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27.02.2009 Politics

TAMALE WOMEN PROTEST OVER LOW REP AT ASSEMBLY… Despite promise by Prez Mills

By Edmond Gyebi, Tamale - Ghanaian Chronicle

The swearing in of 24 government appointees, to the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly on Monday February 23, painted a bad picture about the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), as some women activists expressed disappointment with the government, for unjustifiably failing to honour its vital promise made to Ghanaian women.

The President, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, consistently made pronouncements to the effect that his government would ensure, at least, 40% of women participation in governance at the local and national levels, in order to amplify the voice of women.

However, out of the total of 78 assembly members in the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, comprising 54 elected and 24 appointed influential members, only five are women, representing less than 7%.

Saratu Issah, Assembly Member for the ADB/Hamadiya Electoral Area, in an interview with The Chronicle, described the low number of women appointees into the assembly, as a complete 'disgrace' to womanhood, and a 'minus' to the NDC government. According to her, in the immediate past assembly, about 10 women were appointed by the then government to represent their colleagues in the decision-making processes.

Saratu said that those women did not only represent the interests of their people, but also contributed significantly to the development of the Tamale Metropolis.

She, therefore, appealed to the President to immediately prevail upon the Appointments Committee, to give prominence to more women to ensure gender balance.

The Associate Director of the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Awal, told The Chronicle that the leadership of the NDC had betrayed the trust reposed in them by the women.

He disclosed that the officials of the NDC, at a special meeting organised jointly by NORSAAC, Action Aid Ghana and Ibis Ghana about a month ago, promised to exceed the number of assembly women appointed by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

Mr. Awal disclosed however, that his organisation and its partners would soon discuss the possibilities of protesting against the decision of the Appointments Committee, which he indicated, would affect the fortunes of Northern women.

It would be recalled that the NORSAAC and its partners, especially Action Aid, did so well to lobby the past NPP government to support contesting assembly women, and to appoint more women into the assembly in the region.

In all, about 98 women were given the chance to participate in the running of the assemblies.

The women, with support from NORSAAC and Action Aid Ghana, form a viable women caucus called the Northern Region Assembly Women Caucus on Good Governance (NORWACGG), which vigorously advocated for, and encouraged more women in all the districts of the region, to become self-dependent.

The Presiding Member of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Abdul Hahnan Gundado, in an interview with The Chronicle, also expressed worry about the limited number of women representation in the assembly.

He however, explained that most influential women did not show an interest, unlike their male counterparts.

Meanwhile, credible information picked up by the paper, has it that out of the 24 government appointees, there is no a single professional from the police, military, teacher, nurse or the judiciary.

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