The selection of running mates in Ghana’s political landscape holds immense significance, akin to the election of flagbearers. 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.

Decision often revolve 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)?
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:

Principal among them include but not limited to:

*Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare*

Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare brings onboard an impressive background in academia, international diplomacy, and public service.

Hailed from Wiamoase in the Ashanti Region and adhering to Christianity, she is a seasoned development consultant and expert in labour and employment, with a career spanning over four decades.

A Guelph University and 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, Hon. Frema Opare achieved a two-term stint as the Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West-Wuogon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region. Her parliamentary tenure ranged from 2005 to 2009 and from 2009 to 2013. During Mr. John Agyekum Kuffuor’s presidency, she held the position of Deputy Minister for 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, Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare has distinguished herself as the Chief of Staff at the presidency, making history as the first female occupant of this esteemed office, demonstrating excellence and exceptional professionalism in both in her leadership. She has been one of the architects of the success of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration. She brings onboard 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.

*Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee*

Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee is the Executive Director of 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 experience, she currently spearheads the operations at the Joyce Aryee Consult.

Dr. Joyce Aryee, as she is commonly known, is an alumna of the University of Ghana, legon.

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

Her professional journey includes roles at the Ghana Museums and Monument Board, and subsequent positions as Public Relations Officer at what was known as the Environmental Protection Council, and the Ghana Standards Authority, formerly known as the Ghana Standards Board.

In the political arena, Dr. Joyce Aryee has held the following significant roles :
Secretary of information for the PNDC (1982 to 1985)
Minister of Education (1985 to 1987)
Minister of Local Government (1987–88)
Minister of Democracy (1988 to 2001)
Member of the National Defence Council

Her remarkable achievements have earned her numerous accolades, both locally and internationally.

Selecting her as a running mate not only addresses gender balance but also leverages her considerable expertise to enhance governance capabilities.

*Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful*

Hon. 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 admission to the Ghana Bar in 1990.

She has specialised and demonstrated competence in various fields of endeavours including Conflict, Peace, and Security, with a Master’s Degree from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, and Project Management and Planning, for which she holds a Certificate from GIMPA. Additionally, she is certified in Government Integrity from the International Law Institute.

Since 2013, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful
has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ablekuma West Constituency, holding the distinction of being the first Member of Parliament for the Constituency. In 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appointed her as the Minister for Communications, and she currently serves as the Minister for Communications and Digitalization.

Her telecommunications expertise is evident through her leadership of a reputable telecom technology company. Over the years, she has held various key roles in politics and the corperate world.

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

*Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo*

Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo presently holds the role of Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), appointed by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. A devoted Christian, she is a Ga from Osu, Accra.

Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo is a distinguished lawyer, having been called to the Ghana Bar in 1996 after successfully 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.

In 2006, she was appointed Ghana’s Deputy Ambassador to Washington DC by President John Agyekum Kuffuor, and was elected Member of Parliament conservatively from 2009 to 2012 and from 2013 to 2017, representing the Tema West Constituency. During her parliamentary tenure, she assumed the role of 1st Deputy Minority whip during the opposition period of her party, the New Patriotic Party.

Notably, Irene has also served as a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Irene’s diplomatic experiences and her notable connection with the Christian community in Ghana would be advantageous for the NPP if she becomes the running mate to Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

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.

In line with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s election as a flagbearer to transform 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.

Source: Prof. Kweku Adams

Dr Kweku Adams is an Associate Professor in International Business & Management at the University of Bradford School of Management. His scholarly works on gender diversity have been published in several world-leading Journals and presented at several academic and practitioner conferences. Dr Adams is currently on the Editorial Review Boards of the Thunderbird International Business Review and the Africa Journal of Management. He is the President of the Ghana School Society, Europe.

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