Gender comments: Female ministers defend Akufo-Addo

Gender comments: Female ministers defend Akufo-Addo
Source: Ghana | | Akyena Brantuo |
Date: 07-06-2019 Time: 02:06:19:pm
Hajia Alima Mahama, Ursula Owusu Ekuful and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Three female ministers have defended President Akufo-Addo's recent comments on gender advocacy in Ghana.

According to the Ministers for Local Government and Rural Development, Communications as well as Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the president spoke the truth when he said women need to do more to earn their place in political offices.

At the Women Deliver Conference in Canada this week, the President said it will take more than wishes and hopes for women to get to the decision-making table.

“We are not seeing enough dynamism and activism on the part of those who are seeking. I am talking about dynamism where it matters…electing people to Parliament, controlling political parties because they are the instruments by which our societies make decisions,” Akufo-Addo argued.

Read more: President Akufo-Addo heckled by gender activist

Activism 1

The president’s comments have both been criticised and praised.

Actress Lydia Forson has observed that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo embarrassed himself publicly by his comment.

“When we talk you don’t listen, then you’ll go out there and get laughed at, very publicly????

“And they want to believe they are helping but don’t get that they cannot, without tackling the fundamental issues first. Sadly our president had to be educated on this very publicly,” Lydia said in a tweet.

Lydia Forson

This position is in sharp contrast to those of some women in the president’s government.

In a Press Conference on Friday at the Information Ministry, they took turns to defend the comments of the president.

According to the Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, the president communicated excellently and spoke the truth.

Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama

“The fact that he agreed to attend the programme even shows his commitment to women empowerment and gender equality,” Hajia Alima Mahama argued.

The President had the option to turn down the invitation to be part of the conference or make a minister represent him “but he showed commitment to gender equality by attending himself,” she added.

On her part, Communication Minister, Ursula Owusu, said women should be thankful to the president who by his comments, has revived a stalled women’s activism.

Communications minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful 

“I must thank the president for reigniting this debate. Some may have gone stalled and may have forgotten about the issue but he has challenged us and some have suddenly found their voices,” she said referencing a former gender Minister, Nana Oye Lithur.

According to her, Nana Oye Luthur, for the past eight years that her government -the National Democratic Congress- was in power, never saw the need to speak when women were attacked but has suddenly found her voice after the president’s comment.

Foreign Affairs minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said that “the truth hurts and that is a fact.” Unfortunately, we are all playing politics with it.

According to her what the president said was a call to action. The president was not just speaking for Ghana; he was speaking from the point of view of what was happening in Africa as well, she argued.

“We can decide to be ostriches and bury ourselves in the sand and say that all is well but I tell you that if we do not act, the government will put in all the laws and yet nothing will change.

“I am surprised all these people are being negative about his comments,” she said in exhilaration.

In a related development, the Information Minister in an article has revealed that the President has appointed more women than any other president in “our nation’s history.”

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah puts out the following statistics to make his point.

J. J Rawlings
First term =15%
2nd term  =13. 58%

J. A Kufuor
2 terms =11.43%

J. E. A Mills
First Term = 18.35

John Mahama
First Term = 17.86.

Nana Akufo Addo
First Term = 19.24%

According to Mr Nkrumah,  “at least three key cabinet positions of his government are held by women: Attorney General, Foreign Affairs and Local Government. 

“It is an open secret that in 2008 his first choice for a running mate was a woman. In the 2012 NPP parliamentary primaries, he argued that sitting female MPs should be protected while lowering costs for women aspirants,” he wrote.

Read more here: Akufo-Addo's commitment to women empowerment is not in doubt