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Politics of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Source: My News GH

She stood up to bullies - Gabby backs gunshot-firing Hawa Koomson

An influential member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and cousin of President Akufo-Addo, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has justified the firing of gunshots at a registration centre in the Awutu Senya East constituency.

He explained that he is unable to criticise a woman who fired gunshots not with the intent to cause harm but in self-defense given his experience with election-related violence and the fact that she has a stake in the registration process as the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) and the parliamentary candidate of Awutu Senya East Constituency where the registration centre is located.

“In this male-dominated world of politics, I struggle to find serious fault against a woman MP, who decides to stand up to alleged bullies and she does by not pointing her gun at them, but firing in the air".

"It is easy for you and I to feel she overreacted. She probably did. I will not doubt that. She probably panicked. Many of us have a licensed gun which we carry in our glove compartment and we pray to never feel the need to use it".

"I am very uncomfortable joining the bandwagon to go after a woman who used a weapon, not to harm any person, but to scare away people he felt could harm her and others. I am looking at the level of venom in the attacks she is receiving. I wonder if there is a subtle misogynism at play here. This is not to say I endorse any threat of violence whether in self-defense or not by or against man or woman".

"My problem is that when it comes to the affairs of the few women in our frontline politics my instinct is to side with them until otherwise convinced. So far, I am still trusting my instinct,” he wrote on Facebook sighted by MyNewsGh.com.

Mavis Hawa Koomson has come under intense criticism, with many calling on the President to relieve her of her ministerial position, for firing gunshots at a voter registration centre in Kasoa in the Central Region.

Back several others have backed her, saying that once she acted in self-defense, there should be no issue.

Full post of Gabby below:

It was the 2008 rerun of the presidential race. As head of a governance think tank, I applied for a domestic observer status, and opted to travel around trouble hotspots. I recall a trip to a polling station not far from where the MP fired a warning shot this week. Not far at all.

I was lucky enough to have a police escort by the name George Nkum (now Chief Inspector) with me. It was interesting how he reacted the moment our lives looked threatened.

As we approached the polling station, we were told that some “bad things” were happening there. A group of angry looking men, wielding all manner of instruments, started rushing towards me.

I stood there, weighing my options; turned, assuredly, to my police escort, who had a loaded rifle. He then, to my surprise, started to hurry back to our vehicle, beckoning to me to follow. I looked at him, shook my head, and turned away from the polling area, walking, begrudgingly obligingly, to the safety of my vehicle, in which the driver was peacefully dozing away. George turned back, urging me to run as the angry mob quickened their pace. I refused to run. Too cool for my own good? I kept walking. He screamed that I run. I ignored. I was torn between my own safety and the safety of the ballot box. I chose my safety but walked on.

I did not run, not because I wanted to be a hero. No. I had measured the distance from my vehicle and knew the mob would not catch up with me. So I was not to give them that extra pleasure.

Later on in the Pajero Mistubushi, as we drove safely away, I asked the police man, “George, you had a gun. Why did you run?” He said, “Massa, safety first!”

I was not sure whether to agree or disagree. Whose safety, I fell short of asking.

But, then I wondered… why should our elections be this way? 12 years later, not far from the same spot, why should a woman candidate, an MP, a Minister, feel so threatened to feel the need to fire a warning shot into the open air? Three elections on, have we made progress?

Ordinarily, I would have condemned the act. But, I remember when I felt threatened, my first instinct was not to run but to turn to the man licensed to carry a gun for protection. Or was it so that he could put the fear of the gun into the hoodlums? Perhaps, I could afford to walk away because I was not the candidate whose electoral destiny was directly at stake. I was a mere “observer.”

In this male-dominated world of politics, I struggle to find serious fault against a woman MP, who decides to stand up to alleged bullies and she does by not pointing her gun at them, but firing in the air.

It is easy for you and I to feel she overreacted. She probably did. I will not doubt that.

She probably panicked. Many of us have a licensed gun which we carry in our glove compartment and we pray to never feel the need to use it. She did.

I am very uncomfortable joining the bandwagon to go after a woman who used a weapon, not to harm any person, but to scare away people he felt could harm her and others.

I am looking at the level of venom in the attacks she is receiving. I wonder if there is a subtle misogynism at play here. This is not to say I endorse any threat of violence whether in self-defence or not by or against man or woman.

My problem is that when it comes to the affairs of the few women in our frontline politics my instinct is to side with them until otherwise convinced.

So far, I am still trusting my instinct.