YOUNG FABULOUS WOMAN IN POLITICS – PART 1
An Interview with The Fabulous Berlinda Bulley, A Banker/Politician
I believe I am confident and easy going. I can be quite “loud” as well as reserved. I endeavour to have a good relationship with everyone because I think people will never forget how you treat them.
I am from a family of six; five females and a male. I am the last but one female.
I hold an MPhil in African Studies, and a BA- Political Science, & Psychology from the University of Ghana.
I am a product of Achimota School, Akosombo International School, and Datus Preparatory School.
My work history is in banking, civil society, and administration, and clientele management.
I am a simple person trying to contribute my quota to national development.
Me and politics
Going into active politics can be classified somewhat as an accident but the journey has been very fast almost like the speed of light.
Yes I was interested in governance and political issues but being actively involved was never part of my plan. When I was in the university, where it normally begins for most people, I did not participate in students’ politics. I “followed” matters arising and discussed them briefly as and when.
On the general or national political landscape, I think just like any young concerned citizen, I followed the headlines thrown at us, and other arising issues. Occasionally I would discuss issues, and informally debate with friends and acquaintances.
Getting into active politics probably started around 2007/2008 which was quite coincidental and interesting. A friend of mine who knew my interest in politics spoke to me about an opportunity in get involved in active politicking and campaigning but then I wasn’t sure. Then he mentioned it was an opportunity to work with Dr. Nduom. We had discussed Dr. Nduom in the past, I think during his vetting period to be a minister, and I remember telling my friend that Dr. Nduom was intelligent and smart and that I admired people like him.
Well I was invited to co-manage the Women’s Desk. It was an operational background job doing more of administrative work and a bit of field campaigning. That experience was exciting. I met loads of people, gained knowledge, and understood issues much better. Most importantly, I got an understanding of the political landscape. I was happy with my position and I thought that was what I was going to do for a rather long time since I had not thought of going into frontline politics. In fact I didn’t think I was prepared for that. But that was going to change.
Along the line, I met very intelligent, smart, and hopeful young people who just like myself, were ready to challenge the status quo. We collectively believed no matter how difficult something may seem it was always possible as long as it was right with the appropriate attitude and focus. So when the situation presented itself, we came together and boldly became founding members of the great Progressive People’s Party. But of course this action came with new and huge responsibilities. The curtains were drawn and some of us the back benchers had to get in frontline and take up the duties demanded. It’s been quite a hectic journey I must say.
One of my challenges is the fact that only a few good people are involved in politics. I have always wished people would change their perception about politics and get involved. I think it is the responsibility of people like me to conscientize people to get involved in our politics. I know that just as I was only interested in background politics, a lot more people are doing the same but this needs to be changed.
For me, it is tougher coming from a young and small party. The workload is a lot more. I have to work harder to conscientize people that there is another choice apart from the ones they know and that has really been my major challenge.
Politics can be difficult for women in Ghana since we still have some cultural practices, and beliefs in our society coupled with the fact that our foundation is patriarchal. People can make certain comments or assertions about you because you are a woman and this impairs our politics. But really I think that this challenge is a national problem because this happens in every facet of life but we need to do our best to move past these assertions. I know some women are insulted just because they are women. Some of the insults are based on ignorance anyway so they are not worth the time. In fact, it sometimes creates opportunities to educate such people.
Is Ghanaian politics ‘dirty’?
It is true that politics can be very dirty in Ghana; you can’t even mince words with this. People have even died because of partisan politics. Some people have a lot of passion for partisan politics which makes them get angry and argue over issues for hours sometimes to no effect. I believe we should be more accommodating and try to get people to understand our views instead of quarrelling with others because there will always be divergent views.
Politics sometimes tend to draw out manipulation, intrigue and suspicion. But then again this happens in every organisation including even churches. People can engage in serious machinations. However, I believe that how you conduct yourself, your principles, ideals, and beliefs do make a difference.
Advice to Fabulous Women
I have realised while going around the country, the average woman is mostly thinking of acquiring the basic necessities of life. For most women, especially peri-urban and rural areas, “politics will not put food on their table”. They seem not to connect all the dots. That what happens in their little towns, villages, or cities have huge impacts. That whatever political decision they take is very critical and crucial. The politics some engage in can be described as “tambourine” or inferior politics. The whole euphoria is wearing party T-shirts, and hailing parties.
I have the drive, and I believe the duty to inform people that everything is connected; every little dot is connected, no matter how far it may seem, whatever you do in your little corner will have a bigger impact on a bigger scale in a year, two years or even twenty years to come. For this reason women should act properly and do things in a proper manner.
Politics is an important aspect of life. It is a platform which can bring people with good ideas, and policies together to do good things which shall reach a wider range of people. For this reason, we need to get involved properly. We must be aware of our civic responsibilities and be responsible citizens.
It is frightening when people say that my party for instance has good policies and plans but it is a waste of time since the party is very young. This mind-set makes me shudder and I fear for all the kinds of decisions they make because I tend to wonder what the ultimate aim is. I mean why would you settle for “okay” when you can have “very good”? I believe it is our duty to create the awareness on such dangerous decisions. Life is not simple and governance is a much more serious matter which shouldn’t be based on emotions but precision. I think changing this mind-set is a huge task that falls on every well-meaning Ghanaian.
As I always say, people have divergent views but choices should be based on practical reasons and not emotions. With every opportunity, I educate people that our actions and inactions have direct impact or effect on our lives.
Whatever you do, let people know that they need to be bold, daring, be up and get involved in politics in the proper manner. I always use the word properly because one can get involved for the wrong reasons.
I knew the journey was going to be tough considering the dynamics so I am used to the fight in a certain way. You see….this is where the success and the joy is:…. when I am able to convert a die-hard opposition person. I smile and I sleep better knowing that gradually, with one step at a time, there will be a successful breakthrough.
Ms. Bulley is The 2nd Vice Chairperson for Progressive People’s Party