NDC Umbrella War Deepens

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Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Prof Kwame Addo

The battle over the ownership of the logo of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears to have taken a new twist as another claimant, Professor Kwame Addo, pops up, days after former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings made a public declaration that she owns the ‘intellectual property’ to the red, black, white and green umbrella.

Prof Addo however fell short of letting Ghanaians, especially those in the NDC, know whether he indeed owned the ‘intellectual property’ on the party logo as Mrs Rawlings had laid claim to; having registered it with the Copyright Office in Ghana.

He disputed claims by the wife of the NDC founder that she owned the intellectual property of the logo, emphasizing, “I produced a graphical image and consequently named it Akatamanso (covering the land).”

Ebo Ocran, a part time lecturer at the University of Ghana and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), also claimed that he was the original owner of the NDC emblem.

According to him, he was approached by one Steve Oklu in London to design an emblem for a political party which was being formed in the country in 1992, a request to which he acceded.

But Addo, in a statement issued in Accra yesterday, explained the circumstance under which he designed the logo.

Describing himself as a creative designer, Prof Addo, a native of Abiriw in the Eastern Region, stated that “in early 1992, I Prof. Kwame Addo was approached by the then Chairman of thee PNDC, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings to develop a logo design for a new political party.”

At the time, he indicated, the concept that was put forward was an eagle, an idea on which he claimed to have developed many sketches of that concept.

According to him, “In standard design proceedings, other concepts and alternatives are explored which involve research and wide consultation from a variety of sources. One of these ideas was the umbrella which was brought up during one of the outreach programmes in the Brong Ahafo Region by Alhaji Kwadwo Mahama Adams of blessed.”

It was on this basis that the man claimed that he produced a graphical image and consequently named it Akatamanso and final artwork combining both the eagle and the umbrella concept was accepted by the party.

“I handed it over in the presence of its leading members who subsequently adopted and registered it as the party emblem of the National Democratic Congress at the Electoral Commission.

“As the creator of the logo, I will like to state that this inspirational umbrella designed was developed and conceived to be owned by the good people of Ghana and never did it cross my mind that 20years on, claims and discrepancies will arise over its true authorship,” he said.

In due course, Prof Addo promised, he would share with all Ghanaians some information of his original design of the logo, hoping to put an end to the brouhaha.

Mrs. Rawlings’s claim to the ownership of the logo, sources say, does not lie in the conceptualization of the idea of the logo but the fact that she registered it on the April 12, 2010 under the Copyright Act (2005), Act 690.

Spokesman for the Rawlingses, Kofi Adams, insisted that  when the need arose for a political symbol for the NDC and Mrs Rawlings and some of her friends presented the ‘umbrella’ logo, other top brass of the party proposed ‘sheep’ and ‘plantain’.
“It is just like renting a house and using it for warehouse or store without the notice of your landlord. You rented it for settlement and the owner reserves every right to approach you and remind you about the agreement…whether written or unwritten (verbal)…There is a Copyrights Act of 2005, 690…it doesn’t warrant them to do so,” he said.

But General the Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, has rubbished Mrs Rawlings’s claims and asked party supporters to treat it with the contempt it deserved.

Whilst indicating the leadership of the party’s preparedness to sit over the issue, he said, “The NDC as a political party is not bothered a bit by the Nana Konadu threat.”
That, he said, was because “the NDC has been using the logo and colours since 1992 but she is now claiming ownership of it” and that “taking the NDC logo from the party is not possible just as you cannot turn a female into a male”.
As far as he was concerned, the NDC, as a political party, did not have any issue to settle with the former First Lady.

“…Nana Konadu should go to the EC rather for the logo and not the NDC,” he told the media.
But a member of the party’s legal team, Abraham Amaliba, believed it would serve the NDC a lot of good if they took a decision on the matter immediately before it affected its electoral fortunes.

He told Accra-based Citi FM, “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”.

“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,” he said.

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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