If approved by parliament, Minister-designate of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has assured that New Patriotic Party (NPP) women capable of providing catering services will not be left out of the National School Feeding Programme.
Responding to questions from New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West Ursula Owusu-Ekuful at the vetting of ministerial nominees on Monday, January 30, Ms Otiko explained that the ministry had plans to expand the National School Feeding Programme across the country.
She said the previous administration’s advertisement for caterers through national news channels as part of transparency measures will be continued adding that women organisers of the NPP will have the opportunity to be contracted to provide various services.
“In line with what my predecessor has done, this is what is there now, that to make it more transparent, the School Feeding Programme is advertised in the newspapers and so we will look at it and ensure that when we expand, it will include more women…and I will say the women’s organisers should have no fears because they are all part of the inclusion agenda of the ministry. We cannot leave anybody out.”
Ms Djaba, who holds the National Women’s Organiser of the NPP, told the Appointments Committee that she stood by comments she made against ex-president John Mahama.
For her, Mr Mahama is, indeed, “wicked” and “an embarrassment” to people of the Northern Region.
“I don’t owe him (Mr Mahama) or you (Alhassan Suhuyini) any apology…” she said in response to the Tamale North MP’s question about whether she would apologise to the ex-president on whom she used those words during the electioneering period ahead of the 7 December 2016 elections.
“My comment about he being an embarrassment was in relation to SADA, It was in relation to SADA that I said he had embarrassed northerners and the northern chiefs themselves had come to say same,” Ms Djaba justified on Monday, 30 January 2017, explaining that: “When I talked about his wickedness, the people of Ghana were asking for reductions, they were asking for ‘dumsor’ to be solved, people were losing jobs and so forth … what I said was within the context of that period.”
When asked by Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu if she would withdraw those words owing to their harshness, which the minority too “strong exception to,” Ms Djaba retorted: “Are you saying that we cannot criticise in this country? Are you saying that my right to speak [is curtailed?] … It was not an insult, it was a criticism and I’m allowed as a citizen of Ghana to criticise the president and these are descriptive words, it is not an insult.”
Asked by Mr Iddrisu is she stood by her words, Ms Djaba said: “Yes Mr Chairman. … I did not insult the president, I criticised him.”
In 2014, Ms Djaba told Moro Awudu on Radio XYZ’s breakfast show that: “This President (Mr Mahama) is not serious. He has embarrassed a lot of Northerners.”
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s promise, at the time, to progressively make Senior High School Education free as announced in the state of the nation address presented to Parliament in that year, Ms Djaba said: “He’s embarrassing mother Ghana and the IMF is telling him that: ‘E no dey go well’, so he should stop the ‘edey be kɛkɛ’, put down his Dubai things and get down to the ground and give us the bread and butter things that we need for the development of this country.”
Also, in the heat of the 2016 campaign, Ms Djaba said: “President Mahama’s time is up. …President Mahama is extremely wicked, and, so, he must step down. We need change, we need someone who is passionate about this country. You have to vote massively for Nana Akufo Addo. We need change this year. Your time is up, President Mahama.”
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