There appears to be a coup d’état at the 31st December Women’s Movement (31st DWM), which was once affiliated to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Former Minister of Fisheries under the previous Mahama administration, Hani Sherry Ayitey, appears to have taken over the affairs of the red beret movement.
She has begun a re-organization exercise at all branches of the movement in the country.
The move is likely to cause heated debate over who actually owns 31st DWM since former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, is believed to be the founder and President of the movement at all material times.
The former First Lady founded the movement after her husband’s Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), which metamorphosed into NDC, seized power in a coup on 31st December 1981.
The red beret wearing movement was the mobilizing tool during the 19-year rule of former President Rawlings.
His wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings was the lead organizer of the women, who offered their unalloyed support for the NDC across the country.
But Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings broke ranks with the NDC to form the National Democratic Party (NDP).
There have been subtle efforts by some elements in the NDC to lay claim to the movement.
The NDC is instigating the ranks and file of the movement to undermine Nana Konadu.
According to reports, members across the country have called for accountability.
Some say Mrs. Rawlings has held herself as president of the movement since 1992 in contravention of the stipulated five-year term per the regulations governing the movement.
According to a syndicated story in pro-NDC newspapers, members of the movement have demanded audited accounts of the 31st DWM and Carridem Development Company Limited, which is a subsidiary of the movement from 1999 to date, including all bank account statements and the Assets Register.
The newspapers said at Ashaiman, members expressed their appreciation for efforts being made to reorganize the movement and called on the leadership to open its membership to more women.
Sherry Ayitey, the former Minister of Fisheries under President Mahama, who is also a former treasurer of the movement and once a confidant of Mrs Rawlings, was said to have addressed the women in Ashiaman.
She entreated the women to ‘forget about the past, forge ahead in unity and get involved in politics in their localities.
The former Minister reportedly told the women that the movement was going to sponsor any member, who would show interest in contesting elections at the district level.
Interestingly, in the glory days of the NDC, the party never recognized the importance of the movement.
Ms Ayitey might have jumped into the driver’s seat due to the defeat of the NDC since she has less to do these days.