A former member of the Council of State, Madam Ama Benyiwa Doe, says the Minority’s decision to describe Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan as “bloody widow” is apt and befits the context.
In her view, the Minority members of Parliament (MPs) could not have used any other appropriate word to describe the situation, because Madam Seyram Alhassan benefited directly from the bloody clash that greeted the election, which gave her victory.
The former legislator and Central Regional Minister, who has been described by many as one of the few astute female politicians, made this rather shocking remark in an interview on Darling FM in Cape Coast.
“I don’t think she is the proper widow because the original widow was observing the proper widowhood rites and mourning the husband.
“Our ordinance marriage system does not recognise other woman flirting with a married man as a wife. She benefitted from the whole incident that took place that day, which was bloody,” said Benyiwa Doe.
Per this narrative, Madam Benyiwa Doe posited that Madam Seyram Alhassan was not a widow, and that she [Benyiwa Doe] supports the minority MPs description of her [Lydia Alhassan] as a “Bloody Widow”.
According to her, the action by the Minority, which has been condemned by gender activists, was highly justified, and that she would have held the same placard if she was in the legislative chamber.
While some callers who phoned into the programme condemned her love for the mantra, others gave their kind support to the comment.
Genesis of the mantra
On January 31, 2019, a by-election was held at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency to elect a successor to the late Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko.
The race, which was seen as a straight contest between the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, and the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) Delali Kwasi Brempong, turned chaotic following shooting incidents near the house of Mr Brempong. Some masked men, armed to the teeth, besieged the NDC candidate’s house a few hours after voting had started, amidst shooting.
At least, six people were seriously injured in the shooting incident, which partially marred Ghana’s hard-won worldwide reputation of being a citadel of democracy in the sub-region. This forced the NDC to pull out of the race, citing insecurity of its members and agents.
She polled 68.80 per cent of the valid votes cast, while her main challenger, Mr Delali Kwasi Brempong, polled 30.52 per cent, despite his party’s pull out from the election that received a very low turnout.
Swearing in controversy
The swearing in of Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan to officially replace her departed husband was met with fierce protestations from the Minority NDC MPs, amidst the display of placards in the floor of the house. “Bloody Widow” was a phrase that was boldly displayed on placards by some minority MPs to show their displeasure at the highly unfortunate acts of violence that greeted the elections that elected Madam Alhassan into the house.
Though the Minority has not accused the second wife of their late colleague of being responsible for the violence, it is their case that she benefited hugely from the sheer display of stupidity and hooliganism perpetrated by masked men, claiming to be operatives of National Security.
The display of the “Bloody Widow” placard has triggered the anger of many women in the country, with some describing it as an attempt to further quench the desire of other women who want to join politics.
Madam Benyiwa Doe’s endorsement comes at a time when many are calling on the Minority MPs to render an apology for their choice of words, but they seem adamant.
The Majority Women Caucus in Parliament has expressed disappointment with the choice of words and actions by the Minority, which, after displaying the placards, staged a walkout of the house.
Mr Bryan Acheampong, Minister of State in charge of National Security, has claimed that he deployed the well-built individuals, armed to the teeth and masked, to the house of the NDC candidate, based on intelligence he picked that some individuals had been positioned there to foment trouble.
Subsequently, the Vice President, Dr Alhaji Bawumia, with the consent of the President, has set up a three-member committee to investigate the violence unleashed by the masked men deployed by Mr Bryan Acheampong.