Women’s and civil society groups are criticizing a member of Ghana's parliament for calling for women who commit adultery to be stoned or hanged.
Nelson Abudu Baani defended the comments he made during a debate in parliament. He challenged his critics to come up with opposing arguments instead of attacking him for what he described as exercising his freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.
Local media quoted Baani as saying “All the women are against me, lambasting me on other radio stations, but why are they afraid of this thing? Why are they afraid that if you cheat on your husband you should be stoned to death, why are they afraid? I just want punishment for women who will be adulterous.”
Abigail Edem Hunu, communication and advocacy officer for Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), criticized Baani.
“We are condemning the statement that he made. The statement that he made was really unfortunate for a member of parliament. It’s backward and a serious affront to gender equality, women’s rights and must be condemned by all who care about human rights. His views are inimical to the standards and values of a modern rights-respecting nation like Ghana,” she said.
Hunu went on to say the lawmaker's comments are inappropriate in any parliamentary discourse.
“He is entitled to that, but not on the floor of parliament. When having drinks and having those kinds of conversation that is fine. He represents thousands of people, women inclusive in parliament, so we are expecting him to make a more rights recognizing comments on the floor of parliament. That’s all that we are saying,” said Hunu.
Hunu said as signatory to international treaties to uphold human and women’s rights, it is inappropriate for a member of parliament to make comments that undermine the country’s commitment to those accords.
Supporters of Baani maintain he is entitled to his opinion. They warn that some groups could use the growing controversy to raise funds locally and internationally.”