I had a rude awakening when His Excellency Nana Addo Akuffo Addo included Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba as Minister –designate for the Ministry of Gender, Women, Children and Social Protection. She had been the Women’s Organizer of the New Patriotic Party for some time now. I admire her for her mental fortitude and staunch defence of whatever stance she takes but I must also highlight a few things which are being attributed to her which are nauseating to me as a person.
Being a women’s leader in this part of the world where male chauvinism is so much entrenched into its fabric it is not easy and one has to have a very thick skin to surmount the numerous challenges on one’s path.
In opposition, I have observed that she has been very active and outspoken in media circles which are targeted to rein in the ruling government of the NDC. With regards to her work for the NPP, I have no qualms about her zeal and preparedness.
One of the things she has been purported to have engaged in was her blind support for maverick politician Hon. Kennedy Agyepong ‘s claim that before getting appointed as the EC boss Madam Charlotte Osei granted some sexual favour to someone in the corridors of power was most unfortunate because in a society where all important positions were to be the preserve of men, and women were to lumped up in the kitchen with little or no say on how society gets to be run that allegation by Hon. Agyepong was an affront to the millions of women who have surmounted oppressive obstacles to carve a niche for themselves at the highest levels of society.
When appearing before Parliament during her vetting ,she is alleged to have reiterated that assertion by stating she did not believe the allegation was totally untrue and that she asked for it to be investigated in a media interview stating “there is no smoke without fire “.
In addition, she has been reported to have spewed some unprintable words on Ex-President John Dramani Mahama and denigrated his person over her supposed anger at the failure of SADA to fully meet its objectives . When pressed by the Minority side on the Appointments Committee of Parliament, she flatly accepted that those words came from her and she saw no reason to apologize for her comments.
It is also on record that her temperament at the committee’s sitting was unapologetically rude and disheartening when answering questions from the committee members. With regards to the furore of her not engaging in the mandatory one year of national service after graduating from the University for Development Studies is fully deserved.
The law clearly states that when a person has not done his/her national service, there should not be any form of employment for him/her being it in the private/public sectors. Overlooking this law with regards to Madam Otiko Djaba the law is being violated in a capricious manner. How on earth should someone who did not engage in national service hold public office? By the way, millions of people have completed their programmes of study and are required to undertake a mandatory one year national service irrespective of the exorbitant fees they paid in the public and private institutions of higher learning.
I firmly support the stance of the Minority in Parliament when they said flatly that her inability to do her national service coupled with the fact that she did not put across any convincing reason why she did not engage in it is with a great conviction .
The Majority forcing through her approval through secret balloting with the Minority abstaining smacks of double standards and dishonesty in public life. What happens if prospective national service personnel refuse to observe their postings for national service? Not everything must be pushed through by the Majority because it comes from their side. The shameful act of approving Madam Djaba with the tacit support of the Rt. Hon Speaker Aaron Mike Ocquaye puts their government in a quagmire. I think if the makers of the law are the ones breaking the same laws then we should have the National Service Act repealed because it makes no coherent sense.
Mr President asked us “not to be spectators but citizens “ and that clarion call we will heed to. Just a month into his administration and dishonesty seems to be their bedfellow.
Hmmmmmm. I am not against Madam Otiko Djaba but I want to ensure the right thing is done without fear or favour . Adios. Keep watching this space.