Dear Aspiring Women MPs, Let me first of all congratulate you on taking the bold step to compete with the men as you commit to lead your constituencies in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
It is a bold step because as you know, we live in a society where the odds are heavily against us as women, particularly when it comes to politics.
Looking through the telescopic lenses of modern day Ghana, however, that unfounded equation in our culture is yours to prove wrong. The recent London Paralympic Games have proved to me beyond doubt that every human being has a potential that must be encouraged and tapped. So, go on, be on the move and let Ghanaians see what difference women can bring to the political equation.
As I write to you, my mind has wandered off to far away Burma and the unparallel role of one woman whose uncompromising determination to fight for her people’s rights over the last decade or so has made her the toast of the world. I am talking about the Burmese political figure, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi. Her determination, courage and conviction won her the massive support which has now seen her in Parliament as the new leader of her country’s opposition party. Who says women cannot do it?
Parliament is a critical institution in our democratic dispensation and so aiming to get the right balance to debate issues, particularly those concerning women and the family, is crucial. Women generally are change agents and I see you as true models carved out to bring progressive change to those laws inimical to the progress of women and by extension the family and the society.
As you know, God created women not only to complement the work of men on earth but God also entrusted us with some special roles which make us unique. Our roles are cut out and we execute them to perfection even with our eyes closed. The Ten Commandments commands honour and respect for both fathers and mothers. The Bible also asks husbands to love their wives and you know what love entails. I strongly believe that as you go through your campaign with the passion and devotion of a mother and a wife, success would be yours.
First of all, try and cast your mind back to the first day you actually fell in love with a man; I mean true love which ended in marriage. Do you remember the heart throbs he gave you? Do you remember the days when you used to put on your best and waited for hours on end for him to come, not forgetting sometimes the urge to do anything just to win his love?
Well, my advice to you is to go about your campaign with that yearning passion to do everything first for your constituents (seeing them as your true love) and then for your nation. Search for the foundations on which to build a lasting loving relationship that leads to tying the knot and build on them as you go around canvassing for votes.
Take care not to promise them heaven when you know heaven is beyond your reach. That is not our nature as women anyway. Do well to listen more and learn to be straight-forward with them. Stand for the truth always and do champion peace because it is our nature to love peace.
If you do not win your seat, do not be disheartened. Remember the saying: “If you try and don’t succeed, try, try and try again.” Another opportunity will come. For those who win, see your success as that wooing period in a relationship. You are on your way to a happy and blossoming marriage, the success of which would depend on how you play your cards.
Be determined to make the relationship between you and your constituents work. For better or for worse, your aim is to make them stick with you in sickness and in health, for poorer or for richer, until death do you part. Some of you may want to refer back to your marriage vows.
Do all you can, once you win your seats, to fight for the interest of your people in Parliament and give them feedback regularly.
Remain devoted and always have at the back of your mind that it is the people who put you there. Forget about what your detractors will say or do. They will never find anything good in you anyway. So why waste precious time on them?
You would also do well to see yourself as a mother for all as you begin this journey into politics, whether for the first time or the umpteenth time. Remember the mountains that mothers are able to move because of the depth of their love. With that same motherly spirit, go out to conquer the hearts of your constituents and climb on to dizzying heights.
Let your actions speak louder. You are sure to gather followers for life only if you are ready to exhibit the sweet devotion of a mother who is always there for her children. Be with them in their times of sorrow and celebrate with them in their times of joy. They are likely to show that kind of emotion in return. Remember you are looking for a crowd. Numbers is the name of the game of politics.
Women by nature are calm and are all ears. They have time for all. As you prepare to go to the polls, do remember that leaders who are slow to scream and have a big heart for everyone are loved best. You already have a plus there because by nature women are slow to anger.
Dear aspiring female MPs, we know time is not on your side as we get ready to enter the month of October. You would agree with me, however, that those who are well organised, especially in times like these, are likely to cover a lot of grounds. While you quicken the pace of your campaigns, do make the effort to cash in on the great organisational skills that women are blessed with.
Prepare well and do not leave anything to chance. Above all, as a woman, let your incorruptible nature shine. Voters would be looking for those candidates who are not corrupt. Tout it where you can.
As you probably know, from the day you decided to aspire to be a Member of Parliament, you opted to be a public figure. Well, do bear that in mind in all you do. Do not be distracted by any unproven theories or traditional beliefs that stall women’s advancement. They have no place in modern life.
Let me conclude by saying that the fight would not be easy but as women, you stand good chances to get in there. With hard work and commitment, the battle is half won because you already have some of the qualities. With extraordinary levels of strength, courage, and ruthless competitive determination, you should get there. Just go on and inspire unqualified admiration from now till December 7.
Let this elections be the most talked about because women like you showed class and changed the face of Ghana’s elections this time round. We are with you in spirit.
Source: Vicky Wireko Andoh - [email protected]/ Graphic
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