Monday, February 11, 2008

A Reaction to a Sexist Remark by Mr. President

Women are not Sex Symbols

Daily Graphic, Tuesday, February 12, 2008. Page 11 (Women’s World)

Women and the Law -Nana Oye Lithur

I am sure many Ghanaians will experience a ‘morning-after’ syndrome this week. Thankfully or rather regrettably (depending on your interest), the last whistle has been blown, and the soccer fever should be dying down gradually.

After watching my first-ever live football match the opening ceremony a few weeks ago, I wondered hoe our numerous ‘armchair’ coaches develop expertise on selection of players for a football team, who should play in which position, etc. Please excuse my ignorance, but I believe some of what goes on during the match depends on luck and how the play develops. How does a player pre-empt or anticipate a kick or a header?

From what I watched, I believe it’s very important to know your opponents and prepare your team against all odds. It’s like writing exams; you have to revise all your notes and prepare for nay question. I could never revise the whole syllabus, I always selected five topics and actually answered four questions during my revision, based on listening carefully to the lecturer throughout the year and trying to gauge his/her interests and also studying the trend of past questions over a minimum of six years. It was like lotto, and by my Law School years, my study group was always consulting me for likely questions that I had selected for exams.

The radio commentary and phone-ins after the Black Stars had lost to Cameroun were very interesting. The most interesting ones were the ones on Meridian FM. On caller actually suggested that there are 129 ghosts standing on the pitch of Ohene Djan stadium as a result of the Stadium disaster in 2002, and unless the ghosts were exorcised, it would be difficult for Black Stars to win the trophy at that particular stadium. This comment gave me an idea of how pervasive religious beliefs are, and I am sure the caller would be able to explain why the subsequent Black Star’s victory at Baba Yara Stadium.

On the fringes of Ghana 2008, a sexist remark from President Kufuor to the Black Stars, and an attempt to hand over ‘human trophies’ to certain members of the Black Star football team, specifically Junior Agogo, got my ire.

Before the Ghana-Nigeria match, President Kufuor met the Black Stars and supposed motivated them. In motivating them, he advised to stay away from certain activities, including women,a nd that after the tournament, they would have access to all the women they want. Basically, his message was stay away from women until after the tournament, and when you win and succeed you can have your fill of women.

President Kufuor, that is a very sexist statement to make about women, coming after your comments at the Brong Ahafo’s People’s Assembly about Dr Anane, polygamy and our grandfathers. I do not know what lenses you look through, but women are not entertainment tools. Just walk around your Presidential Castle office this morning, and you will see your female Presidential advisers, your female lawyers and you female support staff.

They are all women who ensure that your office runs smoothly and they are definitely not providing entertainment for your office. I have looked at myself in the mirror this morning. Yes, I saw breast, hips, heavy eyelids from little sleep, a prominent tummy, a lawyer and a human rights defender; I did not look like a PSP play station, ludo board game or Oware when I checked myself out this morning. Don’t also forget that breast and hips are for the biological function of procreation and not wholly for sex as entertainment.

As for the 82-year old man who attempted to hand over his granddaughter to Junior Agogo as a wife and human trophy, the least said about him the better. If a President of a country, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and now a presidential aspirant, a former presidential aspirant in the 2004 elections can all make sexist remarks about women on public platforms, how much more an 82-year old man?

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