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Feature Article of Sunday, 27 May 2012

Columnist: Eshun, Julian

NDC Leadership’s Obsession with Zita

By Julian Eshun

As we enter the thick of election campaign season, most of us are in the mood to reflect on the past electoral cycle and to appraise the first term of the current NDC administration. If ever there was one person who was given the most opportunities by the ruling party albeit undeservedly, it has to be Zita Okaikoi. Every now and then; when I get all fired up about women representation in government, I also get so infuriated at the earliest, most ridiculous blunder of the current administration – the laughable appointment of Zita Okaikoi as Minister of Information. Initially we all gave it the benefit of doubt, apprehensive though we were.

In hindsight it turned out to be the most preposterous and absurd of appointments in the history of our young democracy. Up till now, I am still searching for the reasoning and motivation behind that ignominy of a decision to appoint such an inexperienced, uninformed, out-of-nowhere, deer-in-a-headlight person to head the all important information ministry. Did president Mills and his advisors just want a pretty face in cabinet? Or were they just trying to fill the quota of the promised percentage of women in government and therefore any woman was as good a placeholder?

I honestly applauded the quick recovery the decision-makers made when it became apparent that they made a huge bubu and dropped the ball. As the saying goes, an ERROR only becomes a MISTAKE when it is not corrected when found, so they swiftly reshuffled her behind to the “step-child” ministry – Tourism. And even there, her incompetence couldn’t be disguised. I want to take this time to remind the governmental appointment gatekeepers that there are a lot more qualified and competent FEMALES out there, even within the NDC, if only they could look beyond bodily features and skin color. Most of us will not take extended maternity leaves abroad in order for our children to acquire foreign citizenship either.

The next time Zita surfaced, she lost at the NDC Parliamentary primaries for the Dome Kwabenya slot to a newcomer – one Madam Sophia Akuoko. The silver lining in all this could have been that her husband, Andrew Okaikoi braved through and won the primaries as NDC parliamentary candidate for Okaikoi North constituency, so at the very least they could pool their resources to win that seat to have a Member of Parliament in the Okaikoi household. But nooo, the former minister of information has divorced him. The last this I heard she’s working tirelessly (pun intended) to thwart his bid for parliament, it’s like “who born dog? If I didn’t go to parliament why should you go?”

But take heart all ye Zita fans, she has one last card in the box, the NDC honchos won’t give up so easily on their baby doll, led by one notorious presidential staffer who is himself a parliamentary aspirant in Greater Accra, they are pulling all the stops to split the Dome Kwabenya constituency in order to impose their beloved Zita Sabah on the good people of Abokobi. The irony of that move is that, the ruling party stands a great chance of winning the Dome Kwabenya parliamentary seat, with the departure of NPP’s Professor Mike Ocquaye; but once again they are not focusing on the party but rather they have to do the bidding of Zita who will cause them to lose three seats, Okaikoi North, Dome-Taifa and Abokobi if they split Dome Kwabenya at her behest.

Julianeshun@gmail.com

Washington DC

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