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22.03.2007 General News

How the political scene reacted to Hawa's death

By Nana Obeng-Danquah

Reactions from the major political parties to Hawa Yakubu"s death last night point to the fact that her untimely demise has created a big political vacuum in the political landscape in the country.

Among the qualities she will be fondly remembered for are her principled stand on national topical issues and her caring and giving nature, irrespective of gender or political hue.

Lord Commey, the New Patriotic Party National Organiser, told The Statesman that he received the news with profound shock and has since been devastated because of his personal relationship with the deceased which goes beyond politics, describing her as his "mother."

To the NPP, he said, her death is a great loss to the party and the vacuum created would be very difficult to fill saying, "she's created a vacuum which would be difficult to fill, and I am being sincere about it."

Having worked with the deceased former MP at the party level, the NPP National Organiser described the late Madam Yakubu as a very principled and hardworking person who abhorred mediocrity.

"She had lots of guts and for me her involvement in politics attest to the fact that she's not someone you can push aside."

According to Mr Commey, Hawa's death is not only a big blow to the NPP and the family but to the entire nation and expressed his condolences to the immediate family, adding," may the Lord grant her soul eternal rest."

Also speaking to this paper, Nii Noi Dowuona, General Secretary of Convention People's Party, said it was regrettable that such an able politician who was an asset to the larger political family has passed away at this crucial stage of the nation's development.

The CPP General Secretary described the late Madam Yakubu as a "true, committed politician," who put the then NDC government on its toes as the lone opposition voice in Parliament as an Independent Candidate in the first parliament of the Fourth Republic, after the NPP boycotted Parliamentary elections in 1992, alleging fraud.

Paying tribute to the late three-term MP, Prof Dowuona observed that Madam Yakubu worked to advance the cause of all Ghanaians, especially women, and hoped that others would emulate her good works.

On behalf of the CPP, he extended condolences to the family, the NPP, and the nation as a whole.

Abdul Raman Issaka, Interim Chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party, also told The Statesman that Madam Yakubu's demise was a "big blow" to the country's fledging democracy.

Alhaji Issaka told The Statesman her tough stance on national issues while retaining her integrity and performing to the highest standards earned Madam Yakubu the nickname "Iron Lady."

The DFP Chairman said women, particularly those from northern Ghana, would miss her generosity because "she needn't to know you to champion your cause for you."

Baba Jamal, Deputy Secretary General of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, described the death as "very sad" and said the Iron Lady would be remembered for her "unwavering principles and generosity."

According to Mr Jamal, it is not uncommon in Ghanaian politics for people to call you names for expressing your view on certain national issues. "But she is a woman who will push for a cause she believes in irrespective of the resistance and if you come close to her you will know the stuff she is made of; she was very kind," he added.

Her loss would be felt not only on the political front, but in the fight for gender equality and the cause of freedom and justice.

Mahama Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central, who unseated the late political paragon in the 2004 general elections, said he received news of the death with shock and sorrow. He emphasised that although rumours about the seriousness of her ailment were rife in the constituency, he prayed ardently for her recovery, but it was not to be.

He described her as a generous and caring mother whose demise is a great loss to the people of Bawku and Ghana as a whole.

The last time they met, at a funeral, "she jokingly said she will come back for her seat since the work was so difficult for Ayariga," the downhearted MP told The Statesman.

Mr Ayariga described her as a mentor, a trail blazer and somebody who has made the constituency very popular and prayed for God's guidance and protection for her children.

Frances Assiam, former NDC National Women's Organiser, who also resigned recently in the same capacity from the DFP, told The Statesman that she was still reeling from the shock of the news.

"We have lost somebody on the gender front from whom I took inspiration," she stated.

She described the late Hawa as a heroine and a doyen of contemporary Ghanaian politics.

Ms Assiam recalled how the deceased taught her networking, an asset she cherishes and still relies on today, and extended her condolences to the family, the NPP, and the Ghanaian woman.