Ghana has failed women inclusion in governance – AU

The African Union observer mission monitoring the 2016 elections in Ghana has expressed worry about the number of women contesting in the presidential and legislative elections in the West African country.

Out of one thousand one hundred and fifty eight (1,158) parliamentary candidates, a hundred and thirty six (136) were women contributing close to 12%.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, the Head of the AU Observer Mission Mr Pohamba Hifikepunye, expressed worry that the trend was far below the standard for measuring countries that have championed women inclusion in government.

“This is far below 30% which is the threshold for women political representation accepted by the regional and continental organisations. The AU mission carries that there was a woman among the presidential candidates,” Head of the AU observer group said.

Proffering solutions, the former president of Namibia recommended that, “as a maturing democracy, and in line with regional and continental norms, Ghana is expected to provide an enabling environment for more women participation and representation on key decision making structures.”

Lethargy to pass the Affirmative Action Bill:

Ghana has for over a decade failed to pass the Affirmative Action Bill which will make it mandatory for institutions to ensure that at least 30 percent representation of women in governance by 2015 per United Nations (UN) targets.

The two dominant political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have promised in their manifestoes some commitment to pass the age-old bill should they gain the mandate of Ghanaians in the December 7 elections.

The action has become a necessary tool in Ghana’s arsenals at bridging this gap as gender stereotypes and cultural barriers continue to pose veritable stumbling blocks in the way of women breaking the glass screens to assume positions of leadership and influence both in private and public service.

Female Representation in Parliament:

Currently out of the two hundred and seventy five (275) members of the outgoing Parliament, there are a woeful few of 29 women parliamentarians.

It appears however that this figure might suffer a bigger shock this time round as the figure has dropped to twenty three (35) out of the two hundred and seventy five (275) parliamentary seats in Ghana’s legislature.

The list compiled below by the writer Ivan Korshie Heathcote – Fumador contains their names constituencies and winning margins.

Constituency          Party  NAME

Ablekuma West      NPP    Ursula G. Owusu    (56.82%)

Abuakwa North      NPP    Gifty Twum-ampofo

Ada                       NDC    Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah (80.38%)

Afadjato South       NDC    Angela Oforiwa Alorwu-tay        (83.6%)

Agona East            NDC    Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr

Agona West           NPP    Cynthia Mamle Morrison

Akwatia                     NPP    Adu – Gyamfi Mercy

Anyaa Sowutuom        NDC    Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (69.06%)

Asokwa                     NPP    Patricia Appiagyei (83.16%)

Assin North                NPP    Abena Durowaa Mensah(56.97%)

Awutu Senya East       NPP    Mavis Hawa Koomson      (58.22%)

Bosome – Freho         NPP    Joyce Adwoa Akoh Dei (63.63%)

Cape Coast North       NPP    Barbara Asher Ayisi (49.78%)

Dome / Kwabenya      NPP    Sarah Adwoa Safo (67.99%)

Evalue Gwira              NPP    Cathrine Abelema Afeku (52.26%)

Hohoe                        NDC    Bernice Adiku Heloo        (82.93%)

Juaben                       NPP    Ama Pomaa Boateng         (79.17%)

Klottey Korle               NDC    Zenator Agyeman Rawlings   (50.29%)

Krachi West                NDC    Helen Adjoa Ntoso (48.52%)

Efforts by Political Parties:

In the run up to the December 7 elections; internal political party structures of the contending political parties implemented their own internal policies to shore up the number of women who could sail through to stand as parliamentary and presidential candidates.

Women, the youth and persons with disabilities had the opportunity to pay half of their filing fees.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in particular promulgated a policy that implied that women parliamentarians were not to be contested by male aspirants at the political party level in a bid to ensure that they remained automatically as parliamentary candidates.

This however did not find any semblance in the Electoral Commission  (EC) which gave a blanket five hundred thousand filing fee for all presidential candidates and GHC10,000 for all parliamentary aspirants regardless of their sexes.

It can however be instructive to note that Ghana’s Chief Justice, her ladyship Georgina Theodora Woode is a woman. The chair of the electoral commission Charlotte Osei is a woman. Some key ministries including the Ministry for Justice and the Attorney General Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, the Ministry of Education Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman and the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur as well as several state institutions including the Ghana Investment Promotion Council Mrs Mawuena Trebah are all headed by able women who have served creditably under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama.

By: Ghana/ Korshie Heathcote – Fumador