The year 2020 is one that has been rocked by many unexpected events most of which are related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 general elections which at a point was the subject of speculation as to whether or not it would be able to come off from a public health perspective has thrown a massive curveball to all political parties in their bid to campaign to annex power.
Traditionally, campaigns of major parties have been characterized by large rallies and other gatherings that are meant to show how strong a party or its candidate is on the grounds. However, the pandemic could be said in certain respects to be a blessing in disguise as parties have been forced to rethink traditional modes of campaign and focus more on retail campaigns that target specific groups.
For anyone who has followed Ghanaian politics even remotely, one would notice that politics in Ghana is heavily dominated by men at all levels. This can be seen in political parties having specially designated positions in their hierarchy for women such as women organizers at all levels from polling stations to the national level, and the NPP is no different. This is intriguing as the population of Ghana has more women than men and thus any party that is serious about political power has to consciously target women.
In the 2016 elections, any keen observer noticed the formation of many such groups within the NPP targetted at women and bringing more women on board. One can mention NPP Loyal Ladies and others that rose to prominence within them. The temptation to just have a large extravagant campaign just because they are the ruling party has been scuppered by the pandemic and thus some brilliant minds within the NPP have decided to be creative once again in this campaign.
A pro-NPP strategic group known as the 8.8 Million Movement has launched an initiative known as the “Good Woman, Vote” initiative.
This initiative realizes how important the votes of women are in the election and seeks to bring these women on board by sending the message of the achievements of the NPP government with regards to issues that affect women disproportionately and positioning President Akufo-Addo as the best candidate to meet the aspirations of women from 2021 and beyond. This will be particularly important because the main challenger of the president, John Dramani Mahama by his nomination of a woman as his running mate has claimed to be the most suitable candidate to address issues related to women but it obviously does not work that way at all levels even as “retail campaign”
The NPP like in 2016 has decided to involve more women in their campaign as it is the order of the day. The first lady for example has single-handedly campaigned all over especially in the Greater Accra Region which is her home region and has been very visible on the campaign trail just as she has been over the past four years.
The second lady as well has been dynamic as ever moving from region to region just as she did in 2016 to campaign and to show a party that puts women at the forefront. Other high-ranking women in the party such as Ursula Owusu, Sarah Adwoa Safo, and the Chief of Staff Frema Opare have already been instrumental in the campaign trail.
The trail has thus been blazed for the young and dynamic Akosua “Kozie” Asaa Manu, the Deputy CEO of the National Youth Authority to convene the 8.8 Million Movement which birthed this “Good Woman, Vote” initiative. Despite the difficulties in campaigning which have been alluded to in this piece, the initiative seeks to maximize social media platforms especially Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube where they use the handle. Banners and posters with the bold inscription “Good Woman, Vote” can also be seen at vantage points all over the country in order to raise awareness for all women and ultimately to win the women’s vote come December 7 for His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
After the initial gender politics that came to the fore when Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang was nominated by the NDC as its running mate, it would seem the NPP has shown the way by making deliberate efforts to involve women in the campaign and convince them of how much better their lives will be under a Nana Addo presidency. It remains to be seen how this will reflect in the polls.