Presidential spouses salary critics “anti-women” – PNC

The People’s National Convention (PNC) has thrown its weight behind the controversial legislative approval of a salary remuneration for presidential spouses.

A press statement, released by the party late on Thursday, July 8, and signed by the party’s general secretary, Janet Asana Nabila, said the salaries were in the right order and it is a policy “that is created to upgrade the economic status of women”.

The PNC disagreed with critics of the remuneration on the grounds that to criticise the salaries would be an attempt to deny women gender parity apart from being an anti-woman stance.

“It is disheartening to see some civil society organisations, NGOs, political parties and individuals kicking against the 1st and 2nd ladies being under salary and citing a section of the Constitution to buttress their point when they have contributed in disregarding sections that advocate gender equality,” the statement said.

Among the critics of the salary for the presidential spouses are the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H. Kwesi Prempeh and an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana (UG), Professor Ransford Van Gyampo.

The Minority in Parliament has already indicated its intention to file a suit at the Supreme Court to have the remuneration, which was approved by Parliament, repealed.

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has moved to defend the salaries as a consequence in line with a committee’s recommendation.

“The truth of the matter is that all surviving spouses of Heads of State, current and former, have always received salaries. Lordina Mahama, Naadu Mills, Matilda Amissah-Arthur, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Faustina Acheampong, Fulera Liman, etc have all been receiving salaries since President Kufuor’s time.

“What has happened now is that the arrangement has been made formal but that was done legally based on the recommendation by the Emoluments Committee,” the Information Minister argued earlier this week.

Below is the PNC’s letter:

STATEMENT ON EMOLUMENTS OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S SPOUSES.

The PNC has followed with keen interest, the discourse on the above-stated matter in the media space and wishes to throw its support for the proponents of such a brilliant scheme to make the offices of the first and second ladies relevant for our development.

In any case, the first and second ladies have been taken care of by the state in the form of allowance provisions since the inception of the 4th Republic. What would it take if we are to regularise the allowances now? We rather see this to be an issue of gender parity on the part of those who are against it.

It is disheartening to see some civil society organisations, NGOs, political parties and individuals kicking against the 1st and 2nd ladies being under salary and citing a section of the Constitution to buttress their point when they have contributed in disregarding sections that advocate gender equality.

For instance, article 35(6b) of the directive principles of state policy has stated that state institutions should be mindful of the gender factor when recruiting.

This provision has been flouted on uncountable occasions, yet the opponents of this scheme have never gotten angry over the flouting of this constitutional directive, only for them to find their voices when something good is going to benefit women.

We, from the PNC, find the act of opposing the scheme repulsive and an attempt to derail the progress of women in the country.

We believe in gender equality and any policy that is created to upgrade the economic status of women and to give them fairness is welcome.

It was the PNC, in September 1998, at a rally in Kumasi that first announced, from its manifesto, the idea to set up a Ministry of Women due to the gender disparities we saw in the country.

One would have thought that a country that prides itself of being the first country to attain independence in sub-Sahara Africa would have been gender-sensitive in its dealings but rather Ghana is backward when it comes to gender matters.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s world classification on women in politics placed Ghana under 145 out of 180 countries during their survey. Ghana was seen to be lagging behind countries such as Togo, Niger amongst others.

Those kicking against any policy or decision that would better the lives of women should bow down their heads in shame.

A country that is religious (over 80 per cent of the population is both Christians and Muslims) should not be violating the principles of both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran.

Jesus Christ, for instance, saw a woman whom the Israelites claimed committed adultery and wanted to stone her to death and he asked them where the man is.

What it means is that you must practice equality in all your dealings.

When the disciples (Sahaba) of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) contacted him demanding between their father and mother whom they should first honour, the Prophet instructed them by answering three consecutive times to first honour their mother. We should be favouring this scheme.

Women in Ghana have offered unpaid labour for a long time and it is high time they are rewarded.

It is generally believed that cleaning the home is a woman’s job but men are in corporate organisations, institutions such as the hospitals doing the same work and taking salaries.

Cooking is usually done by women at home but men are on the roadside, restaurants, hotels cooking, calling themselves chefs and receiving salaries.

Lastly, the same men who don’t do laundry at home are those managing laundry services in Ghana.

They wash and iron without being ashamed and the conclusion one can draw is that a job that does not attract salary is regarded as women jobs while men keep the paying jobs.

The opponents of the scheme should know that they are not fighting against the 1st and 2nd ladies but the economic status of women in Ghana and the Affirmative Action Bill yet to be passed and the PNC, as a party, will not support such acts

PNC: Service with honesty.

Signed

Janet Asana Nabila

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