NPP's All Male Contest
NPP's All Male Contest Website
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will tomorrow hold an all-male congress to elect a presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential elections. The congress without a single female contestant will conclude a series of congresses by the dominant political parties in which female representation for presidential candidacy was nil. A year ago, the NDC elected Prof. John Evans Atta Mills as flag bearer. Two weeks ago, the PNC also elected Dr. Edward Mahama again as flag bearer and just this week the CPP elected Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom as flag bearer to complete men's continuous dominance in the race to become president. Various commentators think that money is a barrier to women aspiring to become presidents. That perhaps, explains why the Nigerian government enacted a law to compel political parties to waive nomination and filing fees for women wanting to contest for the presidency. A Gender Consultant, Mrs. Rosaline Baatuolkuu-Obeng Ofori, believes women being relegated to the background in decision making can be avoided if the playing field is made even. In an interview she blamed the political parties for the absence of women in the contest for the topmost position. She said society is equally to blame for paying lip service to the empowerment of women in Ghana. "Why should they have women's wing and male wing? If parties are made general and they can assure that women can be president, then it means that within the leadership, you also can say that women are not playing a dominant role so they can also be made either vice presidents or can be elected as candidates." She was certain that none of the men who are standing as presidential candidates are doing so on a singular wish. She said they have all been encouraged in one way or the other, by other men and wondered why women are not being encouraged. According to her, Ghana has too many capable female presidents than most of the men contesting as presidential candidates. "Without offending any man, there are many more Ghanaian women who are more capable as leaders in terms of decision making, strategic planning and programme development and have interest of their country than most of them who are posing as candidates." "It is a men's world and we have to agree. I am not happy, not because women haven't come out but the obstacles are too many for us to go and embarrass ourselves. It is not because the women are not there. Even if you go in willingly, they will make sure they shovel you out." Asked if women's groups in Ghana are hoping for any female running mates, she replied, "Sometimes I feel offended by those positions. Society thinks that women can only play second fiddle to a man when we can actually be better than those men." The Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso Madam Josephine Hilda Addoh said the absence of women presidential aspirants has nothing to do with competence. She said the issue mainly is about resources. "In my view so many women might be nurturing the idea but have no funds." The MP dismissed assertions that Ghana is not ready for a female president. "Ghana must be ready for a woman in all spheres of life. We take the lead and people follow." For her, it will be lovely to have a female running mate. Even though some women can now be found in top political and other public positions, it was expected that the 2008 elections would present the best opportunity for all political parties to elect women as presidential or vice presidential candidates. In a previous interview with this paper, some MPs including Mrs. Akua Sena Dansua, MP for North Dayi urged Ghanaian women to ignore all parties which fail to accord women their rightful places and that the era of "all take and no give" must end. "Any party in Ghana which does not field a woman at least as a running mate for the 2008 elections should not be supported by women across board," Miss Dansua stated.