John Dumelo, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has clarified her recent statement that Parliament is meant for serious people.
The statement, she said, was not meant to be an attack on the creative industry or filmmakers as many were made to think.
According to her, it was rather in reference to actor John Dumelo who is seeking to be elected in 2020 parliamentary elections as Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The minister has come under heavy criticism from the creative sector after she was quoted to have said that Parliament “is for serious-minded people and not people who have done some movies and think they are popular.”
“It is a serious place; I will tell him; the laws of the country are enacted in Parliament. If our President can continue his job very well, he needs Lydia Alhassan in Parliament to do the job so that all you need as a constituency will be easily given to you,” she reportedly added while speaking on the campaign platform in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency last week, to support the New Patriotic Party’s candidate Lydia Alhassan.
This has led to various persons in the creative space raising their voices against her.
But in a press statement to clarify her comment on Tuesday, Madam Ayorkor indicated that she respects the creative industry and its people, and she was not referring to the entire industry.
“My attention has been drawn to attempts by our political opponents and other detractors to read meanings into some comments I made while supporting my hardworking sister, Honourable Lydia Alhassan during her rally at Ayawaso West Wuogon a few days ago. My comments on that platform were made in particular reference to Honorable Lydia Alhassan’s opponent, where I intimated that popularity alone does not make one the obvious choice for Parliament. I went on to appeal to her constituents to vote for her to continue to do more for them. It was never meant to be an attack on a particular person or the entire Film Making and Creative Arts Industry. Any desperate attempt by political opportunists to twist and portray this as a swipe at an entire industry should be treated with the contempt it deserves,” she said.
“Records clearly show that this is a sector that has always been dear to my heart; one that I have personally championed and promoted at various levels during my political career and I would be the first to acknowledge that the Creative Arts Sector has churned out some of the finest law makers in the history of our country. I want to reassure members of this important industry of my respect and continued support,” she concluded.
By Francis Addo