Ghana: Mrs Rawlings joins another party to contest flagbearership ahead of elections

By Lawrence Quartey

Posted on September 12, 2012 14:43

Ghana’s former President Jerry Rawlings says she is ready to challenge for the leadership of the newly formed opposition National Democratic Party (NDP).

Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings was toppled from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by the late President Evans Atta Mills at the party’s congress in Sunyani last year.

The former First Lady blamed her defeat on electoral fraud and claimed “thousands of people who were not delegates voting.” She got 3.01 percent of the vote against Mills’ 96.09 percent.

Her aggrieved supporters formed a movement within the NDC party which later grew into a political party – the NDP – which was recently registered by Ghana’s electoral body.

Earlier reports, which linked Rawlings’s to the NDP had been refuted.

However, the new party’s spokesperson and former NDC, Josiah Aryeh described the new party as an affiliate of the NDC.

NDP secretary general Joseph Manboah-Rockson told local journalists in Sunyani on Wednesday that the former First Lady had informed the national executive committee (NEC) of the party about her decision.

Rawlings would have to shrug the challenge of two others candidates for the NDP’s top job including a woman rival. But local analysts say it is certain the former first lady will win.

Meanwhile, Manboah-Rockson said the Electoral Commission (EC) had informed the party that its registration certificate was ready. This means that the NDP can contest the next general elections – presidential and parliamentary.

Manboah-Rockson said the NDP would hold its first national congress this month where a presidential candidate would also be choosen.

Rawlings was born on November 17, 1948 and came into the political limelight when her husband became Head of State briefly in 1979 and then from 1981 to 2001.

The former First Lady became the president of the 31st December Women’s Movement from 1982 to date. She was elected first vice chairperson of her party in 2009 during the second term of her NDC party’s tenure in office under Mills.

She holds a degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and advanced courses in London, England; Johns Hopkins University, Institute for Policy Studies, Baltimore, MD, certificate for fellows program in philanthropy and non-profit organisations.

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