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Opinions of Thursday, 7 February 2013

Columnist: Kassah, Alexander Kwesi

Stop the Disrespect, Marginalization and Devaluation of Fellow Ghanaians!

This short article is about the disrespectful, discriminatory and devaluing messages some individuals and groups are spreading on the media on two respectable Ghanaians who were nominated by the President to serve as ministers of state. A quick look at the online news items on Ghana revealed that NUGs will embark on a massive demonstration if Nana Oye Lithur becomes the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Affairs in Ghana. Their argument was that she is a human rights activist and will therefore compromise our cultural values, social norms, religious beliefs and customary laws, and promote the practice of homosexuality in the country.
Not long after, I came across other articles written by Clergymen, a renowned lawyer and a reverend moderator who also came to a similar illogical conclusion labeling Oye as an immoral person who must be rejected by the President. As if these were not enough, a traditional leader also made the headlines preaching why a disabled lawyer should not play the role of minister for chieftaincy affairs. The explanation given here was that chieftaincy is a sacred institution and that disabled people are traditionally not allowed to wear the crown of chiefs in Ghana. It is interesting to note that these two personalities the President has chosen are not being challenged as unqualified to do the work. Both are respectable individuals who have ‘climbed’ the academic ladders and are successfully contributing to the national economy. It is therefore strange that some respectable people in society argue that such people should not be given the chance to help the President achieve the better Ghana Agenda.
In my view, our children who face abuse, our disabled children and albinos who are denied the right to life and our women who constantly face domestic violence, need a hardworking human rights activist to head that vital ministry. I think Anas Amereyew Anas has given Ghanaians enough evidence to support a strong human rights activists like Oye to start implementing policies to save our marginalized and oppressed women and children. Oye says she is not accepting the position to fight for children to start practicing homosexuality, but will always fight for people whose rights are being trampled upon, because they happen to adopt a lifestyle different from the so called ‘perfect others’ in society. Can our highly religious Lawyer Foh-Amoaning tell us that he is the best person to determine whether Lawyer Oye Lithur is capable of performing her ministerial duties according to the laws of Ghana?
Can any of the Ghanaian chiefs who are shouting and calling for the exemption of Dr Danaa, the new Minister of chieftaincy and traditional affairs just because of seeing difficulties which never hindered him in his education and career tell us that they are so perfectly born and have no deformity? Do Ghanaian chiefs have disabled children? What happens to these children when customs do not permit them to interact with disabled people? Can a person who wears spectacles because he or she cannot read or see properly become a chief in Ghana? Are chiefs who become wheelchair users later during their lives dethroned in Ghana? Is it stated anywhere in the Ghanaian constitution and legal documents that the minister of chieftaincy affairs should have the physical qualities of a traditional chief?

It is hard to comprehend that our youth and students leaders (NUGS) want to engage in strike action just because the President’s minister is ready to defend all Ghanaians, including those whose rights are violated because of what they practice in the darkest corner of their bedrooms. Lessons in processes of marginalization, devaluation and human rights should make our young students become more tolerant and respectful members of the changing Ghanaian society.
Dear Ghanaians, It is time to do away with all these baseless devaluation of people who want to help promote the Better Ghana agenda that professor Mills started before his untimely death. Thanks!

Alexander Kwesi Kassah