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I still want to serve my people - Adwoa Safo's letter ignites controversy

BY: Samuel Duodu
From L-R: Adwoa Safo, Alban Bagbin, Speaker and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority leader
From L-R: Adwoa Safo, Alban Bagbin, Speaker and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority leader

The embattled Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has said the President’s decision to relieve her of her ministerial duties would give her more time to concentrate on her parliamentary responsibilities and constituency engagements.

“Cognisant of my duties to the 75,000 constituents, who elected me, this development is opportune and will afford me more time to concentrate on my parliamentary responsibilities and constituency level in our quest to break the 8”, she said.

Ms Safo stated this in an acceptance letter addressed to the President following the revocation of her appointment as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection on Friday, July 28,2022.

New twist

However, her acceptance letter has generated another controversy over the raging issue, with Ms Safo saying that she still wants to represent her people in Parliament.

Ms Safo, who is still in the United States (US), in an interview on radio, said “when I touch down, I am going to do what I have to do as an MP since I haven’t been relieved of my parliamentary duties”.

This latest twist to the issue has generated debates within her party’s circles in the Dome-Kwabenya constituency with some executives of the party affirming that once Ms Safo’s seat has not been declared vacant, she still remaines the MP for the area until she is removed.

Before Parliament adjourned sine die on July 28, 2022, the Privileges Committee of Parliament presented its report to the plenary for adoption but the House could not do so.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, on the day Parliament rose on the matter, said he would give his ruling when the House reconvens in the third week of October 2022 after the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, and the Majority Leader; Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had raised issues with the report presented to Parliament.

Adwoa Safo’s comment

“I acknowledge your letter dated July 28, 2022 and would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection. On Friday, July 29, 2022, I handed over all official assets to the Administrator of the Ministry,” the letter to the President stated.

“It is with profound gratitude that I express utmost appreciation to you for the opportunity to serve as minister in both terms of your government,” the letter stated further.

Appreciation

“It was an honour to serve at this all-important ministry albeit for a short time. During the period, we put in place enough mechanisms to ensure a harmonious society where the survival and development of women, children, persons with disabilities as well as other vulnerable persons in our society can be guaranteed in line with your vision to transform the Social Protection Framework into a robust and more responsive one,” it said.

Ms Safo also expressed her gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his support during her “difficult time.”

“I am exceedingly grateful for your understanding, compassion, and unending devotion throughout this past year, especially during a very difficult period for me where I have had to be away from office. Your kind support has been very much welcome and for that, I remain eternally grateful,” she said in her letter.

Ms Safo was dismissed as Minister for Gender and Social Protection in July, following her long absence from Parliament and the ministry.

Her dismissal was in accordance with article 81 (a) of the Constitution, according to the Presidency.

The report

The Committee of Privileges, by a majority decision, recommended that the Dome-Kwabenya seat, currently being occupied by Ms Safo, should be declared vacant since Ms Safo had absented herself from Parliament for more than 42 days without permission from the Speaker, and had also refused to take advantage of an opportunity offered her to provide an explanation.

The Minority, however, according to the report, acknowledges that numerous opportunities have been given her, but they want the entire House to rather take the decision on the way forward.

Parliament could not reach a consensus on how to handle the report of the committee after a proposal by the Majority Leader, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, urged the House to adopt the report without going through the motion route was rejected by the Minority Leader, Mr Iddrisu.

Referral

Ms Safo was referred to the Privileges Committee with two other MPs, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong for Assin Central and Henry Quartey for Ayawaso Central.

While Henry Quartey and Kennedy Agyapong appeared before the committee, Sarah Adwoa Safo was unable to do so.