Weeks after the termination of her appointment as Gender Minister, Sarah Adwoa Safo has communicated her acceptance.
In a letter addressed to President Nana Akufo-Addo, dated 5 August 2022, the Dome Kwabenya MP expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve under his leadership.
“It was an honour to serve at this all-important ministry, albeit for a short time. I am grateful for your understanding, compassion and unending devotion throughout the past year, especially during a difficult period for me where I had to be out of office,” she indicated.
The Member of Parliament (MP) was relieved of her ministerial position after absenting herself for nearly a year amid calls from critics to get her axed.
Although the embattled legislator has been relieved of her duties, she believes it was a good call.
She is convinced the move will allow her to focus on the developmental needs of her constituents.
“Cognizant of my duties to the 75,000 constituents who elected me, this development is opportune and will afford me more time to concentrate on my parliamentary responsibilities and constituency engagements as well as consolidate the gains we have made as a government at the constituency level in our quest to break the eight,” she said.
The Dome Kwabenya MP also touted being able to put in place enough mechanisms to ensure a harmonious society where the survival and development of women, children, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable persons in the society was guaranteed in line with the president’s vision.
Mrs Safo has since handed over all official assets to the ministry’s administrator.
Although she is convinced her position as a legislator is well grounded, there are calls to have her removed as a Member of Parliament since she has failed in that role as well.
First to champion the cause is the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu. On countless occasions, the Majority Leader urged the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to declare the Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant.
He insisted that would be an act of upholding the country’s 1992 Constitution in his verdict on the Dome-Kwabenya MP following her absence from parliamentary duties.
“I am not happy with what the likely implications will be, but the law must be obeyed. I had Adwoa Safo as my deputy,” he told TV3 in an earlier interview.
Second, to add its voice to the calls is the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA). Its Executive Director, Dr. Rasheed Draman, is convinced the legislator’s complete disregard for parliamentary sittings and further invitations to explain her absence is deliberate.
“The people of Dome-Kwabenya have been left unrepresented for long. If she can no longer represent them, it is best the seat is declared vacant. This whole issue of she has not been served by the Privileges Committee and all others, the question is, what are the procedures on how long a Minister of State can be absent from duty?
“Do we have anything that guides that in running our country? If not, our leaders have some questions to answer. There are a lot of questions to be answered on this whole Adwoa Safo issue. Parliament owes us some answers.
“Our Parliament is looking as one that cannot regulate itself. This is sending very bad signals out there, and if nothing is done about it, Parliament may lose respect among the populace,” he stressed.
Speaker Bagbin was expected to decide whether or not the embattled MP should be maintained after missing 15 parliamentary sittings.
The Majority MPs urged the Speaker to declare the Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant, while the Minority jumped to the defence of the absent MP, saying she still needed to be given a chance to explain herself.
After hearing constructive criticisms from both sides of the house, the Speaker said he needed time to prepare a detailed submission since this would set a precedent for cases related to future absentees.
“I have consulted the old lady, the old lady has given me some advice, and I think that advice is correct. I need time to submit to this house a reasoned written ruling.
“I cannot, in the haste of today, give you a ruling. In the circumstances, I will urge this house to call it a day. On return, I will deliver a written ruling,” he said to a divided house.
Adwoa Safo’s reasons for absence
In an earlier interview, Ms Safo said she was not served to appear for a probe on absenteeism.
The legislator, who has been criticized for abandoning her ministry and parliamentary duties, said no information had officially reached her desk.
“I have served in Parliament for over 12 years and a practising lawyer for 18 years. I know the rules, but as I sit here, I have not been served…No official document has come to me.
“I don’t have to be served through the media. I have to be served personally, and I don’t have to be served through third parties,” she insisted.
She explained that she was currently in the United States attending to pressing family issues and would return after taking care of her sick son.
“As you can see, I am here in the United States taking care of my son, and I don’t know how I am supposed to appear before the Committee. If the Speaker says you have been summoned to the Privileges Committee, the Committee then sets its own modalities on when we are to appear, but I don’t have any information on that,” she said in an interview on Joy News on Thursday, 26 May 2022.
She insisted she would only return home when her son was declared fit and healthy.