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Opinions of Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Columnist: Annoh-Manso, Jerome

MP Catherine Afeku’s assertion mischievous and nonsensical.

It is said that women are their own enemies. This saying has been reinforced by the statement made on the floor of the House of Parliament by Madam Catherine Afeku (MP).
Madam Catherine Afeku asserts that the few ladies/women, who formed part of the Government’s delegation to Angola to support the Black Stars team in their finals with Egypt, were emplaned in order to provide sexual benefits to the men on the trip. I was shocked to hear this dishonourable MP say this in Parliament. Such statement from an MP is nonsensical and foolish to say the least.
In my few years of following Parliamentary proceedings, this is one of the most absurd and nonsensical statements that has come from a Member of Parliament. But my question is, what was the reaction of the other women in the House? They took it pretty lightly because they are all in the same business. No objectivity. Can you imagine what would have happened if the MP mistakenly made such reckless statement somewhere in the presence of one those women who went on the trip? I believe she would have been lynched like an armed robber. Would she then have come and hide under that ‘voodoo’ Parliamentary Privileges for redress? Where on earth can an MP make such a stinking proclamation and go away with it?
Another important question is, as an opposition MP, does it mean that was the status quo in the eight years of their administration, where they add women as part of delegations ostensibly to satisfy the sexual desires of their male counterparts on such delegations?
Even if it was a night- stop or two day trip, the assertion would still have been nonsensical. It is therefore more mischievously ludicrous when the journey was a day- return trip. As an individual, she may have had problems with the trip. That is fair enough because several commentators have equally branded the trip as unnecessary government expenditure. But that is their opinion.
I am out of words to describe this unfortunately loose, unguarded and grossly mischievous comment of this MP who would want to be addressed as HONOURABLE. Clearly, this cannot be considered as an uninformed comment. Possibly, she was herself, a major beneficiary of such trips and part of official delegations and provided such sexual services herself to her male delegates. She therefore knows what she is talking about. Otherwise, I dare her to mention names in the recent trip to Angola. I also dare the women who were on the trip to also compel her to mention names or deal with her.
How many times has this woman visited her constituency as an MP to have some rapport with her constituents? How many times has she contributed meaningfully, if at all, on the floor of the House? What important developmental idea from her constituency has she suggested on the floor of Parliament?
It is now evident why some of the MPs have been in Parliament for years but fail to contribute meaningfully to Parliamentary business. They simply have nothing to say. They use a chance like this to spew out such garbage.
Now, it is important for the Speaker of the House, being a woman herself, not to take that caricature retraction of the statement by the MP in the House as enough and finality to this issue. The Speaker should send a clear signal to Madam Catherine Afeku that Parliament is a place for serious business and not a place political foolery and a House for making unsubstantiated statements.
The Leadership of the Minority in Parliament should also be concern because such reckless and infantile statements from their side will result in people placing little premium on any future objective, meaningful debate or constructive opposition to serious government propositions in the House.
Now, I think this matter should not rest in Parliament. First of all, all the women who were part of the delegation should come together and pursue this DISHONOURABLE MP. They must put the MP in her proper place by showing to her that Football in Ghana and for that matter supporting the National Team is a non-political, non-partisan event; the reason for which a non-political and all-inclusive delegation was put together for the trip. In fact, on this occasion, I want the women to demonstrate to Madam Catherine Afeku that the Football supporting mission to Angola was meant to bring Ghanaians together and therefore, in the same oneness, they will not allow the MP to divide them but deal with her.
Secondly, where are the vocal Nana Oye Lithur, Ursula Owusu, Dr. Audrey Gadjekpo etc.? I really want to hear them speak to this issue because the MP is a disgrace to them all Ghanaian women. If they do not face this MP now, they should know that next time some other women go as part of a delegation; the same connotation may be given for their inclusion.
They should not allow Catherine Afeku to hide behind Parliamentary Privileges to cause irreparable mischief against her fellow women. Ghanaian women should use this opportunity to proof to Ghanaians, especially me that they have power and that anybody who attempts to compare them to ‘prostitutes’ will not be left off the hook.
Finally, the entire leadership of Parliament should know that the revered respect and dignity accorded Parliament is receding. The earlier they take steps to rebuild that confidence the better. Otherwise, the signal will be sent that the Ghanaian Parliament is not fit for purpose.

Jerome Annoh-Manso
(annohmanso@yahoo.com)