Speaking for the first time since the story was reported by Joy News’ Maxwell Agbagba, the Minister said there was no point in rushing to deal with the issue.
“When the incident occurred, I was in Dakar on a programme concerning ending child marriage and other negative traditional and cultural practices and so I wasn’t in Ghana when it happened. But even if I was in Ghana, I wouldn’t have responded immediately.
“I want to plead with the civil society [organisations] to stop sensationalising issues and demanding instant justice. We must allow due process to take its course and as the Minister, it is a national issue; we don’t put out fires like this one ‘gidi gidi’ [hastily],” she said
Civil society groups and other children’s rights groups have criticised the Ministry’s slow approach to dealing with the case of the defilement of a four-year-old girl at Assin Adadientem.
The four-year-old girl who is still undergoing medical treatment named one Kwabena as the perpetrator of the crime which has shocked the entire nation.
The case is currently being investigated by the police after weeks of delay, but it was the silence of the Gender Ministry that raised many eyebrows.
Gender activist and the Executive Director of the Ark Foundation called on the Gender Ministry to wake up to its responsibility.
An enraged Angela Dwamena said the Gender Ministry must use the benefit of hindsight to act swiftly to deliver justice to the girl and her mother.
“For me, I have to think about all the multitudes of children in Ghana, it is not about just that one child, so I have to think holistically and ensure that child in Senya Breko, Assin, in the North, Volta and children; all children across Ghana are addressed,” the Gender Minister said adding that “It is not the media that governs the country.”
“We govern together and so if there is an issue, the appropriate processes must be put in place.
“The criticisms are because people want to sensationalise things. Ghanaians wanted to hear from me and this is the time for me to speak. I can’t just be responding to putting out fires, it is a national issue,” she added.
She said the Children’s Act 560 1998 will, however, be reviewed to ensure that they come up to speed with current trends so that the best interest of the child is protected at all time.