Ghana’s democracy is considered to be one of the most succesful ones in Africa. The fact that power has been shifted peacefully from one party to another is a sign of a functioning multi-party system. Also, Ghana’s media is acknowledged to be free and independent. However, the under-representation of women in Ghanaian politics casts a shadow over its democracy. Currently under 9 percent of the members of parliament are women.
The parliamentary elections in December will provide an opportunity to increase female representation. The result of the primary election held earlier does not raise great expectations, but the women’s organisations still believe that a change for better is possible. The most important thing now is to support the women who passed the primary election and will stand as candidates for the parliament. Demo Finland is supporting these women in co-operation with the local Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) and the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD).
As a part of the co-operation, IEA, EPD and Demo Finland organised a workshop to discuss and create campaigning strategies for the elections. Speakers at the workshop were experienced women politicians who shared their own views and experiences of succesful campaigning. During the three-day event, attendees were also given training in communication skills, fundraising and campaign organisation.
”I got a lot of important first-hand tips on how election campaigns should be planned and implemented”, said Kabore Memuna, a first-time candidate for the National Democratic Congress Party. ”The support of veteran politicians gave me a lot of self-confidence”, she continued.
In addition to Ghanaian politicians, the chairwomen of Tanzanian Women’s Cross-party Platform, Anna Abdallah, was present at the workshop. She encouraged the women of Ghana to co-operate in and across parties to raise awareness of women’s issues and eventually strenghten their role in politics and society.
”Considering the forthcoming elections, we should be focusing more on women’s co-operation. Instead of competing, women should be supporting each other, especially in their own parties. In the longer term we must emphasize cross-party co-operation. The Tanzanian platform is an inspiring example. Equality will never be a reality if we are not able to demand it with one voice”, stated Freda Pempeh who will be running for the New Patriotic Party.
In the concluding notes, Mrs. Akua Sena Dansua said that equality in politics can not be achieved without long-term co-operation. She also thought that political women’s organisations in Ghana should establish a cross-party platform. If the number of women in parliament does not increase, resources should be focused on enhancing women’s political capacity during the parliamentary term.