A former Minister for Gender and Executive Director for the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation, Otiko Afisa Djaba has in a petition, called on President Akufo-Addo to fulfill his promise to ensure the passage of Affirmative Action Bill.
The bill, when passed into law will help promote their participation in the political process, enhance the effectiveness of gender equality as stimuli for national development, as well as, ensure that other marginalised groups get more representation in political decision making.
In a press conference outlining the contents of the petition, Thursday, the Gender activist, said in all 5,770 electoral areas of the country, women only have a 218 representation while persons with disability have less than 20 representation which calls for ‘serious’ attention by the President and government of the day.
After winning the 2016 general elections, President Akufo Addo, who is the African Union (AU) Gender Champion, promised to work with the 7th Parliament to ensure the passage of the “Affirmative Action Bill” which would guarantee the equality of women participation at all levels.
In this capacity, Otiko Djaba urged the President to materialize the promise by giving 20 and 10 percent slots to women and Persons With Disability who desire to be part of the political environment.
“We’re asking the government of the day, this 2020 he should make Ghanaians happy. Both women and persons with disabilities fraternity. It is not a women issue, neither is it PWD issue, it is a National development issue for Gender Parity so for us to be able to boast and say we are part of our democracy in terms of gender equality.
“The 30% non-elected persons by the President in consultation with traditional authorities and other interest groups should be allocated to only women (20%) and PWDs (10%),” she said.
Explaining her Foundation’s demands, the former Minister said: “If we give 20 percent to females and 10 percent to PWDs, it will ensure that the promise made by the government that they will work towards the passage of the bill, the credentials the country has as a democratic country and our President who is the AU Gender Champion in addition to being the co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), are being upheld and it’s not just talks. It will mean we are walking the talk.”
As 2020 is an election year, the Djaba Foundation Director believes passing the bill by the end of March will enable women who wish to be Members of Parliament “but cannot go for one reason or the other” be able to do so, adding that, “we’re not suggesting that people should not contest for elections, but from the records, we are seeing, the elections do not give women the chance and in Parliament, there isn’t a single person with disabilities and it is sad.”
If the Bill is not passed by the end of the first quarter, the former Minister said they will continue to push for the bill is passed.