There have been several calls for women participation in the political administration of this country and for that matter some political parties have adopted some means to increase the number of women who engage in today’s politics.
Some of these political parties have it in their constitution that incumbent female MPs should not be contested by any male aspirant. Many people believe that this is a good move because it will encourage more women participation and as such have commended them. Honorable Lydia Seyram Alhassan after winning the Ayawaso West Wougon by-election has been facing a lot of hitches from the minority MPs in parliament about her legitimacy. This comes as a result of the bad incident that characterized the by-election. In the minority’s bid to show their disapproval for that election, they staged a walk-out from parliament during her swearing in on Tuesday February 5, 2019. Some of the MPs were seen holding placards that had the inscription ‘BLOODY WIDOW’. The issue is, why ‘Bloody Widow’? This has generated a lot of controversy amongst many Ghanaians, many have condemned their conduct as being cruel.
We have all heard or seen the unfortunate incident that happened at La Bawaleshie in the Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region. It was the expectation of many Ghanaians that the Ayawaso West Wougon by-election would have been one that was devoid of any violence, but the opposite did happen. Some supposed security men were seen shooting some sympathizers of the National Democratic Congress who had come to support their candidate Mr. Delali Kwesi Brempong popularly known as DKB. There were some heavily built men who the NDC believe belonged to the NPP’s Invisible Force, who did perpetrate such ungodly act. Meanwhile minister of state in charge of National Security at the presidency Mr. Bryan Acheampong, in an interview with some radio station stated that the men, who were seen at the La Bawleshie area were men from the National Security.
Every well-meaning Ghanaian has condemned the bloody shooting that happened at La Bawaleshie. In this day of democratization, how can the government send national security men to an electoral area to intimidate citizens? What kind of intelligence did the national security minister get that prompted him to send his men to brutalize innocent civilians? We need a lot of answers from the government. Surprisingly, these men were able to assault a Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram honorable Sam Dzata George who was going around performing his civic responsibility by observing the proceedings of the election. The slapping of the MP was barbaric, uncalled for and senseless. There is no justification to that; no matter the degree of his ‘crime’. Slapping was not the best punishment that he could receive.
The NDC, after observing the proceedings at the Ayawaso West Wougon in the early hours of the election had to withdraw itself from the election stating that, their members were not safe following the shootings that happened at the venue. Ayawaso West Wougon constituency has about 137 polling station and some of these incidents they claim also happened in about 8 polling stations. Even though the mere radio announcement by the national chairman of the NDC Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo stating the NDC’s withdrawal from the election did not have any legal backing, as the electoral commission never received any written document stating their withdrawal from the election. After the end of the polls, the New Patriotic Party Candidate Lydia Seyram Alhassan had won the election with 68.30% of the total votes cast. She was then taken to parliament to be sworn-in the following week as theMember of Parliament for the people of Ayawaso West Wougon constituency.
Nobody has got an issue with the minority MPs staging a walk-out from the house because this is not the first and won’t be the last time that MPswill and have stage(d) a walk-out from the business of the house, neither is it the first and the last time that MPs will be seen holding placards with inscriptions on them but to hold placards that have the inscription of a ‘BLOODY WIDOW’ does not add up. In any case, are they suggesting that she killed her husband? Or are they saying she is the one who ordered the people to shoot? Why not blame the national security people? Why not put the blame on the NPP’s vigilante group? Would these things have happened if the character involve was a male? Are we doing this because she is a woman?
This is not the first by-election whichhave witnessed violence. The likes of Talensi, Atiwa, Akwatia and other areas all witnessed some form of violence before these people were elected to fill the vacancy. Based on these, should people say that these MPs who were elected are ‘BLOODY MPs’? I thinkthe attack on honorable Lydia Alhassan is an affront to our women in general, most especially the ones who want to enter politics. Did she ever wish that her husband Mr. Emmanuel Agyarko die? I was not surprised to see some minority women MPs who wereholding some of these placards because in this country the moment you affiliate yourself with a political party, your sense of integrity is lowered. I hope you have heard the comment that Kennedy Agyapong, the MP for Assin Central said about the former E.C boss Madam Charlotte Osei? In politics people do not act on their own but are always manipulated. There are women in the NDC MPs but none of them have condemned the act simply because their party leaders have not done so. I am very sure that this would have been the same case if the matter was involved with NPP MPs. This kind of barbaric and insensitive type of politics should be done away. We should be bold to speak against any ill that comes out whether in our party or outside our party.
“Being a woman in politics is not a crime”. I have heard some minority MPs claiming that the woman is a beneficiary of the bloody shootings that occurred in the area. The question is, beneficiary of what? In any case did she order anyone to engage in such vicious shootings? Is she the president of this country? Is she the minister for national security? Is she the head of the vigilante group in Ghana?We need to be serious and stop the hypocrisy. “What has culture got to do with democracy?” Is she the first woman who has contested a by-election after the demise of her husband? The pretense is too much! Would these MPs have the boldness and courage to have done what they did if the person involved was a man? The victimization and intimidation of women who engage in politics must stop! Why are they putting fear and panic into this woman?
I do not want to think that some of these men who are at the forefront of this barbaric crusade fear competition from women or do not want women to rise in the society. This fight is not for honorable Lydia Alhassan alone. Everyone must join in fighting this course. Remember that you have got a sister, mother, or a best friend who is a woman and this uncultured treatment could be meted out to her if we do not speak out against it. I am against any rude and uncivilized treatment given to our women. In case you have forgot, remember that a woman brought you into this world. Say NO to victimization of women in our society. Women deserve better in our community. Let us create the enabling environment that will accommodate all of us irrespective of our gender. Ghana must work again. Ghana will work again. YOUNG POSITIVIST, a concerned citizen of Ghana.
The writer is Boamah Sampson, a final year student at the University of Ghana, Studying English and political Science. (0548690091/ firstname.lastname@example.org)