Abuakwa North MP, Gifty Twum Ampofo, has said the wave of condemnation (particularly by women groups) of fellow lawmaker Kennedy Agyapong’s sex-for-job allegation against the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, has been lopsided and picky.
The Assin Central lawmaker on Saturday June 25, during the campaign launch for Asokwa MP Patricia Appeagyei in Kumasi, said Mrs Osei – then chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), who was appointed in June 2015 to replace long-serving EC chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan – had been advised by some highly-placed persons in government to “bring your derriere in exchange for the EC Chair position”.
Mr Agyapong has been criticised by several persons including the Media Foundation for West Africa’s Suleiman Braimah and some parliamentarians for the comments.
Children, Gender, and Social Protection Minister Nana Oye Lithur described the remark as regrettable, saying Ghanaian women would not countenance personal attacks on women, who have committed to serve Ghana in public office. She said as a public officer, Mr Agyapong should rather promote non-discrimination, respect for human dignity, and gender equality.
Also, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Hanna Tetteh said the “vicious attacks” were unfortunate, since Mrs Osei was a lawyer and professional capable of getting the EC Chair job on merit.
Council of state member Ama Benyiwa-Doe also joined the condemnation fray on Wednesday June 29 and accused the NPP lawmaker of never having any respect for women.
Additionally, the Executive Director of the Ark Foundation, a women’s right civil society organisation, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, urged the leadership of the NPP to find ways of counselling Mr Agyapong. Speaking in an interview with Prince Minkah, host of the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3FM on Wednesday, Mrs Dwamena-Aboagye said: “I think it is most unfortunate, he should not have said things like that. It equals assassination of character, it is defamation, it is scandalous and should not be heard from a leader of a country. I think it is very wrong.”
Further, former Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu said in a statement that: “I am very happy to hear of the support from our various women rights advocates. I join the many voices of well-meaning Ghanaians to protect the values, ethics and culture of our heritage. Never again must women be subjected to such humiliation and ridicule. It is just enough! I have been a victim of this Kennedy Agyapong’s ‘hit’ speeches, but I survived. I call on the August house of parliament to take appropriate steps to discipline such characters. Again the NPP must cleanse itself of such dirt to appear credible in the protection of women rights”.
The National Organiser of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Kofi Adams also called on the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, to call the NPP MP to order.
Also, a group known as Concerned Women of the Eastern Region on Thursday June 30 demonstrated through the principal streets of the regional capital, Koforidua, to register their anger against Mr Agyapong for his comment.
Asked by Chief Jerry Forson, host of Accra100.5FM’s breakfast show Ghana Yensom about what she made of her fellow NPP MP’s allegation against Mrs Osei, Mrs Twum Apofo said: “It’s a two-edged sword: has it been investigated to ascertain whether it is true or not, and secondly if it’s not true, what could have made him make that allegation? Nobody is bothering to investigate the case to find out if it’s true or not, so that if it’s not true, we would tell Kennedy Agyapong to apologise to the EC boss, but all that is happening is that women coalitions are being formed against Mr Agyapong. It is selective judgment. It is not good for Ghana’s growth. All the coalition groups should be there for all women”, she said, citing examples of attacks on other prominent women such as the Chief Justice, the Denkyirahemaa, and a female traditional leader of Atebebubu, which, according to her, passed without a shred of condemnation by any of the same women’s groups and coalitions that flayed Mr Agyapong for his attack on Mrs Osei. “So the coalition must stand for all women and not be selective, otherwise we will not move on as a country”.