The Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has called on New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, to apologise to the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, for suggesting she offered sex for her position.
Mr Agyapong on Saturday June 25, during the campaign launch for Asokwa MP Patricia Appeagyei in Kumasi, said Mrs Osei – then chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), who was appointed in June 2015 to replace long-serving EC chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan – had been advised by some highly-placed persons in government to “bring your derriere in exchange for the EC Chair position”.
The Catholic Bishops Conference in a statement signed by its President Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, described Mr Agyapong’s comments as “distasteful, offensive and abusive” and called on the legislature and the leadership of the NPP to call Mr. Agyapong to order.
The MP has been criticised by several persons including the Media Foundation for West Africa’s Suleiman Braimah and some parliamentarians for the comments. Also, Children, Gender, and Social Protection Minister Nana Oye Lithur described the remark as regrettable, saying Ghanaian women would not countenance personal attacks on women who have committed to serve Ghana in public office. She said as a public officer, Mr Agyapong should rather promote non-discrimination, respect for human dignity, and gender equality. Also, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Hanna Tetteh said the “vicious attacks” were unfortunate, since Mrs Osei was a lawyer and professional capable of getting the EC Chair job on merit.
Council of state member Ama Benyiwa-Doe also joined the condemnation fray on Wednesday June 29 and accused the NPP lawmaker of never having any respect for women. Also, the Executive Director of the Ark Foundation, a women’s right civil society organisation, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, urged the leadership of the NPP to find ways of counselling Mr Agyapong. Speaking in an interview with Prince Minkah, host of the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3FM on Wednesday, Mrs Dwamena-Aboagye said: “I think it is most unfortunate, he should not have said things like that. It equals assassination of character, it is defamation, it is scandalous and should not be heard from a leader of a country. I think it is very wrong.” Also, former Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu said in a statement that: “I am very happy to hear of the support from our various women rights advocates. I join the many voices of well-meaning Ghanaians to protect the values, ethics and culture of our heritage. Never again must women be subjected to such humiliation and ridicule. It is just enough! I have been a victim of this Kennedy Agyapong’s ‘hit’ speeches, but I survived. I call on the August house of parliament to take appropriate steps to discipline such characters. Again the NPP must cleanse itself of such dirt to appear credible in the protection of women rights”.
“We join numerous individuals and groups who have already condemned the unwarranted verbal attack on the person and office of the Electoral Commission Chair by Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central, and call on him to apologise unreservedly to Mrs. Charlotte Osei. People in high offices such as Parliamentarians are expected to be decorous and measured in their public utterances to give good example to the youth and so when such persons betray the confidence and responsibility reposed in them by Ghanaians in this manner, it becomes very sad and worrying.
“We, like others, who have spoken before us, also consider the verbal attacks on Mrs. Osei by Mr. Agyepong as distasteful, offensive and abusive and should be condemned by all. We trust in the ability of Ghana’s Parliament and the leadership of the New Patriotic Party to bring Hon. Kennedy Agyapong to order”, the clergy stated.
They advised politicians to preach peace ahead of the 2016 elections.
“As we inch closer to elections later this year, we wish to call on all Ghanaians, especially, politicians and their supporters, as we have done several times in past statements, to preach peace in word and deed and refrain from unwarranted verbal, physical and psychological attacks on perceived opponents. We want to repeat for the umpteenth time that we should not take the peace we enjoy for granted. Acts such as what has happened in Asotwe and unguarded statements from people who do not cherish peace have the potential of sparking violence. Therefore, we must be cautious of what we say and do in the name of politics in these remaining days towards elections”.