Former President John Mahama has said the time is right for Ghana to have her first female Vice-President.
“Many have said the time is not right for a woman veep; when will it ever be right?” Mr Mahama asked in defense of his choice of Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate for the 7 December 2020 polls, insisting: “I believe the time is right”.
“It is my hope that we will all rally behind her and support her,” he told party supporters following his announcement of his choice.
“Naana Jane is an accomplished woman who has made her mark, both nationally and internationally, and it is my belief that as a social democratic party, and a progressive party at that, if any party must be positioned in the history of our country to create the opportunity for women to serve in the highest offices of the land, then it is no other party than the NDC”, Mr Mahama added.
According to him, “We open up the decision-making process to our female partners and show that together with them, we will move our country forward”.
“We cannot develop this country with a minority of the population of this country, bearing in mind that women in this country constitute almost 52% of the population,” the former President argued.
Meanwhile, the biggest opposition party, on Wednesday, 8 July 2020, said at a press conference that the claim that Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang introduced the three-month salary payment for newly-recruited teachers is false.
Reacting to myriad allegations leveled against the former Education Minister shortly after she was announced as former President John Mahama’s running mate, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, National Communications Officer of the NDC, explained that: “This policy was introduced by the Finance Ministry, as part of GIFMIS reforms at the time, to check the phenomenon of payroll fraud and ensure that newly-recruited teachers, nurses and doctors were paid their first three months’ salary without any hindrance and subsequent salaries paid upon validation. The temporary challenges the policy suffered at the beginning of its implementation were resolved through the interventions of the Finance Ministry under the NDC-Mahama government.”
Mr Gyamfi noted that another claim that Prof Opoku-Agyemang cancelled book and research allowances for lecturers of tertiary institutions is yet another “barefaced lie.”
“Book and research allowance was never cancelled under the NDC-Mahama administration when Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was Minister of Education. As such, the NPP could not have restored something that was never taken away in the first place,” he said.
Concerning her plea for clemency for the Montie trio, Mr Gyamfi noted that she only signed the petition to mitigate the harsh sentences of the three convicts, after they had served six weeks in prison and paid GHS10,000 each, as fines for scandalising the Supreme Court.
According to Mr Gyamfi, Prof Opoku-Agyemang’s decision to sign the petition to request for a reduced prison term for the convicts does not, in any way, mean that “she endorsed their unfortunate comments as the NPP would have us believe.
“It must be noted that the woman we are talking about is a responsible and caring mother of three and a loving grandmother. Good mothers are known to forgive their children when they go wrong, and after they are disciplined.”
He noted that Prof Opoku-Agyemang did not only support the punishment of the ‘Montie trio’ through due process, but she also identified with the repentance and remorse shown by them and sought lesser punishment for them. “Her plea for lesser punishment for the ‘Montie trio’ was, therefore, not a vice, but an act of compassion and virtue.
Again, the NDC said the claim by the NPP that Prof Opoku-Agyemang failed to provide chalk to schools when she was Education Minister is false.
“This blatant untruth highlights how low the NPP will go in trying to denigrate our flag bearer’s choice of running mate,” said Mr Gyamfi.
He explained that under the tenure of Prof Opoku-Agyemang as Education Minister, more than five million pieces of chalk, comprising 4,994,328 boxes of white chalk and 180,000 boxes of coloured chalk were provided to schools across the country.
“Aside from this, Prof Opoku-Agyemang demonstrated unwavering commitment to the supply of teaching and learning materials during her tenure as Education Minister by providing 472,800 teacher textbooks, 12.8 million core textbooks, 2.5 million dictionaries among others, which significantly enhanced the quality of the country’s educational system.
“It is important to make the point, that at no time under her tenure as Education Minister did the country witness a situation where not a single textbook was supplied to schoolchildren and examination questions written by teachers on blackboards, like we witnessed under the inept Akufo-Addo government last year. In fact, under her tenure as minister, the Mahama administration changed the textbook ratio from 4 students sharing one textbook to one student having three textbooks”.
Furthermore, the NDC noted that the claim by some, that the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast is not fit for the Vice Presidency because she is not an economist is “misconceived and laughable.”
According to the NDC, the Vice President position is not about economists but, the ability to lead and solve the hydra-headed problems confronting the nation.
“It should be clear even to the uninitiated, that any person who is able to transform a public University, such as the University of Cape Coast which has a faculty of Law, School of economics, Medical School, School of Agriculture among several other disciplines and manage thousands of students and workers from diverse backgrounds, obviously has the competence and versatility to effectively manage and discharge the roles and responsibilities of the office of Vice-President,” Mr Gyamfi stated.