Otiko Djaba resigns from active politics

Otiko Djaba resigns from active politics

- The former minister for gender and social protection, Otiko Djaba, has resigned from politics

- Otiko Djaba has stated that she also turned down her appointment as ambassador to Italy

The former minister of gender and social protection, Otiko Djaba, has resigned from active politics.

Otiko Djaba, in an interview with Daily Graphic, turned down her appointment as the ambassador to Italy saying she notified the president about her action.

This decision by Otiko Djaba followed the first reshuffle by the president a fortnight ago which saw her dropped as the sector minister for the gender ministry.

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After 13 years in active politics, Otiko Djaba stated that she needed time to take care of herself and ex-husband who is down with a stroke.

“At 56 years, I want to relax and enjoy my family and life and therefore, I am not ready to take up the appointment as Ambassador to Italy. I am the one who has been taking care of him since he got sick and I cannot abandon him now,” she said.

Profile of Otiko Djaba:

Otiko Djaba is a female Ghanaian politician who raised a lot of controversy in the country in 2017 after the minority of the legislators’ boycotted the voting process on her nomination for her ministerial position as minister for gender and social protection.

Hon. Otiko Afisa Djaba was born on January 21st, 1962 in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Otiko Afisa Djaba also became a household name when she stood head high and condemned the government of Ghana's former president, Hon. John Dramani Mahama in 2016.

The fact that she rarely uses the title Mrs. has raised eyebrows among Ghanaians as Otiko Djaba's husband is still a puzzle.

Otiko Afisa Djaba started her political career in 2008 when she contested for the seat of Bole Bamboi. During this time, she battled for the seat of New Patriotic Party, (NPP). Unfortunately, Otiko lost it to Ghana's former president, Hon. John Mahama.

Her efforts were not however in vain because she got appointed as Women's Organizer for the National Patriotic Party, (NPP). Later in August that same year, she got a more significant appointment as she received the nomination of the ambassador of Ghana to Italy. In 2017, Otiko Afisa Djaba was nominated as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.

This appointment was faced with a lot of challenges since the minority ministers boycotted the voting process. They argued that she was not fit for the office because she failed to do her National Service as per the Ghana National Service Scheme Act 426 section 7.

They argued that Otiko was to face the consequences of failing to offer National Service. In their opinion, she was not liable for employment as stated in the constitution. Apart from that, they also accused her of failing to make amends to the ministerial appointment committee after she boldly condemned the then president John Mahama.

She made these utterances during a rally at Asawase, in 2016 when Otiko was the national women's organizer for the National Patriotic Party (NPP). She allegedly went out of her way and referred to Mahama as extremely wicked, evil, corrupt and a failure. She even went further and termed him as an embarrassment to the people of the Northern region.

These utterances brewed controversy in the country. Some of the politicians condemned her. They even came up and asked her to apologize to the president. In her defense, Otiko said that she did not regret her choice of words and had nothing to apologize.

She insisted that her comments were non-provocative. As though that was not enough, Otiko was also involved in another muddle when she raised claims that Charlotte Osei had received an appointment as chairperson of the Electoral Commission in exchange for sexual favours.

These allegations also raised concern, especially during her nomination and most people questioned her ability to serve her Ministry.

Despite the controversial situation that she was in, Otiko still managed to score 152 more votes than the number of votes that she was required to gunner her to win. Otiko Djaba has also served as a voice for the females in Ghana. Not only has she done so because it falls within her ministry but because she loves to defend women.

She has been an activist for the women. Through most of the speeches that she has made in rallies and social gatherings, it is evident that Otiko Djaba has the interests of women at heart. Her feelings have always been that, women deserve an equal opportunity in the society just as men get.

One time that she has made remarks that made her sound feminist is during the launch of a mentoring and internship program in Accra, under the support of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).

In her speech during this event, Otiko insisted that parents should teach their children about sharing house chores while they are young. She further said that career women should share duties with their husbands.

She cited that parents are investing a lot of money in their children's education and therefore she does not see why females get looked down upon and treated as lesser human beings. In her speech, she gave the example of one of her daughters who is a student of Oil and Gas.

In her case, she said that she would not expect her daughter to get home from her place of work, late in the evening and still cook while her husband is watching television. Her argument was based so much on gender equity. According to her, every child needs time to study so parents should train their children early enough.

With the effort she has put in through her political career and being a gender activist, she gives the satisfaction that she is fit for the ministerial position. Being an activist is a plus for her job because of the efforts she is trying to make towards liberating the females in Ghana.

She is working alongside other activists to ensure that the norm that the women must do all house chores is entirely scrapped off. She insists that both the male and female are equal stakeholders and that should extend to household chores as well.

Apart from defending women in the society, Otiko Afisa Djaba's career has also extended to enlightening women on their position in the nation. In her opinion, she says that the women in Ghana stand good chances in politics and top-ranking jobs but cannot do so due to factors which only they can overcome.

She further cites that these factors are early marriages, early pregnancies and the norm that women should perform house chores. She urges women to shun from these practices and grab their share of opportunities in the society.

In one of her speeches concerning the state of women in the country, Otiko Djaba commended the rule of President J. A. Kufuor for providing National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), School Feeding Programme, Free Maternal Care and Capitation Grant for the benefit that the programmes have been to women. She further congratulated the top women in some of the high ranking jobs in the country.

Among them is Justice Annie Ruth who is the first female judge of the superior court in Ghana. She posed a challenge to females to take part in these top-ranking jobs in the country. She, however, expressed her sentiments to the people of Ghana for the female representation that they have in the country.

She said that she was dissatisfied with the 8.9% that the females have in leadership. Her bid is that the female population, which stands at the 51% must be reflected in the legislature too. Her final word was that women should come together and empower themselves and then go for these top political seats.

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Apart from women, Otiko also has the interests of children at heart. Her effort towards children is through helping produce Kokrookoo, a local children's program that is broadcasted by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

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