It appears Adwoa Safo is making history for herself with recent issues surrounding her long absence from the country even in her capacity as Gender Minister and also as Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya.
Article 97 (1) C of the 1992 Constitution states that “A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if he is absent, without the permission in writing to the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen Sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”
Following the absence of the government appointee since early this year, many including the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, Majority and Minority Leaders; Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu, Kennedy Agyapong and many others have spoken, raising questions about her failure to return to the country and or make an appearance before the Privileges Committee despite having been invited.
Whilst the MP and Minister has since explained the reasons behind her absence, attributing it to urgent family issues and the medical needs of her son, she is still yet to appear before Parliament’s Privileges Committee to which she was referred by the Speaker to answer some questions.
Adwoa Safo was one of three others including Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central and Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central, who were summoned to appear before the Committee to respond to questions regarding their prolonged absence beyond the stipulated time.2
Whilst the other two have since responded, Adwoa Safo is still yet to and amidst all of this, questions about why she has failed to appear before the Privileges and why she still is Minister remain.
What could possibly cause a change in the situation? To cause the MP to appear before Parliament for questioning and return to the country to serve in the position as minister or to relieve her of her post so she has adequate time to attend to her family issues.
Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong says he has retired from commenting on the issue after several attempts at getting her back to work have all failed.
After the complaints and expression of displeasure about her actions, who else could speak to bring calm to the situation?
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo:
The First Gentleman of the land and the most powerful person in the country – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In his position as president, he does and undoes, hires and fires and his voice on the issue will settle all the controversies around it.
In her first and only response to issues regarding her absence in an interview with Joynews, Adwoa Safo mentioned that the President knew about her absence and the reasons she had to go away and granted her permission in that regard.
Fair point but is that enough to keep the ordinary Ghanaian who is concerned about the actions of the MP at peace?
Wouldn’t a statement from the President give context to the issue, clarify doubts and or bring finality to the subject?
He is described as a stalwart of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Some others have suggested because of the seeming power he wields, he is the defacto ‘Prime Minister’ under the ruling NPP government. His pieces of advice on issues in government, they say, are usually taken. Obviously, he is a revered and prominent personality in the party.
Gabby Otchere-Darko is not one to shy away from commenting publicly on issues regarding the nation’s growth and progress.
Aside from specific media interviews, his Twitter page is usually flooded with his opinions and thoughts about crucial social issues as and when they emerged.
It is rather interesting to note, however, that Gabby is officially yet to comment on anything regarding the absence of MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo since the issue about her absence came up. His silence has been loud on the matter.
Being an active voice in the NPP, the question of what impact Gabby’s opinion on the subject would have made remains.
Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka:
A father remains a father and unless in rare situations where they are missing in the lives of their children, a father’s advice always goes far.
Another person whose voice will make a huge difference in the situation will be the father of the MP, Adwoa Safo. Being one of Africa’s giants of engineering, the revered manufacturer’s role in all of these cannot be taken out.
Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka might not be politically active or be the kind of person who speaks on national issues, but there is no running away from the other fact that his influence in the backyard corridors of political power cannot be underestimated and his voice on the subject will do a lot.
With no firm decision from the Privileges Committee after Adwoa Safo failed to appear before it via a Zoom link that was provided to her, and the president’s decision to not crack the whip, amidst no signal of the legislator’s arrival into the country to fulfil her obligations, the people of Dome Kwabenya and the ministry she represents continue to have a distanced leader.