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History-making women in Ghana’s polls – elections chief and former first lady

History-making women in Ghana’s polls – elections chief and former first lady


The involvement of women in politics globally has developed over the years. Political watchers however aver that much more needs to be done, more so in Africa where men are the dominant force in local and continental politics.

Aside Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Malawi’s Joyce Banda, the highest most African women rise politically is vice president as was the case in Uganda, Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Joyce Mujuru of Zimbabwe.

African elections are a big deal for all its worth, consequently, most election chiefs even though politically appointed are the subject of opposition accusations, the idea is heads of electoral commissions must have strong personalities.

Ghanaians generally celebrate the erstwhile chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Dr Kwadwo Afari Djan who led the EC through six largely successful general elections.

The sixth presidential poll however ended in court and the ruling of the apex court had some uncharitable comment with respect to the EC’s processes and asked for wide reforms. Gyan however retired after the case.

Charlotte Osei, the Electoral Commission Chief

Exit Gyan, enter Charlotte Osei, the bespectacled lawyer, born on 1 February 1969. She was appointed by incumbent president John Dramani Mahama according to the constitutional provisions in consultation with a presidential advisory board. Before taking the EC job, Charlotte was head of the National Commission of Civic Education (NCCE).

Together with her team of commissioners, she is tasked with filling the shoes of Dr Afari Gyan. She had a hard time in the early days with issues of electoral reforms as directed by the Supreme Court.

Under her leadership the EC has been hit by several suits after it disqualified some presidential aspirants but the Supreme Court sorted the issues in time for the December 7 polls to hold after the Parliament had rejected a November 7 date earlier proposed by the EC.

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Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings – former first lady aspiring to the presidency

Nana Konadu, aged 68, is the only female in the current presidential race, she leads the National Democratic Party (NDP) a break away faction from the ruling National Democratic Congress – of which her husband is founder. She is also the first woman to successfully make it to the ballot paper since Ghana returned to multi party democracy in 1992.

Before joining the NDP, she was a vice chairman in the ruling party. Her husband and former president, Jerry John Rawlings, ruled Ghana for almost two decades, first as a military ruler with the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) before overseeing Ghana’s transition to democracy in 1992.

Konadu over the period that her husband served as president (1992 – 2000) and even after his exit has been a strong champion of women and children affairs.

She is president of the 31st December Women’s Movement. – 31st December was the day her husband staged his second successful coup leading to the establishment of the PNDC regime.

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