Politics Tue, 21 Apr 2015

Affirmative Action Fiasco

Akufo-Addo Not A Leader

… Akatsi South MP

William Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the torch bearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), has continued to draw serious public criticisms over his policy of Affirmative Action fiasco, weeks after the party has hesitantly withdrawn it.

The latest to add his comments to the web of condemnations is the Member of Parliament for Akatsi South Constituency in the Volta Region, Hon Bernard Ahiafor. The MP spoke to the CRYSTAL CLEAR LENS recently in an exclusive interview.

The Honourable MP wondered why the NPP led by Nana Akufo-Addo would introduce a policy in his party, which is discriminatory on grounds of gender against a section of his followers in the party yet, he was determined to foist it on them.

According to the lawmaker, by this unpopular decision, which nearly caused violence in the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo has exposed himself as an indecisive person and was not born to be a leader, adding that Ghanaian electorate ought to examine his character trait carefully in the next elections.

Hon Ahiafor stressed, “If Nana Akuffo is somebody, who will always want to impose his views on people, who think he is more knowledgeable, he is wiser than everybody therefore whatever decision that he has taken is the best and that is what should prevail then for me, I will not classify him to be a good leader. And I believe the well meaning Ghanaians are also looking at his attributes.”

Readers would recall that recently Nana Akufo-Addo told the media in an interview that he had fully endorsed the decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NPP to ban male aspirants in his party from contesting the 16 incumbent female MPs.

He made these statements At the Central University College, where the flag bearer attended a lecture delivered by his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

The main opposition leader who felt the policy was a strategic election plan against the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) said, “I support the decision of the National Executives Committee of the party.”

Whereas the grassroots of the party were armed to the teeth, threatening mayhem against the decision of the party, the twice defeated presidential candidate of the NPP insisted, “The leadership of any party is required to make difficult decisions and this is one of them.”

He defended further, “Sometimes, these decisions are ones that will have some spill outs. For the time being, that is the decision of the party and I am entreating our party members to respect it”, “I don’t think that anyone can deny the democratic commitment of this party. We have led the struggle for democracy in Ghana. Not for just one or two years but for sixty to seventy years.”

He explained, “I believe the party was making a statement about affirmative action. That was basically the statement that was being made, that there was the need for supporting the gender development in our national politics.”

Political analysts described the decision by the NPP in a number of ways. Pollster Ben Ephson said it was a “recipe for disaster.”The MP for Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti Region, hon. Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, threatened to sue the NPP if they refuse to rescind the decision.

Later, Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the party, came in with sudden u-turn. He told the media the policy was just a proposal to the party for consideration, and that it would not be forced down on the throats of anybody.

He said the party would appeal to men who wished to contest seats held by female to step down, but if they resist the party would not bar them.

The unpopular policy for the female has since been abolished.

But Hon Ahiafor, who is also a lawyer by profession, has asserted that although the NPP has withdrawn the decision, the announcement of it in the public domain has made the NPP flag bearer worse off.


He argued that the NPP’s understanding of the Affirmative Action, is questionable, hence their implementation of the right policy in a wrong way.

Backing his points with reference, the Akatsi South Legislator referred to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and said, “Our constitution guards against discrimination on grounds of gender, tribes, ethnicity, racial, religious etc…. Our constitution frowns upon gender discrimination. The constitution is the fundamental law of the land, the supreme law of Ghana.”

The MP explained, “My understanding of affirmative action is totally different from their understanding. We need to empower the women; to empower the women does not mean we should only preserve for the women instead of men. Affirmative action does not mean we discriminate on grounds of gender. It is not gender discrimination. Because, I understand it to mean that it supposed to equip, support, position women in a society, so, it is to support women, to equip and to promote women in a society.

So, for instance, if the policy of the NPP is to support women to be able contest the position and win, I do not have a problem. But to say once the woman is contesting or is an MP and is standing again, no man should contest that particular seat that it is not a support, but that is gender discrimination.

The question therefore is that if the women counterparts, who are also MP and contesting, are we going to have women contesting? If we have women contesting them, that is clearly discriminating.

That is the way I have seen that particular policy. So, I wasn’t surprised that there were so much agitations from the ground as result of which they have to quickly organise and rescind their decision.”

Also, Hon Ahiafor has refuted a claim by Nana Akomea that decision of the NPP was not different from that of the late President, Prof John Evans Atta-Mills’ 40% of appointment reserve for women. He said Nana Akomea made that reference just to confuse Ghanaians to escape mounting criticisms they were facing.

“Let me explain the position. Atta-Mills has a right of appointment; he has the decision to decide who to appoint. He decides to give 40% of appointment to women in his government. The decision as to who to be appointed rests with him as President of the nation,” he said.

He said the Constitution of Ghana has given the right to Ghanaians to vote for their choice and also the right to stand for position of their choice. Therefore, he said, anything short of that amounts to infringement on the right to vote and to be voted for.

He explained further, “But in this current event, it is the position to be contested for.

Therefore to say that nobody should contest that particular position because a woman is contesting is different from saying in my government; I will appoint 40% of my ministers as women. You understand?

40% of my ministers is different from saying that women will be contesting this position therefore no man should contest that particular position.

Meanwhile we all have the right to vote and be voted for. You have the right to vote and be voted for. So once you have the right to vote and be voted for, if I am eligible to be voted for and you are saying because a woman is contesting that particular position and I am disenfranchised or I am not eligible to be voted for, I have a problem. That is where the discriminatory aspect of it is coming from.

Now, I hope you are getting my point clear? Let’s assume a hypothetical word where you are going to interview people and you have a decision that 40% of the people you are going to interview should be women, you have not infringed on anybody’s right because you have the right to decide who to interview and in taking that particular decision you have decided that 40% of the people you are going to interview should be women, that is the decision taking by the late president Mills.

But in this particular situation you are saying that because a woman is contesting this position all those who are eligible to be voted for constitutionally should not be allowed to contest that particular election. That means you are infringing upon people’s right that is the right to vote and to be voted for.

The MP was doubtful about Nana Akufo-Addo’s respect for collective decision. He said if the NPP leader had listened to his followers in relation to the decision of the NEC, the agitations among party supporters would not have caught national attention.

“As a matter of fact, political party is a social group which you belong, some members of the party are dead and gone and others are yet to be born and some are living. So I’m a member of the NDC government, we are now the leading members.


Some members of the NDC are dead and gone; others are yet to be born therefore political parties for all in turns and purposes is bigger than an individual. In that context, it is bigger than an individual. So I will agree with him on that context that a political party is bigger than an individual.

But whatever decision that should be taken must embrace the collective view of the people, because, it is the majority that is doing the voting. Therefore, as a political party when a decision is taken and the overwhelming majority of the members of the particular party are against that particular decision, then, there will be the need to listen to that voice.

So I disagree with him that because the party is bigger than an individual when the collective overwhelming majority is against a particular decision, you would have to ignore them to do whatever pleases you as an individual.

Then in that case, though he is saying a political party is bigger than an individual, what he is doing would be imposing an individual view on the greater majority of the people which contradicts his statement that a political party is bigger than an individual. The party is made up of people so whatever the majority of the people are saying is what should prevail.

On the issue of whether Nana Addo has the ability to foresee an outcome of a decision he has to take. This is what the MP has to say, “As a matter of fact, Nana Akuffo Addo is a separate person and I am also a separate person, I wouldn’t be able to know what is in the mind of Nana Akuffo Addo, because the devil doesn’t even know what is the intention of a man and to be able to speak about the intention of Nana Addo, I may be right or wrong. So it’s an area I don’t want to delve in.”

However, I will want to say that one characteristic of a leader is to be able to listen. So if you are somebody who does not have that particular ability to listen and would always want to impose his views, it is with the meaningful Ghanaian to decide whether such a person is a good leader or not a good leader.

So for me, every good leader should have the ability to listen. Listening is also part of leadership. A leader must not impose his views on others. A leader must not think he is wiser than everybody, he is more knowledgeable than everybody, he is so sensible than everybody.

If you are a leader that feels that you are more sensible than everybody then for me, you are not a leader. A leader who feels you are more knowledgeable than everybody then for me you are not a leader. If you are a leader who will always want to impose your views on the people then for me, you are not a good leader.”

Hon Ahiafor commended NPP for withdrawing the policy though it was late. “It is better that they have rescinded their decision, this affirmative action decision that came into the lime light. I believe that the wise people in the party are seeing the implications of asking that anybody who will want to contest the parliament been contested by sitting members of parliament who are women should not be given the right to contest. Speaking on that decision, it must be in their best interest.”

He was proud to be a member of the NDC. To him, the NDC would not take a decision that would be detrimental to the majority of party members and ordinary Ghanaians at large.

“That is why in NDC, not any decision is taken, left alone talking about this decision because we are National Democratic Congress meaning Social Democratic Party. A party for the masses, not for the elites, so as for the young patriots, they can do whatever they feel like doing.

God willing NDC is coming back.”

Source: The Crystal Clear Lens

Teshie-Nungua Water Safe For drinking

- Prez Mahama

President John Mahama has dismissed assertions that water from the Teshie-Nungua desalination plant is unsafe for drinking.

At a commissioning ceremony in Accra, last Friday, the President said the water from the plant was one of the best in the world and safe for domestic consumption.


His comments came in the wake of complaints by some residents that the water tasted salty and was unwholesome.

Some of the residents claimed they had running stomachs anytime they drank the water but the President has dismissed the assertions.

"This plant is a desalination plant. It involves producing clean potable from salty sea water. The water source is taken from the sea and has salt in it but through the process of desalination, the fresh water is taken out of the sea water.

"This is the first desalination plant in West Africa. There are many desalination plants in the world and especially when you go to areas that have water scarcity.

"This facility has a top class laboratory that tests the water to make sure it is always of the best quality.

Describing the residents' complaints as "false," the President said "the water is one of the best you can ever get in the world. And it is safe to drink, safe for cooking."

The President said he was going to compete with the Nungua Mantse to drink the water once it is commissioned.

He noted that the coverage in the capital city has even been overtaken, reducing drastically the carrying of yellow jericans in search of water by many residents.

“The struggle with yellow jericans and numerous polytanks have been made redundant or drastically reduced in many communities.”

“With this achievement, we have caught up with Accra’s water demand and indeed we have overtaken Accra’s average water demand,” President Mahama said, adding that communities such as Kpong, Kyebi, Essakyir and Mampong have already had expanded water-producing facilities.

The president appealed to the residents to pay their water bills promptly in order to ensure the sustainability of the water distribution.

The president said Government has invested about one billion dollars in the water sector. “Over the past five years we have spent more than $1 billion dollars on water supply projects across the country alone. We have therefore achieved an average water access of coverage of 76% with good drinking water.”

The Paramount Chief of the Nungua Traditional Council Nii Odaifio Wellentse II also affirmed the water is of high quality and called for a depoliticization of the water project.

“I must say here and now that the water is very pure without any salt or infection when taken. The members of the Nungua Traditional Council have tasted it prior to this commissioning.”

He congratulated President Mahama and his government for setting up the project – the first of its kind in the sub-region – in Nungua.

Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing Dr Kweku Agyemang Mensah said the project is evident of the results good PPPs can offer.

“This achievement should spur us on to undertake more of such projects where the government provides the needed leadership and congenial atmosphere that enable the private sector participate in water delivery and other infrastructural projects in the country.”

The Spanish company Abengoa is expected to operate the plant for 25 years and would transfer it to the Ghana Water Company with a revenue forecast of some 1,300 million dollars over the 25 years.

The 115 million dollar project is a public-private partnership and is expected to pump water to some 500,000 residents in the Teshie-Nungua communities.

The project converts saline sea water into drinkable, potable form. It was completed by Befesa Desalination Ghana.

The plant is expected to produce 13 million gallons of water daily to consumers in Teshie Nungua and its environs.




– Minority leader charges on Media Foundation

Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has dared the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) to immediately produce names of MPs who demand transportation after honouring events.

Mr. Mensah Bonsu who was reacting to claims made by MFWA that MPs demand transportation allowance before honouring invitations to events said MFWA has not been fair to MPs since some of them do not go requesting for monies from event organizers.

The Executive Director of the MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, who condemned the incident on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem Friday said inasmuch as it is inappropriate for Ghanaian journalists to demand money aka soli for transport after they provide coverage for an event, it is equally not right for MPs to also receive money for doing public service.

Though he could not pin point the particular MPs who deal in such acts, Mr. Mensah Bonsu on the same show challenged the foundation to produce names of those MPs instead of generalizing it, which to him, is a means of “disgracing MPs”.

“We don’t go and request monies from event organizers because they willingly give it to us. But a situation where MPs demand money I think it is not fair and if so that is what they claim then I call on them to give us their names so that we can proceed from there”.

Source: Winson V.A. Addotey