Give Otiko Djaba some breathing space

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It has not been an easy ride for her in the political business, especially as a woman and despite the many hurdles, she has overcome her challenges to rise to the position of Minister of Gender and Social Protection in the President Akufo-Addo government.

It will be recalled that at the last National Delegates Conference if the NPP, held in Tamale, in 2014, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba was the only member of the immediate past National Executive members of the Party to be voted back to Office. Humbly, that was some feat which eminent politicians at the time, could not achieve. Surely, this should say something about the woman as a politician.

Since assuming Office as Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba has not had it easy. In her quest to advocate the cause of especially women, many of her public statements including her call to young ladies to dress decently to ward off sexual attacks, have been twisted by people who should know better.
It is as if there is some hidden hand somewhere hungry to see her go down, probably because she is a woman. But as others will say, this is politics; it’s a dirty game; the women in politics feel the brunt even more, and only the strong will survive.

The latest incident to create a fertile ground for these Otiko-hackers to call for her removal from office, is her media banter with the Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Daniel Bugri Naabu.
Summarily, the incident surrounded the brutal interruption of a meeting between Madam Otiko Djaba, and some Northern Regional and Constituency Women Organisers of the Party, by Mr. Bugri Naabu.

According to Mr. Bugri Naabu, he led the mob to break down Madam Otiko Djaba’s meeting with the Regional Women Organisers following a report to him when he arrived from Accra, that Madam Otiko Djaba had not formally informed the Regional Executives of the said meeting, describing it as an illegality.
On her part, Madam Otiko Djaba, who doubles as the National Women’s Organiser of the NPP, stated that her meeting with the women Organisers was impromptu, following a last minute arrangement with the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, to represent her at a function in Tamale.

She further explained that due to her tight work schedule as a Minister which had limited her regular interaction with “Party people” she decided to use the opportunity to meet with the regional women Organisers to discuss various matters of Party and National interest.

While quick to condemn Madam Otiko Djaba’s verbal reprisal attack on Chairman Bugri Naabu, accusing him of accepting gifts in the form of goats, sheep and cows and promising jobs he has no capacity to give, it is even more necessary to absolutely condemn the act of violence perpetuated under the guidance of Chairman Bugri Naabu against Madam Otiko Djaba.

The NPP needs to recognise that following some incidents of violence that occurred in its fold before and after the elections, including the murder of its Upper East Regional Chairman, the many violent scenes at the party’s headquarters preceding the suspension of Mr. Paul Afoko and co, and the forceful removal from office of the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator by the famous Delta Force, the tag of violence continues to dangle above the Party, like the Sword of Damocles; and the opposition NDC, still nursing her political broken heart is hungry to capitalize on this.
I fault Mr. Daniel Bugri Naabu for not being patient, matured and decorous in addressing a matter he opined to be illegal. Assuming without admitting that Madam Otiko Djaba’s meeting with the Regional women’s Organiser was illegal, was that the best way Mr. Naabu could have addressed the issue?

Madam Otiko Djaba is a Minister of State and so the representative of the President on matters of Gender and Social Protection. Did Mr. Bugri Naabu not realise that expressing blatant disrespect at Madam Otiko Djaba would by extension be expressing disrespect at the President?
As a Minister of State, the Gender Minister is assigned an armed police officer for protection. If that officer, sensing that his/her asset was in danger, drew their weapon and discharged it, maybe at the cost of a life, who would have caused it?

Surely, that was not going to be the last meeting Madam Otiko Djaba was going to have with women Organisers in the Northern Region. Could Mr. Bugri Naabu not have expressed his displeasure at Madam Otiko’s conduct by reporting her to the Party’s National body or even the presidency? Was violence the best way out of this issue?
In the same vein, Madam Otiko Djaba needs to appreciate that the title of Honourable has now been prefixed to her name, and so must act accordingly. It wouldn’t be that weighty if she were only the National Women’s Organiser of the Party. After all we have witnessed worse media wars between the NDC’s Central Regional Chairman Allotey Jacobs and Ama Benyiewa Doe, and that between the NDC’s National Chairman Peter Portuphy and his National Women’s Organiser, Anita DeSoso.

However, Otiko Djaba is now a Minister of State, in charge of a full Ministry, and a representative of the H. E., the President. Accordingly it is expected that her comments and actions will not bring the image of the President into disrepute. Surely she could have exercised some verbal discipline by regulating her emotions and formally expressing her position on the matter, decorously.

It is imperative that members of New Patriotic Party realise fully that the Party is in government. They have been charged with managing the affairs of the state which primarily involves maintaining the peace and building a buoyant economy. This they can do by strengthening and managing state institutions to engender public confidence in them
To be able to do that however, the Party itself should be seen to have confidence in its own internal structures and mechanisms to address concerns of its members. Rash actions like the one undertaken by Mr. Bugri Naabu undermines this quest.

The Party also needs to be cautioned that if the Public continues to witness a lack of confidence by its members in its party structures to address internal issues, then they (the Public) will gradually lose confidence in the Institutions of state, now managed by the Party, to address national concerns; and you can imagine what this is recipe for.

It is enough that the Presidency and the leadership of the Party has publicly reprimanded Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba and Mr. Daniel Bugri Naabu. The two been made to render unqualified apologies to the Presidency, the Party and the good people of Ghana as well as sign an indefinite bond to be of good behavior.
In all these for Madam Otiko Djaba may need to gauge what comes out of her mouth, no matter how gender advocatorial she may be; for such unwarranted public ruckus which has swayed attention from relevant issues of national interest cannot be hooked to her again.
Moving on …………….

BY YAW P. K. MANU

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