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08.01.2009 Feature Article

'Abrokyire' Palaver: A tale of two former first ladies

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Ghanaians have decided that Prof. Mills should be their next president. Thankfully we also have another former president in the making. President Kufuor will now join Ex-President Rawlings in that 'hall of fame'. Whether you agree with me or not, both personalities have paid their due to this country and we must be grateful to them.

The country is also now going to have two former first ladies—Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and Theresa Kufuor.

One thing was made clear during the electioneering campaign and even now the point has taken on a more compelling significance that most Ghanaians will want to see a new administration devoid of any 'interference' from former President Rawlings — something, I believe, he will live up to perfectly. As President Kufuor joins him, this country must be the richer in tapping the wisdom of these two fine personalities.

I am, however, more concerned about two former first ladies. Both of them during their tenure as first ladies embarked on programs that largely worked to improve the lot of women and children. Fortunately these are programs that can still be pursued if they chose to do so.

In the United States, former first ladies have embarked on their own programs or pursued active political life as Mrs. Hilary Clinton is doing; I can imagine that Mrs. Laura Bush may want to continue writing books or do something she is passionate about. What I cannot see any two of these ladies doing is imposing their programs either overtly or covertly on Mrs. Obama who has indicated that she would like to spend more time with her daughters among other things.

Reading through the lines of Nana Konadu Rawlings' New Year message which was published in the media I am tempted (albeit fairly) to imagine that with an NDC win she may want to re-engage in active public life by resurrecting the red berets. I have no qualms about bringing the red berets back to life; after all, it is in the interest of women and children BUT it is important to remind her of a number of things.
In an attempt to carry out her legitimate duty of working with women I hope that the 31st DWM does not become more powerful than the official ministry mandated to work for women and children (I hope you know what I am talking about)

It is important for her to allow our new first lady, Naadu Mills together with her next in line, Lordina Mahama, to decide what they want to do that is if they so choose to execute any special projects.

I must indicate to her, without attempting to be personal, that as a woman equally interested in the welfare of all women and children, I will not be silent if the DWM's activities are made to overshadow what the Ministry of Women and Children (if it stays as such) does for all women and children of Ghana or whatever enterprise the First Lady chooses to embark on unless she decides to adopt the red berets in which case I will redirect my energies to some other venture.

Whatever paths the two former first ladies separately pursue I hope that it will be truly and sincerely geared towards the welfare of women and children without getting into the pettiness often associated with rivalry.

To Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Theresa Kufuor I say kudos for playing your respective roles to my admiration, although I have my reservations which I will not burden readers with; however, please, if you choose to continue working for women and children just remember that Nana Konadu, you already bear the title of 'former' first lady and Theresa Kufuor, you will cease to be first lady as of January 7, 2009.

Credit: Dot Asare-Kumah [[email protected]]

Dorothy Asare-Kumah
Dorothy Asare-Kumah, © 2009

The author has 21 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: DorothyAsareKumah

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