Yesterday, President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the appointment of Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, a 69 year-old development consultant, as well as a labour and employment expert with 40 years' experience in both fields, as his Chief of Staff.
Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Science from the University of Ghana, Legon, and a Master's degree in Foods, from the University of Guelph, Canada, would be coordinating activities of the incoming government.
She was a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, from 1976-1982; Consultant for the United Nations in the 'Women in Fisheries' programme in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, Kenya and Namibia.
The former Legon lecturer, who was also Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment from 2005 to 2008, under the government of President John Agyekum Kufuor, is again, a two-term Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon.
The Chronicle congratulates Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare on her appointment, but we want to remind her that the position has placed a very herculean responsibility on her shoulders, especially at this time, when the expectations of the Ghanaian populace know no bounds.
Many gender activist groups, including the Network for Women’s Rights, Ghana (NETRIGHT), a coalition of pro-women empowerment NGOs, and ABANTU for Development, a gender based non-governmental organisation among others, have, over the years, called for policies that would ensure that many women were placed in positions that would make them part of the decision-making and development process.
Some of them also described as unfortunate the low number of women at decision-making levels, even though women formed the majority of Ghana’s population, expressing the concern that the number of women in Parliament, for instance, had gradually decreased to only nine per cent.
It is the estimation of The Chronicle that whether or not more women would get the opportunity to serve in such high profile positions henceforth, would, to a large extent, depend on the performance of Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare.
It is against this backdrop that we are appealing to the woman, who is on record as the first female to hold such high profile portfolio in the history of this country, to give out her very best, no matter what.
It is the expectation of the paper that Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare would humble herself to learn the nitty-gritty of her new position, and apply the enormous experience she had acquired over the years to make her successful.
The Chronicle is, however, delighted to learn with pride that the in-coming Chief of Staff has indicated soon after her name was mentioned that she has what it takes to manage the portfolio.
According to her, her rich experience would help her to selflessly discharge her duties effectively, adding, “I am ready for battle and looking forward to serve the President and Ghanaians.”
If she excels in her new position, the paper would join the numerous gender activist groups and individuals, both locally and internationally, to make a case for more women to be handed top notch decision making positions.
This would also go a long way to encourage the incoming administration, and subsequent ones, to have confidence in women and appoint more females into key decision making positions.
On the other hand, if she fails to deliver, which the paper doubts, it would put women on hold, and for a very long time to come governments would find it difficult to appoint females into responsible positions.
This is not to suggest that women are not doing well on the socio-political landscape of the country, but to get more women to join the fray, there is the need for those who are appointed like Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare to endeavour to excel.
Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who was appointed as Chief Justice 10 years ago by the erstwhile Kufuor administration, has proved what Ghanaian women can do, it, therefore, behooves on Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare to consolidate the gains made so far.
Indeed, the in-coming Chief of Staff cannot fail to deliver.