Adwoa Safo: Her Intransigence, Her Hara-Kiri

Feature Article Adwoa Safo
AUG 11, 2022 LISTEN
Adwoa Safo

Peace of mind means a healthy body but jealousy will rot your bones… The wicked are ruined by their own evil, but those who do right are protected even in death.

Proverbs 14:30-32

THE NAME Sarah Adwoa Safo, cannot fail to strike a chord when the political history of NPP comes to be written. Perhaps “intransigence” (which means unreasonable or obstinate refusal to compromise or agree – inflexibility) may be unkind words to be used for a lady who, at the age of 32, became the MP for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in 2013 after the veritable Honorable Mike Oquaye had called it quits.

Adwoa had a brilliant early life, having been born to hard-working Ghanaian industrialist and pastor, Apostle Kwadwo Safo, in December, 1981, being home-tutored to pass her GCEA Level in 1998 and entering the university of Ghana Faculty of Law for the LLB degree in 2002. Her first taste of leadership was being the Vice-President of Law Students' Union in her final year. After entering the Ghana School of Law in 2002, she was called to the Bar in October 2004.

Political watchers may have found her “slangs” a bit bewildering not knowing that she had worked briefly at the office of the Attorney General in the District of Columbia, after acquiring the Masters in Law in Columbia in 2004 (return:ritVHRn – call it Englishy or Americanism).

She returned home in 2005 and joined Kulendi @ Law, later Zoe, Akyea and Co, as a private legal practitioner. She later worked as a legal officer of the Public Procurement Authority.

After 2012, she was re-elected in 2016 and 2020 as MP for Dome-Kwabenya (vigorously challenged by Mike Oquaye Jnr for NPP). She then got appointed by Akufo Addo's government as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, a very sensitive ministry which has such urgency as the cash-strapped School Feeding Programme. Then, the 137 plus 1 (NPP) against 137 (NDC) hit Parliament and each MP's attendance in Parliament became crucial. Then in a situation likened to “Nero fiddling while Rome was burring”, she was seen in TikTok “boogying:” “Nyame aye bi” and “say you love me” birthday girl. John Boadu, then NPP General Secretary, defended the right of an MP to enjoy himself/herself. In a Zoom interview on JoyNews, she disclosed that she was in the U.S on “family affairs” and not “intentionally” staying outside of Parliament and that, “with God everything will be possible”.

The Privileges Committee of Parliament, led by the Deputy Majority; Joe Osei Owusu, was “compelled” to give a not-too-complimentary report: “The words of the Constitution are clear. If you are absent for 15 sittings and you did not seek permission from Mr. Speaker to be absent, then you should vacate your seat unless you give an explanation to the Privileges Committee to their satisfaction, and the explanation is reasonable.” Quoting profusely “audi alteram pertem” (listen to the other party), the Minority, led by Honorable Iddrisu, challenged the report and the insistence of Joe Osei Owusu's committee to declare the Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant. In a media address in Parliament on July 14, A.B.A. Fuseini a member of the committee, said the committee was “even yet to come out” with a report on the subject matter of absentee MPs.

And the Ranking Member of the Committee, George Kwaku Rickets Hagan, insisted: “The sole authority to declare the Dome-Kwabenya constituency seat vacant is the Speaker of Parliament, the Rt. Honorable Alban Bagbin, and not the chairperson of the Committee.” Meanwhile, the Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong and Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey, had been “pardoned” by the Privileges Committee when they appeared before it. Honorable Inusah Fuseini, former Tamale Central MP, had as far back as February, noted: “The conduct of Adwoa Safo and the matters and information coming out of her absence in Parliament, is not only embarrassing but shocking. This is because she is an MP, and per Article 97(1)(C) of the 1992 Constitution, an MP without permission from the Speaker for 15 days”. Meanwhile, Adwoa Safo's quondam friend with whom she had two kids, Agyapong, had made scathing remarks about Adwoa Safo's conduct: Adwoa Safo was demanding to be made Deputy Majority Leader before she would come to Parliament (“she does not come to Parliament and she is on TikTok dancing … Dome-Kwabenya is not for Apostle Kwadwo Safo”) the Chief of Staff, Frema Akosua Osei Opare, gave Adwoa Safo GH₵ 120,000 deposited in her Fidelity Account to attend Parliament; a private jet was used to fly Adwoa Safo to Ghana and the Chief of Staff had to go to her house to wait for 30 minutes – “What kind of rudeness is that?” Or do we take PNC's Janet Nabla's word that Kennedy Agyapong was “vilifying” Adwoa Safo because of “jealousy”?

Then, on 28th July, the President, Nana Addo, sacked Adwoa Safo as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection “with immediate effect” in accordance with Article 81(a) of the 1992 Constitution. The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, was to continue to act until a substantive minister was appointed. In August, the President nominated Lariba Zuweira Abudu, the MP for Walewale as the new minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Some people think Adwoa Safo may have the look of a Japanese, so we make a literary journey to Japan to learn about “hara-kiri” (hara – belly; kiri – cutting). This was a common ritual suicide by disembowelment practised by the Japanese Samurai – members of the powerful military caste in feudal Japan. Adwoa's conduct cannot be clear – to any political analyst. What one can say in spite of the principle of natural justice (“audi alteram partem”) is that she betrayed the trust that all Ghanaians, especially the President, and the people of Dome-Kwabenya had reposed in her.

She is a young lady endowed with the beauty of Cleopatra and the intelligence of Florence Nightingale; she has a long political career ahead of her. Well, she chose that path, “forcing” the President, who appeared to go on record as one to whom the word “reshuffle” is an anathema to do the opprobrium. The maxim “audi alteram partem” appears not to lend itself for action in case of statutory exclusion, legislative function, and impracticality, as pointed out by Joe Osei Owusu.

But King Henry was jealous of his sleepy servants and remarked: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. Sorrily, some people are not enjoying the peace “we” have.

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By Africanus Owusu Ansah