Category Archives: Politics

Akufo-Addo to send relief items to support Sierra Leone

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President Akufo-Addo and Sierra Leone President, Ernest Bai Koroma in May 2017

Ghana government has resolved to support Sierra Leone with relief items to help the people who have been devastated by flooding and mudslide that has left scores of people dead and 600 more missing.

At least 400 lives have been lost and 3,000 people rendered homeless in the disaster that has left part of Freetown in devastation. The country’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has declared seven days of mourning while pleading for “urgent support,” the BBC reported.

African countries and their leaders have since the incident not shown much support to Sierra Leone, something that was on Wednesday condemned by Ghana’s Economic Fighters League, a political movement.

The League expressed surprise at African governments for their deafening silence on the disaster, stating “So far, African countries have said nothing let alone sent anything to comfort our fellow Africans in Sierra Leone and to alleviate their suffering.”

But Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday morning tweeted his government was in the process of sending relief items to support the people of Sierra Leone who are struggling in their recovery process.

“Government is in the process of sending relief items to Sierra Leone to aid in the recovery process,” Akufo-Addo tweeted.

Nana Akufo-Addo said on Tuesday he called his Sierra Leonean counterpart, President Ernest Bai Koroma, to express his condolences and that of Ghanaians to the people of Sierra Leone.

He tweeted: “I called President Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday to express my and the condolences of Ghanaians on the tragic loss of lives and property following Monday’s mudslide in Sierra Leone”.

The BBC reported Thursday that dozens of volunteers like Jibrila Sesay are playing a central role in the gruesome clear-up operation after Monday morning’s disaster.

“We have been collecting corpses and pieces of corpses and bringing them to the mortuary. It does not stop,” says Mr Sesay in a break outside the Connaught Hospital mortuary.

The volunteers are shuttled at high speed in police trucks and Red Cross vehicles to and from the devastated Regent area, the BBC reported

The operation aims to prevent a health emergency – caused by rotting human remains on the hillside – from compounding the impact of the deadly landslide and floods, the report added.

Inside the rundown city centre mortuary, chief pathologist Simeon Owis Koroma is writing his 350th death certificate since Monday.

“There will be more bodies, in smaller numbers in the coming weeks. That’s how it is with disasters in Sierra Leone. But we cope. We are lucky because we are prepared,” he says, paying tribute to the volunteers like Mr Sesay who were trained in safe burials during the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

By 3news.com

Anti-graft institutions must step up their game – MP

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Member of Parliament for Assin South in the Central Region, John Ntim Fordjour, has asked anti-graft institutions in the country to step up their game with the view to gaining public confidence.

He underscored the need for those institutions to speed up with its investigations into cases of corruption against public officials, which are already in the public domain.

“I would want to appeal to the state agencies mandated to fight corruption to speed up the ones that are already in the public domain because you cannot spend state money and go score free,” he said.

Mr Fordjour was contributing to newspaper discussions on TV3’s magazine show, New Day, on Thursday.

He was commenting on the declaration of support by Civil Society Organisations for the setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

The MP, who is also a member of the NPP said, “we all have a huge perception about corruption. We have strong perception that people have been corrupted and we want to move from the perception to the actual prosecution.

“All these institutions that are mandated to fight corruption are already doing it and in the spirit of good governance, it is good so they must up their game”, the MP added.

He, however, said that is “not to witch-hunt because corruption has taken a wide spectrum and we do not have to single out only politicians”.

Mr. Ntim Fordjour said those accused of corruption are not only politicians “so CHRAJ, EOCO and other state institutions must fight it so that it will raise the public confidence in them”.

Deputy Communications Director the National Democratic Congress, Fred Agbenyo, said there are mechanism to fight corruption, saying “We have internal audits to check corruption so what kind of mechanism are they putting in place to fight it”.

He said “you can create thousand more institutions, if you don’t resource them, if you don’t have that political will, it will come to nothing”.

Mr Agbenyo worried that paying bribes has become accepted in our society, noting the situation has permeated all spheres of our lives.

“It has become an acceptable norm that anytime you are going to see someone in position you have to go with something….[at] the lorry parks where front seats of commercial vehicles are reserve for those who can pay additional fares,” he said.

For him, creating more institutions will not solve the problem.

The Chief Executive Officer for HR Perspective Limited, Dr. Edward Kwapong, said “I disagree with the position of adding more. Let us strengthen them instead”.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

Council of State advice not mandatory to president – Rawlings

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings has described as merely advisory the role of the Council of State in modern governance.

He said the role of the Council as spelt out in Article 89 of the 1992 Constitution is to advise the president and that advice, according to him, must remain an advice and nothing beyond that.

He added that the president is not bound to act on the advice of the Council of State if the president is not convinced.

“The advice of the Council of State must remain advisory and nothing more,” he stressed.

Former President Rawlings was speaking at a public lecture partnered by Media General at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) on the critical analysis of the Council of State.

He was one of the two main speakers, the other being former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Mr Rawlings proverbially stressed on the need for a president to create a congenial atmosphere of belongingness with his Council of State so that they will be in a position to advise him candidly.

He said that the implications of not maintaining an open relationship with the Council of State could be unbearable as the council will not be sincere to give any healthy advice.

He also raised concerns about the need for the composition of the Council of State to be revised to cater for unexpected circumstances.

He was speaking with particular reference to the President’s appointees in Article 89 (2a).

As per the article, one person who has previously held the office of Chief Justice, one person who has previously held the office of Chief of Defense Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces and one person who has previously held the office of Inspector-General of Police should be on the Council.

According to him, it may become very problematic if there is no surviving former Chief Justice, former Chief of Defence Staff or former IGP to occupy that posts as it nearly happened at the time he was president of Ghana.

He, therefore, said there is the need for a provision to be made for alternative appointees in the event that such people are not alive.

By PD Wedam|3news.com|Ghana

JJ agrees with Kufuor ‘for once’ on changes to Council of State

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The two former presidents want the Council’s roles made public

Former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor have with one voice called for a revision in the functions and composition of the Council of State.

The two former leaders say the deliberations of the Council must be public.

This view, Mr Rawlings observed, is “for once” the first time he agrees with Mr Kufuor on an issue.

The two were main speakers at a forum dubbed ‘Accra Dialogues’ organized by the Institute of Law and Public Affairs in partnership with Media General.

The forum themed ‘The Role of the Council of State: A Critical Assay’ was held at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) on Wednesday.

The Council has been a visible institution since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992 with Chapter 9 of the 1992 Constitution dedicated to its composition and functions.

Mr Rawlings, who became the first president under the constitution, explained that the Council was catered for in the Constitution on the lines of the African traditional system of governance.

According to him, any chief had a council of elders from whom advice is sought on issues boggling the chief.

Mr Rawlings stressed that the Council “is an important constitutional body and should be retained”.

“There are many ways to improve the composition, functions and operations of the Council,” he pointed out, stating, nonetheless, that “I do not think they should be given additional powers”.

He stressed: “A well-chosen Council of State is an asset to a government”.

Second House

Speaking earlier to his predecessor, former President Kufuor said the Council should not be composed on the lines of democracy but that members should be selected based on their standing in society and experiences.

For him, professional bodies like the Chamber of Commerce as well as religious bodies should be made to have representatives on the Council.

Mr Kufuor, who succeeded Mr Rawlings as President of Ghana in 2001, said the Council members should be crammed into a second chamber to Parliament for deliberations on national issues.

He suggested that their functions should, therefore, be open and transparent, a point agreed to by Mr Rawlings.

The Council of State as captured in the 1992 Constitution is to “counsel the President in the performance of his functions”.

While some members are appointed by the president solely and in consultation with Parliament,, 10 others are elected to represent the regions of Ghana.

The appointment of a member may terminated by the president on grounds of “stated misbehavior” with prior approval from Parliament.

The Council has every right to consider issues to do with the president, any minister of state or any authority though its recommendations will be implemented only at the discretion of the entities involved.

The current 25-member Council, consummate for the first time in a decade, has Nana Otuo Siriboe II as its Chairman.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana

Nitiwul’s Operation Vanguard provocation comment bogus – Ex-NDC MP

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The taskforce was deployed on July 31

The former Member of Parliament for North Dayi Constituency in the Volta Region, George Loh, has described a comment by the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, that the anti-illegal mining taskforce is facing a lot of provocation from illegal miners, making their work extremely difficult as “bogus”.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) member said “this explanation is bogus. He should go and revise his note”.

Minister of Defence Dominic Nitiwul in an attempt to defend Operation Vanguard said the anti-illegal mining taskforce is facing a lot of provocation from illegal miners.

According to the Minister, some of the illegal miners have adopted a strategy whereby they remove the control board of the excavators they use at the end of their mining activity, making the equipment immovable and difficult to cart away but the taskforce returns to the same site the next day to realize the excavator has been used to work on the mining pit.

The joint military-cum-police taskforce reportedly invaded Extra Gold Company at Akyem Banso in the Eastern Region last week and set some excavators of the company ablaze, an action that was roundly condemned by a section of the public.

They are said to have reportedly fired several gunshots at the premises of the company.

The Operation Vanguard is also being accused of allegedly murdering four miners in Atiwa on Friday.

Commenting on the issues on TV3’s New Day hosted by Bright Nana Amfoh on Tuesday, lawyer Loh said “they [Operation Vanguard] are soldiers and we are civilians. They have gone through training and we have not. So, in the face of provocations, they should bring their training expertise to bear. That is the way to go”.

“I have said over and over that, how on earth do you go and burn excavator when we need them to dredge the Odaw River.

“This is an avenue for the government to get more of excavators for various assemblies and not to burn them,” the former legislator explained.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

Minority demands probe into collapse of UT, Capital banks

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File

The Minority caucus in Parliament is calling for a bi-partisan investigation into the factors that led to the collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank.

The two banks were ceded to GCB Bank by the Bank of Ghana under a Purchase and Assumption transaction.

Customers of the two private banks have become customers of GCB Bank, as a result.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament Cassiel Ato Forson says the Central Bank must come clear on the transaction, especially whether the receiving bank is ready to run the affairs of the two banks.

READ: There’ll be layoffs – BoG official on UT, Capital banks takeover

The Minority Spokesperson on Finance said GCB Bank was made viable by the erstwhile Mahama-led administration, making government the majority shareholder and so the deal must not burden it with non-performing loans from the two distressed banks.

He further asked the Speaker to summon the Minister of Finance as well as the Governor of the Central Bank to come and explain the circumstances that led to the collapse and the way forward.

The former Deputy Minister of Finance was critical of the current government especially the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, accusing him superintending over the collapse of two banks after touting himself as a financial guru.

He, therefore, dared the Vice President to come out with the remaining banks that will collapse under his watch.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

NDC to investigate GCB takeover of UT, Capital banks

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GCB Bank apparently won a bid to take over operations of the two financially distressed banks

The former Member of Parliament for North Dayi Constituency in the Volta Region has descended heavily on organizers of banking awards in the country over the collapse of two banks in the country.

George Loh said: “They sweep several awards in the banking sector awards, what signals were they sending to the people of Ghana?”

“Who were behind the awards because [UT and Capital Bank] were said to be doing well,” the National Democratic Congress (NDC) member said on TV3’s New Day hosted by Bright Nana Amfoh Tuesday.

He was contributing to discussions on the liquidation of UT Bank and Capital Bank which took effect on Monday.

Lawyer Loh said “sweeping all these awards and then just a day, you were taken over, it means there is something wrong with our rating system in the country and we must take a look at them”.

He added: “What is happening doesn’t give some of us the comfort and we [NDC] will do our own investigations and we will inform Ghanaians whether it is above board and they we should fear or not”.

“I am happy we haven’t heard someone collapse or die because most at times, all the things we hear is that people are dying due to some of these things. For now, people are jittery about how it was done and the unanswered questions are so many.

“Are they sure that they didn’t see these issues; [whether] these challenges were there? They were always aware that they had these challenges.”

The Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, explained that “the banks have huge roles to play in the issue because the economy has an effect on them”.

“Most companies defaulted in payment of their loans because the government was borrowing from the local banks,” he suggested.

“A regulator must be strict to save the customers and because of the smoothness of the takeover, costumers must sleep.”

Dr. Okoe Boye commended how smooth the takeover has been.

“Depositors are safe and that the takeover is so unique to the extent that all branches remain intact.

“They were so professional that they did not give the public information. They just told the customers that go and work your money is safe because if they had told them they will not give them their monies, imagine the chaos that would have been in the system.”

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana

Why the need for NDC ideological school?

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Logo of the NDC institute

In 1992, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was established. The NDC was transformed from a revolutionary government of The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to continue its political and development agenda for Ghana.

As stated in Article 6 of the NDC Constitution, the Party was established on “the vision and leadership of His Excellency, Jerry John Rawlings” with its foundational values and principles as probity, accountability, equity, solidarity and social justice.

Though these are universal social democratic and good governance principles and practices, the NDC had to transit from its military and socialist revolutionary character of development organisation to an ideological political party and identity in 2002 and the political ideology adopted by the NDC is Social Democracy.

However, since the adoption of Social Democratic values in 2002, it took NDC fifteen years to birth an ideological institute on August 10, 2017. The ideological institute intends to shape and provide a clearly defined direction to NDC’s political activities and governance.

Social Democracy

Social Democracy is a considerable modification of the exploitative capitalist free market system. The primary intent of Social Democracy is to direct policy into ensuring social and economic equilibrium.

It focuses on egalitarian principles, such as equality of opportunity, social security and participation in decision-making. Social Democracy thrives on a dynamic and responsive principle that is constant at preventing disruption to the balance of policy and government.

Social Democracy system is nexus of eight principle-threads.

  1. It believes and promotes disadvantaged majority to acquire power through democratic means and use power to progressively reform capitalism. It resists a governance construction that leads to totalitarianism.

 

  1. It promotes free enterprise that encourages private initiative and achievement with the State retaining the prerogative to define policy context of economic activities that creates channels for socially desirable outcomes. Maintenance of order, macroeconomic stability, equitable education and training for all, facilitation of employment creation and investment in infrastructure assume State responsibility.

 

  1. Social Democracy abhors and prevents dictatorship of the market. It promotes private ownership as the means of production with State moderation to prevent and reduce concentration of monopolistic conglomerates in order to encourage competition.

 

  1. Social Democracy acknowledges the central role of the market to regulate the allocation of resources and distribution of goods and services. However, it has a protective mechanism for workers to intervene to set minimum wage for certain category of workers and in some cases, fix the prices of essential commodities and cut out price fluctuation.

 

  1. Equality of Opportunities in the spirit of “all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” Social Democracy seeks to reduce income inequality to the level that will not undermine returns on investment by the private sector. It infuses regulatory measures to determine the extent to which economic power can be exercised by using instruments of taxation to redistribute undue accruals by the rich. It also institutes other equity measures such as regional equalization policies, subsidies, equal education for all, consumer protection and credit facilities.

 

  1. In order to prevent the less-gifted and under privileged from descending into destitution due to State encouraged competition and achievement, social democratic systems ensure social security interventions for the aged among others. Some of such policies reflect in social interventions like unemployment insurance, compulsory pension schemes, health insurance schemes, social housing and institutional care.

 

  1. Industrial harmony principle guides operations of Social Democratic systems. It holds in check excessive exercise of employer power by encouraging the formation of trade unions, formulating laws to protect workers by providing acceptable working conditions and from arbitrary dismissals.

 

  1. Social Democratic systems are ardent in encouraging technological innovation. Social Democratic system recognized that deployment of technology innovation makes national economies more efficient and competitive in international markets. Social Democracy is conscious of technology-induced redundancies and therefore adopts policies mainly to retrain and provide jobs so as to maintain social and economic balance.

Reference Basics On Social Democracy, 2 edition. William Ahadzie (PhD)

Why Ghana Institute of Social Democracy, GISD?

A political party serves as a carrier for modern day society’s principles, values, history and culture. Education is therefore critical in shaping, directing, and reinforcing the structure, leadership, government, the workings of the political community and society at large.

The primary aim of GISD is to provide Social Democratic ideological education, training and equipping the political workforce with abilities and capacities to become active partners in the development of their community, nation, and the continent.

The institute will serve as a nucleus of ideological education and research centre for the NDC and its leadership at all levels will be mandated to attend. In future, it will become one of the criteria for membership and office.

Its sole purpose is to achieve unification of NDC leadership and the support of the masses in achieving mutually beneficial and collective objectives.

GISD is necessitated as a result of the shortcomings of members, activists, executives and appointees understanding of Social Democratic values and principles and therefore, find it extremely difficult to promote and defend NDC’s policy decisions cogently from an ideological perspective.

This denies the electorates the understanding and acceptance that is required in order to support and defend NDC government policies and implementation.

The drawback of ideological grounding over the years has also resulted, in some cases, into manifesto promises and policy implementations that were at variance and in conflict with the social democratic values the NDC subscribes to and has led to a disconnect between Party/government and the masses.

The absence of the ideological institute has, in addition, denied the NDC the ideological pool of identifiable members from which a structured and consistent appointment and election of ideologically astute office holders within the party could have been made. This, in turn, led to capricious appointment of office holders which further gave birth to personality cults, factions and divisions within the ranks of NDC.

Conclusion

GISD has developed a timeline that is intended to reverse these deficiencies by drawing on well developed programmes that will not only inculcate social democratic knowledge but also, an ideological habit and character.

It shall do this by drawing on the large pool of intellectuals within the NDC and international resource persons from sister political parties across the globe.

This, among others, will set an exciting future for NDC and secure the future growth of Ghana.

In subsequent submissions, I shall discuss the social democratic policy-programmes that the PNDC and NDC have implemented over the years, which have become the foundational pillars upon which Ghana’s political and economic governance thrives.

Nevertheless, policy-programmes that were at conflict with social democratic systems shall also be elucidated.

By Kofi B. Kukubor| Governance and Policy Analyst| Member of the Administration Subcommittee of the GISD

Boakye-Djan revolution made Mike Oquaye ‘president’ in 1965

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A revolution by Boakye-Djan in 1965 made Mike Oquaye president of Akuafo Hall

Major Kojo Boakye-Djan (rtd), prior to his infamous June 4 revolution, staged a ‘coup d’état’ in 1965 that made Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Oquaye a president.

Recounting events of his university days on Accra-based 3FM’s Sunrise morning show last week, Maj. Boakye-Djan said he successfully led a revolution in 1965 to make Mike Oquaye president of the Akuafo Hall of the University of Ghana.

“I remember sometime [in] 1965 when we were in 2nd year…at the end of the year, we organized a party which was well attended, and when the incumbent SRC retained a profit of 20p we got irritated and nobody was going to do anything about it.

“So I took the constitution and called for an emergency meeting. At the end of the emergency meeting I had overthrown the whole SRC government and then put [Mike] Oquaye there as the president of Akuafo Hall” he recounted.

In 1965, Mike Oquaye and Kojo Boakye-Djan were classmates in the University and were in the same hall.

Maj. Boakye-Djan said Mike Oquaye accepted the position and acknowledged same.

For his efforts, the ex-military officer said he was at the time nicknamed “Colonel Burmudian”, in reference to an Algerian General who overthrew a civilian government, whose stature, he observed, was very much like him.

“When[ever] I was walking around Legon campus, they used to call me Colonel Burmudian, an Algerian General who overthrew the civilian administration around that time; very slim and wiry like I was,” he said.

Revolution ‘is in my blood’

Boakye-Djan who later masterminded the overthrow of the Supreme Military Council in the June 4 uprising admitted that revolution has always been in his blood.

“It’s always been there,” he stated.

He, however, added that the June 4 revolution was substantially different from other revolutions because it was a military force seeking to overthrow a military regime and that required some violence.

“You can only do it by firefight, it’s not like a civilian regime where you rumble tanks into the broadcasting house and say ‘I, so so and so have taken over…but when there is a sitting military regime and you’re organizing a counter coup, it’s got to be a bullet for bullet and ours for instance lasted for more than 48 hours”, he said.

The veteran soldier who describes himself, as the founding father of the June 4 revolution was quick to state that a counter coup like the June 4 is pro-democracy but an anti-constitution coup against a sitting government is illegal.

He cautioned that under no circumstance should Ghanaians entertain an anti-democracy revolution.

By P.D Wedam|3news.com|Ghana

Some Mahama appointees ‘secretly’ took back their 10% pay cut

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John Mahama and his ministers announced a 10% pay cut to support healthcare delivery

It has emerged that some former government appointees pulled out of the 10 per cent salary cut initiative announced by former President John Mahama for the construction of CHPS compounds, and withdrew their contributions.

In 2013, Mr Mahama and his ministers announced a voluntary 10 per cent cut of their salaries support health care delivery, especially in rural areas through the building of CHPS compounds.

At the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, it emerged accruals from the initiative for the year 2015 and 2016 could not be accounted for per the Auditor General’s report.

As at the end of December 2015, a total of GHC 800,000 had accrued in 2014 and was subsequently released to the Presidency through the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah on request.

Deputy Controller and Accountant General, Kwasi Owusu, told the Committee that the money was being held in trust for the then government but they requested for it.

Former Deputy Communications Minister, Mr Kwakye Ofosu said any claim that monies realized from the 10 per cent pay cut cannot be traced is misleading and inaccurate.

READ: 10% pay cut of Mahama appointees not missing; it’s been used

He said as at December 2016, a total of GHC 2,190,718.30 had been deducted, but said GHC 2,130,718.30 was paid to contractors who had either completed or were working on the CHPS compounds.

Some appointees took back their contributions

Meanwhile, it has emerged at the Public Accounts Committee sitting that some former government appointees at a point resolved to opt out of the initiative without public announcement of same.

According to the Auditor General, an order from the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, instructed the Controller and Accountant General to cease deductions from the salaries of those former appointees and their monies refunded.

Those appointees were said to have later withdrew their contributions.

Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, who is an NDC MP for Lambussie Karni told Onua FM he was unaware that some former ministers opted out of the initiative and took back their contributions.

He said he would not be surprised if that happened, indicating that the initiate was voluntary, hence those individuals had the right to pull out from it at any point in time though the intended purpose of the cut was genuine.

However, Nhiyeaso MP, Kennedy Kankam Kwasi expressed surprise at the development, especially so when some contractors of the CHPS compounds have not been paid yet.

He said but for that fact that the NDC lost power in the December 2016 elections, Ghanaians wouldn’t have about these developments regarding the 10 per cent salary cut of former government appointees.

 By Acheampong Omari|Onua FM|3news.com|Ghana