Mr. John Mahama, former president of Ghana, will lead a Commonwealth group to observe Zimbabwe’s general elections on July 30, the Commonwealth Secretariat has announced.
The secretariat, in a statement by its Media Division, said Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, would deploy Mahama to lead other eminent persons from across the regions of Commonwealth.
Zimbabwe is not a member of the Commonwealth. It withdrew from the organisation in 2003 after it was suspended for being in breach of the Harare Declaration, which sets out the Commonwealth’s core principles and values.
However, in May, President Emmerson Mnangagwa wrote to the Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, expressing an interest in re-joining the association and requesting the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections.
The observation group’s report on the election would contribute to the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s informal assessment of whether Zimbabwe should be readmitted, the Secretariat said.
It quoted the Secretary-General as saying: “I am extremely pleased to be deploying a group to observe the elections.
“Its report on the electoral process will give member countries a clear view of adherence to Commonwealth values in Zimbabwe, including democracy and rule of law plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.
“Our heads of government have said twice, in 2009 and 2011 that they look forward to Zimbabwe’s return.
“I very much hope that the forthcoming election proves that the conditions are right’’.
Following the visit of a pre-election assessment team to the country in June, the Secretary-General has constituted a 24-member team of observers, led by Mahama.
The former Ghanaian president had previously led the Commonwealth teams observing elections in Sierra Leone and Kenya.
There are 23 presidential candidates in coming Zimbabwe’s election.
In accordance with Zimbabwe’s constitution, if no presidential candidate receives a clear majority in the election on July 30, a run-off vote will be held on Sept. 8.
The 270-seat House of Assembly is comprised of 210 members elected from constituencies and 60 women elected by proportional representation.
Commonwealth observers would assess factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, the secretariat said.
They would consider the pre-electoral environment, voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results.
“The group is independent and will determine, in its own judgement, whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards of Zimbabwe’s election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.
“Observers will act impartially and will adhere to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory,’’ the Commonwealth Secretariat said.
The Group would submit its report to the Secretary-General, who would send it to the Government of Zimbabwe, its Electoral Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments.
The report would then be made public.
The Observer Group would arrive in Zimbabwe on July 23 and would be supported by a nine-member staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Katalaina Sapolu, Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.
Ghanaian rapper, Pope Skinny has demanded for an apology from musician Tic who was formerly called Tic Tac for calling him a snitch.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sokoohemaa Kukua on the mid-morning show on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Pope Skinny stressed that, the career of Tic has hit the rocks.
According to him, there is no way Tic can compare himself to him [Skinny] because he is more talented then he [Tic] is.
When asked if Tic has done something to him hence his constant attacks on him he said, ‘’yes. He called me a snitch. He is not my friend. I have never being his friend and will never be his friend. Why should he call me a snitch? Do you understand the meaning of a snitch? I am demanding an apology from him otherwise it will be a different thing all together wherever I meet him.’’
He further disclosed that Tic has hated him because of Shatta Wale. ‘’Shatta Wale is my bosom friend and because of that, Tic has hated me. He is not in talking terms with Shatta Wale and because of that he is not in talking terms with me. Recently, he ordered that I should be removed from a WhatsApp group. I was removed from the group because VIP had issues with Shatta Wale. But later, Prodigal called me and apologized and as I speak with you, Prodigal is in good terms with Shatta Wale.’’
When advised him to sort things out with Tic he said, ‘’he should apologise to me. He is not my friend and I have not being his friend. He had a problem with Shatta and because of that, he attacked me.’’
In his view, Tic has lost relevance and due to that, he is trying to collaborate with the current shining artistes like Kidi so he will revive his dead career.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Akropong, Dennis Aboagye, has said the demonstration by the youth group in the area in protest of the takeover of the Okuapemhene’s palace by national security personnel was a peaceful one.
Speaking to Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow radio 87.5Fm, the MCE said the youth expressed their displeasure at the decision to have national security operatives take over the palace.
Personnel from National Security about eight months ago, stormed the Okuapemhene’s palace to prevent two royal factions from installing two separate chiefs for the empty Okuapeman stool.
According to the group, the takeover of the palace and prevention of palace staff from carrying out traditional duties by security personnel is hindering the progress of Okuapeman.
The MCE commenting on the issue said it was the constitutional right of the residents to stage the demonstration.
He said, the protesters called on the president intervene to ensure that calm is restored.
Government he explained was committed towards maintaining law and order hence the decision to guard the place due to the disagreements from the various claimants to the stool.
He was emphatic that there is peace and stability in the area.
Former Member of Parliament, Nii Amasah Namoale has shared his view on the reasons why institutions in Ghana have failed.
Speaking on Frontline Show today (Wednesday), the former legislator said that our institutions like DVLA, Passport Office, SSNIT and many other institutions have failed in terms of services they provide because there are no form of monitoring and supervision of these institutions.
“Who watches the watchman”, he asked.
Considering the passport sector, he said there is no proper timing at those offices.
Explaining further he said that, if customers are made to book proper appointments to be granted some services, this would help ease the pressure at the passport office and lay these ‘goro boys’ off.
Better still, these ‘Goro boys’ should be made agencies and taxed which will go a long way to provide employment to people and revenue to the country.
Just like what these boys do, these agencies will collate the necessary details from the customers and submit it to the office officially, he emphasized.
Adding he said one thing that he wished he had done before leaving as an MP was not conscientizing his fellow MPs. Explaining further, he said, if he had brought Hon. Inusah to parliament instead of talking to him as a friend to speak to his workers. This compromise he said led to the shoddy work on the GIFAD Road.
“This is my only regret not bringing the Minister to the floor before leaving office”, he stated.
We need to conscientize officers in our institutions and prompt them. When they are brought to explain shortfalls that arise in our institutions, this would put them on their toes and keep them in check.
By: Priscilla Obeng Asantewaa (Intern, Rainbow Radio)
The Health Insurance Association of Ghana has served notice of a return to cash-and-carry should government fail to pay all outstanding arrears in the next three months.
The association says government indebtedness to members has collapsed their businesses as they are unable to pay their staff.
Spokesperson for the association, Samuel Donkor told Kwame Tutu on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, former President John Dramani Mahama left behind a huge debt and that is what President Nana Akufo-Addo is trying to pay and due to that, he is also pilling up fresh debt.
The association fears the project risks collapsing if government does not provide alternative revenue sources to augment the current sources.
It has thus proposed that government allocates one percent of the petroleum levy to sustain the scheme because it considers the current funds inadequate.
Over 95 per cent of Ghanaians are now registered as Health Insurance card holders and they are all benefiting from the scheme but the resources available is woefully inadequate.. We do not want to go back to the cash-and-carry system. That is why we have proposed for an increment. If this is not done, we will be sinking back to cash-and-carry. Healthcare should not be jeopardized with. We have to look at it and review the percentage.’’
‘’For the past seven months, I have been unable to pay my workers because government has failed to pay my arrears. SSNIT is on our necks demanding for payments of workers benefits. We will go back to cash-and-carry if government fails to pay all outstanding arrears in the next three months,’’ he warned.
The Health Insurance Association of Ghana has posited that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has virtually collapsed.
Spokesperson for the Association, Samuel Donkor in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the number of registered persons on the scheme has increased drastically as compared to previous years.
The scheme he lamented is crippling and on the verge of collapse and if government fails to inject more money, the scheme will collapse totally.
He is also calling on government to increase the health insurance levy to help the scheme survive.
He believes the increase from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent is the only way it can help the broke scheme to be strong and serve registered persons.
''Over 95 per cent of Ghanaians are now registered as Health Insurance card holders and they are all benefiting from the scheme but the resources available is woefully inadequate... We do not want to go back to the cash-and-carry system. That is why we have proposed for an increment. If this is not done, we will be sinking back to cash-and-carry. Healthcare should not be jeopardized with. We have to look at it and review the percentage.’’
Samuel Donkor reiterated that government is indebted to members and the scheme would have collapsed by now if not the intervention of President Akufo-Addo through the payment of some arrears.
‘’The scheme would have collapsed by now due the huge debt left by former President John Dramani Mahama. Nana Addo is currently paying Mahama’s debt and so he is also pilling up his own debt…We need quality healthcare and so every Ghanaian should help in raising more resources to assist the scheme. The scheme is on its knees. We are unable to pay our debt we owe pharmaceutical companies and so they have refused to give us more supplies.’’
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer for the National Health Authority (NHIA), Samuel Annor has also made similar call.
“When you want to go to the market to buy a commodity, you have to take the right price in your pocket. The right price according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines is that to purchase primary health care, you need about $86 for each person for the whole year.”
“At the moment, with Gh₵110 it only translates to about $25 for each person for a whole year so obviously you cannot purchase health care with that low level of money because our membership has grown and the demand has risen and the cost of health care has risen, that is why we are in this state.”
“So we are saying that government should come to our aid by increasing the percentage of national health insurance levy from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent to allow for civil servants and people who are employed to be able to contribute to their own health care.”
“Not to contribute into government budget funding, but to contribute to their own health care into the health fund at the Bank of Ghana.“
The Member of Parliament for Jaman North in the Brong Ahafo region, Mr Siaka Steven has rubbished a publication attributed in his name which sought to suggest that government was in the process of introducing shift system for free senior high school students.
The legislator who is also the Chairman of Education Committee of Parliament was reported to have said that the shift system will be part of plans by government to also improve the performances of students when they sit the West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
But reacting to the story on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the MP told host Kwame Tutu that, he was only making reference to Professor Anamoah Mensah’s position that, there should be a shift system for the free SHS because of the number of students that would be admitted.
‘’I did not suggest to Radio XYZ for the introduction of a shift system for the free SHS because the intake would be more. I did not make any suggestion like that. I was only referring to what Professor Anamoah Mensah had said. He [Mensah] was the one who made the suggestion. I don’t know where the information came from. I was misquoted. I never made such a comment,’’ he lamented.
His comments follow the public debate that has welcomed the release of the 2018 WASSCE results which depicts that performances in Mathematics and English Language fell below 2017 standards.
According to the provisional results from WAEC, the performance at score range A1 – C6 in Social Studies showed a marked improvement over that of 2017 (52.25% to 73.27%), while Integrated Science also recorded a slight improvement (43.66% to 50.52%).
However, Core Mathematics recorded 38.33 percentage performance as against 42.73 percent last year.
Similarly, English Language suffered a drop, recording only 46.79 percent over the 2017 performance of 54.06 percent.
One of the affected shareholders of ADB, BELSTAR Capital Limited (Belstar) who had the Bank of Ghana revoke their shares in ADB has expressed discomfort and surprise at the decision by the central bank.
A statement issued by the company’s chairman today [Wednesday] indicated that assertion by the central bank that the shares in ADB, acquired through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by BELSTAR and the other three companies, were acquired by the use of the BoG's emergency liquidity support obtained by uniBank, and placed at the disposal of the BELSTAR consortium in the form of a loan, "was not true."
According to Belstar, while information available to it confirmed that owing to a default in loan repayments to uniBank by key government-related entities, the bank had sought emergency liquidity support from BoG, the quantum of depositors' funds available to uniBank, at the time of the IPO, far exceeded the amount of money loaned to BELSTAR to acquire the shares in ADB.
“We wish to say that we will take steps to correct the erroneous impression that the BoG has put out and use the appropriate channels to restore our business interest to encourage other private sector players to believe in the free market principles, for that is key to creating a Ghana Beyond Aid,” the statement said.
t said while information available to BELSTAR confirmed that owing to a default in loan repayments to uniBank by key government-related entities, the bank had sought emergency liquidity support from BoG, the quantum of depositors' funds available to uniBank, at the time of the IPO, far exceeded the amount of money loaned to BELSTAR to acquire the shares in ADB.
It said as borrowers, BELSTAR would not know the source of the money offered but given “what we know to be the state of affairs at the time of the IPO, uniBank or any bank would rather lend the cheaper depositors fund of which they held nearly GH¢3 billion as opposed to the emergency liquidity support of nearly GH¢800 million. We believe that the BoG statement is incorrect, untrue and regrettable.”
“In the circumstance, all those allegations collapsed on the face of it because their foundation is flawed for one cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. These allegations are also regrettable to say the least, “ the statement said .
It said the IPO regulations required BELSTAR and the consortium to seek permission from the BoG once they intended to own a certain quantum of shares.
“Such permissions are requested and granted or declined in accordance with ACT 930, the Banks and Specialised Deposit Taking Institutions Act. Thus the BoG is aware and did grant all the permissions necessary to put the BELSTAR-led consortium in the majority. It is thus unfortunate for the statement to suggest that the transactions were carried out without the knowledge of the BoG.
“BELSTAR and its consortium are reputable business entities and are led by credible actors with years of experience in money market and financial transactions. We wish to say that we will take steps to correct the erroneous impression that the BoG has put out and use the appropriate channels to restore our business interest to encourage other private sector players to believe in the free market principles, for that is key to creating a Ghana Beyond Aid,” the added.
The Bank of Ghana has revoked the purchase of shares in ADB.
This means that Belstar Capital, EDC Limited, Starmount Limited and SIC-Financial Services are no longer shareholders of ADB.
A statement issued that effect by the Central Bank stated that, "Belstar and Starmount are not fit and proper persons and cannot permit them to continue to hold shares acquired directly or indirectly in ADB."
Reacting to the announcement, Jerry Afolabi said the move is not surprising since the affected share holders may have breached the laid down processes within the financial sector.
The Order by the BoG was pursuant to section 55 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) to:
(i) annul the acquisition by Belstar Capital Limited (Belstar), Starmount Development Company Limited (Starmount), SIC-Financial Services Limited
(SIC-FSL), and EDC Investments Limited (EDC), of all shares held by them in the ADB Bank Limited (ADB), and all transactions undertaken in respect of
the relevant shares;
(ii) prohibit the exercise by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC of any of the voting rights or any other rights in respect of the relevant shares; and
(iii) prohibit the directors appointed by the parties specified above to the Board of the ADB from acting as directors of ADB.