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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Salaga North Constituency in the Northern Region, Alhaji Mumuni Alhassan, has mounted a fierce campaign for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB).
As part of activities to ensure a successful campaign, the Salaga North lawmaker is demanding explanations from the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection why the delay in laying the Bill before the house.
The Affirmative Action Bill, was laid before the Sixth Parliament in 2016 but could not be passed.
As required by the rules, the Bill has to be re-laid before the current Parliament. However, such an important bill which passed through almost all the stages in the Sixth Parliament is yet to be re-laid in the House a year after the first Session of the Seventh Parliament.
Responding to Alhaji Alhassan’s question on the floor, the Gender Minister, Otiko Afisah Dzaba admitted that the laying of the AAB was long overdue.
According to her, the ministry has embarked on a review of the AAB which she said received cabinet approval in 2016 to reflect the ideals of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
She announced that the AAB is currently with the Secretariat of Cabinet for discussion prior to Cabinet’s approval and subsequent submission to Parliament
Mr Speaker, “the issue of under representation of women will be addressed by the Affirmative Action Law as well as to serve as a catalyst to reduce the imbalances against women,” she stated.
The Gender Minister has therefore, assured the House that the AAB will be presented to Parliament before it goes on recess in late March.
In an exclusive interview after appearing on the floor of the House, the Salga North MP reiterated the urgent need for the passage of the AAB.
According to him the Bill when pass into law will effectively redress both social, cultural and economic gaps between men and women across all sectors.
Alhaji Alhassan is therefore calling on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Religious leaders, Traditional Rulers, and Opinion leaders to add their voices to the call for the early passage of the Bill.
When asked why he being a male is the one fighting for the passage of the AAB whilst the women advocates are silent, the Salaga North lawmaker in a sharp rebuttal explained that the Affirmative Action Bill is not only about women’s issues or women seeking political office or public positions.
“It is worth noting that the AAB goes as far as making provisions for children and Persons with Disability as part of efforts to promote their rights and well-being, for total productive inclusion for national development.,” he stated, adding that “The accelerated development of women is a major determinant of the growth of a nation”.
Source: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Writers’ email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.