BackStory: Ghana’s Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and first woman to run for president

The presidential election in Ghana, for most, may not be the most remarkable political event in 2016 and though most of the attention has been on the two candidates who are in the lead in the presidential race, there is ONE candidate who has rewritten Ghana’s political history as the first woman to run in the country’s election.

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings may have lost out in the election but she has won more than just respect for her bravery and defiance but international applause that has earned her the title: Ghana’s Hillary Clinton.

True to the title, both women share similar stories. Like Hillary, Nana Agyeman-Rawlings is the wife of former Ghanaian president, Jerry Rawlings who led the country for two separate terms first as a military head of state and then, as a civilian president. She had been in the throes of power for so long and had personally experienced it in the different forms.

In her 60s like Hillary Clinton, Nana Rawlings is also a passionate women’s rights campaigner and has been at it since 1982. She is the founder and president of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM), a grassroot non-governmental organisation (NGO). For her, breaking the cycle of poverty is in the hands of women and she has gone around preaching that message all these years. It was written of her: “Nana Konadu has been the first wife of an African Head of State to use an organisational platform to systematically fight gender inequality and empower millions of women across Ghana and beyond.”nana-2

Her popularity among women in Ghana has not waded over the years because Nana Rawlings has not been just another First Lady but a woman who has stayed connected with the grassroots through activism. This connection is what she touted in her presidential campaign, in a speech in July, Rawling said: “We believe in a thriving economy that creates equal opportunity for every Ghanaian regardless of ethnic group, regardless of financial status, regardless of gender and age“.

Hillary Clinton had her husband and former United States president by her side throughout the 3-month duration of her presidential campaign and again strongly behind her as she gave her concession speech after she lost the election to Donald Trump. This is not exactly the case with Nana Rawlings as former president Jerry Rawlings has not been all out campaigning for his wife but has stood up for her on some occasions.nana-3

But Nana Agyeman-Rawlings’ campaign has not been without its own woes and controversy. She has been described by critics as an “expired political commodity” who hides behind the shadow of Hillary Clinton but is nothing like the latter.

An article in a Ghanaian publication reveals that Nana Rawlings is selfish, hateful, ignorant and most importantly, a bold imagery of corruption. But of course, we saw a lot of accusations of corruption and email scandals that trailed Hillary Clinton’s campaign till the day of the election, and for most, the email scandal played a major role in her eventual loss.

Though this is not the case with Nana Rawlings who is the leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP), her loss at the election is as a result of absence of prominence that she is yet to gain politically, at least compared to the other six presidential candidates, especially John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.

However, unlike Hillary Clinton who is less likely to run in 4 years, Nana Agyeman-Rawlings may regroup in 2020 and come forward as a stronger force especially since the man who seems to have won the election is a veteran who clearly cannot run for a second term.


Comments (0)

  1. What is “Ghana’s Hillary Clinton”? Why can’t she just bear her own name?

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