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Former Ghanaian First Lady Chooses Running Mate Before December Polls

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings is shown Nov. 8, 1999.

FILE - Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings is shown Nov. 8, 1999.

A former Ghanaian first lady and opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) presidential candidate has chosen Michael Kojo Mensah Sosu as her running mate ahead of the December 7 general election.

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings officially filed her nomination papers as a presidential candidate Thursday — a day before the deadline.

Sosu is to appear before party supporters in the coming days at an event in Ghana's Volta region.

The candidates are required to pay $12,505 — while parliamentary candidates pay $2,501 — in nomination fees, in addition to meeting other requirements, according to Eric Dzakpasu, spokesman for the electoral commission.

"A key requirement for the processing of the nomination forms to make it valid for the filing is that each presidential candidate should be able to get two registered voters [signatures] per each district assembly administrative area in the country,” Dzakpasu said. “We have about 216 of the districts, so the requirement is that you would be getting 432 signatories across the country to endorse your candidature."

Mohammed Frimpong, general secretary for the NDP, told VOA that the party is confident ahead of the elections. Sosu will help the party's drive to get youths to vote, he said.

Nana Rawlings, wife of former President Jerry John Rawlings, was unable to run in the 2012 presidential election after failing to file her nomination documents. She blamed officials of the electoral commission and the ruling party of sabotaging her efforts to wrest power from President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

NDC officials rejected the accusations.

Frimpong says things are different this time, after the NDP implemented measures to prevent any planned sabotage.

"This time around, those she trusted [who] had been treacherous in the assignment given to them have all been virtually gotten rid of,” he said, “and new sets of national executive committee are very dedicated and we are committed to the cause of the National Democratic Party.”

Critics say the NDP wants to create mischief, and that it is apparent the party plans to form an alliance with other opposition groups before the elections.

The top leaders of the NDP, including Rawlings, defected from the ruling party after a major falling out. Both the NDC and the NDP say they are social democrats.

Ghanaians will choose a new president, parliament and local representatives in the December elections.

Incumbent president Mahama is expected to face a stiff challenge from main opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party.

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