Professor Jane Naana Opoku
Professor Jane Naana Opoku

Running mates are selected strategically. The primary thing political parties and presidential candidates consider before making such appointments is the marketability of the candidate. They should have a concise plan on the strength they are going to sell to the electorates about the running mate. That would not have mattered because the running mate becomes vice president and not the president. Moreover, it is not their faces we see on the ballot papers but rather the presidential candidates, some people argue.

This cannot be a justification for choosing an incompetent vice presidential candidate. A running mate should have the same qualification as the flagbearer by law. When they win elections, they perform virtually the same role, and he or she takes over as the president when the president travels, or is incapable of performing his duty.


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The major responsibility of the opposition National Democratic Congress is to put their running mate on a path they could efficiently market her. The flagbearer of the party, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, is a fantastic and experienced politician by all standards, no doubt about that. He has contested and won more elections than he has lost. He has a known political track record his party can market him with; from infrastructure, education, energy, health care, economy and corruption.

After the appointment of Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang as the running mate of John Mahama, we have seen many of the female activists in the party, like Nana Oye Lithur and Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw, have all congratulated her and seek to champion her as a gender activist. That seems to be taking the centre of her appointment. Many of the party activists are playing gender activism. But does Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang have any known gender activism background her party people can trumpet and sell?

Two known gender activists of the ruling New Patriotic Party have come out clear to state that Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang has never been part of them in their struggle for female inclusiveness in the democracy of Ghana.


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“Is the nomination “transformational”? The progress of women in the Ghanaian political space entails much more than a singular nomination of a running-mate. True progress involves an assortment of inter-connected empowering actions that lift the generality of women up and opens up more spaces for many women to rise to their God-given potential other than the giving of backhands such as what the NDC has done. The NDC’s nomination of Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, deceitful as it is merely intended to harness her seeming nobility to sanitize the image of John Dramani Mahama, irredeemably blemished by corruption and incompetence, sets her up as a sheep amongst wolves, without any true opportunity for impact. Rather than signaling transformational progress, the nomination could set the women agenda many years back in the most unlikely event that Ghanaians give their mandate to the NDC in 2020 to deliver an assured continuation of poor governance and corruption” Dr.Louise Carol Serwaa Donkor the founder of Pepperdem Ministries, a leading feminists group in Ghana wrote this a day after the appointment.

That did not end there. Another known human rights lawyer and internationally acclaimed women rights fighter, Hon Ursula Owusu Ekufful, the Minister for Communication and Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West Constituency, has also spoken clearly about the appointment. She does not see it as a win for the gender fight.

“You can easily mention former First Lady of the Republic, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and some others in the NDC as shining examples of female politicians who have contributed immensely to the advancement of women empowerment and inclusion in Ghana.” She said in an interview with Accra based Oman FM.



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And some renowned political scientists in Ghana have underscored that gender has never been part of election indicators in Ghana. The opposition National Democratic Congress should be very strategic about their campaign if they intend to capture power in this year’s election. Making the gender and women inclusiveness a centre for the campaign would not serve well in their interest. Ghanaians are not really concerned about women right now because of our culture. Fighting for Strategic Gender Needs (SGN) in Ghana would mean fighting culture in Ghana, which would be hard to win.

Political theories are very beautiful on paper but translating it into practical gain is an art that few can muster.


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