Barely two years after exiting power the once perceived vibrant Lordina Foundation is now broke and defunct. The foundation was very instrumental in the last NDC administration of the John Mahama led government. Since the defeat of the NDC in the 2016 national elections, it is alleged that the foundation has laid off all key workers and has been inactive for almost two years.
Recent checks indicate that, the foundation’s website, www.lordinafoundation.org has been dormant for close to sixteen months and more. The foundation was the brain child of Mrs Lordina Mahama which was established when the former president John Dramani Mahama took the reigns of government in Ghana. It can also be reported that, Mrs Lordina Mahama’s other social media accounts such as twitter and facebook have also been inactive for some months now.
It is not clear whether the management of the foundation have any plans to reopen its activities since former President Mahama declared his intention to contest the leadership race of the national democratic congress for the 2020 elections.
Ghanamatters.com investigation suggests that, previous foundations and other charitable causes pursued by former first ladies expires immediately their husbands exit power. Many have questioned however, the sources of funding for these otherwise noble causes championed by these former first ladies.
Could it also be possible that Ghanaians need to consider the long lasting roles and support for spouses of their elected president’s in and out of government?
The debate on what sort of roles first ladies in Ghana should play in our democracy begun during our return to constitutional rule in 1990’s.
In other jurisdictions, such as the United States of America, the position of first ladies carries only ceremonial duties. Nonetheless, first ladies have held a highly visible position in American society. The role of the First Lady has however evolved over the centuries. She is, first and foremost, the hostess of the White House. She organizes and attends official ceremonies and functions of state either along with, or in place of, the president.
Lisa Burns in her book, “First Ladies and the Fourth Estate: Press Framing of Presidential Wives”, identifies four successive main themes of the first ladyship: as public woman (1900–1929); as political celebrity (1932–1961); as political activist (1964–1977); and as political interloper (1980–2001).
The story of the Lordina foundation remains a fresh rehash of what roles and funding should be given to first ladies in Ghana. Many are of the view that the absence of clear rules establishing the responsibilities of first ladies and the likes creates an avenue for potential corruption and wanton dissipation of state resources. Evidently, several appointees at the seat of government are seconded to the offices of the first and second lady respectively. The quantum of presidential staffers with no specific duties remain a major contributor to the cost of running government in Ghana.
Ghana’s constitution is silent on the roles first ladies play in our democracy, but perhaps it’s about time the nation considered this matter critically.
Ghanamatters.com will continue to track previous foundations and social causes supported by previous former first and second ladies in Ghana.
Story by Abdul Musah.