We in Ghana are always emphasizing on democracy, decentralization and women inclusion in governance and decision-making to the point that governments spend a lot of money to create opportunities for women to engage in decision making. There are even countries that look up to Ghana as a model country, hence they are learning from her democracy to help implement better policies in their countries. Looking at the happenings in our country recently, one is tempted to ask if the country is behaving like the black prophet who preaches to the people what should be done and does the contrary, when questioned why he is behaving so, his response is, “do as I say but not as I do”. Maybe we are just practising democracy in theory.
It is sad that people in parliament, people we have elected to represent our interest, people who are supposed to make laws to protect us, people who are supposed to say hey
people, there are other means of solving misunderstanding than holding placards and marching out of the sitting are those who are behaving this way. The people in parliament need to always bear in mind that there are men, women, children, aged in their constituencies and they are representing the interest of all these people. Much in the same way, there are people from various political parties there as well, the fact that you won on the ticket of a particular party does not make you a representative of that party only, but a representative of all the people, regardless of whether they voted for you or not. That is the reason why, our representatives in parliament should look beyond their personal and party interests and think about the people they are representing.
What is democracy when MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT are holding placards calling a colleague parliamentarian a bloody widow in parliament? Let this even take place outside the law making house, but to happen right in the house where laws are supposed to be made… it is hard to It is true that democracy gives us freedom of speech and expression, but I do not think it means we should not practice circumspection in our speech. What happened to our personal values and morals too? Insulting other people whether they are right or wrong is not acceptable in any of the Ghanaian ethnic groups I know of. If yours does, please let me know.
The reasons for which this poor woman was addressed as such, I cannot say. Maybe because of the violence that took place during the election, or maybe because she is a widow whose deceased husband was buried a few days before the election, or maybe because she is a woman? One of the MPs from the minority caucus spoke to Joy News and said Lydia is a product of a bloody election and that is the reason why they
addressed her as such. This may be his personal reason, but whatever their reason is, whether right or wrong, she does not merit to be given that name. Nobody deserves to be called that anyway. Even if that is the case, the woman was not seen or reported beating anyone, neither was she the one who sent the armed men to the station. If she did anything wrong at all, two wrongs have never been known to make a right. Could it be that our leaders are not acting right? Why at all could armed men drive to a polling station, cause such menace and nobody seem to identify them?
As a matter of fact, I admire her strength and courage. In a country like ours when culture is revered and held high, who would think that a woman who is still in a state of mourning will think going to vote, talk alone contesting election, not district assembly elections but parliamentary election! This is a brave woman, a woman who defies all o
dds to get what she wants, because she knows what she wants. There are a lot of lessons to learn from her, for me, the most important lesson I have picked from this is that nothing can stop you from fighting to achieve your goals. This also confirms that what a man can do, a woman can do too. In all this brouhaha and hullabaloo, she has remained quiet, not reacting to any of these issues, this I take to mean she is focused so she will not let anyone or anything shift her focus.
I have heard people passing comments that she is a widow and so people should be lenient in the things they say about her, it is true she is a widow, but I think that she was very much aware of the consequences of taking that decision, but she did anyway, the
reason I mentioned earlier that she is brave. Ghanaians have sympathy for widows and orphans, no one speaks ill of a person who is mourning. Ghanaian politics on the other hand is rowdy and full of unguided comments. We have had two such incident in Ghana where women who lost their husband have contested the seat which their husbands occupied. I do not know why this is different, there are so many times our culture and politics have married peacefully, why is this proving to be different? Questions you and I cannot find answers to. For most people, they are not interested in the personality, she has to go through what any other person would have gone through if they were contesting the same position. Whatever uncouth words they would have said to anyone, they say them to her. To them, if she wants to be treated as a widow, then she should act like one, but if she wants to be treated as a politician, then they will drag her into the mud. While we are complaining, she is busy working to achieve her goals, even her children who are below 18 years went around campaigning for their mother, the reason why some people argue that she had sympathy votes, whichever it is, she has won anyway.
Honourable Adwoa Sarfo described the act of the minority members of parliament as brutal, frivolous and barbaric, and demand that the minority render an apology to t
he victim, all the female parliamentarians as well as all women in Ghana. A communication specialist, Professor Audrey thinks that addressing the woman as a bloody widow will intimidate other women from participating in politics in this country. if we have women taking up political challenges, then we need to encourage them to work hard at it, calling them names will not in any way promote the democracy that we seek.
After all this, the sad part is that, nothing is going to be done to anyone, the best that can be done is to set up a committee to look into this matter, and at the end of the day, the MPs will be made to apologise to Hon. Lydia. We need more than just speaking, our politicians need to bear in mind that young people are looking up to them, they are role models and mentors to many people, the more reason they need to guide their actions and deeds because whatever they do, we are watching and may repeat these things
because that is we are learning from them. Ghana’s democracy goes beyond NDC and NPP, it goes beyond being a man or a woman, it goes beyond being young or old and anyone who tampers with our democracy should be made to understand what it means, and made to face the consequences. We all have one Ghana regardless our gender, political affiliation, religion, ethnicity and so on. Before we take any actions, let us always ask if it is really necessary, sometimes no reaction which is still a reaction is better than reactions. An abuse is still an abuse whether it is verbal or non-verbal. Maybe if it was a man, the story would have been different. We can do better as individuals, we can do better together. We need to work hard to maintain our democracy before it turns bloody indeed. CHEERS!!!