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Opinions of Saturday, 28 March 2015

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Let's Protect our Female MPs!

A woman as we all know is the epitome of tenderness, care and wisdom. Thus, women's contribution to nation building cannot be over-emphasized and this could be seen in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy – agriculture, public service, trade, among others. The results of the 2010 Population and Housing census in Ghana put the percentage of women at 51.3%, yet the number of women in politics is not all that encouraging.

Besides, women continue to face discrimination, abuses and prejudice, and this situation could be curtailed, if more pragmatic policies geared towards gender equality are implemented by the powers that be. It's against this backdrop that I went speechless for almost 2 hours when I realised that some NPP members had besieged the Party Headquarters to protect against the decision to protect our female MPs. I didn't understand why the NPP of all parties would tow that line. Even when NEC made bad decisions a few months back, nothing of that sort happened. Unless those who partook that protest tell me they hate women and do not want their empowerment, I see their action as needless.

Is the NPP, the party that created a special ministry for women and children now anti-women? If No, why single out the women issue as controversial? How does the NPP claim to have the welfare of women at heart, yet kick against such laudable idea by NEC? Have members of the party taken time to read the 2012 NPP manifesto on Women? If No, what prevents them from doing so? Again, do people think the empowerment of women lies in political appointments? If that is their thinking, what then happens, if power eludes the NPP in 2016 (God forbid though)? Would that appointment be made in opposition?

Are NPP members aware that the 4th Republican Constitution mandates the President to appoint majority of Ministers from Parliament? If Yes, how would this Constitutional mandate be fulfilled, if fewer women get into Parliament in 2016 under an NPP government?

Now, let's take our time to read this: • Filing fee of GHC10.000.00 for each Parliamentary aspirant in Orphan Constituency. Why not all constituencies? Is this proposal not discriminatory? • Filing fee of GHC10.000.00 for each sitting Member of Parliament seeking re-election, but new aspirants are to pay GHC30,000 (Filing fee GHC10.000.00 + Development fee GHC20.000.00). Why should sitting MPs pay less than new entrants? Is this also not discriminatory? • 50% rebate on both the filling and development fees for Women, Youth and People with Disability. In other words, the Youth, Women, and the Disabled pay half of what others are paying? Is this not discriminatory? •12 coastal constituencies in the Greater Accra Region including Odododiodio, Tema, should be contested by Ga indigenes except in exceptional circumstances. Is this not discriminatory? Why only Ga indigenes? What about Ashanti seats? • Lastly, how do we expect the poor, but potential good MPs to pay GHC30,000? Is this also not discrimination against the poor NPP members?

From the above, one could see that the proposal by NEC clearly centres on discrimination in all form. The question then is; Is one discrimination better than the other?

For me, it's either the whole proposal is thrown away or we accept it as it is and move on. Our female MPs deserve better! The proposal favoured not only female MPs, but also Gas, sitting MPs, the Wealthy, Youth, and Disabled people.

God bless Ghana! God bless Ghanaian Women!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri

(katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk)

0202471070 // 0547851100 // 0264931361