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Opinions of Monday, 8 August 2016

Columnist: Frimpong, N.Y

Surging Ghanaian women in politics and a reflection on our immoral society

Brigitte DzogbenukuBrigitte Dzogbenuku

As the December 7 elections in Ghana nears, the issue of women participation or the appearance of it, has come to play a significant role in the decision making and strategy of the various political players.

Whiles some parties reserved some constituencies exclusively for women contenders as parliamentarians; other political parties have openly endorsed and sponsored particular women candidates for various constituencies.

Women are also lining up to run for President in this 2016 election more than any other. Some women too are coming up for vice Presidential nominations. With so many women now occupying sensitive and strategic positions in Ghana such as Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Education minister, foreign minister etc, it will seem to many observers that women's active participation in politics and governance in Ghana is on a surge.

Apparently, it is not only in Ghana that women participation in politics and governance is a major issue in 2016. In America the citadel of Democracy, Hillary Clinton is a front-runner for President on the ticket of the American Democrats. She is a Shining example to American women and indeed, women of the world.

With one daughter between her and her husband former President Bill Clinton; she remained faithful to her husband during a stormy period of sexual scandals involving Bill Clinton and Monica Lowinsky in the white house amidst threats of impeachment etc.

She stood firmly by her husband. Mrs. Clinton remained committed to her family and cultural values. She married her daughter Chelsea Clinton off in 2010 at the age of thirty (30). Today, the American people are raising her as a shining example to women all over the world. It took hundreds of years of practicing democracy before the Americans finally found a virtuous woman to emerge as a role model for their society.

This is why it is important, indeed crucial, for us in Ghana to pause a bit and ask ourselves if the women who are coming up and putting themselves up for political office in Ghana, whether those women have regard for societal and family values? Do their personal and family lives serve as a good example for other women of society or do these women play a bad example for the rest of the young women in our society. Let us look at a few random examples. The list is endless though.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP recently named one Brigette Dzogbenuku as a vice Presidential candidate of the Progressive people party in the 2016 Presidential election. Many people have wondered what may have informed Mr. Nduom's decision. A little investigation on Ms. Dzogbenuku shows that she was Miss Ghana in 1991.She has a degree in modern languages from the University of Ghana. She has set up and running an NGO (Mentoring Women Ghana) which aims to 'inspire and empower young women and girls into making a positive difference in their communities'.

She is unmarried but has a child out of wedlock with former VRA C.E.O Mr. Kwaku Awotwi, a married man, which led to the breaking up of his marriage.

When Mr. Awotwi was fired by President John Mahama from the VRA, Brigette Dzogbenuku joined occupyFlagstaffHouse and began to agitate against the NDC government. That is how she came to prominence to merit the nomination of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom as his running mate for President.

Can she be a role model for Ghanaian women? Is her personal lifestyle the best way to 'inspire and empower young Ghanaian women and girls into making a positive difference in their communities' as she claims? I doubt it!

Another Woman bidding for President in 2016 is former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings. Her claim to fame is that her husband, former President Rawlings took power forcefully with the gun and she ruled Ghana behind her husband for nineteen (19) years. Having become power drunk, she is unable to be without power.

She has forced her husband, the former President Rawlings to commit political suicide by abandoning his own founded party the NDC and endorsing his arch political enemy in opposition candidate, all because Mrs. Rawlings wants to be obeyed.

Nana Konadu Agyeman - Rawlings left her own husband's party the NDC to form her own party (NDP) because she attempted and failed to hijack the NDC for their personal family dynasty. Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings has tried to destroy any man who goes near her family including her own husband, the husbands of her own biological sisters and the fathers of her own daughter's children.

If you don't believe me go and ask Sellasie O'Sullivan Djentu of his identification haircut (only God knows where ever he is hiding now) Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Haruna Atta, David Ampofo or Herbert Mensah.

The three grown daughters of Nana Konadu Agyeman – Rawlings – all in their 30's - remain unmarried because their mother does not find any man good enough for them. She is the one who must be obeyed. Mrs. Rawlings behaves as if she will marry her own daughters – no one else in the world is good enough for them.

If Hillary Clinton had tried to destroy the Democratic Party after losing out to President Obama, she will not today be accepted by the American people. If Hillary had refused to give her daughter in marriage according to American societal values, she will be judged for it today. But Mrs. Rawlings doesn't seem to get it. Is she delusional? Can she ever be a positive example for young women growing up?

The Foreign Minister is Hannah Tetteh. She is a barrister at law. She worked with CHRAJ and became NDC spokesperson during the 2008 elections. She became Trade and Industry minister under President Mills. And she has become Foreign Minister under John Mahama.

Despite all her academic and professional exploits and successes, Hannah Tetteh has had two children out of wedlock. She remains a single woman and she was recently quoted as saying that "The success of my government, my party and constituency are more important to me so I don't have the luxury of being romantic," Hannah Tetteh told Bola Ray on Starr FM.

In other words, Ms. Hannah Tetteh has vowed to sacrifice basic family and cultural values to attain her ambitions. She thinks it is unimportant to build a culturally and socially accepted family system at the expense of political ambitions. Are these the role models that our daughters and sisters should be looking up to as women leaders in Ghana?

Another example is Zanetor Aguyeman – Rawlings, daughter of former President Rawlings. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Whiles she was growing up, she tried to mingle with the ordinary Ghanaian but she was not allowed by her mother to imbibe societal and cultural values.

Zanetor's first boyfriend Sellassie O'Sulluvan Djentu, on the orders of Mrs. Rawlings received a haircut with broken bottles from soldiers at the Osu castle in the year 2000 for daring to relate with Zanetor Rawlings. He was later locked up for days before being released. The young man's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Djentu, both ended up at the James town prison for several months after their summary trials and convictions backed up by trumped-up charges at an Accra high court.

Since then Zanetor Rawlings has gone on to become a medical doctor, receiving her medical training in Ireland, UK and arguably paid for by Ghanaian tax payers. Zanetor Rawlings has practiced medicine in Ireland since completing her studies for over ten (10) years. She hasn't worked and contributed to Ghana after her studies abroad – not even for a day.

At 39, Zanetor Rawlings remains unmarried. She has three children from two different fathers. With the help of her mother, she and her family wants nothing to do with the fathers of her children. Zanetor Rawlings then decided that if she has to work for Ghana, it has to be as a legislator for Klottey Korle constituency.

Although she was not prepared to enter politics – she had no voter ID Card, no NDC party membership card etc – with the backing of John Mahama and his wife, her father Papa J and the connivance of some national executives of the NDC and the Supreme Court, Zanetor Agyeman - Rawlings has now become a parliamentary candidate of the NDC in the Klottey Korle constituency.

What sort of example is Zanetor Rawlings setting for the rest of the young women of Ghana? She is certainly not a role model. Just like her mother, she has a sense entitlement to power. She does not give a damn about the people. And just like her father Papa J, Zanetor is coming to preach virtue whiles practicing vice.

We can go on and on about the sort of women who are trying to participate or even take over the political space in Ghana. Their story remains the same – they are all bad examples for emulation by upcoming young women politicians in Ghana.

If we yearn for women to participate in our politics, we must yearn for those who have basic respect for family values which forms the core of our societal fabric. We are not and cannot be well-served by women who appear so vindictive and evil and who will sacrifice basic values of culture, systems, family values in order to attain political office.

What example is Brigette Dzogbenuku setting to other young women of Ghana as running-mate to Dr. Paa Kwasi Nduom? Is Paa Kwesi Nduom saying that by choosing her, it is okay as a young woman to break up or destroy other people's marriage in order to get what you want in life?

What example is Nana Konadu Agyeman –Rawlings setting for young Ghanaian women? That marriage, family life, parental upbringing of children is not all that important to Ghanaian women in their quest to attain social- political success? Is she telling Ghanaian women that all that matter to them is power and money and the wanton/endless acquisition of wealth?

What is Zanetor Rawlings, Hannah Tetteh and the others teaching the young women in Ghana? That it is okay to have children with different men and not allow those men to bring the children up all because they want to achieve their political or career goals with no respect for basic family values?

If Hillary Clinton had exhibited these sorts of vulgar traits and bad character in her life, the American Democrats today will not be holding her up as a model for all women of the world. And the American Public will not today be hopeful about the possibility of a first woman President of the United States of America.

Yes, we need women participation in our politics and governance but such women must be good examples that are worth emulating by our younger generation. Those women must be women of virtue and integrity and strong character. Those women must have respect for basic cultural and family values. Those women who want to participate in governance must not come across as the most promiscuous of them all as we are seeing right now in Ghana.

If women represent the highest demographic in Ghana's population, then Ghana can do better in providing better quality ambassadors to participate in politics and governance by setting good examples for the coming generation.

Sadly, there are blinded leaders like Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Nana Akuffo Addo, John Mahama, Jerry John Rawlings and co. who still get misled by these sorts of vindictive, megalomaniac, self-absorbed women parading as potential leaders of our country. The leaders still endorse and nominate these same kinds of women as ministers of state, parliamentary candidates, Presidential candidates and vice Presidential candidates.

How could our leaders fail to see beyond the hollow gimmicks of these uncultured women? No wonder our younger women are all going astray misled and ill-motivated by the uncultured lifestyles of these so-called female politicians who put everything else on the hold, including basic family values, systems of culture etc. in pursuit of political power, at all cost.

With all these vindictive ill-motivated women coming onboard the political field, our politics can only be expected to get worse especially if Ghanaians are tongue-fooled into voting them into office.

Hopefully, Ghana being a culturally sensitive country, we-the-people will react to these "bad nuts" claiming to represent women's interests in the most appropriate manner and form come December 7 2016.

Writer's e-mail: nyfrimpong

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