Women To Watch In Ghanaian Politics [An African Election]

By Latoya Peterson

Like so many other nations, the political landscape in Ghana is dominated by men. An African Election takes a look at the key players in the battle for the highest office in the land–but aside from a few brief comments from Hanna Tetteh, the election is yet another boys’ club. But that doesn’t mean that women aren’t on the scene.

Honorable Hanna Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry, NDC

Hannah Tetteh. Courtesy: ghananewsagency.org

Hanna Tetteh made her mark early on, joining the International Federation of Women Lawyers a year after being appointed Barrister-at-Law in 1992. Her first foray into politics was in 2000, when she ran for Parliament. After serving one term, she took a time out and returned as John Atta Mills’s communication director in 2008. She was appointed by Atta Mills in 2009 to her current position as Minister for Trade and Industry. She is a member of the National Democratic Congress.

Here’s an interview with Tetteh, sponsored by the World Bank:

Hannah Tetteh, Ghana Minister of Trade and Industry from World Bank on Vimeo.
 

Eva Lokko, Vice Presidential Candidate, PPP

Eva Lokko. Courtesy: spyghana.com

Lokko is a relative newcomer to the political scene, but the Progressive People’s Party VP candidate is dedicated to bringing women’s issues to the forefront of conversation.

According to the party’s press statement:

Madam Lokko is an assertive and accomplished professional. She is a family woman who comes from a proud Ga home and tradition. She is fluent in Ga, Hausa, Twi, Fanti, English and Russian with working knowledge of French and has travelled to 44 countries. She has worked for the United Nations, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and operated as the CEO of a critical, youth oriented Non-Governmental Organization.

On top of all that she is an engineer and communications expert with a master’s degree in Intelligent Management Systems, System Analysis and Design.

Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, Member of Parliament, CPP

Samia Nkrumah. Courtesy: choicefmghana.com

The only daughter of Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, she returned to the nation in 2008 as a candidate for the party her father founded, the Convention People’s Party. In a 2009 interview with Huffington Post, she said about her legacy:

“It took many years and much experience of living and working in Ghana, Egypt, the United Kingdom and lastly in Italy, to come full circle and realize that the Pan-African project as articulated by my father, Kwame Nkrumah, offers the best response to our ongoing challenge.

“Achieving political and economic liberation, social justice and national and continental unity including the African Diaspora are yet to be realized…[i]t is our task today to continue from where Nkrumah left, while remaining flexible as we adapt to changing circumstances”.

Winning a seat in Parliament in 2009, the party leaders from NDC and NPP have sought Nkrumah’s votes, and her popularity among Ghanaians had rivaled the late president Prof. John Atta Mills.

As Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah commented in a recent Racialicious/AfroPoP.TV tweet-up, it is only the Nkrumah-led CPP that has achieved gender parity within the ranks of leadership, as set forth in the Women’s Manifesto For Ghana. Nkrumah said in the same interview with Huffington Post:

“We give our best when we do retain our “feminine” qualities of love, gentleness, patience, joy, humility, dignity, prudence and above all grace. These qualities are indeed as present in men as in women. So here I will refer to the feminine qualities in us all irrespective of our gender. As it happens, these qualities seem to be more obvious in women due to our upbringing and cultural education. So in a sense, when we say we want stronger female participation in politics or in any other sector, we mean we also want to see more of those feminine qualities visible in parliament, in politics, in community work, and at all levels of decision-making. We want politics with another flavour. We want to see the politics of humanity, of dignity, of dialogue, of wisdom, of grace.

“We shall be proud of who we are…of our food and the way we eat, of our languages, of our tradition, of our costume and so on. We shall move towards economic self-reliance by improving our manufacturing sector and investing heavily in human resources. We shall strive to achieve social justice, social equality, social security, and genuine democracy that includes education and equality between men and women, and human rights.”

Want more? Check out our last two #AfricanElection tweet-ups on African Feminisms, with Minna Salami and Dr. Yaba Blay, and on Ghanaian women and the 2008 election with Darkoa Sekyiamah.