Only two women won parliamentary seats in Western Region

Catherine Abelema Afeku

Two out of eight female parliamentary candidates who contested this year’s parliamentary and presidential elections in the Western Region secured the nod to represent their constituents in Parliament.

In the Evalue-Gwira-Ajomoro Constituency, Madam Catherine Abelema Afeku of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) polled 14,002 votes to defeat the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament, Kweku Tanikyi Kessie, who polled 12,416 votes.

Madam Afeku first won the seat in the 2008 elections, but lost to the NDC candidate, Mr. Tanikyi Kessie in the 2012 polls.

The other contestants included Prince Pokuah Agyei of the Progressive People’s Party who polled 316 votes and John Kofi Cobbinah of the United Front Party had 58 votes.

In the Prestea Huni Valley, Madam Barbara Oteng-Gyasi of the NPP also secured 36,444 votes to defeat the District Chief Executive for the area, Mr. Robert Wisdom Cudjoe, of the NDC who garnered 32,073 votes.

Madam Oteng-Gyasi, 51, a legal practitioner, has, therefore, become the first female candidate in the Constituency to win the parliamentary seat for the Party.

Mr. Stephen Opoku-Mensah, the Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), told the Ghana News Agency in Sekondi, on Wednesday, that the NPP won 16 parliamentary seats as against 10 by the NDC in the 26 constituencies in the Region.

He said in the 2012 General Election, only one female candidate was elected in the parliamentary polls: Madam Gifty Eugenia Kusi of the NPP in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency.

The Regional EC Director said there were a total of 1,025,249 votes cast out of which 1,004,560 were valid with 20,689 rejected ballots.  The  region has 1,579,750 registered voters.

He said the Region recorded a voter turnout of 65 per cent, as against the 77 per cent recorded in the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He attributed the situation to voter apathy.

Asked about the possible reasons for low female participation in parliamentary elections, he explained that engaging in political contest in Ghana was a herculean task in view of the financial resources needed to campaign, coupled with the negative societal perception of women who engage in politics.

“There are a lot of insults in Ghanaian politics and since not every woman can endure such humiliation and name calling, they decide to mind their own business,” he added.

The Region fielded 108 parliamentary candidates in the elections.

Source: GNA

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