Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ghana's "Iron Lady"passes away

Myjoyonline.com is reporting the death of Hawa Yakubu, a well-known politician and leading member of the New Patriotic Party. Hawa is said to have died in London this morning, after a short illness.
The news of Hawa's death has shocked me immensely, and judging from initial reactions online, many other Ghanaians. In a quote on the website for The Hawa Foundation, there is a quote from Hawa which reads:

"Amongst all the things that history will say about me I hope it will not fail to record that she appealed to the best hopes of people and not their worst fears, their confidence and not their doubts, her wish is that people tread the path of life with liberty lamp lightening their path and stretching and arm of opportunity and help."

Hawa will definitely be remembered as one who championed the cause of Ghanaians. She was a firm believer in the ability of politics to effect widespread change, and lived her life on this belief. She was persecuted endlessly for her political beliefs - she lived through assassination attempts, and had her house burned down in the run-up to the 2000 elections.

Ms. Yakubu was also known for her championing of women's rights, and her staunch support of female politicians, to the extent of being accused by members of her own party of supporting opposition candidates because they were women.

Known as the "Iron Lady" of Ghanaian politics, she was the 2nd Vice Chairman of the ruling NPP when she died, and when people spoke of Ghana's first female president, the name that was most often on peoples lips. She declared her intention to run in 2005, although she has been fairly silent since then.

I'm still in shock, Ghanaians of all political persuasions have lost a woman who dedicated her life to effecting change for all, and a role model in the area of grassroots activism.

Damirifa Due, Hawa Yakubu.