The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) decision to activate the Affirmative Action clause to protect and disallow men from contesting the 16 female NPP Members of Parliament(MP) in their upcoming primaries met a stiff opposition last week from some aggrieved party faithful who were also lacing their boots to contest the supposed ‘reserved seats’.
The Party during the NEC meeting last week also proposed that some Parliamentary seats in the Ga constituencies be reserved for indigenous people along the coastal lines of Accra and Tema.
These two NPP NEC decisions really ignited serious debates on the issues resulting in a show of protest or demonstration at the party headquarters by some party supporters especially on the matter of the Affirmative Action.
But, the Minority Women Caucus of the NPP in Parliament has expressed a different opinion on the matter and proceeded to hold a press conference in Accra to endorse the NEC’s decision on the Affirmative Action.
In a press statement signed by Esther Obeng-Dapaah, the NPP women caucus in Parliament, called on “all well-meaning Ghanaians to support this cause, to stand firm and join in the struggle to increase women’s participation in decision making.”
She made references to the Beijing Platform for Action, United Nations references and the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women, in Africa, which was signed by former President John Agyekum Kufuor and ratified by Ghana’s Parliament in 2003, which mandated that all states ensured that at least 30 per cent of seats are held by women.
She added further that the four major parties in Ghana, including the NPP, in 2009, under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs signed an undertaking to reserve 30% of all positions in all their party structures, including parliamentary seats to women
“The NPP during the WiLDAF led Women’s Dialogue with political parties in September 2012, reiterated its commitment to affirmative action, pledged to encourage women to stand in its strongholds by instituting a voluntary quota for women, and stated its determination to encourage more women to stand for elections by not subjecting them to ruinous primaries,” Mrs Obeng-Dapaah, who is also the MP for New Abirem said.
Describing the policy as historic, the NPP Women’s Caucus said it rejoiced at the NEC decision to allow only women short lists in the 16 constituencies currently held by NPP female MPs, arguing that “this bold decision must be applauded and emulated by all other parties.”
The women parliamentarians urged the NEC and the National Council to stand firm and insist on the full implementation of the policy for posterity sake.
They stated emphatically, that, as “tried and tested politicians,” they were not afraid of competition and not in need of protection, and that they were sure they would win any primaries, but added however that the “decision will make it easier for the next generation of women politicians to get into Parliament.”
Source: The New Crusading Guide
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