Over the past few days, the NPP has made major news headlines for two main controversial proposals the National Executive Committee (NEC) has agreed upon, as part of activities leading up to electing its parliamentary candidates for the 2016 general elections.
That is, the decision to allow only women aspirants to contest sitting members of parliament who are women in the primaries and also only Gas to contest the coastal constituencies of the Greater-Accra Region.
People have expressed diverse opinions as to the constitutionality or otherwise of those decisions, some also questioning what the NPP stands to gain as a party if it follows through with these two decisions.
Join me as we embark on this journey together to find out what this means to the fortunes of the NPP in the 2016 elections. As for the constitutionality or otherwise of it, let’s leave that to the lawyers. In addition, we all know that the EC does not collect candidates’ biostatistics based on ethnicity so it’s practically impossible to decipher who is a Ga and who is not. Therefore analysis based on ethnic group and how it benefits each party is beyond the scope of this piece.
Overview Of Women Representation In Parliament (1996-2012)
In 1996 when the NPP started contesting officially in parliamentary polls, there were a total of 762 candidates who stood to be elected as MPs for what was going to be only the second parliament of the fourth republic of Ghana. Out of that number, 59 (7.74%) were women.
After the elections, 18 out of the 200 MPs to form the second parliament of the fourth republic elected were women. This figure represents just 9% women representation in Parliament.
In the December 2000 elections, there were a total of 1,076 parliamentary candidates contesting for the 200 seats, among them were 101 women (9.39%) slugging it out with the 976 men. At the end of the contest, again, 18 women emerged as winners, thereby preserving their 9% representation in parliament for the start of the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Five by-elections were held during the 3rd Parliament and a woman emerged winner in one of them in the person of Mrs. Agnes Sonful who won to snatch the Gomoa West seat for the NPP from the NDC, following the resignation of the NDC’s Abraham Kofi Asare in early 2003. This increased the number of women to 19.
By the time the EC closed nominations for the 2004 elections, there were 104 women out of a total of 953 parliamentary candidates standing for elections. On January 7, 2005, 25 women (10.87%) out of the 230 MPs were sworn into office to kick off the 4th Parliament of the 4th Republic. With the addition of 30 more constituencies, women also got seven (7) more seats in parliament to take a little increase in their representation from 9% in 2000 to 10.87%.
However in 2008, the number of women standing for election and the number elected both took a dip from 104 and 24 in 2004 to 99 and 20 respectively. In percentage terms, almost 9.4% of 2008 parliamentary candidates were women whiles just 8.7% of the 5th Parliament of the 4th Republic women – a 2.17% drop from 10.87% in 2004.
That share was reduced further when the late Hon. Doris Asibi Asiedu of the NPP passed away just a little over six months after being sworn in for her second term as MP for Chereponi in the Northern Region. A man (Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite of the NDC) won the resultant by-election held in September 2009.
Finally in 2012 with 45 more constituencies created, 35 more women contested the 2012 elections, bringing their number from 99 in 2008 to 134 out of a total of 1,322 parliamentary candidates contesting for the 275 seats in December 2012. Twenty-eight (28) of these women emerged from the hotly contested elections as winners. That gives them a 10.18% representation in the 5th Parliament and takes them almost to the 2004 level.
Contribution Of The NPP To Women Representation In Parliament
In 1996, out of the 59 women who stood for elections, 12 of them representing 20.34% were from the NPP whiles four (4) out of the 18 women (22.22%) elected into the 2nd Parliament were NPP.
Even though the proportion of female NPP candidates in the 2000 elections fell from 20.34% in 1996 to 17.82% in (18 out of 101 female candidates) in 2000, nine (9) out of the 18 elected female MPs were from the NPP (i.e. 50%).
Women’s performance reached peak level in 2004 when out of 104 female candidates; almost 27% were from the NPP. After the polls, 25 females were elected and 20 of them, representing an overwhelming 80% were from the NPP.
Unfortunately, the gains made by women over the period from 1996 to 2004 could not be sustained as total female nominations dropped from 104 in 2004 to 99 in 2008. That also reflected in a fall in female NPP nominations from 28 in 2004 to 22 in 2008. Total number of female MPs elected also fell from 25 in 2004 to 20 in 2008. The NPP still however contributed the majority of the female MPs (70% of them) even though their share went down by 10%.
In the last election (2012 election), there were 32 female NPP candidates (23.88%) out of a total of 134 female candidates competing for various seats across the country – a sign of improvement of about 2 percent over 2008 but still less than 3 percent short of 2004 figures.
In winning terms, 28 female candidates won their seats, 57% of whom were from the NPP. Even though the number of female NPP MPs increased from 14 in 2008 to 16 in 2012, their dominance in parliament ( 57%) is consistently waning compared to 2004 (80%) and 2008 (70%).
Performance Of Female NPP Candidates In An Election Against Their Male Counterparts
What are the chances of the NPP winning a seat with a female candidate compared to a male candidate? Let’s look at the numbers.
In the 1996 election, the NPP presented 179 parliamentary candidates and 6.7% of them were women. After the election, the NPP, by the EC’s records won 61 seats and four (4) of them (6.56%) were women. The win percentage of a female NPP candidate was 33.33% compared to 34.13% by their male counterparts. The difference is less than one percent.
In the year 2000, out of 199 candidates presented by the NPP, 18 of them (9.05%) were female and out of the 100 NPP MPs elected, nine of them (9%) were females. These figures represent a little over 2% jump from their 1996 levels. In terms of success, female NPP candidates had almost equal percentage of success (50%) just as their male counterparts.
The NPP presented 226 candidates in the 2004 elections of which 28 were women. They won 128 seats to form the majority and 15.63% were women, which is almost 7% higher than their share in the 3rd Parliament. Over 71% of female NPP parliamentary candidates were successful whiles their male counterparts had just about 55% success rate.
Both figures fell in 2008 but the NPP was still better off nominating a female candidate (63.64% success rate) than a male candidate. Out of 207 male candidates in 2008 only 45.41% of them won their seats.
The NPP made a total of 229 nominations (excluding Ellembelle for Freddy Blay) out of which 22 (representing 9.61%) were females. The NPP won 108 seats in Parliament in 2008 and fourteen (14) of them, representing about 13% were women. This was a shortfall of about some 3 percent from 2004.
And going further to 2012, 11.64% of NPP’s 275 nominations were females, which is a bit higher than 2008 level but still lower than the 2004 standards. 123 NPP candidates won their seats out of which 16 were women (13 percent) - a slight increase over the 2008 levels but not enough to match 2004 performance of 15.63%. In this election, 50% of NPP female nominations won whiles majority of NPP male nominations (56% of them) failed to win.
In the second part of this piece, we will look at what all these numbers mean to the NPP NEC’s affirmative action directive and take a closer look at the chances of each of the sixteen (16) female NPP MPs currently in Parliament in the upcoming 2016 elections.
Thank you for reading.
By: JUSTICE MONAKK - 0233630924
Source: Justice Monakk- 0233630924
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