Since she made known her intention to contest the Ablekuma West parliamentary seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Jacqueline Akweley Mantey-Amoo has come under public scrutiny with critics questioning her capability to successfully contest and perform the role of Member of Parliament.
This perception, according to the former beauty queen, perhaps, stems from the erroneous belief that as a showbiz person, she is shallow and not fit to walk the corridors of power as a policy maker.
Akweley, 31, draws inspiration from other showbiz personalities such as Mrs Benita Sena Okiti-Dua, Miss Ghana 1997, and actor and comedian, Mr Fritz Baffour, MPs for Ledzokuku and Ablekuma South respectively who made successful transition into mainstream politics.
These two MPs, she says, provide enough proof that people in the entertainment industry are not shallow and politically naive.
“I read many messages on social media and it amazes me that people don’t believe in my capabilities because I was a contestant in a beauty pageant. It really amazes me,” said Akweley, the second runner-up of TV3’s Ghana Most Beautiful pageant in 2011, in an interview with Graphic Showbiz on Tuesday.
“The truth is that, it is only in Ghana that showbiz persons are not considered serious minded. In Nigeria where we have many things in common with, personalities in showbiz are highly regarded. They stand for political positions and they get enormous support from their people.
“But in Ghana, if you are a comedian, actor or anything that has to do with the entertainment industry, you have no business with governance since such positions are the preserve of ‘serious minds’ and a showbiz person can’t match them?” she stated.
But such negative perceptions, she admits, has strengthened her resolve to fight for the “crown”.
She submitted her nomination forms to the party’s constituency office last Thursday and for Akweley, that is proof of her seriousness.
“I mean serious business and I’m not in this contest to test the waters. It is either I win or lose and I don’t think anyone goes into a competition to lose.I am serious and I want people to take me serious.”
Akweley told Showbiz that contrary to the perception that she was an underdog in the contest, she is not new to the game of politics. She was the first female organising secretary of Legon Hall when she was in the university.
Also, as a card-bearing member of the NDC, she worked behind the scenes and used her fame to campaign for some NDC Parliamentary candidates who eventually made their way to Parliament in the 2012 elections.
Akweley, who will compete with three other aspirants at the primaries, is hopeful of going through the vetting process successfully and eventually winning the nod and possibly go into a hot contest with the sitting MP, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful of the NPP.
“I want the NPP to maintain Ursula and I pray that I’m also given the nod because we have a lot in common.
“Apart from her beauty, intelligence, confidence and eloquence which I admire and know we have in common, we are both old students of Mfanstiman Secondary School and she will be the best person to challenge me,” said Akweley, who is a Sanitation Ambassador and runs the Clean Ghana Foundation.