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Opinions of Saturday, 30 August 2008

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Elections 08: Leave Maame Dokono Alone

History is on my side as I embark on another “journey through the fraternity” to validate Grace Omaboe’s (Maame Dokono) exit from the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

As written before, prior to the 2000 general elections in Ghana, I was rounding up studies at Rutgers when some members of the 31st December Women’s Movement accompanied Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings to attend an empowerment conference organized by the university’s academic foundation program.

Ms. Omaboe, who was part of the delegation, played an important role to facilitate a successful visit, providing an essential backbone upon which Nana Konadu Rawlings’ mission in the United States was accomplished.

I can say so, because a greater percentage of the women from Ghana who attended were at a lost as to what the conference was all about. When I visited them at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New-Jersey, those who confessed were in the majority: “we are members of the Movement drawn from all the regions in Ghana to attend this conference as a “thank you gift” for many years of supporting the NDC”.

I will not criticize why the women came to the United States in the name of a conference, but ended up spending each day on a shopping spree in downtown Newark. This is because being in the US alone exposed them to a different cultural environment, a learning experience that I believe was useful when they returned, but we can equally deride the fact, why the government of Ghana sponsored the former first lady’s Movement, which claims to be non-governmental.

The objective that the conference sought to achieve was replaced with self-serving interest, and whilst the visit induced my joy, it also triggered an equitable anger, the purpose for attending a conference tainted with an adventure for material things in the heart of Newark, New-Jersey.

History would always help humanity, providing the basis upon which we can all look into the future with hope. I had to interview Maame Dokono for the Rutgers newspaper- “The Observer”, during which she explained her advocacy work for women and children, her desire to help orphans in the future, and why politics should not be used as divisive tool in Ghana.

She continued, “I am not in the United States for party politics”, explaining that “her visit was to explore networks that can improve women empowerment in Ghana, how malnourished children in rural communities can be assisted to have balanced diet, and go to school”.

For these reasons, I am not surprised that Ms. Omaboe later established an orphanage in Ghana, as well as endorsing the school feeding program initiated by the NPP government, which indeed, has contributed immensely to boost enrollment in many communities.

Between NDC activists who are consumed by cheap propaganda, and Maame Dokono, I am inclined to believe the latter due to the fact that she is not “stingy with the truth”; she has nothing to lose as against a party which is struggling for its survival, or revival?

To the politically-challenged, it should be made clear, that people join political parties for many reasons. It is also true, that when a particular party appears to be the right track, and its achievements are akin to an individual’s aspirations, it is only proper to cement a relationship with it. Criticizing a defection with regard to Maame Dokono is ineffective.

Mudslinging drives away many people with excellent qualities from a political party, and that party would be much feared than loved.

Grace Omaboe has fully paid her dues to Ghana, and should not be rewarded with insults. At 60, her contribution to child education and theatrical arts are par excellence, and it is totally unacceptable for any individual to chastise her based on intangible reasons.

She is very interesting to talk to, and I enjoyed every bit of my interview with her many years ago.

ato aidoo