Shame on you! – Majority Women Caucus to Minority
The Minority Caucus in parliament must bow their heads down in shame and render an unqualified apology to the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon for calling her a “bloody widow”, the Women Caucus of the Majority side of the house has said.
The Minority in Parliament on Tuesday, 5 February 2019 boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of Ms Lydia Alhassan, who was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency during the by-election on Thursday, 31 January 2019.
The election was marred by violence and attacks on some National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters.
Heavily-armed National Security operatives shot and wounded the opposition supporters at the private residence of the NDC’s candidate about an hour into the by-election.
Class 91.3FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, who was in parliament on Tuesday, reported that the Minority protested against Lydia Alhassan's investiture with placards, one of which had the inscription “bloody widow" on it.
At a press conference on Wednesday, 6 February 2019, following what it describes as the irresponsible behaviour of the Minority during the swearing-in ceremony, the Leader of the Women Caucus of the Majority side and Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo, condemned the Minority and expressed the caucus’ disappointment with their behaviour.
“We, the women of the Majority Caucus are grossly disappointed in the attitude and language of the Minority members against Honourable Lydia Seyram Alhassan on the various placards displayed in the chamber yesterday.
“We hereby condemn in no uncertain terms, the acts of the Minority, a rather disrespectful and inhumane treatment and an attack on the dignity and integrity of womanhood. This is brutal and unparliamentary.
“Order 93(2) of our Standing Orders states: ‘It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blasphemous, or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any member or to make personal allusions’. We are absolutely concerned, convinced that the language on the placards was grossly unparliamentary, frivolous, barbaric and unconstitutional."
Ms Alhassan, who had five children with the late MP, Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, who died in the United States of America while seeking medical treatment, was sworn into office by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu.
In the view of the Women Caucus, “Through such unconventional circumstances, we’ve had these women who are widows have the opportunity to represent their husbands in parliament and this is a true reflection of the calibre of such women in such circumstances.”
The women caucus noted: “Widowhood is not a crime, neither will any woman wish of becoming a widow”, emphasising that: “The Minority must bow their heads down in shame and render an unqualified apology to the honourable member of parliament, honourable Lydia Seyram Alhassan as expected of honourable members.”