Since the dawn of the Fourth Republic’s dispensation in 1992, the political landscape of Ghana has witnessed an interesting emergence, the rise of widows stepping into the shoes of their deceased husbands to carry on their political legacies, sparking some public debate about the viability and health of this intriguing practice. 

Some have quizzed how the practice and actors (the widows) in the arena navigate the complexities of grief, power, and public service.

In a nation where patriarchal structures have long dominated the political arena, this phenomenon, christened "widow politics," has captured the attention of political observers and participants alike. 

In the 4th Republic of Ghana, 5 instances have occurred.

Asutifi South, 2000

Per my research, the practice first emerged in the 4th republic in the Asutifi South Constituency when the NPP Parliamentary candidate, Professor Philip Kofi Amoah died. He was a 55-year-old former professor of law at the University of Botswana and a consultant to the United Nations.

The wife of the Parliamentary Candidate, Mrs. Cecilia Gyan Amoah was later selected as the new candidate of the NPP and went on to win the parliamentary seat in the 2000 general elections. 

Shai-Osudoku, 2016

In May 2016, the NDC fraternity woke up to the tragic death of their Parliamentary Candidate, William Desmond Ocloo. 

Mr. Ocloo was involved in an accident on the Accra-Kumasi Highway. He was 46 and a former Chief Accountant of MDC, a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti in Obuasi. 

A month later, the wife of the late aspiring MP, Mrs Linda Akwele Ocloo defeated Dr. Kpessah White to step into the shoes of her husband. 

She polled 5,156 votes against 3,372 garnered by Dr Kpessah Whyte, a then Acting Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat and has gone on to serve as MP for the area for 8 years and counting. 

Ayawaso West Wuogon, 2019

The 3rd instance of this phenomenon was occasioned by the sudden passing of the NPP sitting Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko. 

Mr Agyarko passed on on Wednesday, November 21, in the United States of America after a long illness. He was the MP for the area since 2012 after he replaced the current Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Opare. 

One of the widows of the late MP, Madam LydiaAlhassan was later elected as the NPP parliamentary candidate and won the infamous Ayawaso West Wougon by-elections.

Tempane 2020

The 4th occurrence of this trend happened in the Upper East region.

After being elected as the NDC parliamentary candidate in 2019, David Adakudugu unexpectedly passed on after a short illness. 

He was the first MP for the constituency on the ticket of the NDC in 2012 after the constituency was carved out of the Garu-Tempane Constituency. He had previously served as a District Chief Executive for the Garu-Tempane district. He lost the seat to the former deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka. 

His sweetheart, Lydia Adakudugu was later elected as the replacement and went on to win the parliamentary elections of 2020 to unseat the former deputy Attorney General. 

Mfantseman, 2020

With 58 days to the 2020 general elections, Ghanaians, particularly the people of Mfantseman constituency were awakened by the disturbing news of the death of their Member of Parliament. 

The NPP sitting Member of Parliament for the Mfantseman Constituency lost his life on the campaign trail after he was fatally shot by armed robbers. 

Four days after this tragic incident and the political clock ticking and drawing close to the general elections, the wife of the slain MP, ASP Ophelia Hayford was selected by the NPP to replace her late better half.

The debate

The appropriateness of “widow’s politics” within the context of a democracy like Ghana is subject to debate and one’s worldview. 

On one hand, it can be seen as a genuine expression of grief and a testament to the widow's commitment to her late husband's political legacy and the quest to continue that political relationship.

On the other hand, some critics argue that this practice blurs the lines between personal tragedy and political campaigning, potentially exploiting emotional sentiments for electoral gain. 

Transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making are some of the critical tenets of a healthy and thriving democracy. With this practice of “widow politics”, the emphasis on emotional appeal raises questions about the integrity of the electoral process and the ability of voters to critically assess candidates based on their capabilities, qualifications, and health of their policies rather than their circumstances. 

Ultimately, the appropriateness of this practice hinges on the harmony between cultural sensitivity and democratic principles. In summary, it presents an interesting nuance of an intersection of tradition, politics, and governance in Ghanaian society.


Eugene Osei-Tutu is a media practitioner currently working with the Multimedia Group Limited’s LUV FM – Kumasi as a producer for Talk-related Programmes. He can be contacted via email at

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.