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General News of Monday, 17 November 2014

Source: Starrfmonline.com

'Sharia MP' needs his head "examined" – Ursula

Ablekuma West Legislator and staunch women rights activist Ursula Owusu Ekuful has said fellow Legislator Nelson Abudu Baani needs his head examined for advocating stoning to death and hanging of adulterous women.

“…For an MP to wake up and say that women should be stoned to death for adultery, really his head should be examined. I don’t know which century he lives in. I don’t know where he is coming from. Our law is gender neutral,” Owusu Ekuful said Monday on STARR 103.5 FM.

The Daboya/Makarigu MP made the suggestion in Parliament Thursday during discussions on the intestate succession bill which is being amended to correct certain anomalies and disadvantages against female spouses as far as the distribution of inheritance is concerned in marriages where a man dies intestate.

Baani argued that it was unfair for adulterous women to inherit their husbands per the law without the same law stipulating sanctions akin to those implemented in Afghanistan, against such unfaithful wives.

The northern MP later justified his controversial proposal in an interview with STARR NEWS and wondered why women groups were attacking him on the airwaves just for speaking his mind.

Owusu Ekuful, who told MORNING STARR host Kafui Dey that she was not within the Chamber when Baani made the comment, said: “I must say I was thinking that he was joking and that he wasn’t serious about those comments, but having heard him saying, repeating and sticking his neck out and saying that he stands by those words, I am appalled that a legislator who has sworn to preserve, protect and defend and uphold the constitution of Ghana will talk like this at this particular time in the development of our country.”

“We live under laws. Our laws are gender neutral. Adultery is not a criminal offence. I have no idea where this is coming from,” she said.

“In my opinion it is hate speech, it is promoting violence against women, it is unacceptable, it is reprehensible, and it should be condemned by all right-thinking members of society,” she fumed.

The vice president of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) also condemned attempts by some Ghanaian Muslims on social media to justify the MP’s comment.

“I hear some others also justifying it under the guise of religion. That is a slippery slope we do not want to even embark on. Ghana is a secular state; we do not practice Sharia law: anybody who wants to live under sharia law can go where sharia law is practised,” the Lawyer said.

“…For someone to advocate stoning and hanging for adultery in this day and age, I have no idea where that person is coming from and maybe he is in the wrong place and should not be one that is in charge of making laws in this country.”

Various women rights groups and civil society organisations have also condemned the MP and demanded an apology or resignation.