Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Joyce Rosalind Aryee, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Irene Naa Torshie Addo
Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Joyce Rosalind Aryee, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Irene Naa Torshie Addo

Breaking the ‘8’: A woman running mate key to NPP

The selection of running mates in Ghana's political landscape holds immense significance, akin to the election of flag bearers.

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While achieving a proper balance on the ticket is crucial for the electoral success of the party, it is noteworthy that, traditionally, this role has been predominantly filled by men in major political parties in Ghana.

The decision often revolves around satisfying regional, ethnic and religious considerations, with the gender factor grossly underestimated and disregarded.

However, this year, the call for gender balance on the New Patriotic Party’s presidential and running mate ticket has gained unprecedented momentum and resonance.

Stressing the importance of gender representation, a crucial question arises: "Are there qualified women capable of taking on the role of a running mate within the New Patriotic Party (NPP)?

In line with Dr Bawumia's election as a flag bearer to transform the NPP leadership dynamics, there is a call for him to change the tradition of exclusively male candidates occupying the role of a running mate in the party.

Indeed, the party showcases exceptional women whose expertise and accomplishments position them as highly suitable and qualified beyond measure with international appeal for the esteemed running mate's slot:

Akosua Frema 
Osei-Opare

Principal among them include but not limited to the current Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei-Opare.

Mrs Osei-Opare brings on board an impressive background in academia, international diplomacy and public service.

A native of Wiamoase in the Ashanti Region and a Christian, she is a seasoned development consultant and expert in labour and employment, with a career spanning over four decades. 

A Guelph University and the University of Ghana graduate, she served as a Home Science lecturer from 1976 to 1982 at the University of Ghana, Legon, her alma mater. Over time, she rose to become the head of department at the university.

Additionally, she contributed her expertise to the Yambio Institute of Agriculture in Western Equatorial State.

In the realm of politics, Mrs Osei-Opare achieved a two-term stint as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ayawaso West-Wuogon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region from 2005 to 2013. During former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration, she held the position of Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment.

Beyond her national roles, she served as a consultant for the United Nations Women in Fisheries Programme, overseeing projects in Ethiopia, Congo, Namibia and Kenya.

Since 2017, Mrs Osei-Opare has distinguished herself as the Chief of Staff at the presidency, making history as the first female occupant of the office, demonstrating excellence and exceptional professionalism in leadership.

She has been one of the architects of the success of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration.

She brings on board massive political capital and uncontested professional and political experience required to garner the highest votes from the party’s "political world bank" and the Christian fraternity to break the 8. 
 

Joyce Rosalind Aryee 

Reverend Joyce Rosalind Aryee, an alumna of the University of Ghana, Legon, is the Executive Director of the Salt and Light Ministries, boasting Ga and Fante heritage from her father and mother respectively.

She is a seasoned management and communication consultant and a counsellor. With over four decades of experience, she currently spearheads the operations at the Joyce Aryee Consult.

Breaking barriers, she made history as the first female in Ghana and Africa to assume the role of the chief executive officer at the Ghana Chamber of Mines from 2001 to 2011.  

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In the political arena, Ms Aryee has held roles as Secretary of Information for the PNDC (1982 to 1985), Minister of Education (1985 to 1987) and Minister of Local Government (1987–88). 

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, a native of Akim Oda in the Eastern Region, is a renowned lawyer and advocate for women's rights.

Her professional journey commenced at the University of Ghana, Legon and the Ghana School of Law, Makola, where she earned her qualifications, leading to her call to the Ghana Bar in 1990.

Since 2013, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has been the MP for the Ablekuma West Constituency, holding the distinction of being the first MP for the constituency.

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 In 2017, President Akufo-Addo appointed her as the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation where she serves currently.

Over the years, she has held various key roles in politics and the corporate world.

Selecting Mrs Owusu-Ekuful as a running mate combines political experience and business acumen, enhancing transformative leadership.

Irene Naa Torshie Addo

Irene Naa Torshie Addo presently holds the role of Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), appointed by President Akufo-Addo.

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A devoted Christian, she is a Ga from Osu, Accra.

Naa Torshie Addo is a distinguished lawyer, having been called to the Ghana Bar in 1996 after completing a law programme at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Subsequently, from 1998 to 1999, she pursued a Master’s degree in Law and Development (LLM) at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

Given their distinctive qualities, extensive experiences and deep connections within the Ghanaian and international community, any of these women could become a historic running mate and consequently, the Vice-President of the Republic.

Opting for a female running mate would not only intensify competition for the opposition party but also boost women's enthusiasm and active involvement in the campaign. 

The writer is an Associate Professor at the University of Bradford School of Management, UK

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