Campaign News: Ghanaian president faces major battle against former first lady

4 05 2011

Nana Konadu AFPIt looks like everything is working against Ghana’s President John Atta Mills and he might end up being a one term president.

Just days after an opinion poll said he would lose an election to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo if elections were held now, he now has to contend with former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings who has picked her nomination forms to stand against him at the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) primary to elect a candidate for the party.

The poll, conducted by a local research group in Accra, Synovate, found that 43 per cent of respondents to a question as to who they will vote for if elections were held in April, said they would vote for Nana Akufo-Addo while 41 per cent said they would vote for President Mills.

With a sample size of 1,000 respondents selected from households across the country, the poll found Mr Nana Akufo-Addo would win six out of the 10 regions.

Government officials have rubbished the poll saying it lacked credibility. Deputy minister of science and environment, Dr Omani Boamah said there were questions not only about the sponsors of the poll but also the processes and procedures that led to the conclusions reached by the researchers.

“The poll itself is fundamentally flawed [because]…for you to go for somebody within the household and assume that that person is going to be representative of the household’s preference, in my view, is just a way of denying the sovereignty of the other members of the household who are at the voting age, in terms of their voter preference,” he said.

But a senior research officer at Synovate, Mr William Mensah, said the poll was neither shambolic nor was it sponsored by any interested person or group of persons.

He said, the sample selection was scientifically done and that Synovate was an international company with a track record and a reputation to protect.

Just before the argument over the poll could die out, Ms Rawlings went ahead to pick her nomination form as she promised.

Some women in Accra have welcomed the move saying that, it was  in the right direction. “We must involve more women in high political office in the country and Nana Rawlings has shown the way,” said, Sarah Acheampong, an advocacy officer for Ghana Women’s  Movement.

Ms Acheampong said, “those who have castigated Nana Rawlings for daring to contest against President Mills were doing so because they do not understand how democracy works.

‘‘Nana Rawlings is a Ghanaian who has her right to stand for any elections in the country even though she has been a First Lady before that should not be used against her.” Mr Asiedu Nketiah, NDC general secretary said, submission of the completed nomination forms is slated for June 1, vetting of potential candidates would be from June 7-8, and release of delegates’ lists would be on June 10.

He said, the party’s executive committee has approved a non-refundable fee of GH¢20,000 (Sh1m) to be paid by male flag bearer aspirants women aspirants would however have a 50 per cent rebate in line with the party’s social democratic and gender sensitive credential.

This means that, Nana Rawlings would be paying half of the refundable fee of ($6,500).

Mr Asiedu-Nketiah, hoped this would encourage more women to participate in the democratic process and assume a more responsible role in the party and the country at large.

Today, former President Rawlings who is the founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) publicly  denounced President Mills, the man he hand-picked and supported to win the 2008 saying “the time has come to change the driver.”

Addressing supporters of the party at a ceremony where his wife Nana Konadu Rawlings, 62, launched her campaign to unseat President Mills Mr Rawlings accused President Mills of ineffective leadership and “President Mills has his limitations and l have mine,” and must therefore realise that he has not got what it takes to continue and must give way.

He said, the poor leadership that President Mills has provided the country put the ruling party in crisis. “If any election was conducted today, President Mills would lose.”

Nana Konadu told her supporters that, “President Mills’ governance does not inspire hope for the future because he has not been able to establish a government devoid of arrogance and vindictiveness.”

Daily Nation




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