Bagbin is just being sexist and silly

Sat, 28 Jul 2018 Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

In the wake of the removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei as Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, for gross administrative incompetence, Mr. Alban SK Bagbin, the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Nadowli-Kaleo, in the Upper-West Region, has come public pontifically claiming to be the false prophet that he unenviably and veritably is (See “ ‘I Told You So’ – Bagbin to Charlotte Osei” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/26/18).

Mr. Bagbin says that he told Mrs. Osei at the time of her nomination as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) that she should not accept the appointment because being an EC Chairperson was a “turf too rough” for a woman.

Precisely what made the job of EC’s Chair too tough or “rough” for a woman that the former NDC’s Parliamentary Majority and Minority Leader thought that Mrs. Osei could not creditably acquit herself with the same? Well, the man who has been flirting with a run for the Presidency for quite sometime now does not give us any pointers. And so about the only fair conclusion that any objectively minded observer can arrive at is that Mr. Bagbin is a male chauvinist “goat” who cannot be taken seriously. For starters, the implication here is that, somehow, all Ghanaian women are of the same caliber or mettle, irrespective of culture, class background and academic and professional credentials and aptitude.

The fact of the matter, as I have repeatedly pointed out in more than a dozen articles and columns, is that Charlotte Osei miserably failed at the job of EC Chairperson least of all because of her gender and/or sexuality. To be certain, her gender and physical attractiveness may very well have endeared her to the man who appointed her to the job, that is, then-President John Dramani Mahama. She might have had to deal with a certain modicum of the social and cultural burden that comes with being a highly educated woman in Ghanaian society, but so have other equally highly educated women within the same society.

The critic may not envisage the job of being a woman and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, or even being the Vice Chancellor of one of the country’s major public universities and colleges as a tough or rough job, which is fundamentally why one hopes that Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the newly approved nominee for EC Chairperson, gets confirmed for the job and be given the golden opportunity to break the gender stereotype or myth of being a woman as an innate weakness in the warped minds and logic of sexist old politicians like Mr. Bagbin.

Maybe where the Nadowli-Kaleo MP comes from in Ghana, the people never heard of such distinguished and hardworking women politicians as Mrs. Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto, to name just the most historically obvious. Indeed, in our own backyard of the West African sub-region, we just recently had Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, step down as President of Liberia, after having served her country admirably and competently for some 12 years.

In the Caribbean, nations like Jamaica and Trinidad have also had women serve as Prime Ministers or Heads of Government. We have also had similar cases in New Zealand and Australia, if memory serves me accurately. Not all of these women were equally distinguished or competent, but so have we had also-run leaders like Messrs. John Evans Atta-Mills and John Dramani Mahama.

I have said time and again and hereby repeat the same, once more, that Mrs. Charlotte Osei woefully failed at her post as Ghana’s EC Chairperson because she palpably lacked the requisite social and public relations skills, as well as a remarkable flair for the job. She was also too arrogant for her own good, a trait which she more than amply demonstrated by persistently and consistently and adamantly defying Supreme Court orders to protect the inviolable integrity of Ghana’s voters’ register.

She would, however, be dismissed from her job for rampantly and recklessly disregarding established procurement laws and regulations. That is all that there is to the Charlotte Osei Affair. It had absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with the womanhood or femininity of the former EC Chairperson.

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.