Otiko bows out of politics; rejects ambassadorial role
The immediate past Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, says she is bowing out of active politics.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Monday, she hinted that she would want to take a long break, after 13 years of active politics so that she could enjoy life with her children.
Ms Djaba was appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to Italy just a fortnight ago but said she had declined the offer and communicated same officially to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The former minister has handed over to the Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, who stood in for Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who is presently in Mecca.
After her appointment as Ambassador to Italy, Ms Djaba was tasked to hand over to Hajia Mahama, who would act until the new minister designate, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, is vetted by Parliament.
“At 56 years, l want to relax and enjoy my family and life and, therefore, l am not ready to take up the appointment as Ambassador to Italy,” she said.
Explaining further why she declined the offer, Ms Djaba said she was bowing out of politics to take care of her former husband who had had stroke for the past six years.
“I am the one who has been taking care of him since he got sick and I cannot abandon him now,” she said.
Advice to women
Declaring that she had been able to prove that what a man could do a woman could do better, the former minister advised women that it was good to be meek but it was also good to strive to achieve greatness in all their endeavours.
She was of the opinion that the country was relentless on outspoken women, but through all that she had been able to make her “small contribution” to better the lives of women and children.
Enumerating some of her achievements in the past 19 months that she had been at the Gender Ministry, she said she had been able to review some laws, including the Disability Bill, with the Affirmative Action (AA) Bill currently before Cabinet.
She also mentioned the Social Protection Draft Bill and the Ageing Bill which were also undergoing validation at the regional level.
Under her watch, she said, the ministry had developed a five-year strategic plan which would be implemented in phases to eradicate the issue of kayayei from the markets.
Additionally, Ms Djaba said, “Operation get off the street” was her special initiative to rid the streets of children who hawked for a living.
She also said she had been in the process of working with the Institute of Local Languages to translate laws on social protection into local languages, so that ordinary people could read and understand them.
Ms Djaba expressed her gratitude to President Akufo-Addo and the people of Ghana for their support.
The former Women’s Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) said she felt blessed by the opportunity given her to serve the country.
According to her, the work was enormous, but with support from all, she was able to do her best.
During her tenure as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Djaba, together with the ministry, won several awards.
While the ministry was adjudged the Most Inspirational Public Sector Institution in Ghana for 2017, Ms Djaba won the 2018 DUSUSU Africa Gender Ministers Award and the 2018 European Best Practices Award.
She was also adjudged the Outstanding Contribution to Gender and Children’s Rights, and won an award for the promotion of gender equality from the Africa Public Sector Conference Awards (APSCA).