to leave the house. I had my daughter with me but she was too young to know what was happening. She was just a year old,” the former First Lady disclosed.
These details are contained in Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ book, “It Takes A Woman” which she recently launched. The book chronicles her political journey.