Nana Konadu Charges Women Not To Relent In Empowerment Process

26 05 2010

Nana Konadu Agyeman-RawlingsPRESS RELEASE

The President of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM), Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has called on Ghanaian women not to relent in their quest to achieve empowerment for all women.

She said the quest for true empowerment is an ongoing process that is never finished. “We need to be consistent with our objectives to emancipate women in order to ensure that women get better recognition.”

Nana Konadu who was speaking at a rally at Essuehyia to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Movement commended members for their hard work and achievements since 1982.

“I am witness to the hard work and pain you have endured in your quest to achieve emancipation for women especially in the rural areas. Do not be deterred by those who refuse to recognise your work.

“In 1982 the World Bank labelled Ghana as a collapsed state. Teachers, doctors and other professionals had left our shores for greener pastures. Women were under an obligation to join hands for national development. We helped in the fight for independence but since then government after government ignored us till we decided to join hands in 1982.

“Prior to June 4, 1979 and 31st December 1982 women were wrongfully labeled as the corrupt and ‘kalabule’. We had to come clean and show our true worth.

The President of the DWM said empowering women meant they had to be educated on politics but unfortunately the movement was tagged as political. “If we do not educate women on politics how can they make informed choices?”

She said politics had become the sole preserve of men but politics is a way of life and every woman has to participate fully. “We had to demystify politics, governance and government. Getting women to assert themselves was difficult. They were afraid of losing their husbands if they spoke publicly.

“We also worked to empower them socially, economically and culturally. Women were no longer dependent on their husbands and became breadwinners for the family.”

Nana Konadu called on women to ensure that they play their traditional roles seriously. She said in an attempt to raise more soft loans for members to establish small and medium scale businesses, the movement decided to establish Caridem – meaning carry them – to enter into food processing ventures to create employment and also ensure that produce like cocoa, coffees and other food crops do not go waste due to lack of processing companies locally.

“There were so many post-harvest losses so when we heard that the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) wanted to sell the collapsed Nsawam Cannery we followed all due process and actually ended up being the highest bidder after we had done due diligence and recognised the true value of the cannery. It is preposterous for anyone to assume that we won the bid on a sliver platter or through political favours.”

Nana Konadu said payment to the DIC was made over a four-year period but when Caridem requested for the certificate of ownership from the DIC the NPP government decided not to release it for two years compelling Caridem to send the matter to court.

Mrs Rawlings said the judge in her ruling questioned the sense in the NPP’s failure to release the final tranche of a Chinese Exim Bank loan for the establishment of Calf Cocoa, which was a partnership between Caridem and a Chinese company. She said Calf Cocoa has the capacity to employ 2800 people when it is fully operational but ironically the NPP government went out to seek foreign companies to come help process Ghana’s cocoa “while our factory was left to rot”.

On the alleged payment of $5 million to the former first couple for their factory the DWM President said they had received no such amount personally.

“The government was under obligation to make a payment to Calf Cocoa following a court order that payments that had been withheld by government should be released with accrued interest. My husband and I do not have any individual stakes in Calf Cocoa. Caridem and a Chinese company own it. I do not even have shares in Caridem,” Nana Konadu said.

“What kind of government will fight a women’s organisation? It does not help the country to prosper. They seized our Dansoman School, frustrated and persecuted us but that did not deter us from pursuing our responsibilities. We have been resolute and even have more members than we did previously. We will soon regain our school so we can support vocational training for women,” Nana Konadu said.

The former First Lady encouraged members to endeavour to educate their children and ensure that they progress to learn a profession or a trade. “Today children who have benefitted from the Movement’s education are pursuing courses at various institutions in Ghana and abroad,” she said.

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