Female NPP MPs back party’s controversial decision

Esther Obeng DapaahThe New Patriotic Party (NPP) female Members of Parliament (MPs), have thrown their weight behind the controversial decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of their party to allow only women to contest in constituencies currently occupied by women.

They said the decision was a laudable one because, it would ensure that the number of seats held by NPP women in the next Parliament would not reduce, if it would not increase.

A statement signed by Esther Obeng-Dappah, Chairperson, Minority Women’s Caucus in Parliament, indicated that the decision by the NEC should not be criticised but emulated by all other political parties.

“We urge the NEC and National Council to stand firm and insist on the full implementation of this policy for posterity’s sake, despite the understandable opposition spearheaded by those who were hoping to contest those seats in the upcoming primaries,” it said.

The statement said the idea of reserving 30 per cent of all seats in Parliament for women as the acceptable minimum, was set by the Beijin Platform for Action and the United Nations.

In addition, it said the idea was reiterated by the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa.

The statement explained that the Maputo Protocol, signed by former President J. A. Kufour and ratified by Ghana’s Parliament in 2003, mandated all states to ensure that at least, 30 per cent of seats in all African Parliaments are held by women and indicated that the target date for implementation of the protocol is this year.

“We wish to emphasise that as tried and tested political operatives, we have all been in keen contests before and won both our primaries and our seats convincingly, competing against several men and women.”

“We are not afraid of competition and in need of protection. Even though we are sure that we will win any primaries, this decision will make it easier for the next generation of women politicians to get into Parliament,” it said.

The statement said the policy would benefit children and generations to come, and noted that the struggle for affirmative action would not be attained through manoeuvring and lobbying, but by the adoption of a deliberate policy to make a clear statement.

“The policy will also do a little to address the gaping gender gap caused by the election of only one woman to the National Executive and the absence of any other female deputies apart from the deputy women’s organisers.”

“This gender gap does not speak well of our party’s commitment to women’s empowerment,” it said.

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