A refusal by the sports ministry to pay $5000 apiece to the players of the female national football team players after they won gold at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, angered the team members, leading to their refusal to check out of the M-Plaza hotel in the national capital, as a protest.
Each of the players is owed $23,000 in outstanding bonuses. The Sports Ministry said it could only make a part payment of $2000 apiece.
The players only decided to compromise after President John Mahama – who is currently in New York attending the world body’s general assembly summit – ordered his officials back home to accede to the demands of the players.
A government delegation led by Commodore Steve Obimpeh met the players Tuesday night to reach an agreement.
The stand-off got some women rights advocates angered, a situation that led the Women’s Organser of the country’s main opposition party to call for the Sports Minister’s dismissal from office.
Otiko Djaba said Dr Ahmed did not deserve to continue being in office if the Queens’ bonuses were not paid in full.
Also, feminist group Abantu for Development issued a statement describing the situation as “shameful.”
The Queens, Abantu said were ‘Sheroes’ who deserved honour and respect, just as the Black Stars heroes.
“We wish to congratulate the Black Queens of Ghana for their successful participation in the just ended 2015 All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. We are particularly excited about this because of their trailblazing role as the first women’s football team to earn a gold medal for the country. This was achieved in spite of the abysmal and disorganised national preparation and support provided by the authorities.
“While in a congratulatory mood for our Queens, we are dismayed by the impasse currently going on about the financial settlement due them. It is said that they have not received any bonuses for the various qualifying matches they have played.
“This is totally unacceptable given the honour and sacrifice they have made to bring pride to the nation,” Abantu said.
Again, the group added: “We have been witnesses to the high profile approach the nation accords to football games played by our male compatriots and the urgency and volume of monies expended on them. While we appreciate our male footballers and encourage the nation to continue treating them as national Heroes, we demand similar and equal treatment of our Queens as national Sheroes.”
It warned that the situation risked casting a slur on Ghana’s already tottering commitment to gender equality and protection of women’s rights.
“We would not want to be associated with any information that points to Ghana as retrogressing on its already very slow pace on women’s empowerment and gender equality, as a result of the unequal treatment being meted out to our women.
“We therefore demand that the authorities concerned act swiftly to redeem themselves and the nation from ridicule and gender discrimination. They must do this by honouring the Sheroes; paying all financial commitments due them; and developing a long term strategic framework to promote equality of treatment in football in Ghana.
“Finally we call on policy makers in sports to fundamentally work towards transforming the whole system of football in Ghana, to promote justice and inclusiveness,” it said.
In Mr Cudjoe’s view, “habits of highly effective countries [like Japan] ought to be copied,” and, therefore, wondered why Dr Ahmed was still at post.
The Japan example
According to Reuters, Japan's sports minister Hakubun Shimomura, a close conservative ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, five days ago, tendered his resignation over the scrapping of plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics centerpiece stadium after a cost blowout.
Shimomura told a post-cabinet meeting news conference on Friday that Abe had asked him to stay on until a cabinet reshuffle planned for next month.
He will return half his pay for the six months through September in atonement, Kyodo news agency said.
"I have caused great worry and trouble to many of the people over the national stadium problem," Shimomura said, adding that Abe had reluctantly accepted his resignation.
Abe announced in July that plans for the stadium, also meant to have been the centerpiece for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, would be scrapped after the estimated cost of UK-based Zaha Hadid Architects' futuristic design ballooned to over $2 billion, nearly twice the original figure.