March 7, 2024

Ghana opposition candidate Mahama picks former female minister as running mate

Ghana opposition candidate names former female minister as running mate

Former President John Mahama and running mate Jane Opoku-Agyemang

Ghana’s main opposition presidential candidate John Mahama on Thursday named a female former minister and academic as his vice presidential running mate for December’s election.

It is the second time Mahama has chosen Jane Opoku-Agyemang as running mate in a conservative West African country where women are sharply under-represented in politics.

“Her integrity, dedication, and vision for a better Ghana make her the ideal candidate to join me,” Mahama said in a party statement.

The December election is shaping up to be a tight race between President Nana Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP)and Mahama’s opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Akufo-Addo steps down after two terms with Ghana emerging from its worst economic crisis in decades and the country in a $3 billion IMF loan programme.

Mahama’s failed 2020 run with Opoku-Agyemang marked the first time a major political party had a woman vice presidential candidate.

As well as more gender diversity, former education minister Opoku-Agyemang is expected to bring campaign experience and strong support in swing central Ghana states, according to NDC insiders.

Management of the economy is expected to be a major campaign issue.

Ruling NPP party has fielded current vice president and former deputy central bank director Mahamudu Bawumia as its presidential candidate.

The vice president will be the first northerner to run for the top office on the ticket of the NPP, a movement dominated by ethnic Akan, which analysts say will pose another challenge for Mahama, who also has a stronghold in the north of Ghana.

Ghana entered its worst economic turmoil in decades in 2022 as inflation surged to over 50 percent, forcing the gold, oil and cocoa producer to seek out the IMF relief programme and debt restructuring.

Ghana’s debt load expanded and like other sub-Saharan African nations it struggled with the economic fallout from the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Ghana celebrated its 67th Independence Day on March 6.