In a typical African society where women are largely relegated to the background in many fields of human development, it is more often than not, very difficult for women, in general, to excel in very challenging environments where men have often failed.
The story is no different for women here in Ghana who try to venture into the difficult terrain of politics. However, Frema Osei-Opare has against all odds proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the Ghanaian political space.
From a very humble beginning at Wiamoase in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, who could have imagined she would break the jinx in an area where men had dominated since the days of independence to become the first female Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana.
Frema has ultimately lived up to the cliché that ‘what men can do women can do better’ and has thus far succeeded in her role as the Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana in the first term of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, culminating into her reappointment for a second term. A feat so rare in the 4th Republic Administrations.
Her achievements as the Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana in the first term presidency of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cannot be shrouded in secrecy. As the aide-de-camp of the president, the successes or failures of the president are largely a manifestation of her performance as the chief of staff.
Evidently, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had performed satisfactorily in his first term resulting in the Ghanaian people reposing confidence in him overwhelmingly in the 2020 December presidential elections. To this end, it will not be mere rhetoric to score Akosua Frema Osei-Opare high marks in her role as the Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana, she has performed creditably. Indeed, the dexterity and diligence at play in her management of the presidency is clearly par excellence.
Frema has been a huge inspiration to many women in politics as she goes into the annals of history as the trailblazer female chief of Staff of the Republic. Her successful mentorship of young women who are today beacons of excellence in the fields of politics, academia, entrepreneurship among others is very commendable and worth emulating.
From her days in parliament, representing the good people of Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency through to her appointment as the Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment under the erstwhile President John Agyekum Kufour’s NPP Administration, Frema has been consistent with championing the cause of women in Ghana.
She had oftentimes not only used her good offices to encourage young women to take up challenging roles in the job arena but had also admonished and ensured that qualified women were prioritized in labour recruitments at all levels within the remit of her influence.
In furtherance of her pursuit for women excellence in all fields of endeavours, Frema Osei-Opare studied how women contributed to the fishing business, processing, marketing, and sale of fish through her workings with the Integrated Rural Fisheries Development Project sponsored by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Her passion for women empowerment and development peaked when she was appointed a development consultant for the United Nations Women in Fisheries program in Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo and Namibia.
It is interesting to note that at her current position as the Chief of Staff of the Republic, issues of women still remain high on her table. Her interest in the welfare of market women and head porters in the country has been staggering. Her unflinching support to the well-being of these head porters popularly known as ‘Kayayee’ has earned her the title ‘people’s mother’, to wit ‘mother for all.’
It is, therefore, no surprise that the head porters Association of Ghana, the Kejetia Market women, and other identifiable women groups in a unanimous voice called on the president of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to retain her as the Chief of Staff of the Republic for a second term.
Again her interest in matters pertaining to the health of pregnant women is something worth bringing to the fore. She has been a strong voice on the need to bring down the maternal mortality curve in the country. In furtherance of that desire, she ensured the renovation of the maternity ward of the University of Ghana and has since adopted the ward where she periodically donates to support the healthcare of pregnant women.
For her sterling performance as the first female Chief of Staff of the Republic and also for her staunch role in women development in the country at large, she has been a recipient of many notable awards including the Ghana Women of the Year Honours; governance category by Glitz Africa, Exemplary Leadership Awards by the West Africa International Press Limited and The Model African Woman of the Year 2019 Award by the Young African Women Congress (YAWC). Like the proverbial Yaa Asantewa of Asante, Abrewa Dokua of Akyem and other heroines of the past who stood up to men, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare is clearly the new beacon of hope to young women in politics.
By Kwaku Tinyase KTee.