Ghana’s main opposition party on Tuesday chose a woman as vice presidential candidate for the first time, ahead of the country’s December elections.
Naana Opoku Agyemang was chosen as running mate for former president John Mahama and the National Democratic Congress party.
Opoku Agyeman said her nomination as vice presidential candidate “recognises the towering role woman have played over the ages to achieve the progress we have made”.
“This historic nomination is not a personal achievement but a victory for an inclusive and participatory democracy,” Opoku Agyeman said in a statement of acceptance.
However there have been a series of heated debate on social media, among the feminist community and members of the ruling party. Most of the members in the ruling party were quick to remind the feminist and gender advocates that Ghana has had female presidential candidates and running mates long before the NDC choose Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as my Running Mate for the December 2020 election.
Dr. Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed, an Assistant Professor of Global Media Industries at the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, USA, had this to say.
In Ghana, when feminists go into politics they become foot-soldiers and begin to lose their feminist values. They throw marginalized people under the bus to score political points.
It is not enough to call for feminist representation in politics, we need to make it clear that we want feminists who will stay true to the movement and not betray the movement’s values to please their political masters.
Let’s not be feminist figureheads used to decorate political parties and their administrations. Let’s make our politics reflect our feminist praxes whether our party is in power or not.
Feminist in power, feminist out of power, feminist everyday.Wunpini F. Mohammed
She has a PhD in English literature from York University, Toronto, Canada, and spent 30 years teaching at Ghana’s University of Cape Coast, where she became vice chancellor, according to Mahama’s campaign website.
Opoku Agyeman has edited a collection of essays exploring the connection between the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the literary imagination. She has also delivered lectures on increasing female representation and participation in academia.
Eva Naa Merley Lokko, who died in October 2016, was the first woman to be chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PPP. She partnered Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom in the 2012 Presidential and parliamentary elections. Interestingly, the PPP only managed some 0.58% of the total valid votes.That was a fine opportunity to support a woman vice presidential candidate. We left her, and voted for our respective political parties. Today we are saying what?Adnan Kataali
Mahama described her as “God-fearing, a distinguished scholar, a conscientious public servant and a role model”, in a tweet shortly after her endorsement.
Ghana’s polls on 7 December are widely expected to be a hotly fought contest with incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo vying for a second term in office, and Mahama hoping to make a return to Flagstaff House.
Ten women were part of Ghana’s first national assembly when the country became a republic, elected to fill specially created seats.
…figureheads used to decorate political parties and their administrations”. This!!! Inasmuch as I’m super excited about this inclusion, I shudder to think it’s a mere display of tokenism. But, may this not validate our fears.
Hopefully! In one breath I get overly excited about the inclusion. Then within seconds I’m filled with fear. Is it to merely win an election and then return to displaying gargantuan misogynistic tendencies? Oh lord, I pray theeNaa Ameley Quaye