Ghana’s former first lady to run for presidency

By IndepthAfrica
In Ghana
Oct 14th, 2012
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Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings says her husband is solidly behind her

Ghana’s former first lady Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has been nominated as a candidate for the December presidential poll. She cut ties with the ruling party, founded by her husband, in order to run.

Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the wife of Ghana’s ex-president, Jerry Rawlings, split from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party that her husband founded in order to run as a presidential candidate in the December 2 ballot.

Agyeman-Rawlings had tried to win the NDC party’s nomination back in 2011, but was trounced by John Atta Mills, Ghana’s then-president, who died in July following an illness.

After her defeat, Agyeman-Rawlings launched the opposition National Democratic Party (NDP), while still retaining ties to the NDC.

Formally resigning her position from the NDC on Thursday, she was unanimously endorsed as presidential candidate by the opposition group at its party convention in Accra on Saturday.

“This party was born out of the need to transform Ghana,” Agyeman-Rawlings told a large crowd of delegates gathered at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.

“I stand before you today because I chose to become bolder and braver, and together we are going forward,” she said in her speech which was simulcast on state radio.

“Poverty and discontent remain rife among Ghanaians and I promise that under the NDP government and my leadership we will eradicate these endemic challenges,” she added.

Divided support

The move, backed by her husband, threatens to split support for incumbent John Mahama, who is hoping to be re-elected against his main opposition rival Nana Akufo-Addo in December.

Praising his wife’s nomination, Jerry Rawlings said the move would “restore hope and the moral values that the country needs to move forward.”

Commenting on the reason his wife left the NDC, Rawlings said it was due to bad governance.

“The NDC leadership had lost its moral high ground, [and was] involved in things that it should not have gotten into, corruption at the leadership level,” he added.

Rawlings, who still enjoys broad popularity, founded the NDC and led Ghana as both a military ruler and an elected president until 2001.

Political observer Ben Ephson said he did not expect Agyeman-Rawlings to garner sufficient support to threaten Mahama’s bid for re-election.

“We don’t think the party will make any significant impact on the fortunes of the NDC this December,” he said.

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