Chinua Achebe once wrote, “When kinsmen gather around the moon light, it is not because each of them cannot see the moon from their own compound…but because it is honorable for them to do so…”(paraphrased)
When seasoned gender advocates invited two African leaders to Canada for a public dialogue on Women Empowerment and participation in decision making, it was not for the fun of it, but it is because they understand how much of a change they can cause if they can positively influence these leaders.
Let’s not be hypocritical about this, Africa has a huge cultural barrier to women development and empowerment.
A lot of African leaders still wallow in this stereotypical ignorance which is deep rooted in our culture and traditions but usually on high level platforms such as this one, such views are mostly suppressed not to cover our ineptitude as Africans but to show some level of respect atleast to the Women on that very platform.
So when an African President on a gender platform displays not just gross ignorance about gender issues but also gets into a scuffle with a woman co-panelist, and almost getting physical with her on a Gender Platform you can’t help but worry.(things fall apart!
It’s like attending a party and getting into a physical scuffle over chicken with the host’s son…hilarious isn’t it.
But that is how embarrassing the conduct of our President was, and to think that these highly intelligent Women sarcastically invited our President to a “dinner”(not to flirt with him but probably to talk some gender sense into him is even more laughable…)
At this point we cannot help but issue a National Disclaimer (We the Good People of Ghana, Dissociate ourselves from the views and conduct of our President on that Platform)
Yes, infact those views were highly unrepresentative of the people of Ghana and casts great shadows on the gender successes we have chalked over the years.
Over the years Appointment of Women into key public offices have improved tremendously in Ghana….
In the past 20 years, we have had the first female Speaker of Parliament, first female Attorney General and many more after her, we have had the first female Electoral Commissioner and another female after her, we have had the first female Chief Justice and ofcourse first female Chief of Staff and a number of women appointed into key positions in public service.
So we have made significant headways even though there still exists some fundamental challenges affecting the development of Women and the involvement of women in high level decision making.
Women still suffers from a lot of discrimination, from employment discrimination to cultural discrimination, political discrimination and all forms of abuses that continious to be an impediment against the development of Women ( Not just in Ghana but across the World)
What is needed is more class actions, leadership commitments and a nationalistic approach to progressively remove these barriers that have always been in the way of our highly capable women.
One of such impediments in Ghana is the non passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
A bill which will legally provide a minimun percentage of participation and involvement of women in all aspect of the Political and governance process (unfortunately this bill has been in Parliament for over 10 years gathering dust.)
But come to think of it, if the bill is passed today by Parliament, the person who is going to sign the bill into law is the one busy in far away Canada fighting women on women empowerment platforms,(How will he sign it?)…Hahaha
But seriously, this is the time we need to hear from the Gender Advocates in Ghana, We need to hear their voices on the President’s conduct loud and clear, all the gender based CSO’s working tirelessly in Ghana must come out and condemn the conduct of the President hence they loose any leverage to raise money from international donors who per the conduct of our President may conclude they are just wasting their money sponsoring gender programs in Ghana and atleast prevent this from affecting Ghana badly in the next Global gender rankings.
For President Akufo Addo there is a face saving window for him and that is to withdraw the affirmative action bill immidiately and relay it with a certificate of urgency to be passed as quickly as the Special Prosecutor bill and other almost irrelevant agreements laid before the house recently.
So that by the time the other “Lady” visits Ghana, the President will have something useful to show for all the sense they talked into him during “that” dinner.
And oh…it will be a plus for him as well….atleast it will cancel all the laws he is broken in the very short time he’s been in power and the all the global embarrassments he has subjected this great country to; from the plagiarised speech, to the Ghana beyond Aid gafe and to the public drunkenness and ofcourse to this gender debacle will all be submerged atleast into a moment of celebration of our dear mothers, sisters and wives and a new chapter will be opened in Ghana’s history as far as Women participation in Politics and Governance is concerned.
Then we can say we have turned this global embarrassment into a useful catalyst to propel change in our part of the World!
Goodluck Mr.President that shouldn’t be hard…!
As Always…Call me Mensah Thompson, cheers.