Debates of 8 Mar 2013

PRAYERS 11 a.m.


Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Friday, 1st March, 2013 for correction.
Mr Benjamin K. Kpodo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 1176, the second paragraph; what we have there is “Section 31 of the Act.” It should be corrected to read “Schedule 3(1) of the Act.” And two lines below that, again, we have “Schedule 3 (2) --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, wait; one at a time. Should it be “Section 31” or “Schedule 3(1)”?
Mr Kpodo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, “Schedule
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Mr Kpodo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, and then two lines after that, it should be “Schedule
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Kpodo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there is one more correction on that same column. Fourth line from the bottom, which reads:

“Mr Speaker, I think this law which was passed 23 years ago …”

Mr Speaker, it should be 10 years, not 23 years.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Wahab W. Sohuyini 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 1166, paragraph (3), it reads:
“There is no doubt we have a challenge there and that Mr President has indicated that he will confront and deal with it.”
Mr Speaker, I think “it” is left out.
Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 1173, the first paragraph, the first word there should be “only” not “zonly”.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, the Official Report of Friday, 1st March, 2013 as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Business Statement for the Seventh Week -- Chairman of the Business Committee?

Minister for Government Business in Parliament/Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 7th March, 2013 and arranged Business of the House for the Seventh Week ending Friday, 15th March, 2013.
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 11:10 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Mr Speaker, your goodself may admit Statements to be made in the House by Hon Members and Ministers of State.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of an urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week.
Post-budget Workshop
Mr Speaker, a post-budget workshop for Leadership, Chairpersons and Ranking Members of Committees, selected backbenchers and some members of staff has been scheduled to take place this weekend. Participants are expected to check-in this evening, Friday, 8th March, 2013. It is envisaged that the post-budget workshop would end on Sunday, 10th March, 2013. Hon Members who are expected to participate in the said workshop have been duly communicated to.
Mr Speaker, considering the sheer numbers of participants in the post- budget workshop, coupled with the desire to ensure effective participation by all, Leadership has agreed on two (2) venues in Koforidua, that is, (i) Capital View Hotel Conference Room and (ii) Mac Dic Royal Plaza Hotel Conference Room.
Though the workshop is programmed to run concurrently at the two venues, the opening address would be held at the Capital View Hotel.
Debate on the Financial Policy of the Government
Mr Speaker, debate on the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013, is expected to commence on Tuesday, 12th March, 2013 and conclude on Friday, 15th March, 2013. The Business Committee accordingly urges Hon Members to avail themselves for the debate.
Mr Speaker, the Business Committee, mindful of the need to thoroughly debate the Financial Policy of Government for the year 2013, has decided on some time allocations for Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, the Committee re- commends the following time allotments for Hon Members to make their contributions:
i. Leadership/Chairpersons/Ranking Members -- 10 minutes
ii. Other Hon Members -- 5 minutes
Mr Speaker, the allotment of time is to ensure that as many Hon Members as possible are availed the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Financial Policy of the Government.
Mr Speaker, the Committee, however, wishes to urge Hon Members to endeavour to be as brief as possible and also avoid repetitions.
Extended Sittings
Mr Speaker, having regard to the exigencies of the state of business before the House, the Business Committee proposes extended Sittings commencing from the beginning of the Eighth Week. In addition, the Business Committee also proposes that the House Sits on Monday,
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 11:10 a.m.
18th March, 2013. It is envisaged that this arrangement would afford the House ample time to dispose of the heavy schedule of business for this Meeting.
Mr Speaker, the Business Committee takes this opportunity to entreat committees to hold meetings and consider the estimates of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after adjournment of proceedings in the House. It would be highly appreciated if committees would make time during the weekend commencing on Friday, 15th March, 2013 to discuss and possibly conclude work on the estimates of the sector Ministries.
Mr Speaker, these recommendations are expected to enable the House to complete its scheduled business before the Easter recess.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House, the order in which the Business of the House, shall be taken during the week.


Presentation of Papers --

Motions --

That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

(Moved on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 by the Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh)

(Commencement of Debate)

Committee sittings.


Presentation of Papers --

Motions --

That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st december, 2013.

(Moved on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh)

(Continuation of Debate)

Committee Sittings.


Presentation of Papers --

Motions --

That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

(Moved on Tuesday, 5th March 2013 by the Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh)

(Continuation of Debate)

Committee sittings.


Presentation of Papers --

Motions --

That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the

Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

(Moved on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 by the Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh)

(Conclusion of Debate)

Committee sittings.
Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, item number 4, “Debate on the Financial Policy of the Government”. Mr Speaker, it is proposed that this House would commence the debate on the 12 th of March, 2013 and conclude it on Friday, 15th March, 2013. So, effectively Mr Speaker, just about four days to debate this voluminous document.
Mr Speaker, I do not think it is fair to this House to use only four days to debate a budget that is supposed to serve this country for a year.
Mr Speaker, when you look at the budget cycle, for example, preparations for the Minister for Finance to Cabinet level take about 7 months period because it is an ongoing process. It comes to this august House where we are supposed to provide proper scrutiny to ensure that our oversight is enhanced, Mr Speaker, and then we are going to use only four days for the debate. I do not think it is fair to this House and to Ghanaians who we represent.
Dr Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague is really out of order. The scrutiny on this matter would be coming in relation to their various sectors. What has been presented is the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana. You can only agree or disagree. Those are the two options that you have. But what is constant is that, it would remain the
financial policy for which a Motion would be moved to be adopted. So, I am saying that the scrutiny would come when the report of their sector committees and the ceilings come. The reports would be laid and there would be debate on them. So, our oversight right is not just limited to the number of days for debate on the financial policy.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, at times, I get a bit worried with meetings that I hold every morning in my Lobby with the Leaders of the House. I believe that this was agreed by the Leaders of both sides in my Lobby, that for the debate on the policy, we use next week. Thereafter, we use the rest of the days to do the estimates and any other matters. I believe that when these decisions are taken, I expect Leadership to give information to their Members on decisions that are reached by the Speaker.
So, when we agree and then it gets to the floor of the House and Members are raising concerns, I ask myself whether these meetings I have been holding with Leadership are useful. This decision was arrived at with the Leadership of both sides.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe my Leader knows that I am not a new Member of this House. After all, this is my third term. The practice has always been sometimes two weeks of debate. So, Mr Speaker, he cannot tell me that the four days, is justifiable -- [Interruptions] -- We are constrained with time, the Hon Leader has to explain it. Mr Speaker, it is unfair to me as if I do not know what I am talking about.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, this is not the first time this House is debating the Government Financial Policy. Normally, when this budget is presented before the end of the financial year, as we did for the 2012 Budget, we allow two weeks for the debate. But where it is presented, as in this case, where we must pass this budget by the end of March, then it is normally one week for the debate on the policy.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, having said that let me go to other issues.
Mr Speaker, I urge Leadership of this House to arrange for the first time to have this debate broadcast live by the State television. It is very important, Mr Speaker -- [Interruptions] -- [Some Hon Members: How?] Mr Speaker, I think it would enhance transparency and openness of the House -- [Interruptions] -- Mr Speaker, you are sitting here, next primaries, they would say you came here and you never spoke, meanwhile, you spoke but you were not covered.
Please, Hon Members, let us enhance our work here to make sure that we are visible and we provide proper trans- parency and accountability. The people of Ghana would want to see what is happening here. They would want to watch us speaking. That is the point.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, you have made your point. Take your seat!
Mr I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Your constituents would want to hear your contributions. They would want to hear you speak proper -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Richard M. Quashigah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it appears in my view -- [Interruptions] -- my Colleague on the other side is refusing the obvious. When even the Speaker has alerted him explicitly that his Leadership had had a discussion

with him on this matter, and his Leadership was supposed to have educated and informed him appropriately on decisions that Leadership had taken, my Hon Colleague on the other side has consistently refused to accept that but had the intention of derailing the processes of this House.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you passed a comment and I think the Hon Member for Keta is taking a cue from that and he is going on the same tangent. I can assure you that Leadership has and would always pass information that we discuss at the Leadership level to our Members.
Mr Speaker, it is also true that as Members of Parliament, we have the right to speak to issues that we feel strongly about. But it is for the Speaker to rule. And I am not sure that my Hon Colleague, as he is trying to say, has gone against the rules. It is just for the Speaker to rule that this is the way we should go or not. So, we should try and accommodate one another and learn a little about how things are done here.
I can assure you that those meetings are very important; I can assure you that whatever we discuss is given to Members, we talk to them, we sell the information to them. But like you said, some Members felt strongly that maybe, the one week debate could be small. Some Members felt that -- I have discussed with many Members and that is the feeling they have. Maybe, that is why the Hon Member is passing that information. But we would go back and have our own little meetings again and see how that problem can be solved.
Dr Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think we certainly would be taking a cue and as Mr Speaker would be moderating this debate, Hon Asiamah can be encouraged and given all the level of visibility that he needs in this debate. All that I pray for is that the visibility should not just be in relation to a person, but it must also be a visibility of a quality of debate.[Hear! Hear.]
Dr Anthony A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think we are engaged in an exercise to try to do our work here as a Parliament. I know you have been here since 1993 and every year, you would want to see Parliament grow. I think it is a legitimate reason for an ordinary Member to raise the issue that he wishes. You and I know and most Hon Members who have been here for long enough know that sometime, the reason we cut this short, we are told, is, certain constraints on Leadership travelling.
We know Leadership belong to certain associations and time constraints are such that they must travel. I think it would be incumbent upon Leadership to try and convince the House that we have to find a way to accommodate it and then the rest of the business can go on. So far, I have not heard any reason we should rise on the 22nd. I am not saying that there are no legitimate reasons for doing that.
But sometimes, it is useful. This is because yesterday, we had the Majority Leader raising the possibility at the Committee meeting of an extension to 27th; that gave some of us hope. Right now, it appears that hope is getting fast away. I invite Leadership on this matter, to accommodate Membership.
Mr Speaker, the reason is that, even if the debate is for four days, you know the work of the select committees, the scrutiny requires a lot of time. If we had received them now, we could begin doing the
scrutiny, which would enrich the debate. As it is, all we have is this document; we do not have the details to scrutinise, which is what we would be doing after the debate. So, I think the Hon Member's concerned should be taken with some prudence --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member for Old Tafo, the way you made your case is different from the way Hon Asiamah made his case. Are you listening? I have cancelled travels on several occasions to see to the business of this House, especially in the last Parliament when Madam Speaker and the Second Deputy Speaker were out of the jurisdiction. I cancelled them and I am prepared to cancel every single travel to make sure that this House performs its oversight responsibility.
But you would all agree that, but for the policy, let us use one week to do the debate and when it comes to proper scrutiny, we would see how it would go. I agree with you entirely that when it comes to the estimates, in relation to the Ministries where there are figures actually involved, that is where we have to do effective scrutiny.
Let us see how it goes. I have two other Deputy Speakers to assist and let us see how it goes, then we can take a decision. But I can assure you that no Member is going to use the travel to prevent the House from performing its oversight responsibility.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why I went in that direction. I know in the past you have cancelled travels to help Members of the House and I was inviting you to publicly make the same statement.
Now that you have done it, I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, I would not take debate on that. There was a discussion going on to see whether it would be possible for the House to rise on 22nd; it is not yet a done deal, so, let us not go there.
Mr Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the calendar
-- 11:20 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, he only made reference to that point in relation to some other issues.
Hon Member for North Tongu.
Mr Samuel. Ablakwa 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to the ongoing discussions on scrutiny. I would want to draw the attention of our Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House, that inasmuch as we all welcome the good spirit to want to carry out our oversight responsibilities and scrutinise the budget, there are also other avenues requiring collective scrutiny, which remained unattended to -- and as we discuss scrutiny, there are Deputy Ministerial vettings soon to be taking place.
The debate on the State of the Nation Address -- how was that -- [Interrup- tions.] So, let our spirit for scrutiny be holistic, so that it would not only be focused on the budget but on all matters of the House.
Mr Osei B. Amoah 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, mine is on a different matter.
Mr Speaker, we are in March, 2013. The Auditor-General was required to submit the 2011 audited accounts to this House by June, 2012. As I speak, this document has not been laid in this House. I would want to find out from the Hon Leader of the House whether he has any idea when this document would be laid in this House.
It is about nine months behind time. That is not the only document. As far as I am aware, three procurement reports have also not come. I would want to know from the Leader of the House how soon these reports would be submitted to the House.
Dr Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I certainly cannot be vouching for matters that are actually not within my knowledge. I am certainly aware of the statutory requirements when these matters should be brought. So, we would take the necessary steps to make the enquiries. As to what is lying in the mails room, I have not gone there and I certainly have not seen it. But as an Hon Member, I would assume that I can take his word for it and would try to put the appropriate processes in place to make sure that it is appropriately referred.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Well, I am trying to find out with regard to the status of the Auditor-General's report, that is why I am trying to consult the Clerk to Parliament on this matter. Normally, my attention would have to be drawn to it before I also refer it to the Business Committee or Table Office for laying. They have not drawn my attention to the matter but we would discuss it and see the way forward.
Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I might even add that quite a lot of requests have been made by some committees, that have certainly not been very visible in the media. Yet by our Standing Orders and their constitutional mandate, they are supposed to carry out a number of activities. We would be considering at
the level of Leadership how many of those other committees should be given the same level of publicity as the Public Accounts. This is because our attention has just been drawn to some Standing Orders in which some particular committees need to be visible and invite a number of MDAs to come and address a number of issues.
So, I am just serving notice that the Business Committee would make sure we prioritise significantly all the activities of very important committees in this House and make sure that the public gets the visibility of their work.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not notice on the Business Statement there are some matters that I need your guidance on. I recall that as Mr First Deputy Speaker last year, you gave some rulings. Fortunately, you are the Speaker. So, you even have much more authority to ensure that your rulings are enforced. One relates to the fact that the Ministers for Energy and Finance as of today, have not yet brought the contract for the SYNOPEC Gas to Parliament. If I recall, Madam Speaker, at that time, gave a ruling and you repeated it.
As of today, at that time, the then Majority Leader gave assurances that he would be bringing in -- and the Deputy Majority Leader confirmed these assurances. Hon Alhaji Pelpuo, if he were here -- one of them has become a wise man, he is not paying attention — but Mr Speaker, the gas project is so important to us -- all of us that I think Parliament -- Mr Speaker, he is my church member, so, we have these outside church dis- cussions. He only says that discussions we have in church should not be brought here, so, I would not go any further -- The gas project, all of us as Ghanaians, it
is important to us but I think the proper thing ought to be done. I would want to remind you about that.
The second thing relates to—and at that time, you were sitting in the Chair -- You recall that the Ministers for Energy and Finance and Economic Planning brought a loan for the Bui Project -- We are talking about dum so, dum so -- The last Parliament, that august House took a decision that if the loan were to be taken, the Ministers should come here and we froze about 56 million worth of that loan for reasons that you remember.
We are told that the Bui Dam would come on stream in April. As of today, no one has come to this House to tell us about the status of the freeze which we put on and this was the Fifth Parliament. Mr Speaker, Parliament ought to be taken seriously.
If the 56 million out of 126 million is frozen by this House and we are not seen to be doing something about it, the public would not take us serious. So, with respect, I would want to crave your indulgence that these two matters are something that all Ghanaians are interested in. It is not an NPP/NDC matter; it goes to the heart of the work of this House and I crave your indulgence that something be done about it, so that people would take us serious. Otherwise, the stories that they read in the newspapers would continue to give us the perception that —
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, with regard to the SYNOPEC, if you would refresh my memory to the ruling of Madam Speaker and my very goodself on the matter in the Hansard. If you can make the necessary Official Report available to me, then I can give the necessary guidance on the matter.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I am trying to avoid going on the path that would seem like this House is always fighting. That is why I am bringing it to your attention. I realise that there are other instruments, but I do not think we need to be going that path. I think if the proper thing is done, this House's interest would be served. That is all I am drawing your attention to.
Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Leadership of the Assurances Committee has been in discussion with me. They have actually tried to advertise their first meeting in which their plan of work would be outlined. The Chairman has had discussions with me and we have agreed on matters that they can propose to the Business Committee, in which matters of this nature can be taken up.
But we all, who have been in this House long enough, know the history of the Assurances Committee. That is why I am

particularly happy that the Hon Member is getting interested in Ministers coming back to actually redeem themselves of their assurances that they have made in this House. It is a useful thing.

I remember that six years ago, some particular words were used in relation to any suggestion at all that a Minister should live up to the assurance that he has given to the House. But we would ensure the Committee actually works on this matter.

Thank you.
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, sometime ago, the First Deputy Minority Leader made this House aware of certain decisions they were going to be taking with regard to matters that related to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana. One of the things that is in the name of the President is the budget that has been presented on his behalf by the Minister for Finance. Can the opposite side tell this House whether they are interested in debating the budget? I have heard certain comments made —
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, when it came to the budget, I have taken notice of the fact that the Minority were in attendance throughout the process and therefore --[Interruption]-- they were in attendance but let me hear from the Deputy Minority Leader, he is on his feet. I do not want anybody to comment on this matter but once he is on his feet and you have made reference to him —
Mr Nitiwul 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, there is nobody called “First Deputy Minority Leader”. That is the first thing. There is nobody in this House called “First Deputy Minority Leader” and because there is no “First Deputy Minority Leader”, that “First Deputy Minority Leader” was not there to even give anybody an assurance or anything.
So, he is completely out of order. In any case, even if somebody from this side made a commitment or non-commitment, it is not up to him to determine our course of action. He cannot advise us.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, the point the Hon Member was making was that, at a point, you made a statement on the floor. I believe we are considering the Business Statement. I do not want to take any comments on the point that he has raised. I do not want to. When I saw you on your feet as the acting Leader now for the Minority, I thought I had to call you. I have a duty to call you and he wants to know where your position is on the budget. That is all.
That is my understanding of the point that he raised. That is all. What is the position of the Minority? You are not bound to respond to it. But the point he raised was to find out what your position is on the — This is because you have stated your position on the public hearing of Ministers.
So, Hon Members, I do not want us to pursue this matter further and that brings us to the end of the consideration of the Business Statement.
Dr A. A. Osei — rose —
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, I have given you enough opportunity.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, one final thing.
Yesterday, I raised an issue and my good Friend the Majority Leader said that when the Business Statement comes, there would be something on it. I have looked through, unless I am -- [Interruption] -- He said it. He said “oh wait till the --”
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Dr Kunbuor 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I guess that he is revisiting a matter that had been discussed in some detail at least, with Leadership and the Deputy Minority Leader has discussed that point. We wanted to clarify exactly what the House wanted. Did they want a Closed Sitting, did they want a Committee of the Whole or did they want a joint Caucus meeting? If it was going to be a joint Caucus meeting, it had no business appearing on the Business Statement.
So, we believe that when Leadership meets again, possibly today, we would get a clarification as to the exact nature of the meeting of the House, which is not a public meeting.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is my point. When I raised the issue and he gave me an indication that I should wait till today, he raised my expectations. Now, he is telling me they have had a backroom meeting. I was not in the backroom. So, he should have called me quietly to say we are still coming but he did not say anything and he wants me to approve of the -- so now that he has come clean, he is my good Friend, so, I would rest my case for now.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, thank you very much. That brings us to the end of the consideration of the Business Statement for the Seventh Week ending 15th March, 2013.
Hon Members-- Statements. Hon Members, today is International Women's Day. I have received two Statements, one by the Hon Mary Salifu Boforo, who is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Women's Caucus and another one standing in the name of the Hon Member for Tano North.
I will now call on the Hon Member to make the Statement on behalf of the Women's Caucus to commemorate the International Women's Day and then after that the Hon Member for Tano North will come in.
STATEMENTS 11:40 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much. Mr Speaker admitted another Statement on the same topic. And I would like us to take that one in addition before we ask for contributions.
The second presentation is on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, by Hon Freda Prempeh, Member of Parliament for Tano North.

Elimination and Prevention of all forms of violence against

women and girls
Ms Freda A. O. Prempeh (NPP -- Tano North) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a Statement on the Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRL on the occasion of the celebration of International Women's Day which falls today, 8th March, 2013.
Mr Speaker, this year, the fifty-seventh Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) is taking place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 4th to 15th March 2013. Representatives from member States, UN entities, and NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from all regions of the world would attend the Session. Many NGOs in Ghana and indeed, the newly created Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will be well represented. The two week 2013 Session will focus on the following key areas:
Priority Theme: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
Review Theme: The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care giving in the context of HIV/AIDS.
My Speaker, violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive and systemic human rights violations in the world and ending it remains one of the most serious of ongoing challenges facing international agencies, governments and civil society worldwide.
Mr Speaker, violence against women and girls is both a global and local societal issue. At the global level, there is concern because its perpetrators and victims are in every corner of the world, and local because, its forms differ from one place to the other, depending on the specific cultural, political and socioeconomic circumstances. Sexual harassment may be the main form in one country while spousal battery may be more pronounced in another.
We do know that in our own country Ghana, violence against women and girls in all forms, including psychological abuse, trafficking, female genital mutilation, spousal battering, rape and child marriages, are prevalent. The incidence of rape and defilement seem to be on the ascendancy if we are to go by the many reports in the media.
Indeed, research by the Gender and Human Rights Documentation Centre (GHRDC) has, for example, established that one out of every three women in Ghana has suffered some form of abuse. Up to 50 per cent of sexual assaults are committed against young people under the age of 16.
As awareness has increased particu- larly during the last decade, governments worldwide have enacted legislative and other prohibitions on violence against women and girls in their countries. States have also worked together to formulate international laws addressing gender- based human rights violations. This international legal regime is expanding,
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Now, we would take contributions from either side. I have a list and I am going by it, if you would permit me. I would first of all, call on Hon Elizabeth Sackey --
Mrs Elizabeth K. T. Sackey (NPP -- Okaikoi North) noon
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much and wish to associate myself with the Statement on the floor of the House in commemoration of the International Women's Day, today, 8th March, 2013 on the theme: “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.”
But before I do that, Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the Bible Society, appreciating them for presenting to us an English Standard Version of the Holy Bible on the occasion of our swearing in to office as Members of Parliament on the 7th day of January, 2013.
Mr Speaker, I am appreciating them because this morning, I took pains to read something from that Bible, which I hold. I
Mr Speaker, the Bible says that noon
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helpmate for him. So out of the ground the Lord God formed and made the helpmate.”
Mr Speaker, the Bible says after the deep sleep, God took a rib of the man and created the woman. Then when the man awoke. He said that:

Mr Speaker, this is where love starts. It tells how lonely the man was -- [Interruption.] Therefore, God created for the man a helpmate. When you talk of a helpmate, it is somebody who is very intelligent, one who is strong in decision making and one who caters for the house and then makes sure that things go on successfully wherever she finds herself. So I believe strongly that men were blessed when the women were brought to them. [Hear! Hear!]

Therefore, the Bible continues to say that they should handle women with care. Surprisingly, in our days, Mr Speaker, we can now hear of violence against women in all forms and it is so painful when we want to think and then discuss issues that are affecting women these days.

Mr Speaker, I would want to say that President J. A. Kufuor and his Government created the Women and Children's Ministry, and that Ministry was very
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, concentrate on your presen- tation and avoid all these asides.
Mrs Sackey 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you would also realise that during President Kufuor's regime, when in 2000 we had 19 women, it increased to 23 in 2004 and that shows that the Ministry did have impact on the growth of women coming into decision- making and also for women to assess themselves and know very well that they were capable and they could do much.
Mr Speaker, I believe strongly that in these days where we have a lot of women now taking up positions in governance as the Hon Members for Savelugu and Tano North did say, we now can see a lot of women in positions and it tells us that women are capable and they can do more. I am putting this in place, asking that majority of women would now be considered as the nation tries to put Ministers and people in other positions like ambassadorial, Chief Executives and others.
Though women form 50 per cent more of the population of this nation, yet when it comes to positions as a nation, we always see just a few of that number placed there. Even this morning, in this House, we know that we have a lot of Clerks who help in the work of the House, yet today, Women's Day, International Women's Day, we do not see even a single woman among the Clerks over here --
[Hear! Hear!] -- and this really puts us to the question that -- do we really want to put women in positions? God did it first and we need to emulate what He has done and make sure that we get equal representation as women in every position of our country since we have majority of them when it comes to economic development of this country.
Mrs Benita S. Okity-Duah (NDC -- Ledzokuku) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, today is not only a day for women who hold high offices but also for the numerous ordinary women in Teshie and Ghana as a whole.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:10 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, you called Hon Benita Sena and the Hon Member speaking is Okity-Duah. You called a Sena.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you. Point well taken.
Mrs Okity-Duah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, on this day, I say a big ayekoo to all the women out there and may God richly bless them.
Mr Speaker, I would like to quote from the Bible. In 1 Peter 3 12:10 p.m.
7, it says and with your permission, I would quote:
“Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. So husbands support your wives, help them so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

Mr Speaker, I would also want to use this opportunity to thank the President for appointing very capable women into his Government and I hope and pray that these women would work hard to justify the confidence of the President. I would also want to thank the Leadership of this august House for giving me the opportunity to serve as a Vice Chair- person on the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture. I am very grateful and I hope that this would propel me and indeed, all women into more positions of trust. Women of this great nation, I say, Ayekoo! Ayekoo! Ayekoo.

Mr Speaker, I thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the Statement made by our Hon Colleagues. Thank you and God richly bless you.
Mrs Irene N. T. Addo (NPP -- Tema West) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to add my voice to the Statement that has been made on the International Women's Day.
Mr Speaker, on a day like this, which is always set aside by the entire world to celebrate women's day, we usually make Statements on the floor on our achievements and also go on to talk about things that have not been done and should be done.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, let us have some order.
Mrs Addo 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the CSW is concentrating on violence on women and women living with HIV/AIDS. In contributing to this Statement, I would like to dwell on the second issue, which is women living with HIV/AIDS.
Mr Speaker, some improvements have been done in our laws to cater for rights of women to property. But an area that we have not looked at properly or an area that has come up recently, is the fact that women living with HIV/AIDS are being discriminated against in the rural areas. A baseline research conducted by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has revealed and it is with the UN, that women living with HIV/AIDS are being discriminated against in a double way.
First, for being women, their traditions do not accept that they own property and in areas where they are allowed some kind of ownership, if they found out that they have HIV, they are discriminated against, they are not allowed to own property and they are sacked from their homes.
Mr Speaker, this has serious implications on our health. This is because what happens is that, as they are driven from their homes, they are forced to stay outside, they get into some practices that can spread HIV/AIDS. On a day like this, I would like the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, the
Ministry of Health and us as Memebers of Parliament, to look at that section again and to make sure that we can do something to protect our vulnerable women who through no fault of theirs, maybe, have contracted the HIV pandemic.
Mr Speaker, I cannot talk about property ownership without talking about reproductive health. I would like this House and the country at large, in celebrating women's day, to look at ownership of one's body. The woman must be allowed to take control of her own body. The time has come for us to discuss reproductive health and that must be led and championed by those who own their own bodies -- the women. Traditions, religions and all that must be put aside while we decide what is good for us.
The right to life, the right to abortion, the r ight to reproductive health commodities and everything must be a right that must be exercised by the woman. And the time has come to put certain traditions aside. If we were able to abolish the Trokosi and other rituals and today, it is on the decline, although we cannot say that it is completely outmoded, then I believe that the time has come for us to discuss and to allow women in this country to take charge of their bodies.
The phenomenon that says that the woman's body is owned by her husband or some man is eroded. The theme for this year's International Women's Day is “A promise is a promise”. The time has come that we make sure that the promise that the men and the world gave to us, that we would have the right to life, the right to choose what we want to do is here, and we must all take up the challenge and be allowed us to choose what we want to choose.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to add my voice to the Statement.
Ms Georgina N. Aboah (NDC -- Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Statements made by Hon Hajia Mary Boforo and Hon Freda Prempeh.
Mr Speaker, may I use this opportunity to congratulate all women in Ghana, especially women at Asikuma/Odoben/ Brakwa. [Hear! Hear!] I wish them a happy International Women's Day.
Mr Speaker, I am happy to observe that women's plight has changed a lot and that you would see a lot of women as well as children, girl-child in school, in positions. Despite these achievements, I realize that women are still beset with a lot of challenges. Some of these are rape, domestic violence and of course, teenage pregnancy. These challenges can be managed or minimized if women come together as a strong force to deal with such situations.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I wish to thank you and wish all women a happy International Women's Day.
Mr Justice J. Appiah (NPP -- Ablekuma North) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon marks International Women's Day, which falls on March 8th every year.
Mr Speaker, he said and I crave your indulgence to read from yesterday's Graphic. It reads:
“As the Secretary-General, I insist that the welfare of all victims of sexual violence in conflict must be at the fore front of our activities. And I instruct my senior advisors to make our response to sexual
violence a priority in all of our peacemaking, peace-keeping and peace-building activities.”
Mr Speaker, I get very upset when I see or hear reports on brutalities against women by selfish men. Mr Speaker, many women are suffering in the quiet at the hands of wicked men. Mr Speaker, a quick glance through some copies of old papers this year revealed such front pages as “Farmer butchers wife”, “Man chops off wife's head”, “Painstil assaults wife”, “Man sets lover ablaze” and Mr Speaker, today, in the Daily Guide, -- “Burnt lover dies”. It is difficult to appreciate why a man should ever want to attack a woman.
Mr Speaker, Mr Shakespeare was right when he said and I beg to quote 12:20 p.m.
“There is no act to find the mind's construction on the face of a man.”
Mr Speaker, there are types of violence against women which happen outside the home, that is rape or sexual harassment. Mr Speaker, you cannot even force your wife for sex because when you do that, it is sexual harassment under PNDC Law 111. [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, if this is done, it will be a serious crime against your wife and that can land you in a tight corner. Mr Speaker, according to the Holy Bible -- May I crave your indulgence to read from the Holy Bible. Ephesians 5: 28 and Mr Speaker, I beg to read:
Mr Edward K. Dery 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
Mr Speaker, Order 88 says and with your permission, if I may read -- But I realize that Hon Members are now turning the Chamber into a chapel, so I do not know --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Is it a point of order?
Mr Dery 12:20 p.m.
Yes, please. Mr Speaker, Order 88 states:
“Members shall not read newspapers or periodicals and books in the Chamber of the House.”
But we realise that there are more than seven or four Bible readings read in this Chamber and I know that they are going to continue reading the Bible --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, you are completely out of order.
Hon Joe Appiah, please, go ahead.
Mr J. J. Appiah 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, these level 100 students do not want to learn. [Interruptions.] I craved your indulgence before I took the Bible to read -- [In- terruption.]
Mrs Addo 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is a correction that I would like to be made for the sake of the Hansard. The Hon Member had said something about sexual harassment in relation to PNDC 111 but that speaks about Property Rights. So, I would like to correct that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
I believe you can forgive him because he is not a lawyer.
Mrs Addo 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in fact, the law is Intestate Succession Law, PNDC
Mr J. J. Appiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, may I still quote as I craved your indulgence:
“In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the church. Therefore,
a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”

Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr Speaker, our Orders here tells us that when somebody is delivering a Statement, he can read from his script or refer to the script. Hon Joe Appiah is contributing to the Statement and he must at least, do it in a way that all of us will not see that he is reading copiously from the book that he is referring to. So, he should at least, do something extempore. Mr Speaker, that is the correction I would want to make, so that he should at least --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, I understand you. What about eye sight? If the person has an eye sight problem, what do you do?
Nii Namoale: He is reading.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
He is reading and he is entitled to read; he is quoting from the Bible.
Nii Namoale: Mr Speaker, he is not quoting --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
He is quoting from the Bible; and he sought permission to do so.
Nii Namoale: Hon Speaker, thank you.
Mr J.J. Appiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am referring to my notes -- simple.
Mr Speaker, research has further shown that many who abuse women are the rich, the poor, the educated, the non educated, the rural as well as the urban dwellers. High and low class and there is no exception -- I am referring to my notes -- Mr Speaker, victims of violence come from all backgrounds --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, I will prefer that you be as brief as possible. We have a long list of contributors.
Mr J. J. Appiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, fornication by men also has a serious violence against women. The Holy Bible also says, Ephesians 5 (31) and Romans 3 (23) -- “for all have sinned and come short to the glory of God”. Mr Speaker, this is an advice to all men including me. Mr Speaker, consistent violence in a marriage relationship is a clear sign of -- [Interrup-tion.]
Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Member who is contributing to the Statement is rather generating debate. He stated that men -- Practically, he said men fornicate but it is not only men who fornicate women also fornicate.
Mr J. J. Appiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you and I have not seen any woman fornicating -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, this august House should help to restore the dignity of abused women and their children. Mr Speaker, I highly commend the United Kingdom Government for its bold step on domestic violence. Mr Speaker, the time for us to curb domestic violence is now.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity.
Dr Hanna Bisiw (NDC -- Tano- South) 12:30 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. I beg to support the two Statements on the floor on International Women's Day.
Mr Speaker, I will first of all, want to say ayekoo to all women in the world and especially, the Ghanaian women.
Mr Speaker, since it is International Women's Day, it tells us that issues of women is international and it is not only in Ghana or Africa as a whole. A lot of countries have made strides and Ghana as a nation, we are also moving towards bringing women into the mainstream of national activities. Mr Speaker, discrimination against women, violence against women either way comes a long way probably, from our cultural background.
Mr Speaker, there are places when you visit, the women cannot come out and talk to the visitors. It has to be the men. If you go to such a community, it tells you that the woman cannot go beyond being the housewife, if you want to put it that way.
Mr Speaker, a lot has been said and as a woman, I am happy that these days there is a law, if you want to call it so. I do not know whether it has been passed into law; there is a ruling that female students who get pregnant should be allowed to continue with their education and not sent back home. Years past, our female students, even though they were impregnated by known male students, these girls were asked to go home and the boys were allowed to continue with their education.
Mr Speaker, as a nation, today in Ghana, we have women who are pushed into early married and so, if the woman is pushed into early marriage where we have stories of women being put into chains and carried away because they ran from that sort of situation, these women are denied the opportunity to also pursue an educational career that will take them far.
Mr Speaker, if you even look at our Standing Orders, Order 8, page 7 (5), where they were even talking about the nomination of Speaker, you realised that we did not even think about a woman. We said no person shall be proposed as
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, yes, but be as brief as possible --
Dr Bisiw 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
The widowhood rights which go against the rights of women. We also have what we call marital rape. When you mention it, pople do not want to talk about it but anytime a husband forces the wife to -- [Interruption] -- have sex, it is rape. And we talk about sexual harassment. Mr Speaker, we all know that before any sexual act, there should be some activity leading to the actual act -- [Interruption] -- But in our society, our men see it as a right to come home and get straight into activities with their wives whether they like it or not -- [Interruption.]
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to crave the indulgence of the Hon Member for Tano South (Dr Bisiw) not to make statements that will generate further debate.
Mr Speaker, for your information, this morning, the Hon Member for Tano South was in the Lobby of Parliament there, saying that she was going to marry two men and have more boyfriends. Just this morning. So for her to come here and make these statements, she is encouraging me
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I think I agree with you with regard to the first segment, trying to avoid going into the area of debate as much as possible --
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, she can confess to the second one.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
No, no, I cannot be too sure of that one.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
She can confess to it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Go ahead, Hon Member.
Dr Bisiw 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I think that we have to learn to call a spade, a spade, marital rape happens in our country and we have to look at it that way and tackle it that way. [Interruptions] -- Well, I can be talking from experience; I am a woman --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, address the Chair --
Dr Bisiw 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Speaker.
Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague just said that she has been talking from her experience, and I am asking whether it did happen to her and she never reported. That is my concern because it is a criminal offence.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I would not encourage that line of action, please.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:30 p.m.
She should have reported to the Police because it is a criminal offence.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, please, proceed with your presentation.
Dr H. Bisiw 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you look at the number of the women in Parliament compared to our last Parliament, we have increased in numbers but just a little over 10 per cent is very little. I will use this opportunity to appeal to all political parties, that since we have strongholds, in our effort as a nation to bring women into governance, we should leave a certain number of constituencies in our strong- holds for women to compete.
It does not mean that we do not want to compete. When three women from a stronghold compete for primaries, by all means, a woman would come out and by all means, we would have another woman in Parliament. Usually, in our strongholds, you find six men, one woman competing for the seat.
Mr Speaker, I would want to end by thanking His Excellency the President for appointing women into his Ministerial or Cabinet positions. Before I conclude, I would also want to say that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as the Hon Minister said, should see to the abolition of the witch camps.
This is because when you go to the witch camps, you would get about 90 per cent of the residents of the witch camps being women. It means that if you are a woman and you get to the age of 60 plus and getting wrinkled, it means that you are a candidate to be called a witch.
What I say to our Brothers is that, we want an equal playing ground to also work and bring our knowledge on board and

that assertive woman is not aggressive and that women who are principled and firm, are not too known --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, be getting ready to wind up.
Ms Hannah Bisiw 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
Ms Esther Dappah Obeng (NPP -- Abirem) 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statements on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, most of the things that I wanted to comment on, have been said, so, I would be very, very brief.
These are very important two Statements that we have had this morning. It is important because they touche on the lives of over 50 per cent of the people in the world and also in Ghana. Women issues are also very important because they affect our mothers, our sisters, our aunties, our wives and many, many people.
I like the theme, that the “Gender Agenda is Gaining Momentum.” It is gaining momentum because, Mr Speaker, we have moved from the situation where our offices were in the kitchen, to places where we are rubbing shoulders with our male counterparts.
Now,women are into real estate development, stock exchange, women are doing all manner of businesses. Women are entrepreneurs and millionaires. The pace has been very slow, but we are getting there. We have not achieved our targets, but with affirmative action and other positive measures by the Government, hopefully, women would probably, attain 50 per cent of Members of Parliament in this House.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, I thought you assured me that you were going to be very brief.
Ms Obeng 12:40 p.m.
Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to commend all Ghanaian women, all African women, all women in the world. Without women, this world would not be a pleasant place to live in. [Hear! Hear.]
I would also like to commend women who are living with disability, struggling to make lives for themselves and also single mothers.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Now, Hon Nana Adwoa Appoh.
Ms Rachel Florence Appoh (NDC -- Gomoa Central) 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Statement made by the two Hon Colleagues, Hon Freda Prempeh and Hon Hajia Boforo.
Today, we celebrate the International Women's Day and I would like to take this opportunity to salute the women in the world especially Ghanaian women and all the women in the Gomoa Central Constituency. There is much to celebrate but there is also so much we can also do.
As a gender advocate, I would like to appeal to this august House to encourage the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to adopt and implement the Gender Education Policy at all levels of our educational system. The Gender Education Policy aims at ensuring equality between boys and girls, men and women at all levels of education in accordance with the provisions of article 25 of the 1992 Constitution.
The policy is also driven by the provision in the Education Sector Policy, 2003 to 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals and also the United Nations Charter on Education for All.
Mr Speaker, thirty years into the AIDS epidemic, women and girls are still the most affected. Nearly 16 million are living with HIV and the number continues to rise every day; this is so sad and it is unacceptable.
I am looking forward to a day where all women and girls do not live in fear -- and rape, violence and HIV infection. I also hope for the world where there are zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths among

women and girls. This should become a reality, not maybe, in the next 50 years.

I would also want to commend the President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the NDC as a political party for producing the youngest female Member of Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. I would want to urge all other political parties to also follow the footsteps of the NDC in order to allow the young ladies or women to also participate in the legislative process in this country in order to help address women's issues in this country and across Africa.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, I am so honoured to be the youngest female Member of Parliament in the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.

I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity and I am so grateful to NDC as a party.

Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank you.
Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (NPP -- Anyaa-Sowutuom) 12:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statements made by my Hon Colleagues.
This is an important day in the calendar of women, a day set aside to reflect to celebrate and to look at how much progress we have made as women. I wish that this will be done 365 or 366 days in the year because the women or the gender agenda is a very important one that must not just gain momentum but its momentum must be accelerated.
I am happy that the International Women's Day theme is an appropriate theme as such and also that the United Nations has adopted the theme, which says: “A promise is a promise, time for action to end violence against women”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Forster Joseph Andoh.
Mr Foster J. Andoh (NDC -- Hemang/Lower Denkyira) 1 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker for the opportunity. I beg to add my voice to the Statement made by the two Hon Members who incidentally
are both women as we celebrate the International Day of Women.
Mr Speaker, Biblical Adam could not have asked for any better thing than asking God to give him a mate. I wonder how this world was going to be without these beautiful women around -- [Laughter.] To this end -- [Interruption.]
Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I know that my Hon Colleague is trying to quote the Bible. But he said, Adam asked for a woman. Adam did not, God gave it to him. So if he is going to quote the Bible, please, he should do it properly.
Mr Andoh 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was not specifically quoting the Bible but I said Biblical Adam asked for a mate for which -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, I think he is right. Adam did not ask for it. God saw that it was good for him and gave it to him.
Please, proceed, proceed with your contribution.
Mr Andoh 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Well, whether God gave Adam a mate or Adam asked for a mate there was a mate, -- [Laughter] -- And for which case, we are all very happy.
Mr Speaker, honestly, I wonder how this world would have been without women -- [Hear! Hear!] They have actually contributed to livelihood. But it is very sad, Mr Speaker, that our partners are subjected to beatings, insults, rape and all kinds of abuse. We cannot continue to do that. I am very sorry that in this day and age, some obnoxious, some retrogressive customs persist, which are hindering the progress of women. In
some parts of Ghana now, Mr Speaker, young girls are not allowed to eat meat. Not until you marry, you are not permitted to eat meat. How can this happen? How are we going to have women who can grow up so healthy, so strong and be able to support us the men? It is obnoxious, it is retrogressive and I think we have to stop this.
Mr Speaker, even as we celebrate women, let us also not lose sight of the fact that in some cases, women become their own enemies -- [Some Hon Members -- “Amen.”] I heard a statement from a woman who said she would never vote for a woman to become the President of this country, and I felt very sad. How can a woman do that?
Even now Mr Speaker, in this House, I think we have about 28 or 29 women -- [Some Hon Members -- “29”.] But if I cast my eyes round, I can see a few of them here even on this day that we are celebrating them. So, when I say women are sometimes their own enemies, Mr Speaker, I am not degrading them. But it is about time they forged together, it is about time they became united and fought for their common cause -- [Interruption.]
Ms Elizabeth Sackey 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I heard my Hon Colleague saying that women are their own enemies and even at the moment, we are 29 and yet everybody is out. Mr Speaker, it is not true. Most of them are at committee meetings now and that is the main reason they are not here -- [Interruption] -- They are not in the Chamber but that does not mean they are not here.
They were here from the beginning; they are in committee meetings now and I would want that correction.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Point well taken. Proceed with your presentation. I do not want this thing to drag; just proceed.
Mr Andoh 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to end my statement. But to conclude, I would want to ask that as men, let us adore the women God has given us. Let us cherish them, let us prove to them that indeed, whether we asked that they are given to us, or God in his own wisdom gave them to us, we cherish and we want to be their partners.
On that note, Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mrs Abena Osei-Asare (NPP -- Atiwa East) 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution on this year's International Women's Day.
While we celebrate the achievements and contributions of women -- Our mothers, traders, leaders and colleagues, I would also like to bring to the forefront some of the challenges facing women and girls in their quest for achievements, and this is in the area of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities.
Mr Speaker, in my constituency, and to be specific, Anyinam and surrounding towns, we do not have safe drinking water. For some time now, the only treatment plant has been shut down by the Ghana Urban Water Limited as a result of illegal mining activities on the main source of water. Mr Speaker, we all know that in our society, it is women and girls who travel long distances to fetch water. So, this situation really affects our women and girls.
Mr Speaker, according to the WHO and UNICEF joint monitoring programme on water supply and sanitation, 200 million work hours are consumed by women and girls every day in search of water for their families. Mr Speaker, this leaves the women
and children with little energy and time to attend to schools and economic activities and this reinforces gender inequality in education and unemployment.
Mr Speaker, closely related to the issue of access to safe drinking water is that of sanitation and its attendant problems on maternal mortality and infant mortality. Lack of safe water and sanitation is the single largest cause of illness and also contributes to about two million deaths every year and women form the majority of this. Mr Speaker, if Ghana as a nation, is to move forward, then we need to tackle these situations to help our women to also make meaningful contributions to the society.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Please, go ahead.
Mrs Osei-Asare 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would appeal to the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing to please, come to the aid of the people of Anyinam, especially the women and the girls -- to please, construct three functioning boreholes to enable them also enjoy the good things of life -- and also to have access to water to enable them also attend schools and engage in productive economic activities.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni (NDC -- Kunbungu) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Statements made by my two Colleagues and in doing
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Second Deputy Speaker --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
You cede your place to him?
All right, Hon Joe Osei-Owusu --
Mr Joesph Osei-Owusu (NPP -- Bekwai) 1:10 p.m.
I thank you very much, Mr Speaker and Hon Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity you have graciously ceded to me.
Mr Speaker, I intend to make a very short intervention to the Statements made by the beautiful ladies of this House, so firmly supported by their Hon Colleagues.
Mr Speaker, it is a sad commentary on the institution of Parliament that 20 years after this Constitution we are operating came into being and five Sessions past, we have still not been able to bring into life article 22 (1) and (2) of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
“(1) A spouse shall not be deprived of a reasonable provision out of the estate of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having made a will.
(2) Parliament shall, as soon as practicable, after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact legislation regulating the property rights of spouses.”
Mr Speaker, the word “spouse” is gender neutral but everyone here knows that when it comes to property evolution, women are the worst for it. Therefore, any enactment or provision that sets out the parameters and regulates how the property rights of spouses are divided or shared, either in the dissolution of marriage or the demise of one, would always enhance the standing of women.
Mr Speaker, I am not unaware of the Bill which was brought to this House in the year 2010. I partook in the national road show, where we took it round the country to solicit public views. I am afraid that I observed during the tours that not many men were enthused about that Bill. And it makes a lot of our women believe that is the reason that Bill did not see the light of day in this House. After all, this House is over 80 per cent made of males.
I urge our male counterparts to go into negotiation. There are some provisions which may need further negotiations. Let us agree and work together, so whatever terms we agree to, we strive to ensure that by the time this Session of Parliament comes to an end, article 22 (1) and (2) of the Constitution would have been brought into being.
Mr Speaker, I thank you once again for the opportunity.
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity.
First, I would like to thank the makers of the Statements for bringing out these issues which we are all well aware of. Indeed, if you also look at the issues that have been raised, one can only be repeating what has already been said. But it is for emphasis that we say so.
If you look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (3), (4), (5) and (6), they all are related to women issues. But one of them that I would want to take is where women, in giving birth die needlessly.
Indeed, what we should be talking about, as my senior Brother has already alluded to, is that women give birth to the men in addition to giving birth to their own, yet providing them with antenatal care, ensuring that women give birth under conditions that they do not die needlessly, should be a matter that we shall all take on this year.
I urge Hon Members of this House to do something little in their constituencies about this situation; ensuring that at least, they commit themselves to creating

awareness and ensuring that we have Community Health (Based) Planning Services (CHPS) compounds where women would be attended to by qualified persons.

Mr Speaker, when we talk about the theme of this whole celebration, “ A promise is a promise, to act, to end violence against women” -- I think that we should all agree that on occasions like this, we should march as a Parliament. I am giving support to women and condemning all those actions that are perpetuated against women, particular by men.

It should not just be a Statement that we make for the fun of it. I know women have made progress in this country and when we are doing this, we need to remember that across the political divide, women have made contributions.

In the society itself, certain women need to be mentioned; we need to celebrate them. But when we begin to selectively praise some people and leave others, it does not help our situation at all. That is why I would want to also remember one person who has made some contribution to women's matters in this country, and that is the President of the 31st December Women's Movement -- [Interruption]--Nana Konadu Agye- mang-Rawlings.

Her inspiration was from the husband, past President, Jerry John Rawlings, who, because of his concern for women and children, made sure that the predecessor Ministry we now call Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, was formerly called Council for Women and Development where a Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Secretary was appointed and to have Ministerial status.

Indeed, the passage of this Law, 112 was under his leadership and I think that, let us commend all of them. Since then our First Ladies had always taken on critical
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, please, begin to wind up.
Mr Chireh 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am beginning to wind up.
But you see, I am getting passionate about with what I am saying, that women must be respected, women must be cherished and women have to be given what everybody -- indeed, on top of everybody else, women have to be appreciated and we can only do so in our collective effort to end violence against women.
Hon Colleagues have already alluded to the types of violence that we have seen, but I urge that, let us keep a promise, and that promise is to end violence against women.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I equally rise to support the Statements ably made by our two Colleagues on such an important day: International Day of the Woman.
Mr Speaker, the importance of women cannot be overemphasised. I am continuing from where the last Hon Member who contributed ended. That they are supposed to be adored, they are supposed to be cherished, they are supposed to be loved.
Mr Speaker, if you go religious, there is a writing of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Sal allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) that someone rushed to him and asked him: “Apart from God that I worship and your teachings, what should be the most respected and cherished thing for me as a Muslim?”
The Prophet was reported to have replied: “Your Mother.” Then he said, after her? He said: “Your Mother” again. He said: “Your Mother” for a third time before he said: “Your Father.”
Mr Speaker, this clearly shows that even in religious terms, there is a special place for women and that is why they are supposed to be adored, loved and cherished. Mr Speaker, like the Hon Member who previously spoke rightly said, they were to support men, or part of Adam was taken to create a woman.

Mr Speaker, in agriculture-- and I have Hon Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan who is an agriculturist, would tell you that-- when a plantain tree is about to fall and you have to get something to support it to be able to keep standing, you need to get something that is stronger than what is falling.

It means that by God's creation, He has created women to be stronger than us; it is not in muscles, but of resilience, in terms of their ability to sustain the family and the values of society. We cannot rubbish all this and assume that women should be maltreated; women should remain in the backward.

Mr Speaker, one thing that we all realise, whether in Islam or Christianity - - is that, when people get converted into Islam, they infuse their tradition into it and then they call it religion. When people are converted into Christianity, they try to drag their tradition and taboos into it and call it Christianity, and begin to mix these issues. I always say that, if you look at the scriptures, whether Qur'an or Bible, many of the scriptures, I say that, they are the manual God created for human beings that He God has created. If you look at all the scriptures, there is a special place for women.

But Mr Speaker, my concern most, is how do our mothers, our colleagues, our sisters, our wives, our daughters-- how do they see themselves? That is a critical thing and I believe there are many examples in this House that many young ladies and women in this country can emulate.

Mr Speaker, if you look at the Hon Member who made the first Statement (Hajia Mary Boforo), she is coming from a constituency that is very, very con-

servative, yet she has been able to beat men at primaries and won the seat not once, not twice, not thrice, but for the fifth term. If I see my sister Colleague opposite, Hon Irene Naa-Torshie (Member for Tema West), she contested the primaries and won the primaries; contested the main election against men and won.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have many females, why is he --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, you do not have the floor.
Alhaji Muntaka 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you look at other Colleagues like Hon Della Sowah, Hon Elizabeth -- many of them in this House are living examples. To have the number of women moving from that small number of 19 to 29, that is over 50 per cent appreciation. It clearly shows --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, please, begin to wind up.
Alhaji Muntaka 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this clearly shows that there is capacity.
I would want to plead with our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our Colleagues, that, please, they should not be waiting for it to be given; they should earn it. They are capable of earning it. They should be each other's keeper, each other's protector. Right in this House, Mr Speaker, sometimes when you are in a committee with some of our Hon Colleagues and you see their attitudes towards one another, you wonder whether they appreciate the fact that they are few. They must learn to earn whatever
Mr Joe Ghartey (NPP -- Esikadu/ Ketan) 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as you are well aware, in the courts, when there is more than one Judge sitting and the lead judgements have been read, if you have nothing useful to add, you just say “I also agree.” I would have gone along that trajectory only to say that in this Chamber, that is not a recognised method of expressing yourself. So I would say that I agree to everything that has been said.
I congratulate just not the Hon Members who made the Statements but also all those who have contributed to them and I would want to point out that the framers of our Constitution, when you look at article 12, intended that we are all equal before the law -- male as well as female.
But in addition to that, they also recognise the somehow disadvantaged position of women, therefore, in article 27, they dealt specifically with women's rights. Which means that while they were advancing the argument on the position that we should all be equal before the law, they were also conscious of the fact that there had to be some form of affirmative action for women to be given that constitutional support which would allow them and us men to arrive at the same position under the law.
Mr Speaker, if you also look at the provision dealing with cultural practices and customary practices, we are told that even though we are all entitled to all cultural and customary practices, those that are injurious to us or that dehumanise us are not allowed by the Constitution. It is unfortunate that we have not been bold enough as a nation to take steps to stop some of these cultural practices, not just by word of mouth but by support of law. We have not been bold enough.
We always talk about the witch camp in Gambaga but there is no law that prohibits these people from taking that step -- taking people to these camps and some of these dehumanising practices. Indeed, apart from cultural practices, there are deep-seated beliefs by some groups of people that tend to feel that women perhaps, are of some kind of, regrettably, lower status than men.
Typically, in the Ghana Police Service, you will hear time and time again that the woman cannot sign a bail bond for a man. I have looked in the law; there is nothing like that. The law does not say anything like that. But go to a police station today and you may hear a policeman saying that, “Oh, a woman cannot sign a bail bond; bring a man.” I know that because, I have practised law in this country for over 20 years, in this country, the law does not provide for that. One wonders the basis for that statement which is clearly unconstitutional and also illegal.
Mr Speaker, various Hon Members who made the Statements and various Hon Members who contributed have identified and praised our women including our First Ladies over the ages.
I would want to end by paying special tribute to our unsung heroes -- the women who sit on a car for miles from Burkina Faso, so that you and me would have tomatoes in our food; the women who are carrying babies on their backs as well as firewood on their head and are walking miles, the women who without the economy of the country would collapse, our unsung heroes, our women who formed 51 per cent of the population without whom we men would be lost.
Mr Speaker, I have four daughters and one son. I am married to one woman and I am the first to admit that, as Hon Muntaka said, my wife is the pillar behind me. Without her, I would not be here and I am sure that several men are in the same position that I am in.
Mr Speaker, we must respect our women; we must respect our unsung heroes; we must not just talk but we must also walk the talk.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, we would bring the contributions to an end, and may I find out from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader what the way forward is?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have exhausted the agenda for the day. The Hon Members would be leaving today to Koforidua; the time is far spent. Some committees are also going to meet, and having listened to this sermon on how we glorify our women, we only hope that the authorities that are to take decisions on women's rights, would do the right thing, so that our women would get their right places in society.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I beg to move, that this House do adjourn to Tuesday at 10.00 in the forenoon.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I hope that the recommendations and concerns of Hon Members would be taken serious. We should go beyond the talk- shop in Parliament here and begin to do more as a Parliament, especially with regard to what my Hon Colleague raised about the constitutional matters.
But I beg to second the Motion.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Question put and Motion agreed to.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.40 p.m. till Tuesday, 12th March, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.