... charging sabotage, harassment, oppression NANA Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the former first lady and president of the 31st December Women's Movement (31st DWM), last Wednesday took the government to the cleaners and accused it of being vindictive and oppressive. “How can a whole government set up a structure to harass and intimidate women without any cause, on issues that are baseless and are without any evidence?” she spat out.
The former first lady, who decried the level of intimidation and harassment in an attempt to run down her movement, said they would not allow themselves to be cowed.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of two early childhood development centers, costing ¢1,116 billion, at Agbozume and Klikor in the Volta Region, Nana Konadu contended that though the DWM had been facing a lot of challenges from the government, including the Auditor-General, the movement is determined to focus on its prime aim of empowering women and to help ensure that every child acquired basic education.
“The 31st DWM tries to help every child to have equal opportunity of education, irrespective of where they come from. It is however, unfortunate that for the past four years, we have faced various challenges from the government simply because they do not understand our programmes and our source of funds, but I must be quick to say that the programme for the Early Childhood Development came as a result of putting women to work for themselves so that they can have an economic venture,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Rawlings, who was accompanied by her husband, Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings, Mrs. Cecilia Johnson, the general secretary of the movement, Mr. Modestus Ahiable, the Volta regional chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Col. (Rtd) Charles Agbenaza, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South, Hon. Albert Kwasi Zigah, the incumbent MP for Ketu South and a host of others, including queen mothers, urged the school authorities, namely the management board, to endeavor to maintain the quality of education.
She lamented how the district assemblies have withdrawn the services of trained teachers from the schools belonging to the 31st DWM, as it was the prerequisite of every district to provide teachers to various schools to ensure quality education.
She was quick to assert that despite such challenges, the school had trained some teachers and would ensure that sound and quality education would be enforced.
Explaining why the project delayed, the former first lady explained that it was due to adverse reports always being published on the internet about the movement, which needed more clarification to be given to the donors before they released funds for the project.
“What sort of government is this, which makes it its business to only harass and attack women's organization for no reason? It is a shame not only to the whole government but also to the President. Indeed, today, it is difficult that our opinion leaders, religious leaders, traditional leaders and other leaders are keeping quiet on the harassment of our women in the nation. What kind of fear have they put into this country that our leaders cannot talk, when they are telling us that we have freedom but rather muzzling us so that nobody can talk?”
Turning her attention on the conduct and the performance of the Auditor-General, Mr. Dua-Agyeman, Nana Konadu in the 31st DWM red beret, said, it was unfortunate that the Auditor General does not know his right and is rather playing to the gallery.
“I believe that the Auditor-General does not know his right, otherwise he would not follow the politicians to be doing the wrong things. A lot of the things he brings up, he does not even have the facts, they are all baseless. Well, he does it because, he is serving his master,” she submitted.
In order to achieve the purpose of the Early Childhood Development Centre after throwing more light on the various impediments, she admonished the parents and teachers to ensure holding high in esteem the paramount interest of imparting quality education into the children.
Hon. Albert Zigah, on his part, pledged his commitment to the progress of the party, after he had donated two television sets to the schools.
Mrs. Cecilia Johnson, the general secretary of the movement, stated that the movement is refusing to be bowed.
“We will continue to educate and empower our women in all areas of life so that, together with the government, whether they like it or not, we can move this nation forward. We are prepared to contribute our quota towards the nation's development in terms of education and women empowerment,” she said.
Mrs. Johnson, who was also in her red beret, alluded to the assertions of intimidation and harassment by the government, which resulted in the delay and crippling of the activities of the movement.
She also explained the circumstances that led to the withdrawal of trained teachers from the school and tasked the teachers and management to be committed to the cause of quality education so that the school would be a force to reckon with in terms of better performance.