Social media was awash, over the weekend, with a discussion about one Dr. Loiuse Carol Serwaa Donkor, who is contesting for the Tafo Pankrono seat in the upcoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries slated for June 20.
The said Doctor had appeared on the Point Blank segment of Citi FM’s flagship news programme ‘Eye Witness News’ where an infamous comment she is made in 2018 was put before her.
Surprisingly, Dr Donkor denied writing those words and claimed they were ‘photoshopped’. Her denial was not in itself shocking, but the fact that information about her suggest she teaches or used to teach at the nation’s premium communications institute, the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
Best communication, or better still public relations, practices suggest that when confronted with ‘crisis’, you face it and deal with it, and not run from it.
Founder of Modern Public Relations and originator of modern crisis communications, Ivy Ledbetter Lee, is credited as one of the best PR practitioners of the world due to his handling of the Rockefeller family and their Standard Oil crisis, also known as the “Ludlow Massacre.”
By best practices, and going by the Ivy Lee style, Dr Donkor had a fine opportunity to accept her words. Beyond that, it offers her an opportunity to give further clarification on exactly what she intended to mean since it is a known fact that, in communication, the encoder’s meaning is not always received as intended by the decoder, and that is why feedback is always key. She then would have used the opportunity to show remorse for the words and apologise for it.
Dr Donkor, who is a presidential staffer, was suspended by the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare, when the issue broke up in 2018.
The lawyers have something they call ‘Double jeopardy, which says that an individual cannot be tried twice for the same crime. This means you can’t also be punished twice for the same crime.
Having already been punished for this particular issue by her employers, she had a good opportunity to plead with Ghanaians to let the sleeping dogs lie by asking that they forgive her and let it go since she has already been punished for that same ‘crime’.
The attempt to deny it flatly and claim it was ‘photoshopped’ is an insult to the Chief of Staff and affront to communication best practices and should not be coming from someone who teaches in a renowned communications institution.
As expected, one Felicity Nelson, a member of ‘Pepperdem Ministries’, a feminist group co-founded by Dr Donkor, came out to turn the issue around to make it look like Dr Donkor’s gaffe is being discussed because she is a woman. She cited supposed attacks on NPP members by the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Ken Agyapong, to claim “the political space continues to be a hostile arena for women”.
The attempt to turn every serious discussion into a gender based one and play victim for one’s recklessness by these modern day ‘feminist’ groups is nauseating, to say the least.
A former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Member of Parliament for Akyem Oda, William Agyapong Quaittoo, was made to resign from his position as a deputy minister due to a statement he reportedly made against ‘Northerners’. And several men have been sacked from the Akufo-Addo government and other offices due to their actions or inactions.
It is about time discussions of serious issues focused on what is between people’s ears and not what is between their legs. It cannot be right that when it is about Hon Quaittoo, then the political space is fair, but when it is about Dr Carol Donkor, then it is deemed hostile for women. Setting different rules for different people of different gender in the society only entrenches male superiority. People must be made to face the repercussions of their actions without them looking for a window to run through to go and hide behind their male or female organs.
Lowering the bar
I think it is about time we had another discussion on this whole gender parity, gender equality, gender equity discussion.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains Gender as referring “to the roles, behaviours, activities, attributes and opportunities that any society considers appropriate for boys and girls, and men and women.” It adds that “Gender also refers to the relationships between people and can reflect the distribution of power within those relationships.”
Taking this perspective avoids polarization between men (as perpetrator) and women (as victim), and recognizes and addresses the needs of all people as equal. (https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/9/18-211607/en/).
It is not therefore about trying to let women rise above men by lowering the bar for them (women). Lowering the bar for women just to let them rise only entrenches male superiority. Everybody deserves equal opportunity, commendation and condemnation alike, based on merit and not based on the dick or the pussy. Additionally, equal opportunity must be made available to all persons not based on ethnicity, class, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographical location, sexual orientation or sexual identity.
If the faculty of medicine in a university class can take 20 students, 20 students should be admitted, based on the stated rules and guidelines. If per the stated rules and guidelines, 19 women qualify and only one man does, let the class be a class of 19 women, one man. If at the end of the day, 19 men qualify and one woman does, let it be so. It cannot be said that the rules must be lowered for women to get more of them there. It only entrenches male superiority; and it enforces the mind-set that the man is still above the woman.
A woman does not have to play football to feel that she is equal to man and, thus, the rules of football must not be lowered for women. If a woman wants to play football, it is because she feels that playing football is her talent and that she should be ready to go by the rules of the game. It is just like a man taking a cooking competition with women. The rules of the competition must not be lowered for the man. Indeed, the same and equal rules must be applied to all.
If Dr Carol Donkor wants to be in public service, the rule of strict accountability and high moral standards must not be lowered for her, while same is raised high for Hon Quaittoo.
The principle of fairness, accountability, strict proof, high moral standard must not be based on a person’s gender; and people cannot always claim ‘victim’ when the same standard they measure others is used to measure them.
What we all need is ‘Equal Rights and Justice’.