Member of Parliament (MP) for Salaga North, Hon Alhassan Mumuni has appealed to the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to as a matter of necessity expedite action to lay the Affirmative Action Bill of Ghana (AAG) before parliament to help increase and strengthen women representation in Parliament.
According to him, the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill would go a long way to bridge the gap of imbalance between the male and female representation in politics and other national decision making bodies .
To ensure that, the Salaga North lawmaker dragged the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection before parliament last Thursday, to explain why the delay in laying the Bill before the house.
The Affirmative Action Bill, was laid before the Sixth Parliament in 2016 but could not be passed. Per the rules and Orders of parliament, the Bill has to be re-laid before the current Parliament for debate and onwards passage into law.
The bill which is considered to be an important bill had passed through almost all the stages during the Sixth Parliament but is yet to be brought to the seventh parliament as expected after a year .
This, undoubtedly compelled Hon Mumuni to summoned the Gender Minister before parliament to explain the reasons for the delay in re-laying the bill, which many political analysts though could have been the utmost desire for the Gender Ministry.
“Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection when the Affirmative Action Bill will be laid in Parliament,” Hon Mumuni asked.
In response, the Minister for Gender, Otiko Afisah Djaba said the laying of the Affirmative Action Bill was long overdue and that the Ministry is working to have the bill laid before parliament rise to recess.
“Mr. Speaker, the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) is long overdue especially as Ghana as over 50% of her population is women and the other half is born by women,” she admitted on floor of parliament.
She said, the ministry has embarked on a review of the AAB which has already received cabinet approval in 2016, stating that, the bill has reflected the political vision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to the Gender Minister, the Bill is currently with the Secretariat of Cabinet for consideration prior to Cabinet’s approval and subsequent submission to Parliament
“Mr Speaker, the issue of under representation of women will be addressed by the Affirmative Action Law as well as to serve as a catalyst to reduce the imbalances against women,” she stated.
Ms Otiko Djaba however assured the Salaga North MP and parliament as a whole that the Affirmative Action Bill would be laid before parliament go on recess sometime next month.
Nonetheless, Hon Mumuni in an interview that passage of the bill in time would help to reduce the wrongful notion that parliament which is currently dominated by men do not want to pass the bill for fear of their seats.
In his considered opinion, when the Bill is pass into law it would efficiently and effectively redress both social, cultural and economic gaps between men and women’s across all sectors.
For that reason, he called on women and gender based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Religious leaders, Traditional Rulers and women activists to reecho their voices and partner him for early passage of the Bill.
Mr Mumuni reiterated that issues that affect women intend affect the general society, hence his decision as man to take the step to push for the AAB passage when there are colleague female MPs in parliament.
“I think the issues that the Affirmative Action Bill sought to address are of paramount to all of us, including you the media(Reporter) and I asked the question not that the women are not there but this will also send the signal that we the male MPs are not against the passage of the Bill,” he said.
He added that, “It is worth noting that the AAB goes as far as making provisions for children and Persons with Disability as part of efforts to promote their rights and well-being, for total productive inclusion for national development.”
For him, the accelerated development of women is a major determinant of the growth of every nation and that it was not out of place when Dr Kwegyir Aggrey of blessed memory said, “when you educate a man you educate an individual but when you educate a woman you educate a nation.”
He urged the government through the Gender Ministry to act speedily on the bill to ensure it passage to bridge the political representation of men and women in the country.
Sources:www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba