A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong has urged political parties to stop using widows as a convenient means of winning elections.
He made the remark on the back of the selection of Mrs. Ophelia Hayford to succeed his late husband, Ekow Hayford, who was the incumbent MP for Mfantseman and the New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Within the last four years, about three Members of Parliament or parliamentary aspirants who passed away have been succeeded by their wives.
Political analysts believe such widows subsequently win elections based on sympathy votes.
Ekow Hayford was gruesomely killed by unknown assailants believed to be armed robbers over a week ago in the Central Region.
According to Yaw Oppong, widows should be allowed to contest based on their own competences and abilities and not just on the ticket of their husband’s death.
“When a case like this happens, allow the woman to contest if she is qualified regardless of the fact that she is the wife of a deceased MP,” he said on The Big Issue on Citi FM/TV.
“Usually the women are brought in for convenience sake and subsequently they are removed by some means. That should not be the case. They should not be brought for the sake of convenience. Women should win elections by their own abilities and competence and not only by sympathy.”
Although Yaw Oppong noted that women should be encouraged to contest for political positions, he said: “Making it seem like a woman can’t win a parliamentary seat without the death of the husband will be sending a wrong signal to the world”.
Widows succeeding husbands in political roles should be encouraged
On the same issue, the Founding President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe has suggested that women seeking to succeed their late husbands in political roles should be encouraged.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Cudjoe stated that statistics showed that women who assumed political roles in special cases as Mrs. Hayford’s, were more likely to win the elections.
“The Los Angeles Times reported in 1998 that among first-time house candidates between 1960 and 1993, 84% of the widows won while 14% of other women were victorious. A political scientist, Diana Kinser said: For women aspiring to serve in congress, the best husband has been a dead husband.”
“I think it should be encouraged because women make better leaders. I see it every day, at home, at school, at work. I think that we should extend that to politics because they can handle the affairs. When you look at the countries that handled COVID-19 properly, they were all led by women,” he added.