The running mate nominee of the opposition National Democratic Congress has some strengths that will work to the advantage of the party. The ruling New Patriotic Party would have to work hard to neutralize the strengths of the vice-presidential candidate of the opposition party, Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang.
Apart from her solid education background, excellent managerial experience, and track record, she can also ride on her gender status. She is an achiever by all standards, someone who rose through the ranks to become the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, a solid woman.
Since the appointment of Prof. Naana Jane as the running mate of John Mahama, all the attention of NPP communicators is on her. Despite them calling her names and trying to explain that “she brings nothing to the table”, all recent attacks are directed at her. John Mahama, who is the flagbearer is now walking around freely from attacks from the NPP. The NDC is actively marketing the name and achievements of Prof. Naana Jane which, and this forces the NPP to spend all their time to counter and leave John Mahama at liberty.
The Party’s communication machinery is also making the gender the centre of the campaign and communication. Despite her being overqualified, I think the subtle motive of her appointment was to play the gender card during the election. For instance, during the inauguration of the 2020 campaign team of the opposition National Democratic Congress, the former president and flagbearer who made the appointment, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, said that they are giving women chance to serve in the highest office of the president because the time right. “We’ve shown that we’re willing to let women take their place & be part of decision-making at the highest level. For those who’ve said the time is not right, the question is: when will it be right to let women take the highest office of the land? The time is now!” he said.
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This is an indication that the NDC has a plan to push the gender campaign this year. Whether that will work or not, the New Patriotic Party must find ways to neutralize the plan of their political foes. They must devise both covert and overt strategy to counter the ruling mate of the National Democratic Congress without being branded as misogynist. One way to strategically deal with the gender campaign is to put women at the forefront of their campaign. The New Patriotic Party has some fantastic and smart women. They can utilize them in the campaign. The second lady of Ghana, Hajia Samira Bawumia, is one of the smartest and outstanding political rally speakers they can use as a missile to attack the stronghold of the NDC without being seen as a gender attack. When they use women to fight their fellow women, it will not be a big deal like using men.
The Communications Minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu Ekkuful has proven her worth as being a gender and women empowerment champion. If the Party want to go on the offensive type of campaign against the running mate, these are the type of the people they should consider using them at the forefront.
I have seen some screenshots of comments purported to have been made by two regional chairmen of the ruling New Patriotic Party. One came from the Bono Regional Chairman, Kwame Baffoe, known as Abronye DC. He is reported to have said the woman cannot reason well and advise Mahama because she is in her menopause. The other one came from the Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako known as Chairman Wontumi. He said the woman looks like a witch. These statements have been taken and treated as an attack on women. But on a regular day, they use more harsh words on the person of the flagbearer himself, John Dramani Mahama that are not even criticized.
Another strategy they can devise is to have engagement with the smaller political parties for what would be like a partnership. Some old political parties like the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the People National Convention have not selected their flagbearers yet. They can sponsor female candidates to win those slots so they can instead engage Professor Naana Jane Opoku. They can as well also lobby for the running mate position for some females within those parties which will neutralize the National Democratic Congress’ campaign.
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