The campaign being waged by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to oust President John Dramani Mahama at the 2016 polls has received a major boost with the inauguration of a women-only group branded the “Smart Ladies”.
Unveiled Saturday in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital, the group was tasked with a prime target to reach out to as many women as possible to ensure victory for the party in the region at both the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Let’s reach out to all manner of people. As we all know, the women are very good in terms of attracting more votes. Visiting market women is another area where I expect to see your influence. Let’s make the women part and parcel of this campaign. Your role in this election is very huge since the presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the only solution to the problems affecting this country.
“I would encourage Smart Ladies to create satellite groups across the 15 constituencies in the region so that any activities you Smart Ladies plan to do can be replicated in all the constituencies in the region,” the Upper East Regional Chairman of the party, Murtala Mohammed Ibrahim, pressed as party supporters and gurus cheered with applause.
NPP’s Smart Ladies to slug it out with NDC’s JM Ladies
The responsibility on the shoulders of the NPP’s Smart Ladies could prove to be as tough as any task any group found across the various political parties has been challenged to accomplish.
The Smart Ladies are into a showdown with the John Mahama Ladies, a similar campaign setup of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), abbreviated as the JM Ladies and already on the ground campaigning for the governing party. As the groups strive to outdo each other, the NPP’s Smart Ladies appear disadvantaged with a more resourced JM Ladies side looking more likely to outpace their counterparts in the race for votes.
But the regional chairman, aware of this challenge, has promised to throw his weight firmly behind his party’s ladies.
“In terms of resources and other logistics, I would be ready to support you. The success of this group is the success of the New Patriotic Party in the region. As your Regional Chairman, I am ever ready to support Smart Ladies. You can fall on me any day, any time, and I will be willing to attend to you,” Mr. Ibrahim reassured.
He added: “I would strongly [ask] that you work closely with my Regional Youth Organiser and my Regional Women Organiser since groups of this nature fall under their mandates, especially the Regional Women Organiser.”
Smart Ladies reveal blueprint
The NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo polled 118, 454 votes (representing 35.25%) as against 188, 405 votes (representing 56.06%) obtained by the NDC’s Professor John Evans Atta Mills in the Upper East Region at the 2008 general elections.
That same year saw the NDC’s parliamentary seats drop from 9 to 8 whilst the NPP increased its seats from 2 to 4. The 2008 presidential run-off passed with NPP getting 117,477 (34.40%) votes and the NDC attracting 223,994 (65.60%) votes.
In 2012, the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo garnered 120, 814 (29.9%) votes in the region with the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama gaining 274,019 (66.44%) votes. The NDC’s seats increased to 12 whilst the NPP’s 4 seats dropped to 2.
Moments after the inauguration Saturday, the Smart Ladies told the press of their determination to work hard to turn the result table around in 2016.
“Our aim is to see Nana Addo as President in Ghana come December 7 and victory [for] all the PCs (parliamentary candidates). We will achieve our goals [by] going to market squares, meeting our colleague women, youth groups, going to the lorry parks, going door to door, organising programmes, organising workshops.
“So many things are happening in Ghana. School feeding is cut off. Teachers’ allowances (scrapped). Our light bills, our water bills [are] too much. Change is coming. I advise all my colleague women to take part in active politics notwithstanding all the insults they rain on us, whether [they say] you are a harlot, no matter what they say,” chairperson of the group, Cynthia Wepia Addah said.