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15.11.2008 Politics

Dynamic Woman Eyes Bole-Bamboi Seat "We need Change"

By Rosalind Amoh
Dynamic Woman Eyes Bole-Bamboi Seat
NOV 15, 2008 POLITICS

With the nomination, of the Member Parliament for Bole-Bamboi, Mr John Mahama, as the running mate of the National Democratic Congress NDC presidential aspirant, the contest to replace him is likely to be a keen one between the various political parties in the country.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) nominee, Otiko Afisah Djaba, however thinks that she will carry the day after the elections on December 7, not just because she wants her party to win, but believes it is time the people of the constituency obtain a change.

"The NDC has represented our constituency for 16 years and since independence, there has never been a woman representing the constituency in parliament," Ms Djaba adds that "I believe it is time for a change and I represent that change".

"As the MP, 'my big brother' John has sold Bole very well. He has been a good public relations man for the constituency. But I think ifs time to step up that popularity and move the development achieved forward," she explained.

She describes herself as catalyst for change and points out that when elected as an MP, her main focus will be to team up and collaborate closely with her people to accelerate the pace of development in the area.

Born some 46 years ago at Bole to a Somanya father and Bole mother, Mrs. Rosalind, Shiata Bawa (nee Mumuni), Ms Djaba is a product of the Tamale Secondary School and spent her youthful days in northern Ghana.

Though she had no earlier plans to take to polls, she says she cannot hide from the political roots of her dynamic father, the legendary Henry Djaba, an affluent international businessman who was a strong member of the Progress Party. The family fled the country to live in exile in the UK for over 20 years due to political reasons.

She says her experience of living a hard-up life in exile has made her appreciative of the challenges in life, as well as better identify with the suffering of her people.

Ms Djaba says after five years of working closely with the people, she can no longer hold back the desire to offer a strong voice for them and has thus decided to run as MP.

She was able to scale the first hurdle by winning the parliamentary primaries on the ticket of the NPP and though she concedes that it was quite difficult for women to be leaders in certain communities, education and the performance of some women leaders have made the people warm up to the idea and she believes the people of Bole-Bamboi will fully accept her.

"With the advent of education, people are realising that women are capable of leading. What they require is that they have women who are competent,” she emphasises.

Ms Djaba, a communication and development studies expert who runs a nongovernmental organisation, working with rural children and mothers, Miidan Educational Trust, believes having more women in the Legislature would help address the issues that affect the vulnerable in society.

She believes that there is more her people, especially the women, could achieve for themselves if given the needed motivation and support, something she would make her focus.

The level of illiteracy is still very high among the people in the consistency. Most of the women are wrongly perceived as only interested in sitting back only to receive aid. They want to do things for themselves and send their children to school but they face constraints. I understand the dynamics and being their MP will empower me to help find a more holistic solution to the challenges confronting our community," she stresses.

"My message for the campaign will be development with the people and for the people. Because I believe that it is critical to empower the 'rural 'poor so as to change the rural-urban imbalance and find pragmatic solutions to the rural-urban drift, which has hit the youth of the ,country and particularly those from the northern part the country," she said.

Credits: Rosalind Amoh, Graphic first published 20.09.08

Updated by Ama Djaba, London 14 November, 2008

For further information, please see www.otiko-afisa-djaba.com

email:[email protected]

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