Date of Release: 16th April 2012 Contact: Susan Aryeetey
Resource Mobilisation Manager
PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS ON THE RECENT ASSAULT AGAINST MS URSULA OWUSU AND OTHERS
We view with dismay the gradual plunging of our dear nation Ghana into mayhem as a result of political violence which is now characterizing the biometric registration going on in anticipation of the December elections.
The Battering of Ms Ursula Owusu calls for great concern because the incident is creating a test case for women who may wish to venture into politics, and the situation is not encouraging for them. Political violence is a disincentive to women’s political participation. Such attacks on women candidates foster intimidation and erode the political space for their meaningful political participation. Now more than ever, we need more women’s voices in Ghanaian politics to help redefine our political priorities as a nation that is fast achieving middle income status. Issues about women and children must be given priority in the national agenda so they do not end up at the peripheral . Who best can articulate these issues than Ghanaian women in the political arena. Violence against women in politics has nothing positive to offer our nation. It goes to affirm the belief that politics is a no go area for women, a notion which is not only untrue, but counter -productive. Macho men are not above the law, their behavior only shows the socio-cultural climate of our society, were gender roles are perpetuated through violence in any form against women.
We are equally disappointed by the inaction of the security agencies and their apparent lack of strategy and cooperation, to help forestall such violence in the various constituencies. This is the time for them to uphold and defend the good people of Ghana and to take firm control of the security situation in order to nip in the bud any disaster that maybe looming ahead of us.
We call on the President His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills to take every swift and necessary action against these dastardly acts to buttress the assurances he has given to Ghanaians concerning his stand against violence. Such an action from his Excellency will not only give better meaning to our democracy, it will give potential female candidates confidence and hope in the governance system. Such as action is also critical if there are any lessons that must be learnt from our neighboring war torn countries. Their nations did not plunge into war over night; it all began with pockets of violence that was ignored.
We call on all well meaning Ghanaians who are interested in defending our young fledgling democracy to condemn the unrest being created through these violent incidents as they have a potential of eroding our modest gains and taking us many steps backwards
We call on women’s rights organizations to join hands through advocacy, education to guarantee that women in politics are protected. This is the time for us to be tenacious and forge ahead to ensure that we attain that critical mass of women in decision making. It is vital for our development and survival as a nation, because without the incorporation of women’s perspectives at all levels of decision making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.