By Gifty Arthur
The leadership and members of the 31 December Women Movement (DWM), appear to have parted way with their President, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
For unexplained reasons, the women group, has been carefully issuing statements on behalf of the Movement, but has strategically omitted the name of the former First Lady and wife of the founder of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Jerry John Rawlings.
On Friday, March 8, 2019 when globally, women were celebrated, The Herald, observed that a statement that was issued by the women movement was done without the involvement of the woman, who used the Movement to fight for the forward march of women.
The International Women’s Day statement celebrating, especially hardworking Ghanaian women, was signed by Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, whose name was not mentioned.
It is not clear, what the rift is, but on her part, Mrs. Rawlings, has also failed to comment on the activities of her onetime beloved Movement.
The 31st December Women Movement, which has very prominent women politicians like former Health Minister and former treasurer of the movement, Sherry Ayitey and former Council of State member, Madam Cecilia Johnson, draws its core members from the NDC.
But since Mrs. Rawlings broke ranks with the party to form the National Democratic Party (NDP) after her humiliating defeat in a presidential primary against late President, John Mills in 2012 at Sunyani, not much has been heard of her concerning the Movement.
In all her public discussions, the former First Lady, who has become a close friend of the Akuf-Addo government and the first family, has refrained from commenting on the Movement’s existence, neither has she said publicly she is the President or has left the group.
Last week’s statement has left people wondering, if Mrs. Rawlings, has been sacked from the Movement established on May 15, 1982.
The 31st December Women’s Movement is a development NGO and was founded with the main goal of mobilizing women, particularly the disadvantaged and vulnerable in both rural and urban areas.
The former First Lady founded the movement after her husband’s Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), which metamorphosed into NDC, seized power in a coup on 31st December 1981.
The red beret wearing Movement was the mobilizing tool during the 19-year rule of former President Rawlings.
Mrs. Rawlings was the lead organizer of the women, who offered their unalloyed support for the NDC across the country.
Some say, Mrs. Rawlings, has held herself as president of the movement since 1992 in contravention of the stipulated five-year term per the regulations governing the movement.
The President of the 31st December Women’s Movement strongly believe that women were not adequately rewarded or appreciated for their work or for the various roles they played and are still playing in the socio-economic development of Ghana.
The 31st December Women’s Movement supported and promoted activities at the grass roots level – activities that would empower women through education, management of their profits, capacity building, which enabled women to develop a new sense of culture and attitude to take charge of their lives and be part of governance from the village to the national level.
The Movement encouraged more women to contest for the positions of assembly women, members of parliament and some actually won their seats nationwide. Most of these women became DCE’s ministers of state etc. which vindicated the slogan of the 31st December Women’s Movement that the only place for the woman is not the kitchen.
The 31st December Women’s Movement spearheaded the advocacy and got the Intestate Succession Law passed PDNC Law 111 in 1985, and the marriage and divorce registration Law PNDC Law 112 which benefited ALL Ghanaian women and NOT only members of the 31st December Women’s Movement nor NDC women
Below is the unedited statement by the Movement on International Women Day
Solidarity Message from the 31st December Women’s Movement to All Women on the Intentional Women’s Day of 8th March 2019.
Accra, March, 8th 2019 –We wish to congratulate all women on the International Women’s day for their hard work, and courage in the face of several global economics challenges. Women, as mothers take care and provide for the children.As farmers, women till the land and ensure that food stuffs leave the farm areas to the urban towns to feed many people.
Women are still worried about the inequality of economic opportunities and safety of their children.
On this day as we celebrate our Women, we want to assure all women that we are still resolved and resolute to promote and build a strong gender inclusive society:-
Issues of women are human right issues and must be addressed to advance human development. Creating equal opportunity for quality health care, education, security, flourishing business, housing, good roads and access to sources of energy.
As we celebrate today, let us hold on to our values which strengthen us as mothers and leaders for the future generations. We call on all women’s groups to forge together for greater collaborations in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease, discrimination, domestic violence and disabilities.
Importantly, today we call on the Government to speed up investigations into recent kidnapping in the country of young girls. Subsequent we condemned rape of girls in the Educational Institutions.
We must take serious action against perpetuators of such crimes and offences in our society.
Signed: Chairman, Interim Management Committee