Debates of 12 May 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Members, corrections to the Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report may now be made. Page 1 . . . Page 7 -- [Pause.]
Mr. G. K. Arthur 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, page 6, number 9 - I saw the hon. Member for Nabdam, Mr. Moses Asaga here yesterday but his name appeared in the list of absentees.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
I am sure the correction would be made. Page 7 . . . Page 10. We have the Official Report for Wednesday, 11th May 2005. Are there any omissions or corrections to be made? [Pause.] We shall move on to item 3 - Statements. Hon. Members, I have admitted one Statement to be made by the hon. Member for Builsa North (Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia).

Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP -- Builsa North) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful to be given this opportunity to make a Statement in connection with
the event, Mothers Day, which is very important to everyone because we all have mothers.
Mr. Speaker, however, this great event is recognized in the second week of the month of May and Catholics call it fourth Sunday in Lent in honour of the Virgin Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mr. Speaker, history has it that Mothers Day started 150 years ago in the United State of America, where a lady by name Anna Jarvis, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a course she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She then called it Mothers Work-week.
Mr. Speaker, this great woman died in 1905. However, her daughter, also known as Anna began a campaign to memorialize the work of her mother. It is said that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave her when she was alive, in which she said and with your permission, I quote:
“I hope and pray that someday, someone will find a memorial mothers Day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”

Mr. Speaker, the lady Anna therefore started to lobby prominent businessmen, politicians including President Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honour mothers.

Mr. Speaker, at one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna's mother in 1908 at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother's favourite flowers, the white carnation.

In 1913 the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the Federal Government to wear white carnation on the Mothers Day.

Mr. Speaker, Anna was not pleased

when profit-making people started selling cards, gifts and flowers on this special day of mothers and in 1923, she filed a lawsuit to stop a Mothers Day festival and was even arrested for disturbing the peace of a convention when carnation flowers were sold to a war mother's group.

Mr. Speaker, despite Anna's misgivings, Mothers Day came to stay. It is the most popular day of the year in the United States of America where people dine out, send out gifts and telephone lines record their highest traffic, as sons and daughters everywhere call to honour and express their love to their mothers.

Mr. Speaker, there is no denying the fact that the Mothers Day concept has had expressions in other context in modern times like women empowerment, gender balance, girl-child emancipation and many more.

Before I resume my seat, I say bravo to all mothers including myself. No wonder the great Nigerian singer sang his song “Sweet Mother I no go forget you”.

The word “mother” as we all know stands for:

M - Motivating

O - Obedience

T - Tolerance

H - Honesty

E - Entrepreneurship

R - Reliability

And one can find these qualities in every mother throughout the world.

Thank you. Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDC -

North Dayi): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement made by my hon. Colleague and to say that she has actually taken the wind out of my sail because I have also just submitted a statement on the same issue. It only means that we are thinking in the same direction.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to first of all congratulate all Ghanaian women for the great work they are doing in bringing up very responsible and useful citizens of this country. Particularly, I want to salute women who single- handedly have toiled or are toiling to raise these children and also to maintain their families.

Mr. Speaker, of late, there has been a very disturbing situation where women are gradually being forced into single parenthood. A lot of our men are becoming irresponsible and this can be borne out of the fact that most of the report made at Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) and at the police stations all over the country attest to this phenomenon. And I would want to appeal to our men, especially those who are shirking their responsibilities to their families, to be up and doing.

Mr. Speaker, in the same vein, I would also call for the establishment of WAJU in all the regional and district capitals. I am particularly worried about the districts because these are the areas where the women bear the brunt of the problems of irresponsibility of men. And I think that when WAJU establishes in the districts, women who are aggrieved would have the opportunity to voice out their feelings and also have their problems addressed.

Mr. Speaker, I would also want to call for the enforcement of general legal instruments such as the Child Right Regulations 2002, L.I. 1705, the Parent Intestate Succession Law, PNDC Law
Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP -- Builsa North) 10:20 a.m.

111, the Intestate Succession Amendment Law, 1991, PNDC Law 264, all of which, among others, cater for the protection and maintenance of women and children.

Mr. Speaker, I would also call for the resourcing of the Ministry for Women and Children's Affairs to enable it ensure effective gender mainstreaming and also the implementation of the national policy on gender and children.

Mr. Speaker, before I resume my seat, I think a lot also behoves the religious and moslem leaders to continue to admonish their flocks. I think most of the men who attend these churches and the mosques must be told to live up to their parental responsibilities. Some of them spend all their time in the churches dishing out various sums of money to the church leadership whilst they abrogate their parental responsibilities. So I think that when the churches and the mosques take up this responsibility of educating our men, much of the problem would be solved that way.

Mr. Speaker, once again, I say Ayeeko to all Ghanaian women and I urge them to keep on the good work that they are doing.

Deputy Minister for the Interior (Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.)): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given to me to also join my hon. Colleagues in saluting the mothers of this world as Mothers Day was celebrated last Sunday.

Mr. Speaker, there is nobody who does not have a mother; some of us were fortunate to live with our mothers through infancy, and just about the time that we are ready to take care of them they unfortunately die and go away. Others too are unfortunate not to even see their mothers at birth because their mothers

die at birth. But generally, Mr. Speaker, I think mothers are people who really play a major role in the upbringing of any human being - after nine months of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, breastfeeding and then the care and concern that the average mother gives to the baby during infancy.

Mr. Speaker, women play a major role and there is no man who can use his left hand to point at his mother because without them, we cannot even come into this world. And so Mr. Speaker, I honestly want to join my hon. Colleagues in saluting our mothers. Personally, I feel a sense of loss, that my mother is gone, but at least, those whose mothers are alive, should do all that they can to help them especially in their old age.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to bring to the fore the fact that successive governments in this country have been doing the best that they can to help our mothers. My hon. Colleague, hon. Akua Sena Dansua just mentioned the Testate and Intestate Laws which came into being in 1985 and are still in operation. It is an attempt being made by Government to make sure that mothers are protected when their spouses die suddenly.

Again, the police administration have what we call the Women and Juvenile Unit which is a special unit set aside by the Police Service to deal with special issues concerning women and children especially domestic violence, and/or husbands who are irresponsible in taking care of their children.

The Judiciary also has special courts set aside for dealing with fathers who do not want to take care of them.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the New Patriotic Party has also set up the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and has appointed a Cabinet Minister to be in charge of those affairs. All these

highlight the degree of concern that President John Agyekum Kufuor and his NPP - [Interruptions] -- have for women and children.

Some hon. Members: Wahala.

Capt Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Well,

I do not know whether it is wahala - [Laughter.] I do not know whether it is wahala demonstrations -- [Laughter] -- which are causing it. If it is so then the organisers of those demonstrations may be booked for conspiracy or for murder.

Mr. Speaker, I think that we must salute our mothers and I honestly join my hon. Colleague who made this Statement. I commend her for the Statement -- I am sure she is a mother herself. We salute our women and thank them for their heroism. As hon. Akua Dansua said, most of them bear the brunt. Mr. Speaker, we salute them. We thank them and may they continue to live to take care of us. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity.

Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah (NPP --

Atwima-Mponua): I would like to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that in terms of contribution to the national economy, women have played very crucial roles in this country. Food crop production is mainly undertaken by women, from the clearing of the land to harvesting.

Mr. Speaker, my concern however is, how do we continue to empower them economically? There is no doubt about the fact that this Government has done a lot to provide them with soft loans. But how sustainable are these soft loans provided to these women? If you give them two hundred thousand cedis, or five hundred thousand cedis, sometimes, some of our women see these amounts as political gifts.

My suggestion is that we should make sure that whatever assistance we want to give to our women folk for food production, we group them so that if it is about ten million cedis and we give it to about three women to till the land and make sure that they contribute to make a good harvest, that is the only way we can sustain these soft loans that we are giving them.

Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan - rose
- 10:20 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Yes, hon.
Member, do you have a point of order?
Dr. Alhassan 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Mr. Asiamah 10:20 a.m.
This is rather
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Asiamah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not
Mr. Asiamah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, of late we
have been debating the Domestic Violence Bill. It is very important that issues like rape and other issues that perpetrate continuous poverty among our women are well dealt with. But then, let us make sure that the debate is culturally sensitive and culturally relevant. It is very, very important but if we are debating and issues like marital rape and other issues come up, I do not think it will take us anywhere.
If one listens to the radio stations, the concern is on marital rape. The other important things are taken off because of the importance attached to it. So I will urge our womenfolk and our mothers to understand that even though our discussion is very relevant they should also be sober a bit on the issue of marital rape, so that they get Ghanaians alongside with them on this issue of domestic violence.

But let us ask ourselves, what are we doing to let the girl-child get access to quality education? Mr. Speaker, my constituency, Atwima-Mponua needs about three hundred teachers to augment the existing teacher population. When you go there, many of the girls are not attending school. What is the problem? Let us look at the bottomline because if we are talking about empowering the women, the bottomline is about educating the girl-child so that she would become a responsible mother. So let us look at girl- child education seriously.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, do you have any point of order?
Mr. G. K. Arthur 10:20 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it seems the hon. Member has totally deviated from the Statement. The Statement is about mothers and not about the girl-child or women. There is a difference between a woman, a mother and a child. I want the hon. Member to go to the Statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, your hon. Colleague is only commenting on the Statement. Hon. Member go on.
Mr. Asiamah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I have said, that is why sustainably this country has failed because the bottomline is about the girl-child who becomes a mother in future. We must get that one clear. So Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of concern. We must seriously look at how we bring our girls from the infancy so that in future, we may not see girls on the street.
Sometimes, I become sad when I see young girls selling on the streets - I think it is very upsetting. If today we are celebrating Mothers Day, these are the relevant issues that should confront us as Ghanaians so that something concrete is laid for the future of Ghanaian mothers. Thank you very much.
Mr. David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member. I think that our mothers really deserve the commendations that we can marshal in the world. I think that statistics indicate that mothers are becoming the major bread-winners in most households and they go through a lot of trauma to do so.
I think that what we should be looking at now is that in spite of the structural mechanisms we have put in place to better the lot of women, our mothers still undergo a lot of deprivation and marginalisation especially in the rural communities.
We might have to look at how to empower certain civil society organisa- tions and certain statutory bodies to be able to bring to the fore and the limelight the structural interventions that are in place to protect and enhance the status of women. Maybe, we have to create desk offices in the various District Assemblies so they could bring to the knowledge of the rural folks the laws that are there to protect women.
Maybe, we would have to empower the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) more to incorporate women activities in their outreach programmes. We may also have to empower FIDA. I realise that some of these organisations, their programmes are skewed towards urban areas but such deprivation and marginalisation occur more in the rural areas and this is where the emphasis should go. I want to appeal to all civil society organisations, District Assemblies and other statutory bodies to try and make their programmes a bit more skewed towards the rural areas where the women
face the brunt of deprivation.
Minister for Public Sector Reforms (Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the sentiments expressed in the Statement made on the occasion of Mothers Day which has been celebrated and I want to use this opportunity to make a couple of points and suggestions.
One, we know that we the men die sooner or earlier than the women and one of the things that we can do for our mothers and for our wives has to do with how we treat our last testament or the Wills that we prepare. I think on this occasion, I would like to encourage all of us and Ghanaians in general to consider not just writing our last testaments or our Will but also in making proper and appropriate provisions for our wives and mothers when we do so.
Mr. Speaker, the second one is, if you go to many of our towns and villages, you would find that the mothers are there with the children and quite often, the men are not there. And so I am looking at something that is being practised in a selected number of communities in terms of offering or providing one meal a day in school, and I would encourage the Minister for Education and Sports to try and expand this programme to all of our communities so that the burden that most of the time falls on mothers, can be reduced or minimized.
On the occasion of Mothers Day, these are two matters that I wish to put forward for consideration.
Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment (Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to this Statement.
Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP - Atwima-Nwabiagya) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor. Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a comment on child delivery, as we are talking about Mothers Day.
Mr. Speaker, my concern is about pre- natal and antenatal care. Mr. Speaker, motherhood is a really difficult and traumatizing experience during the lives of our women. Mr. Speaker, fortunately, my wife just delivered yesterday and because of this - [Hear! Hear!] - I happened to go
through the trauma with her even though I was not the one carrying the baby. Mr. Speaker, she went through a hard time and we men must really appreciate the hard work and the toil they go through during this particular time of their lives.
Mr. Speaker, on this note, I would like to say, Maame, ye da wo ase; mmami, oyi waladon; emma asan kushun; emma, barelka.
Ms. Esther Obeng Dapaah (NPP - Abirem) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the Statement on the floor. I would like to say Ayekoo to all mothers in this country and worldwide who go through sleepless nights, nine months' pregnancy, delivery and taking care of children. I would like to salute single parents, be they women without husbands or widows, who are bringing up children single handedly.
It is a very difficult task to bring up children single handedly. Sometimes, these children are not easy to manage but the women go through all that and I would like to salute them. As a result of single parenthood, women go through depression and there are other various sicknesses and illnesses that women go through which are not experienced by men.

Women suffer from cervical cancer, they suffer from breast cancer, they go through menopause and information on all these is not available to our mothers. I would like to see centres and more training programmes for women to prevent these types of cancers. I would also like to see more awareness creation and the education of our women especially those in the rural areas about their health. I would urge all women to take advantage of such clinics when they are made available.

Majority of women become victims of

HIV and I would like more information to reach these women. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are doing a lot of work just, as the Government also is helping, and I would like to salute all NGOs which are helping to bring awareness of HIV to these women.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Members, at the Commencement of Public Business - [pause] -- Hon. Member, let me go back and give you the opportunity but please be brief.
Mrs. Grace Coleman (NPP - Effiduase/Asokore) 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, after many years of democracy, I would want to say something. We have always been congratulated as women doing a good job concerning motherhood in this country. But for a long time, we were not recognizing our own art works.
Mr. Speaker, this year on Mothers Day, I received more congratulations from the men of this country than from women -- [Hear! Hear!] And you would be surprised to know that I received more flowers and cards from Members of this House all of whom are men -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr. Speaker, I want to tell men that we progress because of them, that no woman is happy if all the world feels that she has done a good job and her boy, her child, her husband refuses to acknowledge her.
Let me say that the men are making the world for the women and I want them to continue to make the world for the women because this year, despite everything, I thought the message was not going down. I thought we were just talking women, women, women. But this year, I realize that the men have got the message. And if the men have got the message, then the women are going to enjoy most this time. I want to congratulate all the men in this country who have realized that women
have done a lot for them.
Last year when we talked about Mothers Day, a very senior hon. Member of this House got up and said that without his mother, he would not be anywhere. Hon. Mahama said this and I was dressed with goose pimples. I just could not believe that this man was saying something that I thought, being a senior man like him, he would keep it to himself. He told us that he had been brought up by a woman and everything he owed on this earth was from a woman.
I want to say that with the help of the men of this country, women will do anything - women are already doing everything in the world for their sake. If they do take good care of their children, women enjoy it and they will also give the best treatment to the boys. A boy who is rejected by his father acquires a name of a hooligan. But if the father makes sure that the boys are brought up well, their mothers love them.
So men should please do their best to help us to bring the children up thereby helping society because society, to a very large extent, depends on their comments and their attitude towards the women. Women really love the men, otherwise we would not call ourselves wives. We love them and we want them to love us and express the love by loving our children, taking care of our children and making sure that they bring them up to their standard.
I would want to see every male Member of Parliament (MP) here bringing up his child to his standard. It is possible there may be one or two bad nuts but I can assure them that with their help the women will do a wonderful work. I am calling on all of them to help us to tell society. If the men tell society to help the child and it
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, please wind up.
Mrs. Coleman 10:40 a.m.
Yes, sir, I am sorry. Thank you, sir, for giving me the opportunity.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you taking a point of order?
Mr. Hodogbey 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
She has already resumed her seat.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member was trying to talk about men more than women. The best forum for the Member to do this is when we have Fathers Day.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
The fourth item on the Agenda - Committee Meetings -- Majority Leader, are there any directions from the Leadership?
Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, because of the accommodation problem we are going to have two committee meetings using your conference room in succession. So I am pleading with the members of the Appointments Committee to be there in time. I am told theirs is a very short meeting. Immediately they finish, the Public Accounts Committee may also meet.
Mr. Speaker, we have started talking to the Ministers regarding the Urgent Questions. We had scheduled the Minister of the Interior to answer the first Urgent Question on Tuesday but we are told he
will be outside Accra, in fact to the North and the Upper East and Upper West; and therefore has agreed to answer the Question tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, again, we need to quickly look at the GETFund to enable them disburse the funds to the affected institutions and therefore we shall also have a Committee of the Whole tomorrow to look at the GETFund - [Interrup-tion.] That is what the Business Committee decided. On this note, I move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow
Mr. John Tia 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, before I second the motion, I think that at the Business Committee meeting, the Deputy Minority Leader said that this idea of considering the GETFund came up and it was not unanimously agreed that we should take it tomorrow. I have had a look at the Report and it is so complicated.
It was given to us only yesterday, and we need to study it properly. So we are thinking that that item should not come on tomorrow but rather we take it that it would be the first thing on Tuesday. Mr. Speaker, with these comments, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 10.50 a.m. till 13th May, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.