Opinions Fri, 15 Nov 2013

The Rise and Success of Women in Ghanaian Public Service

(by Sedinam Amoako)

I strongly advocate for women’s involvement in leadership in public service and actively support women in political offices because of the quality of results that can be arrived at when there are men and women at the table. In African politics, and especially Ghanaian politics, the percentage of women in policy-making and implementation positions is so minor that I get deeply disappointed when any of these women make career-threatening missteps.

Read the full article at truetalkandbeyond.wordpress.com. Here are excerpts from the article:

• Ghana has seen strides with former President J.A. Kufuor’s appointment of the first-ever female Chief Justice in Ghana. The late President J.E.A Mills appointed the first-ever female Speaker of Parliament and first-ever female Attorney General.

• When Victoria Hamah was appointed a deputy minister for Communications, I celebrated her nomination and have been a big fan of hers. Allegations of her embarrassing claims, which were revealed in a secretly recorded conversation, led to her dismissal last week from her post.

• She’s endured a lot of insensitive, chauvinistic and narrow-minded commentary from people who have attacked her usually for political reasons. Miss Hammah has been a student leader, hosted several talk shows including a political one, graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and is pursuing a law degree.

• I do not believe Victoria Hammah herself believes half of what she is alleged to have said in the recording.

• There is a much larger story of corruption in Ghanaian politics of which Miss Hammah has become a convenient scapegoat.

• This article is about making sure we don’t miss the lessons from the unfolding scandal and the apparent derailment of Miss Hammah’s political career.

• It will be severely insincere of us as a society to bury our heads in the sand and pretend the absence of women in leadership positions is not a result of generations of systemically cutting women off.

• I respect the president’s decision to relieve her of her duties but disagree with the selective swiftness with which Miss Hammah was dismissed.

• I wonder what the senior men and women in public office from the various political parties are doing or will do to make sure this young woman does not disappear from the national stage. I wonder if she’s burned so many bridges that there are no hands to help her up.

• Miss Hammah needs to spend this time reflecting and acknowledging her mistakes and working harder than ever to restore the public trust that brought her onto the public stage. It’s going to be a tough road but it’s necessary. There’s much to be done and I’m looking forward to Victoria Hammah 2.0 – the stronger public servant who will help create jobs and improve the lives of millions of people.

• While the people who commit their lives to public service need to live up to the expectations of exemplary leadership, the rest of us ought to be circumspect in our attitudes towards public officials – hold them accountable in a fair and respectful manner.

• In keeping faith with our commitment as a society to the words of our national anthem that say, “fill out hearts with true humility” and “make us cherish fearless honesty”, I look forward to a healthy discussion on how to nurture and grow women’s participation in the leadership of our beloved country.

Please read the full article and comment as we hold a healthy conversation about forging a way forward as a people.

Columnist: Amoako, Sedinam