Saturday, February 28, 2009
He said candidates who employed knowledgeable, effective and reliable polling agents would not have any difficulty with the outcome of the elections.
Mr Arhin, who stood in Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Chairman of the EC, was speaking at a special Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting on "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot" project in Accra.
The workshop, organised by the EC/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in collaboration with the KAB Governance Consult, was to demystify the work of the EC.
This is the second time that the forum is being organised for the political parties as an overview and lessons from the parliamentary fora and polling agents training carried out in the Greater Accra Region in November last year.
Mr Arhin said the rationale for the meeting was to upgrade the knowledge of participants on elections as well as things that the political parties already knew.
He said the critique of the forum would also help the EC to know things that went wrong during the last elections and what can be done to correct them.
Mr Muhammed Adoquaye, Regional Director of the EC, said the seminar offered the right opportunity for the participants to shape up their knowledge on the rights of polling agents, electoral officials and parliamentary candidates.
He said the parliamentary candidates also had the duty to ensure that their polling agents abide by the electoral rules to help bring peace and transparency at a particular polling station.
Mr Adoquaye said polling agents were observers and could not intervene in the electoral process like the electoral official.
Mr Baaba Zakarial, New Patriotic Party parliamentary candidate for the Abokobi-Madina Constituency, said the process of recruiting presiding officials for the various constituencies should be made transparent.
He alleged that with current recruitment process some political party functionaries were able to infiltrate the process and cheat in the elections.
Nii Noi Vanderpuye, a member of the Greater Accra Executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), urged the EC to resolve the problems of the special, proxy and transfer voting that characterised the December elections.
He said there was confusion all over as some voters could be seen holding authorised notes from district electoral officials to allow them to vote in the elections.
"The outcome of Election 2008 dictates that every Ghanaian enlarged his or her knowledge and information base of the spirit and tenets of the
1992 Constitution for attainment of national cohesion for accelerated growth and sustenance of democracy and constitutionalism in the country," Mrs. Augustina Akosua Akumanyi, Deputy Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), said on Friday during discussions with a delegation of the Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI).
"There is an urgent need to create an increased and sustained interest of all in the evolving democratic dispensation for achievement of social and political stability for national unity and development," she said.
The RTI Coalition delegation led by Mr. Francis Ameyibor called on the NCCE to initiate the process for adopting Access to Information as the
revolving theme for this year's Constitution Week celebration.
Mrs. Akumanyi, who welcomed the idea noted that the notion that the constitution was a document for the educated few, especially lawyers, should be removed from the minds of Ghanaians.
She said the institution of the annual Constitution Week in 2001 was a bid to demystify and make it comprehensible for all to appreciate their respective duties and obligation irrespective of political affiliation and ideology.
Mr Ameyibor described the NCCE as the largest and most potent civic advocacy institution whose active participation in the crusade for the passage of the RTI Bill would greatly enhance and advance public understanding of the bill.
He explained that since the aim of the RTI Bill formed part of a national and international move to stamp out corruption, "it's paramount for civic institutions to play an active role in the process leading to its promulgation through the creation of public awareness".
He said the RTI law would entrench greater transparency and accountability in public affairs, stressing that the underlying factor in the Bill was the need to protect the safety and integrity of the State and the privacy of individuals.
Mr Ameyibor therefore debunked the notion that the Bill was a media weapon to attack public officials and expose them to public scrutiny, saying there was therefore an urgent need to intensify public education on the Bill.
He explained that the Bill dealt with two broad subject areas, the first area dealing with information held by government agencies, and the second area with general and miscellaneous matters.
Ms Florence Nakazibwe, a member of the RTI Coalition delegation, reiterated the urgent need for NCCE to play an active role in the crusade for the passage of the RTI Bill this year.
The programme of activities for this year's Annual Constitution Week celebration starts with media briefing on April 22, to be followed by the main lecture on April 28.
The role of security services in consolidating democracy would be given a boost with their involvement in the celebration through durbars for the Military, Police, Immigration, Fire, CEPS and Prison services.
He made the appeal during an expanded Eastern Regional Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting in Koforidua on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the various political parties that participated in the 2008 elections.
The meeting, which was organized by the EC, was facilitated by KAB Governance Consult and sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Mr Kanga called on political parties to condemn cheating at elections and educate their supporters to be true democrats and respect the electoral laws.
He wondered why people could commit crimes like multiple voting and could come out in the open to celebrate it by telling people the number of times they voted without feeling guilty.
Mr Kanga called for state support for political parties to enable them to have active representation at polling stations during elections.
He called on political parties to do away with mistrust and suspicion for the electoral process, a situation he described as the "biggest devils" haunting the country.
The Eastern Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Alecs Agobo, called for ways of empowering security personnel deployed at polling stations to enable them enforce the right process at those stations.
He alleged multiple voting on the islands in the Afram Plains under the watch of a duty security man, who he said was helpless because he was alone and threatened not to intervene, else he would be drowned in the Volta Lake.
Mr Julius Debrah, Eastern Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), called for the introduction of electronic voting system in the country to help avoid the issue of double registration.
He called for joint training of stakeholders in the electoral system before elections to avoid the situation where on an election day, presiding officers would attempt to use their discretion rather than follow laid down directives.
27 Feb. 09
Politics Minister Media
Western Regional Minister
calls for accurate reportage in the media
Takoradi, Feb. 27, GNA - Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister has appealed to the media to ensure adequate and accurate reportage of events to promote a positive image of the Region.
He said "we must educate our citizens to change their attitude towards development in the Region and country."
Mr Aidoo made the call in an interaction with the media in Sekondi on Thursday.
"Please use your media to educate the people about indiscriminate disposal of refuse, illegal water and electricity connection as well as unauthorised construction of buildings," he stressed.
Mr Aidoo said as an indigene of the Region, he would spearhead the development process and ensure the Region had its fair share of national development.
"There is the need for government to provide quality education, jobs, affordable housing, quality health care as well as security for the citizenry a priority of the NDC Government, he said.
To achieve these, Mr Aidoo called for the collaborative efforts of all and the media to offer constructive suggestions towards growth of the Region.
"Indeed we must approach issues of the development of the Region and nation with unity of purpose," he said.
Mr George Amihere Naykene, Western Regional Chairman of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) noted that the media had contributed to the growth and development of the Region.
He explained that journalists were not economic saboteurs but partners in development.
Mr Naykene urged heads of departments and public servants to make information readily available for journalists or direct them to the appropriate authorities.
This, he said would ensure journalists performed better to prevent speculative, bias and un-substantiated reportage.
Mr Naykene appealed to the Western Regional Coordinating Council to provide the media with means of transport to facilitate their work.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
They called for regular transfer or change of returning officers and polling assistants, as well as refraining from locating polling stations at private houses.
The representatives contended that some returning officers and polling assistants in the region had been in their constituencies since 1992, and had thus became too familiar with the people, which did not augur well for the country's electoral system.
On the location of polling stations at private homes, they said that could compromise the neutrality and fairness of the electoral process, as residents of those homes ultimately belonged to one political party or the other.
The RIPAC forum was convened jointly by the Electoral Commission (EC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and KAB Governance Consult, as part of activities under the "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot" project.
It aims among other things, to assess the December 2008 polls in terms of meeting the aspirations of various stakeholders, to review activities carried out under the project such as the training of polling agents, and to draw lessons from the elections to inform the conduct of future elections.
Participants at the meeting comprised representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), security agencies, returning officers, district electoral officers, media practitioners, political parties, notably the Convention People's Party (CPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People's National Convention (PNC), and Democratic People's Party (DPP), and some head of departments.
Participants urged the EC to institute a system of continuous registration by which persons who turn 18 years could be registered as voters, rather than waiting for four years to take part in general registration exercise which was often done with cost.
They recommended that the EC came out clear on the role of personalities such as Members of Parliament, party candidates, district chief executives, and ministers of state on election day, arguing that the absence of such guidelines resulted in undue interference with the duties of election officials by some of those personalities.
Mr. Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka, Deputy EC Chairman in charge of Operations and Commission member responsible for the Northern and Upper East Regions, commended the people for the peaceful outcome of the December polls in the area.
He said " That notwithstanding, the stock-taking we are doing here today is still necessary since it would enable us to identify and correct certain shortcomings in our evolving electoral system."
Mr. Charles Addei, Director of Training at EC headquarters, indicated that the biometric system of voter identification which the EC would soon introduce would eliminate all problems associated with voter identity.
He observed that the purpose of the RIPAC forum was not to find fault or apportion blame, but to give participants the chance to provide inputs to improve Ghana's electoral system.
The Deputy Regional Director of EC, Mr. Godwin Okley said although last year's election was full of challenges, it ended peacefully due to the collective efforts of stakeholders including political parties, media, security agencies, the EC, and the electorate.
Mr Kwarteng, a former government spokesperson on finance, would head the Communications Directorate of the party, a statement signed by Nana Ohene-Ntow, Secretary General of NPP, said.
The statement also announced the appointment of Mr Perry Okudzeto as the Deputy Director of Communications.
It said Mr Kwarteng would be responsible for managing the party's relationship with the media and the general public.
Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy was the NPP's communication spokesman during the 2008 election.
He said for instance the appointment of two chief executives each for the Kumasi, Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi and the Tamale metropolitan assemblies would ease administrative work and facilitate development.
A statement signed by Opanin Afreh said the amendment of the Act would also make room for the creation of offices for the monitoring of party political activities and yet another for purely administrative and management of the cities.
He explained that this would help plug the vacuum created by the existing system, which rendered government ineffective at the local government levels.
Opanin Afreh, who is also a veteran political activist, said his suggestion was not an innovation and recalled that the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah employed such a method to administer the country.
He said "If it was prudent for the Nkrumah regime to appoint two District Commissioners in the persons of Mary Osei and one Fosu for Kumasi in those days when the population was relative low, then it stands to reason to have two mayors today when the population had increased tremendously".
Opanin Afreh said if President John Evans Atta Mills cherished the achievements of Dr Nkrumah, there was the need to remind him of some of the brilliant ideas of Nkrumah to facilitate his reign.
He cited the administrative set-up of the Electricity Company of Ghana where Ashanti region has been divided into Ashanti West and Ashanti East regions with a regional director assigned to each of the two regions for effective administrative and operational purposes.
Opanin Afreh stressed that the administration of the metropolitan assemblies by two chief executives each would promote efficiency in view of the larger population and the expansion of the area of the assemblies.
He said the creation of sub-metro councils under the metropolitan assemblies had not been beneficial because they were not operational and functional as the structures were simply not functioning, making the decentralization policy a mockery.
"Under the sub-Metro council system, each sub-metro is supposed to be headed by a Deputy Metro Chief Executive, but no such position has been created since the Local government Act was amended some years ago to make them autonomous", Opanin said.
He suggested that assembly members who under the local government system, formed part of governance, must be paid appreciable salaries instead of irregular allowances to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the development of their local areas.
He said Ghanaians were not happy about selective justice and wanted to be treated equally before the law. Cases must also be dealt with expeditiously.
"We have no doubt you have what it takes to be Attorney-General," the President said, and urged the Minister to improve upon the workings of the Justice Ministry, since Ghanaians would judge her performance by comparing the performance of the Ministry before she took office and when she would be in office.
The President administered the Oath of Allegiance, Oath of Minister of State and Oath of Secrecy to the Minister.
President Mills also presented her with the Instrument of Appointment and a copy of the 1992 constitution.
The President urged the Minister to give Ghanaians hope in the justice system, and said it was necessary that rumours about the system were dispelled to boost the confidence of the international and business communities in the nation's justice system.
"Ghanaians expect the highest standards," the President said, and gave the assurance of the Government to co-operate with Ghanaians to ensure an effective judicial system without sacrificing their ability to stand on their own.
Mr Henry Newman, Chief of Staff, urged the Minister to use her experience as a seasoned legal practitioner to improve the Attorney-General's Department and ensure an effective link between the President, the Judiciary and Parliament.
Dr Kwabena Adjei, Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress, expressed confidence that the Minister would use the position to contribute to the change for better lives that the party promised Ghanaians.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu expressed appreciation for the confidence reposed in her.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The "longer longer" promotion allows all TIGO prepaid customers to pay
just half of the normal cost of airtime on voice calls and text messages on local calls during week days.
It is designed to make customers relax more when it comes to making
calls and sending text messages without worrying about the consumption of
Ms Anita Erskine, Corporate Affairs Manager of TIGO who launched the promotion in Accra said the harsh economic conditions called for products which would make customers to have value for their money.
"It's an exciting moment; we are in the season of giving and receiving and there is honestly nothing better than giving our loyal customers a reason to talk more for less", she stated.
Ms Erskine said the vibrance of the TIGO brand resonated strongly amongst its customers by virtue of exciting packages that it offered all year round.
She said this year held much prospect for subscribers; they would enjoy a combination of enhanced services, innovative products and promotions that would give them more reason to talk more with their TIGO network.
This promotion which began in February, will end on March 20, this year.
Meanwhile, the company would embark on free chip registration, free replacement for lost chips, among other services, for customers on Friday the 27th of February this year at all its offices across the country.
He said the NDC was committed to peace, unity in development and that the party's slogan of "A better Ghana" did not translate to mean killing one another and warned that any one who indulged in acts of violence would be dealt with, no matter his or her political affiliation.
Mr. Avoka gave the assurance in Tamale when he led a government delegation to inspect and ascertain acts of arson that took place in Tamale where seven houses and three vehicles were burnt in renewed violence last Sunday between supporters of the NDC and the NPP in the Tamale Metropolis.
The arson took place after the burial of one Abdul Rashid who was shot dead in a previous clash between the two parties about two weeks ago.
The Minister and his entourage visited the seven destroyed houses in Gumbihini, Chogu and Nyohini and sympathized with displaced persons and assured them of government's support to resettle them.
Addressing the leadership of both parties and security personnel after the tour, Mr. Avoka said the NDC government was committed to letting justice prevail in the country and that anybody found disturbing the peace would be treated accordingly without fear or favour.
He said there was the need for all to eschew favouritism and nepotism and help chart a new path of development to erase the negative impression "that held the north to ransom for many years."
"What people did in the past and we were not happy, there is no need for us to repeat them. A wrong always remains the same, no matter how you turn it", he said, and urged all to emulate the humility of Professor John Evans Atta Mills and Vice President John Mahama and work for national unity.
He advised the security personnel to remain neutral in execution of their duty to win public confidence saying, "We went round and you all heard the people. If you cannot prosecute a single person who misbehaved in the past, how do you expect the public to have trust in you?"
He said the Ministry of the Interior would in the near future, compel Regional Commanders of the security forces to sign performance contract and whoever failed to perform would be replaced.
Mr. Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern Regional Minister expressed regret that, at a time when some people in the north could not afford to pay school fees, hospital medical bills they could afford to use money to purchase weapons for destruction.
He said the monies and the energies used in solving conflicts in the north would have been used in finding ways of developing the north.
The delegation expressed disappointment in the regional leadership of the NPP some of who withdrew at the last minute from the inspection tour and failed to meet with the delegation after the inspection of the burnt houses without reasons.
He called for frequent interaction among the leadership of the various political parties, in order to demonstrate to their members that they are not enemies.
Mr Ampofo explained that such interactions could help reduce tension in the country and avoid the political conflicts that are leading to loss of lives and property after Election 2008.
He said President John Evans Atta-Mills was guided by the promise that his government would be for all Ghanaians, so that the prosperity of the country would be for all citizens.
Mr Ampofo promised to work with all political parties, especially under the situation where the New Patriotic Party, has majority of the parliamentary seats in the region.
He announced plans to meet with the Regional Parliamentary Caucus to strategize on how to support the development of the region.
Mr Ampofo appealed to the media to help reduce political tension in the country through the way they present their stories.
The Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Mr Julius Debrah observed that as the democratic culture of the country is being nurtured, there is the need for the leaders of the various political parties to conduct themselves in a way to support the political achievements of the country.
He called for co-operation and cordiality among leaders of the political parties to send the correct signals to the ordinary members of the parties.
The Regional Vice Chairman of the NPP, Alhaji Umar Babs Bodinga assured the Regional Minister of the party's co-operation, to ensure the development of the Region.
He reminded the new Ministers to exhibit transparency, honesty, probity and accountability, and use the resources of the State to the benefit of the people.
President Mills administered the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Ghana, the Oath Minister of State and the Oath of Secrecy to the Ministers and reminded them to work hard and not to abuse the confidence reposed in them for their privileged service. The President presented the Ministers with their Instruments of Office, and as a novelty, copies of the current Ghanaian constitution were made available to them as a reminder of their rights, duties and responsibilities towards the state nation.
The Ministers were: Mr Stephen Amoanor Kwao - Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Mr. Alexander Asum-Ahensah -Minister of Chieftaincy, Hajia Rafatu Alhassan Dubie-Minister at the Presidency, Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey- Minister of Health, Mrs. Sabah Zita Okaikoi- Minister of Information and Ms. Hanny Sherry Ayittey - Minister of Environment, Science and Technology.
The rest were: Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni- Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Albert Abongo- Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi- Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Alhassan Azong-Minister of State at the Presidency and Mr Mark Wayongo, Minister for the Upper Eats Region. The latest swearing-in of ministers brings to 34 the number sworn in under the Mills' Government.
The five-member panel of the Supreme Court, chaired by Mr Justice William Atuguba, with Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Dr. Justice Date Bah, Mrs Justice Rose Owusu and Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie as other members, fixed the date on Tuesday after hearing oral submissions from the various counsel in the matter.
Results from Asutifi South and the Akwatia are the only two yet to be declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) after the December 7 Elections.
While the EC was yet to declare the results in Asutifi South, Mr Yiadom Boakye Boateng, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, filed a petition at the Sunyani High Court alleging that there were certain irregularities in the conduct of the election and therefore prayed the court to restrain the EC from declaring the results.
On January 6, the High Court overruled a preliminary objection raised by counsel for Alhaji Dauda that the matter was not properly brought before the court.
Not satisfied with the ruling of the High Court, the EC filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against that decision.
When the matter came up for hearing at the Court of Appeal on February 17, the court was informed that Alhaji Dauda had filed a Certiorari Application at the Supreme Court asking the court to quash the High Court's decision of January 6.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal adjourned the matter sine die, pending its final determination by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court was co-incidentally hearing the Certiorari Application on February 17 when the Court of Appeal sat on it.
One of the panel members was indisposed on that day and the matter was adjourned to Tuesday.
Making his submissions at the court's sitting on Tuesday, Mr Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Alhaji Dauda, argued that the application was premature and out of place, because in his view, Section 18 (1) of PNDC Law 284 made it clear that a parliamentary election petition could be filed at a High Court only when the EC had declared a winner.
Counsel submitted that since in the case in point the EC had not come out with the final results, the application by Mr Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, counsel for the NPP candidate, was out of place and ought not to be entertained by the court.
Mr Effah-Dartey submitted that the application was properly laid before the court because it was being brought under Section 18 (2) of that same PNDC Law 284.
Counsel stated that his understanding of the said provision was that a candidate should not wait for election results to be declared before bringing a petition if he noticed irregularities or malpractices in the conduct of the election.
Mr James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the EC, submitted that the Commission had the dual mandate to publicly declare a winner in an election, and to proceed further to publish the gazetted results in the dailies.
Counsel, therefore, prayed the Supreme Court to grant the Certiorari Application in order for the Commission to fulfill its constitutional mandate, before any election petition could be filed or entertained by the High Court.
Mrs Sylvia Adosu, Principal State Attorney who represented the Attorney-General's Department, endorsed the EC's submission, and said since it had not yet declared a winner in the Asutifi South Parliamentary Election, the Sunyani High Court's decision should be set aside.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
According to the Electoral Law, two representatives from each of the district assemblies would constitute an electoral college to vote in the election, but the absence of fully constituted district assemblies in the region has delayed the process.
This is the second time the election has been postponed after the Ministry of Local Government initially asked for an extension of the election date to fully constitute all district assemblies.
" The EC was ready to conduct the elections but the Regional Coordinating Director is saying, the districts have not been fully constituted and therefore we could not have the electoral college", Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections for the EC told the media in Accra.
Mr Arhin explained under the Electoral Law the EC must conduct the elections within 14 days of closing nominations, which should have taken place on February 10, but it was postponed for another 14 days upon request by the Ministry.
Mr Arhin therefore expressed dismay that the Ministry had not yet constituted all assemblies and expressed uncertainty on whether or not the elections could come off.
He noted that the Law required that the elections must take place at the same time and date in all regional capitals, adding, "now that all the regions are holding their elections I can not tell whether it would be possible for us to have ours later".
He said the matter had been referred to the Regional Coordinating Director for further discussions with the Chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afare-Djan.
One of the contenders, Mr Sulley Adamu Taylor expressed disappointment over the turn of events.
" I am not happy at all about how this election is been organised. We keep being disappointed and all our efforts and resources come to naught ".
Mr Adamu Taylor said he would seek legal counsel on the matter. In all, eight persons are contesting to represent the region in the Council of State.
The list signed by Mr. Bebaako Mensah, Secretary to the President, has key party functionaries including Mr. Fiifi Kwetey as one of two Deputy Ministers of Finance.
The rest are Mr. Seth Terpker, Deputy Minister of Finance; John Jatuah, Trade and Industry; Dr. Nartey Siaw Sapore, Communications; Henry Kamel, Lands and Natural Resources; Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Boah and Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Energy; Mrs Gyifa Peace Ativor Transport; Hawawu Buoya Gariba for the Womens and Children's Affairs; and Dr. Kwasi Appiah Kubi, Interior.
Others include Mrs Elizabeth Amoah Tetteh, Deputy Education Minister; Dr. Joseph Annan, Deputy Minister for Education; Kwabena Owusu Acheampong, Tourism; Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Local Government and Rural Development; Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Roads and Highways; and Nii Nortey Dua as Deputy Youth and Sports Minister.
The following have also been nominated as deputy regional ministers: They are, Baba Jamal, Deputy Eastern Regional Minister; Eric Opoku, Brong Ahafo Region; Khalid Ceasar, Upper West; Betty Bosomtwe Sam Deputy Western Region; Mr. Moses Magbenba Northern Region; Col Cyril Necku Rtd, Volta Region; and Lucy Awuni, Upper East Region.
Three other nominees have also been named for appointment as ministers of state. They are Abdul Rashid, Alhaji Seidu Amadu, and Mr. Kwadwo Tawiah.
Monday, February 23, 2009
The Regional Minister gave the order at an emergency security meeting in Tamale, where the leadership of the two parties had confessed and testified before the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), that both NPP and the NDC members in the area had in their possession sophisticated weapons.
He said "We should not make the Northern Region a warfare area. We have already been tagged with a bad name because of conflicts and this is the time to tell ourselves that enough is enough and cooperate with the security apparatus to bring peace."
He said people who would willingly surrender their weapons would not be questioned as to where and how they got them adding "From one month from today, surrender all guns in your possession and thereafter, we would hunt for the guns ourselves and there would be no limited period for the hunt."
Mr. Nayina urged politicians from the Northern part of the country to help create conducive environment for progress and said all trouble makers would be dealt with no matter their political affiliations.
He said "The security personnel would be arresting all trouble makers and they would not be asking them of their political affiliation. The law would determine your offence and appropriate charge."
Some of the leaders who appeared before REGSEC said in the past some people within the Metropolis openly shot people and that though they were arrested there was no indication that guns were retrieved from them.
The leaders said this has encouraged other people to arm themselves to the teeth in anticipation of violence during Election 2008 and urged the security personnel to apprehend all wrong doers to ensure lasting peace in the region.
Seven houses and three vehicles were burnt in renewed violence on Sunday between supporters of the NDC and the NPP in the Metropolis, after the burial of Abdul Rashid, who was shot dead in a previous clash between the two parties last Week.
The destroyed vehicles included a Nissan pick-up with registration No.NR 2663 C, Mercedes Benz saloon car with registration NR 5005 C and a Yamaha motorcycle.
The Minister, who joined family members to bury the late Rahid, had advised them not to revenge but to embrace peace since vengeance was for God.
The arson took place after the burial of one Abdul Rashid who was shot dead in a previous clash between the two parties last week.
The destroyed vehicles include a Nissan pick-up with registration No.NR 2663 C, Mercedes Benz saloon car with registration NR 5005 C and a Yamaha motorcycle.
Mr Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, Northern Regional Police Commander, who disclosed this in an interview with the GNA on Monday, said so far, two persons had been arrested in connection with the violence.
He said the violence broke out after the police had provided security for the burial of the late Abdul Rashid at the Old Gulkpegu Cemetery.
He said it was after the burial that the police had information that the road leading to Gumbihini, a suburb of Tamale where the deceased resided, had been blocked with stones, wood and other objects while some houses had been set ablaze.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Gyeabour said the police with the assistance of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) rushed to the area and brought the situation under control.
He said the police and the military had intensified their patrols in the Metropolis and mounted several check points to search for weapons.
He said police reinforcements from the Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Upper East Regions were being brought in to strengthen security in the Metropolis and restore law and order.
The Regional Police Commander appealed for cooperation from the public, the media, chiefs and opinion leaders to volunteer information to the police, which would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the violence.
He urged the people not to politicise the situation, saying: "The police are arresting people purely on criminal grounds and not on the basis of whether one belonged to party A or party B".
The assemblies comprise the Bolgatanga and Bawku Municipal Assemblies, Bongo, Bawku West, Kassena-Nankana, Builsa, Garu-Tempane, Talensi-Nabdam, and Kassena-Nankana West district assemblies.
The delegates are expected to convene on Monday at the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) to receive further instructions with regards to the electoral process.
The delegates, made up of six women and 12 men, would have the duty of electing one of the four contestants who filed for the post.
The candidates, who have for some time now been engaging in a series of lobbies to get the delegates to vote for them, include the Very Reverend Dr. Jacob Ayeebo, PhD holder and a native of the Bawku West District.
Reverend Ayeebo is also a development worker and heads the Anglican Diocesan and Development Relief Organization (ADDRO). He is the immediate past Presiding Member of the Bawku West District Assembly as well as the Dean of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale. He is a Supervising Examiner for two universities, namely the North West University in South Africa and Greenwich School of Theology in the United Kingdom.
Also in the race is Mr Robert Atuguba, a retired educationist and one time Chief Editor at the Ghana News Agency (GNA), in charge of the French Desk, and a key member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the region.
The others are Madam Melanie Kasise, also a retired educationist, and a Diploma holder in advanced studies in education, who heads the Sirigu Women Pottery and Arts Association (SWOPA), and Madam Hilda Salifu, a businesswoman and a holder of Teacher Certificate 'A', who is a native of Bolgatanga. She is the National Second Vice Chairman of the NDC.
The Deputy Upper East Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Godwin Okley, when contacted said everything is set for the election on Tuesday.
He indicated that the ballot papers with the photographs of the candidates on them were ready, adding that, the EC was yet to get the full list of the delegates from the RCC. "Once the delegates are together it should not take the EC more than an hour to finish the voting process and announce the results," he said.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
He told 228 Members Parliament, made up of four different parties and four independent members, that consensus building was very vital and time was very precious in the pursuit of true collaboration in the House.
"We must work together to fashion out the requisite legislation that will help this country face and overcome her many challenges in this time of domestic and global uncertainty," the President said.
President Mills reminded the Members of Parliament of the obligation of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to keep faith with the people at all times and never to forget the "men and women whose worries stretch from pay day to pay day."
The President stressed national unity and urged the House to serve as a model to Ghanaians who would see their teamwork as a prime example of peaceful and productive co-existence.
He asked: "Can we build a unified country where all citizens have the opportunity to give of their best to Mother Ghana while earning a good education and dignified standard of living?
"Can we all live under the Rule of Law, whereby we are all governed by the same set of laws and are equal before the Law?
"Can we all build a better and prosperous Ghana that works in the interest of all Ghanaians?"
He observed that the message of change promised by the NDC began with the realization that there was a new way to look at national problems and use political power as an instrument to shape the future of the nation.
"I am determined to restore a sense of community in this country; a community in which we all shall share in the responsibility of shouldering the common good.
"I want us to be kind and generous to each other. I believe it is possible to bring back smiles to the faces of all Ghanaians, that even if the economic prosperity is slow in coming, Ghanaians will say of this Government that we are truthful, honest and sincere."
"I will be an example to the nation. I will be an example by being time-conscious. And because it is hypocritical to exhort people to sacrifice for the common god when we are not prepared to do the same, I will lead by example."
President Mills paid tribute to his two predecessors, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, who sat at different places in the public gallery with their spouses, for their services to the nation and for moving democracy forward and further along the path to maturation.
The President acknowledged Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for his selfless service.
He observed that this year was the first President's 100th birthday and announced that the Government intended to honour Dr Nkrumah's memory with a National holiday to be known as Founders' Day, adding that, Government would be sending legislation to that effect to the House.
Each of the team members with the exception of the Chairman and Chairpersons of the various committees received $1,350 dollars as against $2000 dollars being put out by government critics in the past week.
Alex Segbefia, Secretary to the Government's Transition Team cleared the controversy in an interview on Adom Dwaso Nsem on Tuesday when the issue came up during the panel discussion.
He could however not mention what was received by the Chairman and the chairpersons of the various committees.
According to him the $1,350 was arrived at based on the records available to the team as to what was given to Committee members set by the NPP government for doing a month work in 2001.
Mr. Segbefia added that based on that the leadership of the Transition Team saw what was received by the NPP functionaries in 2001 to be too high and therefore cut the amount by 10%.
He said the decision by the leadership of the Transition Team saved the nation a lot of cost for doing Six weeks work and taking less than a month's allowance.
The Secretary to the Transition Team also debunked claims that members of the team were bussed from their various homes to the International Conference Centre where the various committees had their sittings. He said all the members of the various committees of the Transition team footed their transport bills themselves and that the $1,350 paid them was inclusive of their Transportation.
…power goes with authority and he has none anymore
The Former Chief of Staff Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, yesterday said at a news conference that the NPP transitional team would not co-operate with the government's transitional team as far as transitional matters are concerned because the NDC side was painting the former government black.
He therefore called on Ghanaians to treat the final report of the to be presented to President Mills as one sided
Mr. Mpiani cited the summoning of the Auditor General, Mr. Edward Duah-Agyemang to appear before the NDC Transitional team and his live media presentation of the Ghana@50 audited accountswhich he said flouted the ethics of accounting procedures as well as the leaking of what he said were half truths by the government's transitional team to the media as clear cases of painting the former government black.
However, a source close to the government's transitional team says the former Chief of Staff is only flexing powerless muscles.
"He has not got the power or the authority to tell the government how to run the affairs of the state. The President, and by extension, the government's transitional team have the power and authority vested in them by the people of Ghana to do what they believe is just and fair" the source said.
A member of the transitional team told the True Democrat that right from the beginning, Mpiani rebuffed all attempts by the government's transitional team to uncover some of the dubious documents and activities that was being concealed from the team but was unearthed later.
"Now, because of the exposures, particularly the rot uncovered at the Ghana@50, he is shivering like a reed in a windstorm" the member said The source said the former Chief of Staff who was also the former Minister for Presidential Affairs is only blowing hot air because he is no longer the Chief of Staff and no longer wields untrammeled power as he used to.
"He is an ordinary citizen just like any one of us and no longer above the law as used to be the case when the NPP was in office. It will be in his own interest to co-operate with the state, if need be, when the time comes" the source said
Ghanaians were shocked to the marrow of their bones when it was revealed by the Auditor-General that the country spent US$60 million (GH¢60,179,481) instead of US$20 million in celebrating its 50th anniversary (Ghana@50) in 2007 and was still in arrears. The rot has been laid at the feet of Mr. Mpiani who was the supervising Minister of the Ghana @50 celebrations.
Mr. Mpiani has also been accused by the Commissioner of CEPS of causing financial loss to the state by selling off state vehicles without the knowledge of CEPS.
The True Democrat's source said but for the magnanimity of President Mills, people like Akufo-Addo and Kwabena Agyapong would have been surcharged for using state vehicles for months under the watch of Kwadwo Mpiani even when they were no longer in government
He told the Parliamentary Appointments Committee during his two-hour long vetting that "it has been my dream to eliminate malaria from this country and I will do it when given the nod."
Dr Adjah-Yankey, an Investment Lawyer, told the committee that beyond eliminating malaria as a health problem, he would also collaborate with his counterparts within West Africa to completely eradicate malaria from the sub-region.
The committee members could not hide their admiration for Dr Adjah-Yankey after he had given very articulate responses to questions ranging from National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), health infrastructure, health finance, guinea worm, maternal health care, mental health care, herbal medicine, brain drain and health tourism.
He was particularly commended for being the first nominee to have referred to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto and quoted from it to support his responses.
Dr Adjah-Yankey noted that his passion against malaria stemmed out of the fact that malaria treatment consumed 760 million dollars, which was 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2006, adding that one-third of death in children was due to malaria and 45 per cent of outpatient cases in the hospitals were malaria related.
He said in spite of a vision to reduce malaria cases by 50 per cent in 2010 and by 75 per cent in 2015, there did not seem to be a programme that dealt with the disease at the grassroots.
"I am of a deep conviction that malaria can be eliminated and eventually eradicated from the sub-region through collaboration with our sister countries," he said.
On the NHIS, he said the scheme was good and NDC Government would continue with its implementation, adding however, that the payment of premium annually would be replaced with a one-time payment and access to the scheme would be made universal no matter where the people lived in the country, provided they were qualified.
Dr Adjah-Yankey provided a detailed statistical analogy on how the NDC Government arrived at its decision to make the payment of NHIS premium once since Ghanaians contributed to the scheme through subtle purchase taxes.
He said the NHIS would be computerised to ensure a linkage between patient's records, disease, diagnoses, drugs required, cost of drugs and other records that would make the system more efficient and payments to service providers improved.
"We have plans to make the tax systems more efficient to ensure that more money comes into the government kitty to support programmes like the NHIS and to reduce the burden on Ghanaians," he said.
Dr Adjah-Yankey noted that the health sector in particular was bleeding financially due to many loopholes in the sector which made room for corruption, saying he had identified many of those loopholes and would work to seal them all and save the sector from the financial haemorrhage.
"I intend to establish a health tourism programme where Ghanaian health practitioners in the Diaspora would come down within specific periods every year to offer specialists services that people would have normally travelled abroad for," he said.
That he said, would save Ghanaians lots of money and also attract foreign exchange from within the sub-region, adding that it would be complemented with incentives and good living conditions for health practitioners to put the breaks on brain drain.
Dr Adjah-Yankey assured the committee that as per the NDC manifesto, the Upper East, West and Eastern Regions would be provided with befitting government hospitals under his stewardship, adding that every community of more than 500 inhabitants would also be provided with a health facility while those less than 500 would have mobile clinics.
He assured the committee that if given the nod, he would take inventory of all health facilities in the country decide with his team on what improvement they needed to put them in a state to effectively support government's health programme.
Dr Adjah-Yankey told the committee that he would collaborate with the administration of the University of Ghana (UG) to consider turning the University Hospital at Legon into a teaching hospital to ease the burden on Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Touching on the extensive use of herbs by many Ghanaians, he said herbal medicine would be integrated into the national health care system to ensure the required dosage was properly determined to prevent abuse.
He said he would make budgetary allocation for the rehabilitation of mental homes across the country.
As he swore the second batch of 13 Ministers approved by Parliament, at the Castle, Osu, the President said the nation could no longer depend on the largesse and generosity of Development Partners and needed to take emergency steps to meet the aspirations of the Ghanaian.
The President administered the Oath of Allegiance, oath of Minister of State and the oath of Secrecy to the Ministers, and presented their Instruments of Office to the Ministers, made of nine Regional Ministers and four others with different portfolios.
The Regional Ministers were: Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Minister for Western Region; Mr Samuel Ofosu- Ampofo, Minister for Eastern Region and Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister.
Others are Mrs Ama Benyiwa- Doe, Central Regional Minister; Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and Mr Mahmoud Khalid, Upper West Regional Minister.
The rest are Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister; Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister and Mr Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern Regional Minister.
The four others Ministers were: Lt Gen (rtd) Joseph Henry Smith, Minister of Defence; Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications; Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry; and Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, Minister of Youth and Sports.
He called on them to exhibit honesty, watch their lifestyles and be humble in their duties.
Presindent Mills urged the Ministers "to look back and examine where they were coming from", reminding them that they had to justify the confidence he and Ghanaians had in them.
He said their performance in office would determine whether their mandate would be renewed or rejected in 2012, reminding them that, "it had not been easy choosing them from the array of expertise available within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC)".
The President added that he was ready to defend his choice of Ministers, and called on them to let people feel that they were Ministers "who cared for the people of the country, let people know that politicians could make a difference".
President Mills called on the Ministers to share the resources of the nation equally, bearing in mind, the people who are deprived.
He urged them to start work immediately, and prayed for God's blessing and good wishes.
"I hope He (God) will shower us with his bountiful blessing, and truly God will make our nation great and strong," President Mills said.
He urged the Ministers to be even-handed, but not to abdicate their ties with their party.
He urged the Ministers to avoid abuse of office and conflict.
However they should let the law apply and punish wrong doing according to law and separate criminality from politics.
"You need to have a firm hand and punish people who acted with criminality," Vice President Mahama said, and urged the in-coming Northern Regional Minister to take steps to retrieve guns that were in illegal possession in the Northern Region.
Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, an Elder of the NDC urged the Ministers to work very hard and be sincere with the people of Ghana as well as paying attention to all sections of the Ghanaian society.
"Every Tom, Dick and Harry, listen to them and make your decisions," Alhaji Iddrisu said.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry, on behalf of her colleagues assured the President and Ghanaians that they would "hit the ground running" and with the "president, build a better Ghana".
A press release signed by the President of the Union, Mr Fuseini Abdul-Majeed said: "With an act of this nature, all our efforts towards a peaceful general election in December 2008 will be fruitless. This act is highly unfortunate, unacceptable and a tool of destruction."
The Union said it was worried that there should be fighting in the month of Ramadan, which should rather be a period to move the north forward through reconciliation and peace enhancement.
The Union asked the security agencies to put in place appropriate measures to prevent future occurrences and urged them to investigate the incident and arrest the culprits irrespective of their political affiliations to serve as a deterrent to others for sanity to prevail.
The regional security councils should also put in place by-laws for political party activities in the various regions to avoid clashes that would jeopardize the maintenance of peace.
The Union urged the youth of northern Ghana not to allow self-seeking politicians to use them for destruction.
Instead they must unite and fight against poverty, disease and illiteracy which have been the drawbacks to the fortunes of the area.
The release said the Union had realized that individualism rather than nationalism had polarized the political pursuit of the northern elite and warned that this could continue to disturb the progress of the three northern regions.
He said the district assemblies under the DCEs and MPs perform complementary role and therefore the lack of knowledge as to who should do what had ultimately led to long delays and sometimes a complete failure in the provision of certain pressing needs for the people.
Mr Adjaho made this remark in reaction to issues raised about long delays or failure in the provision of some essential needs for the people of Atiglime near Akatsi during the Agbleza celebration of the chiefs and people of the Xevi Traditional Area last Saturday.
The MP explained that the execution of projects like roads or schools were the responsibility of the central government whereas minor projects like feeder roads belonged to the domain of the district assemblies.
He therefore appealed to the assembly members and education committees to help create awareness on the definite duties of the MPs and DCEs so that misinformation, rumour mongering and blame-shifting within the district administration could be stopped for good.
Mr Adjaho also advised the people not to use the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections to settle personal scores and grievances but rather, to regard it as an opportunity to use their "thumb power" to choose the best leaders to rule the nation.
Mr Tony Abledu, Akatsi DCE urged the farmers to take advantage of the rising prices of food items in the market and cultivate more food stuffs so that they could get more money and increase their purchasing power for secondary goods.
Mr. Rek Gademor, District Agric Extension Officer asked farmers to group themselves into small associations so that they could access soft loans, improved seedlings, technical expertise and secure services of tractors that the association could pay for by instalments.
He regretted that the lives of most farmers had not improved over the years because they were reluctant to adopt modern techniques of farming centred around mechanisation and fast yielding seeds.
Torgbui Tu Agbalekpor IV, Chief of Xevi Traditional Area, who chaired the occasion appealed to political parties not to use insulting and violent language during their electioneering campaigns to inflame animosity and hostility among the people.
The chairman, who is also the Presiding Member of the District Assembly said Ghana is recognised and respected as the pace-setter for human rights initiatives so any act of violence that would plunge the country into chaos and instability should be avoided.
In response to an appeal for funds, Mr Adjaho donated 50 bags of cement and 100.00 Ghana cedis cash for rehabilitation work on the Atiglime Kindergarten and Primary School.
He said disturbing events that occurred during the just ended voters' registration exercise, and other reported cases of political violence in some parts of the country should be a matter of concern to all Christians.
Rev. Appiah-Dankwa was delivering a sermon at a thanksgiving service to climax the 10th anniversary celebration of the Presbyterian Church at Anlo Town, in Koforidua.
Preaching under the theme, "Let us walk in the light of the Lord", the clergyman asked politicians seeking the mandate of the people to rule to walk in the light of the Lord to ensure peace.
Rev. Appiah-Dankwa urged Christians to intensify their prayers and to sustain the peace that "the Lord had given the country".
He appealed to Church leaders to educate their followers on the need for free, fair and peaceful elections.
Rev. Appiah-Dankwa asked all the presidential aspirants to keep to their promises of ensuring peaceful elections, devoid of rancour, conflict and abuses and to obey electoral rules.
He urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure a level playing field for all political parties, and to educate the public on rules and regulations governing the polls.
Rev Appiah-Dankwa cautioned the youth to avoid being used by self-seeking politicians to cause confusion, conflicts and violence.
Mr. Busumtwi told the GNA in an interview on Tuesday that "good people always think and work for the good of society".
He said concern that there is deep-seated division among political party members must be a source of worry to well-meaning Ghanaians.
"Ghanaians have been told that the current peace and harmony they enjoy are precious assets that must be jealously guarded by all" he said.
He advised people to eschew apathetic attitudes towards the December general election.
Mr. Busumtwi said he was not happy about people with great potentials who stay away during unit committee and assembly elections and that such apathetic and negative attitude towards local governance did not only slow down the pace of development but also the loss of expertise.
He appealed to all communities in the municipality to get actively involved in all elections, to help elect deserving people to represent them.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
He said instead of the leadership of the two parties creating jobs for the youth they were rather creating unemployment by erecting party sheds and buying for their supporters playing cards and draughts, thus allowing them to idle under the sheds and resort to violence.
Dr Mahama, who expressed these concerns in an interview with the GNA at Saboba in the Saboba District, said the NPP and the NDC were behaving as if the country belonged to them alone and called on the electorate to vote them out, come December 7, to ensure peace.
He said it was only in the three Northern Regions that the building of sheds had become a common phenomenon because of the ever increasing unemployment situation, adding: "It is a pity that, politicians are using our unemployed youth for their selfish gains."
"I visited the sites where both NDC and NPP property, as well as stores of some innocent traders had been destroyed and I condemn the two political parties NDC for being responsible for the destruction," he emphasized.
Dr Mahama said if Ghanaians chose the PNC as the alternative to the two "violent parties", they would learn lessons and respect the people if they manage to come back to power in future".
The PNC Presidential candidate is on a tour of the Northern Region to explain the party's development agenda to the electorate to enhance its chances of wrestling power from the ruling NPP.
He said Ghanaians have been exaggerating their differences, opening up past aspects of our society and thereby compounding "our doubts as a people".
Nana Nketsia was speaking at the opening of a fourth triennial conference of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) at Fijai near Takoradi on Monday.
It was on the theme, "Uniting for better working conditions and success of the judicial reforms".
"The year of elections tends to whip up all the negatives of our existence, instead of giving us peace," adding that "partisanship has appears to put sectional interests above national interests".
Nana Nketsia said the over politicization of the judicial system, had led to many chiefs suffering considerable over the years, but this should not be so, after attaining independence.
"I always get embarrassed over accusations of partisanship over our judicial system, and we must fight for a respected and politically neutral judicial system," he said.
Nana Nketsia stressed that politicising our judicial system was a sure path for destruction of the nation, but the nation needed to build on confidence in its entire processes.
"We need to focus on the spirit of true independence, which is embodied in 'freedom and justice' and this should serve as the watchdog of our existence and inspire us into the future," he stressed.
He expressed his regret that the various political parties were not focusing on 'deeper issues' that confronted the nation.
Nana Nketsia said mental decolonization seemed to have taken over in all endeavours, "yet our political leaders seem oblivious to it".
He said the poor remuneration, absence of scheme of service, lack of periodic in-service training, accommodation problems and the absence of a clear cut procedure for promotions in the service, needed to be addressed to boost the moral of members of JUSAG.
She said some members of JUSAG had posed as lawyers and duped unsuspecting persons who patronise the courts.
Mrs Wood said the issuance of identification name tags, were aimed at boosting the moral of personnel, but some have refused to boldly display their tags.
She cautioned members of JUSAG not to engage in any acts of fraud, electoral irregularities or violence before during and after the elections.
She reminded them not to discriminate by word or conduct, show bias or prejudice based on religion, ethnic origin, disability, age, gender, marital status, social or economic status, political affiliation or opinion in the performance of their official duties.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The three vetted were: Mr Stephen Amanor Kwao for Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare; Mr Alex Asum-Ahensah for Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs and Mrs Kalutie Dubie Alhassan as Minister at the Presidency.
Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Chairman of the Committee urged members to be brief with the questions since "time was far spent".
As a result, the Nominees largely got off with very straight forward questions to which they supplied rather brief answers, which were accepted by the Committee Members.
The Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu expressed concern about the way each of the Nominees vetted preceded their answers with: "when I am given the nod", and said that statement suggested that the Nominees were expecting a rubberstamp approval of their nomination.
Mr Mensah-Bonsu insisted that, the Nominees used "if" instead of "when" since their appointment was not a foregone conclusion.
In answer to a question on the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) Mr Kwao told the Committee that the programme was a good one and "when" given the nod he would ensure its sustainability and growth.
He was asked questions about the National Democratic Congress Manifesto's promise to provide jobs and good living conditions for every Ghanaian. The questioners indicated that that promise was unrealistic because no political party could provide jobs for every Ghanaian even in a hundred years.
But Mr Kwao insisted that the promise was realistic in the sense that it was the vision of the NDC and was achievable in the long term.
On the question of chiefs' involvement in active politics, he said it was in the interest of the chiefs not to align themselves with any particular political party since they represented people of different political inclinations.
"It is, however, not in my purview as a minister to take the chiefs to task for getting involved in partisan politics, it is up to their people to take them on for violating that constitutional provision," he said.
Mr Asum-Ahensah told the Committee that "when" given the nod he would ensure that the lineage system was properly codified to prevent any conflicts over who was next-in-line to be chief and who was not.
He also observed that the installation of development chiefs had been abused by the persons so installed, as some of them, usually foreigners, took undue advantage of that status for self aggrandisement.
He, therefore, told the Committee that he would monitor that activity to ensure that the anomalies therein were corrected.
On the question of the need for the return of State acquired lands in Accra back to Ga chiefs to be replicated in all the other regions, he said when given the nod he would look into it and ensure that all chiefs in Ghana were treated equally in that regard.
Mr Asum-Ahensah also told the Committee that during his stewardship inhuman cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), trokosi, and widowhood rites would be become things of the past.
Mrs Alhassan was virtually let off the hook with just three questions about how she intended to represent the interest of her people as Minister of State at the Presidency, how she intended to get the Presidency to address the needs of rural communities and when she finished school.
She said for now she had no particular portfolio so she would wait till President John Evans Atta Mills to give her a portfolio and that would determine what she would do.
When the matter came up for hearing, Mr Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, counsel for Mr Yiadom Boakye-Boateng, the petitioner, drew the court's attention to the fact that Alhaji Collins Dauda, the NDC Parliamentary candidate, had taken the matter to the Supreme Court.
Mr Effah-Dartey informed the court that his information was that the Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the matter to Tuesday, February 24,
because one of the panel members was indisposed.
Mr Justice Asare Korang, the presiding judge, said the matter had to be first determined by the Supreme Court and therefore adjourned it indefinitely.
Whilst the EC is praying the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings at the High Court, Alhaji Dauda is seeking an Order of Certiorari at the Supreme
Court to quash the High Court's ruling.
After the December 7 elections, the petitioner, who is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Asutifi South, filed the petition and a motion for interim injunction at the Sunyani High Court, praying it to restrain the electoral officers from declaring the results of the election
in the constituency.
Mr Boakye-Boateng alleged that the entire process of collating the constituency results needed to be looked into or investigated, because it
was fraught with certain corrupt and illegal practices.
He further alleged that the electoral officers - presiding officers, polling agents and security personnel - and the NDC candidate, Alhaji Dauda,
had involved themselves in electoral malpractices.
It is the High Court's ruling of December 22, 2008 on the preliminary objection which the EC and Alhaji Dauda are challenging at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively.
The others were: Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, Minister of Defence, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu for the Communications Ministry and Mr Muntaka Mubarak, Minister of Youth and Sports.
Nine nominees for the regions were: Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Eastern region, Mr Kofi Opoko-Manu, Ashanti region, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central region and Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Brong Ahafo region.
The rest were: Mr Mahmud Khalid, Upper West region, Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra region, Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta region, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo Western region and Mr Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern region.
Ms Tetteh's approval was held up until she had produced a document from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relating to the payment of her taxes.
There were initial questions over whether she had complied with the Appointments' Committee recommendations to reconcile her taxes related to her tenure as a member of Parliament and her work at the Ghana Agro Food Company where she worked concurrently between 2001 and 2005.
Ms Tetteh was able to pass the test and produced a document from the IRS minutes before the House decided on her fate and gave approval to the 13 nominees including her nomination.
Mr. Mpiani among other things accused the government transition team led by Mr. P.V. Obeng of painting a bad picture of the former government.
He has therefore entreated Ghanaians to treat the final report that would emerge from the government's transition team as purely one-sided.
At a press conference in Accra, Mr. Mpiani who is also the leader of the NPP side of the transition team catalogued a myriad of accusations which he said were tactfully plotted to paint the party black.
Joy News' Bernard Saibu quoted Mr. Mpiani as citing the summoning of the Auditor General, Edward Dua-Agyemang to a live media presentation of the Ghana@50 audited accounts presentation which according to him flouted the ethics of accounting procedures, as well as the leaking of what he said were half truths by the government's transition team to the media as clear cases.
The Ghanaian Times newspaper had reported of 39 vehicles which were not accounted for as well as reports of some vehicles which were alleged to have gone missing from workshops.
These he said were part of a grand agenda to demonize the NPP.
Mr. Mpiani also lamented the hounding of past government officials by operatives of the BNI.
The final report of the transition team is to be presented to the president, but Mpiani said inputs of the NPP were not taken into consideration in the drafting of the report.
The transition teams tasked with the responsibility of transferring state assets and documents from the past government to the present have been fraught with suspicions, accusations and counter-accusation.
Mr. Don Arthur, Chairman of the assets committee of the transition team has consistently complained of a lukewarm attitude by past government officials in handing over vehicles and other assets in their custody.
But officials of the past administration have rebutted those claims and have rather accused the transition team of harassing them, describing it as typical of what happens during coup d'etats.
The fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic is reviewing two separate reports from the Appointments Committee of Parliament concerning the vetting of some ministerial nominees.
The reports will be the third and fourth reports to be submitted by the Appointments Committee after two reports were previously submitted to cover eleven other ministerial nominees.
Citi News Parliamentary correspondent Richard Sky, reports however that the review was delayed slightly because the Committee was putting finishing touches to the reports.
The third reports will cover the Minister designate to the Ministry of Communication, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu; Defence Minister Designate Major General J.H Smith; Trade and Industry Minister designate, Ms. Hannah Tetteh and Hon. Alhaji Muntakar Mubarrak, Youth and Sports Minister designate.
The Fourth report covers the Regional Ministerial nominees vetted so far and includes Central Regional Minster designate, Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Mr. Kofi Opoku Manu who is seeking to be appointed as Minister for the Ashanti Region, Hon. Mahmud Khalid as Regional Minister for the Upper West Region, Hon. Nii Armah Ashitey for the position of Greater Accra Regional Minister and Mr. Nyamekye Marfo for the Brong Ahafo Region.
The only Regional Minister who will not make an appearance in the report is the Upper East Regional Minister designate, Mr. Mark Wayongo who stunned members of the Appointments Committee when he fumbled and showed inconsistency when he appeared before the Committee on February 13 2009.
A fifth report covering Minister designate for the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ministry, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni who had the Minority in Parliament walking out of his vetting and Ms Sherry Aryittey, Minister-designate for Environment Science and Technology who was drilled on suspicion of acts of corruption in the divestiture of the Nsawam Cannery, will be laid on a later date.
A Member of the Appointments Committee, Dr Alhassan Yakubu told Citi News that the voluminous nature of the reports and the need to avoid factual errors has caused the delay and also necessitated the postponement of the review of the fifth report.
The review precedes the commencement of vetting of another batch of ministerial nominees in the Speaker's Conference room.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The vehicle with registration number GE 1466 Z was said to have been confiscated by a posse of persons who claimed they were national security operatives.
A driver of Nana Addo, whose name was given as Joe, was said to have taken the vehicle to Opera Square in Accra when on his way back the men approached him and demanded the keys to the car.
The operatives claimed they were acting on "instructions from above" and are said to have driven the car to the Osu Castle, the official seat of government.
An aide to Nana Addo, Abu Gyinapo, who spoke to Joy News said although Joe had tried convincing the men out of taking the vehicle they would not barge.
"The driver told him, this is not a state vehicle; this is a privately owned vehicle by Nana Akufo-Addo. He showed him [a security detective] the insurance documentation on the vehicle that had Nana Akufo-Addo's name in it," he said.
According to Mr Gyinapo, the operatives after seizing the vehicle called-in fully armed policemen "and they had all manner of confrontations with this driver and retrieved the vehicle from the driver to the Castle."
"We've made all efforts with the documents that clearly show that this vehicle is clearly owned by Nana Akufo-Addo. He bought the vehicle and registered it through due process," Mr Gyinapo added.
"The reasons being given to us is that this is being done from instructions from above and that the powers that be have closed from work," he said.
Readers will be updated with more on this development on Tuesday.
'Politics of car snatching'?
The Mills administration has attracted an avalanche of criticism over the confiscation of vehicles in the street suspected to be state assets.
Many former ex-government functionaries are said to have suffered the blow of the embarrassment with some forced to pick taxis back home.
At least, son of former President Kufuor, Chief Kufuor, and a former deputy minister under the Kufuor administration became victims of it.
Although presidential spokesperson Mahama Ayariga has indicated that the state has not given authority to "anybody" to snatch vehicles.
When the matter came up for hearing on January 10, Mr Justice Francis Kwabena Opoku, the Supervising High Court Judge sitting on it, adjourned proceedings sine die (indefinitely) following a notice to the effect that the EC had filed an appeal against the ruling.
The EC is praying the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings at the High Court because, in the view of the Commission, the petition is not properly laid before the court.
After the December 7 elections, Mr Yiadom Boakye-Boateng, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary candidate for Asutifi South, filed an election petition and a motion for interim injunction at the Sunyani High Court praying it to restrain electoral officers from declaring the result of the election in the constituency.
Mr Boakye-Boateng alleged that the entire process of collating the constituency results needed to be looked into or investigated because it was fraught with corrupt and illegal practices.
He further alleged that the electoral officers, presiding officers,
polling agents, security personnel and the NDC candidate, Alhaji Collins Dauda, had involved themselves in electoral malfeasance.
On December 22, 2008, the High Court overruled a preliminary objection raised by counsel for Alhaji Collins Dauda, the National Democratic Congress candidate, that the application was not properly brought before the court.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Opoku said Mr Boakye-Boateng's application was properly laid before the court.
The Asutifi South and Akwatia constituencies are the remaining parliamentary results yet to be declared by the Electoral Commission.
This is contrary to claims by the minister-designate for the Upper East Region, Mark Woyongo to the effect that, he made his vote transfer directly from the IT Department of the Electoral Commission's head office in Accra, which went straight to the Nayagania polling station in Navrongo where he voted.
Mr. Woyongo´s attitude towards questions on his vote transfer and the importation of radio equipment informed parliament's Appointments Committee to ask him to go and prepare and face the committee again.
This development came about last Friday when the minister-designate appeared before the Appointments Committee to be vetted.
However a close source at the EC declined in an interview with ASEMPA NEWS that, transfers could be done from the IT department of the EC.
The source explained that one has to follow the due procedure; which is going to the polling station at the new residence to effect his/her vote transfer.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports reaching ASEMPA NEWS has it that the NDC Member of Parliament for Jirapa has died.
Members of Parliament have been tight-lipped on the cause of his death, however, ASEMPA NEWS learns that Mr. Edward Kojo Salia's health had been deteriorating over the past few weeks.
Mr. Edward Salia was Minister for Transportation under the previous NDC administration headed by Jerry John Rawlings.
Mr Justice Opoku indicated that a critical scrutiny of Section 20 (1) of the Representation of the People Law, 1992 empowers the high court to declare the election of a candidate void if satisfied that there had been noncompliance with any provision of the law and regulations made under the law.
According to Mr Justice Opoku, a perusal of the original petition indicated that the first amendment and re-amendment showed a common denominator, meaning that the petitioner was accusing the electoral officers, namely the presiding officers, polling agents, the security personnel and the NDC candidate of involving themselves in electoral malfeasance.
In other words, he said the petitioner was impugning the integrity of the election officers for having compromised their credibility, and that as he understood it, the applicant was also attacking them for misconduct.
Put differently, the presiding judge noted that the petitioner's worry was that the behaviour of the respondents, viewed in the context of the conduct of elections, constituted "grave or gross misconduct and so cannot trust or have confidence in the manner in which they performed their duty in respect of the two ballot boxes".
Citing several electoral petitions that had been brought before other high courts and disposed of and quoting relevant rules and regulations regarding the conduct of elections in the country as well as relying on the 1992 Constitution and other legal authorities, the presiding judge said, "It is for these reasons that 1 held the petition filed by Mr Yiadom Boakye-Boateng of the NPP as properly laid before the court".
In his 16-page ruling, which the Daily Graphic chanced on a certified true copy, Mr Justice Opoku did not make any order regarding cost.
When the case was called on January 19, 2008, the court adjourned sine die (indefinitely) following a notice received by the presiding judge to the effect that the EC had filed an appeal against his earlier ruling in the case.
"I do not show disrespect to the Court of Appeal by calling the case."
The Court of Appeal is, however, to hear the case on Tuesday, February 17, 2009.
On December 22, 2008, the Sunyani High Court overruled preliminary objections raised by counsel for respondents in the case, namely the EC, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and the District Electoral Officer for the Asutifi District, but deferred its ruling, since according to the judge, he had not completed his research on the subject.
Counsel for the respondents argued that the petition was not properly brought before the court, because the applicant did not wait for 21 days after the declaration, publication and gazetting of the parliamentary results as required by law before doing so.
They, therefore, described the petition as premature and further urged the court not to entertain the action by the applicant, but to dismiss it in its entirety, describing the amendment to the original motion as an afterthought, which should also be struck out by the court.
However, the applicant, who was represented by a team of lawyers, led by Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, for his part, insisted that since the whole process of collating the results of the parliamentary elections in the constituency was fraught with certain corrupt and illegal practices, including the swapping of the ballot in the Twabidi No.1 and Twabidi No.2 polling stations, the court ought to investigate.
The applicant filed an election petition and a motion for interim injunction, restraining the 1st and the 3rd respondents from declaring the parliamentary election held in the Asutifi South Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Ahafo on December 7, 2008.
In the motion, the plaintiff said, "Please, take notice that Messrs Asomah-Cheremeh & Co., counsel for and on behalf of the petitioner/applicant herein will move this honourable court for an order, restraining the 1st and 3rd respondents herein from declaring the parliamentary election results held in the Asutifi South Constituency on the December 7, 2008 as upon the grounds set out in the accompanying affidavit. And for such further order(s) as the honourable court may deem fit to make."
In his l7-point petition, accompanied by an affidavit, the NPP candidate contended, among other issues, that "it is clear that the results of the constituency had been tampered with, and that fairness cannot be achieved in this circumstances, and for that matter, do crave the indulgence of the honourable court to investigate and take a firm decision on it either to discount two ballot boxes and declare the winner or the entire parliamentary results of the constituency be annulled and fresh election for the parliamentary held".
Subsequent to the motion, Mr Boakye-Boateng, who contested the election with Alhaji Collins Dauda of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who was also the incumbent Member of Parliamentary (MP) for the area, and Mr George Okyere of the Democratic Peoples' Party (DPP) has observed that the parliamentary election in the Asutifi Constituency was rather characterised by some corrupt practices and, therefore, prayed the court to investigate the matter.
Source: Daily Graphic