Parliament on Thursday paid glowing tribute to the memory of Mrs Gladys Asmah, founding Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, as the nation prepares for her funeral on October 31, 2014, in Takoradi.
Born on October 16, 1939, in Cape Coast, Mrs Asmah, a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and also former Member of Parliament for Takoradi, died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on June 24, 2014.
Her strength as a unifying woman, which cuts across the political divide, was praised by her former male and female colleagues in Parliament, when Papa Owusu Ankoma, MP for Sekondi, Western Region, made a statement in her memory.
Papa Ankoma traced the biography of the late Mrs Asmah, and informed the House of her acumen as a dressmaker, entrepreneur, businesswoman, administrator and board member of two secondary schools in the Western Region, Board Chair of the Takoradi Women’s Institute, and later as a politician.
According to Papa Ankoma, Mrs Asmah was involved in Dr Bilson’s Third Force Party in 1979, and in 1992, the two of them would have entered Parliament if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had not boycotted the parliamentary elections.
The statement also praised the late politician for the diversified roles she played in the NPP, mentioning the two political portfolios she held as Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs and Minister of Fisheries.
She was also the party’s first woman Deputy Minority Leader, a Member of the party’s Council of Elders and played a significant role in the mentoring of a number of MPs in her party.
Papa Ankoma spoke of Mrs Asmah’s role as an active member of the Anglican Faith.
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, MP for Takoradi, said one of the landmarks which Mrs Asmah would be remembered for was her role in the empowerment of women.
“She worked for women to get small loans for their businesses irrespective of their political colours,” Mr Darko-Mensah said, adding; “she cared for the family and the larger Ghanaian society.”
“Mrs Asmah was a great woman that the people of this country will forever remember,” he said.
Women from both sides eulogised her for her unifying role.
Mrs Mary Hajia Boforo, Member of Parliament for Savelugu, said the late Mrs Asmah facilitated her first trip to the United States of America, after five years of not being able to do so after entering Parliament.
Mrs Patricia Appiagyei MP for Asokwa, said the late Mrs Asmah encouraged women to enter into politics, and to go into fish farming.
”As a disciplinarian, she never encouraged women to dishonour men, their husbands and brothers,” the Asokwa MP said.
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi, Deputy Majority Leader, described the late Mrs Asmah as “a woman who was a shining example for other women to emulate.
“Her life after Parliament is one which we the young ones need to learn. She was still active in the affairs of her party.”
Mr Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu, Minority Leader, described the late Mrs Asmah as a “veritable bridge builder and a unifier in Parliament.”
A minute’s silence was observed in her memory.