The Network for Women’s Right in Ghana (NETRIGHT) have threatened to mobilise women against the country’s law makers if they dare expunge a single article from the Land Bill currently before Parliament.
According to them, women and socially excluded groups were keenly following parliamentary proceedings on the Land Bill and any drama that unfolds would greatly inform their voting patterns during this year’s elections.
The group gave this warning at the end of a two-day workshop in Accra, aimed at addressing systematic barriers militating against gender equality and social inclusion in land governance, attended by small holder farmers, civil society organisations and socially excluded groups.
Issues discussed included key outcome of regional consultations, reports on the state of women’s access to land, land conflicts and status of the Land Bill 2019.
The convener, Ms Patricia Blankson Akakpo, stated that the Land Bill before parliament seeks to consolidate and harmonise all existing laws towards regulating land use to enhance effective land management in the country.
She said the poor and other vulnerable women groups, especially widows faced different challenges in terms of their ability to access land based on socio-cultural beliefs thus depriving them of access to farm land which is their community right.
Ms Akakpo indicated that the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) provision in the Land Bill would intensify advocacy on gender equality and social inclusion and any attempt to expunge it from the bill would be met with the stiffest opposition from women’s groups.
“We have started the campaign, to drum home our collective resolve to have the bill passed into law, and any attempt to deprive us of our legal and constitutional rights would force us to march to Parliament to present a petition to the speaker of Parliament on the need to retain the GESI provisions in the land bill,” she added.
She said the group would embark on a robust media campaign as well as engage traditional and religious leaders and other stakeholders to solicit their support for the GESI provision and to also solicit support to name and shame parliamentarians who vote against the GESI provisions.
She appealed to the media and civil society organisations to closely monitor parliamentary proceedings on the bill and ensure that the slightest spill is made public.
Ms Akakpo called for the strengthening of the customary land secretariats with permanent staff to safeguard the interest of women.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU