Madam Naa Torshie Torto, president of the Women On Target pressure group has described the Electoral Commissioner, Madam Charlotte Osei as ‘’a lazy woman who needs to wake up and work’’ in the interest of Ghana.
She indicated that, the EC boss is being ineffective and lack focus in discharging her duty as a commissioner.
According to the outspoken president of the pressure group, the destiny of Ghana should not be jeopardized with at all, since Ghanaians cannot afford to loose its sanity because of the failure on the part of Charlotte Osei to heed to the call of Ghanaians to compile a new register.
Madam Torto believes the EC boss is buying time with her lazy approach to resolving the issues surrounding the voters’ register, after the unprecedented evidence brought before her to consider in compiling a new register.
She said the EC had no right to have made statements which sought to discredit the call for the new register.
’Looking ahead the view of the EC is this, there is no perfect registration system in the world and we do want to ensure that we have a credible register which will be the foundation for a credible elections in for election 2016. As an election management body it is critical. There is no perfect system and we must all work to ensure there is a credible register.
‘’One of the question we’ve been asking ourselves is, Ghana probably has the most inclusive process a creating a register. How can such an inclusive process bring results that parties says are so flawed that requires change every four years? Surely we may have to think is the problem with the technology, with the EC or with the people themselves. Are we the problem and we just keep shifting from one technology to another? If the people and the stakeholders do not want a credible process, we cannot have a credible register just by putting money into it. We must all get involved and want the same thing for us to arrive at the same destination, Charlotte Osei said.
She explained that their position on the voters’ register is for a new one to be compiled to save Ghana from undue pressure and tension in 2016.
She also raised concerns over the argument by general secretary of the NDC over the minors in the register and the solutions they proposed.
She stressed the need for the EC to tread with caution and act in the interest of Ghanaians.
The flagbearer of opposition New Patriotic Party Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will today share his vision with the Ghanaian youth today.
Nana will mount the podium at the 15th anniversary celebration TESCON, a student wing of the New Patriotic Party.
The theme for the lecture is ‘’His [Nana Addo] Vision for the Youth’’, the programme is expected to attract key personalities of his campaign team including his running mate, Dr. Bawumia.
Nana Addo will touch on youth unemployment, quality education, and the role of the youth in governance, sports, commerce and other issues bothering young people.
The flagbearer over the past month embarked on a regional tour to admonish Ghanaians to be optimistic in the future Ghana by entrusting the nation into in hands as president.
Nana Addo has described the Mahama led administration as incompetent, corrupt and lack the leadership skills to manage the economy of this country.
Nana Addo is passionate about the economic transformation of Ghana. He believes Ghana has the natural resources and human resources with which it can accelerate its development. He also believes the youth of Ghana have to be provided with opportunities to enable them contribute their quota to Ghana’s development.
Nana was elected Flagbearer of the NPP in 2007. Having won the first round of the General Election of 2008, he lost the run-off by a margin of 40,586 votes – 0.46% of the total – the smallest ever in African political history. In 2010, Nana Addo was chosen by the biggest Electoral College in Africa and Ghana’s history - 84,000 out of 110,000 voters - to lead the NPP into the General Election of 2012.
The NPP challenged the validity of the declaration of the results of the 2012 General Elections in which the NPP garnered 47.74% of the votes. In August 2013, the Supreme Court declared the results were valid, voting 5:4 against the petitioners.
Nana Addo’s acceptance of this verdict cemented his reputation as a statesman with pedigree and he was lauded locally and internationally for preserving Ghana’s peace and maintaining Ghana’s status as the beacon of democracy in Africa.
The president and convener for Women on Target (WOM), Naa Torshie Torto has described the current voters’ register as bloated, electorally senseless, lacks credibility, infested with minors, ghost names and foreigners and statistically unacceptable to guarantee a credible election.
Speaking in an interview with Kweku Owusu Frimpong on rainbow radio, she said the current register as we have it is incurably flawed and stand the chance of creating tension and also a recipe for chaos ahead of the 2016 elections.
She said the suggestions by some people to audit the voters’ register, is not attainable because the document is compromised and lacks the credibility to guarantee a transparent, fair and credible process.
Madam Torto said, compiling a new register will not put any party to an advantage over the other, rather a bloated register has the propensity to do so.
According to her the Women on Target group cannot understand why the Electoral Commissioner, Madam Charlotte Osei is resisting attempts to compile a new voters’ register.
She said, the continued vehement resistance to compile a new register raises a spectra of suspicion that something is wrong somewhere.
She added that, the price to pay for the compilation of a new voters’ register is far cheaper that peace, stability, and the integrity of our electoral process.
We may be setting ourselves up for a serious fight in 2016 if we fail to compile a new voters’ register, she opined
The president of the non-political women’s group said, the allegations and evidence brought up by the New Patriotic Party cannot be swept under the carpet and has therefore called for a thorough investigation into the matter.
She lambasted the commissioner Charlotte Osei, for what she described as unsavory comments made by the commissioner at the stakeholders’ forum held last week.
The commissioner Charlotte Osei in her statement said, ‘’compiling a new register will mean opening 30, 000 conflict zones in Ghana.’’
However Madam Torto described the comments as prejudicial since the five member panel were yet to present their findings to the Electoral Commission.
She stressed the need for EC to take a cue from what some African countries had gone through during their elections.
Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States, and the first African American to serve as U.S. president. First elected to the presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012.
Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. He was a community organizer, civil-rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was elected to the U.S. presidency in 2008, and won re-election in 2012 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
While living with his grandparents, Obama enrolled in the esteemed Punahou Academy, He excelled in basketball and graduated with academic honors in 1979. As one of only three black students at the school, Obama became conscious of racism and what it meant to be African-American. He later described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage with his own sense of self: "I noticed that there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog. . .and that Santa was a white man," he wrote. "I went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with all my senses and limbs seemingly intact, looking as I had always looked, and wondered if something was wrong with me."
Obama also struggled with the absence of his father, who he saw only once more after his parents divorced, when Obama Sr. visited Hawaii for a short time in 1971. "[My father] had left paradise, and nothing that my mother or grandparents told me could obviate that single, unassailable fact," he later reflected. "They couldn't describe what it might have been like had he stayed."
Ten years later, in 1981, tragedy struck Obama Sr. when he lost both of his legs in a serious car accident. Confined to a wheelchair, he also lost his job. In 1982, Obama Sr. was involved in yet another car accident while traveling in Nairobi. This time, however, the crash was fatal. Obama Sr. died on November 24, 1982, when Obama was 21 years old. "At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me," Obama later wrote, "both more and less than a man."
After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science. After working in the business sector for two years, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked on the impoverished South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities.
It was during this time that Obama, who said he "was not raised in a religious household," joined the Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, and paid an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. "For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept," Obama wrote. "I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago—all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away."
Returning from Kenya with a sense of renewal, Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988. The next year, he joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson, a young lawyer assigned to be Obama's adviser. Not long after, the couple began dating. In February 1990, Obama was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991.
After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer with the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School between 1992 and 2004—first as a lecturer and then as a professor—and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. On October 3, 1992, he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicago's South Side, and welcomed two daughters several years later: Malia (born 1998) and Sasha (born 2001).
Entry Into Illinois Politics
Obama published an autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, in 1995. The work received high praise from literary figures such as Toni Morrison and has since been printed in more than 25 languages, including Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew. The book had a second printing in 2004 and was adapted for a children's version. The audiobook version of Dreams, narrated by Obama, received a Grammy Award for best spoken word album in 2006.
Obama's advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat and won election in 1996. During his years as a state senator, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, as well as expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. As chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases after a number of death-row inmates were found to be innocent.
In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in 2002 and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004. With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects for a Senate win.
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Obama was an early opponent of President George W. Bush's push to go to war with Iraq. Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicago's Federal Plaza in October 2002. "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars," he said. "What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne." Despite his protests, the Iraq War began in 2003.
Encouraged by poll numbers, Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. In the 2004 Democratic primary, he defeated multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes with 52 percent of the vote. That summer, he was invited to deliver the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Obama emphasized the importance of unity and made veiled jabs at the Bush administration and the diversionary use of wedge issues.
After the convention, Obama returned to his U.S. Senate bid in Illinois. His opponent in the general election was supposed to be Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, a wealthy former investment banker. However, Ryan withdrew from the race in June 2004 following public disclosure of unsubstantiated sexual deviancy allegations by his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan.
In August 2004, diplomat and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan. In three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers and tax cuts. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70 percent of the vote to Keyes' 27 percent, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. With his win, Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.
Sworn into office on January 3, 2005, Obama partnered with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia. Then, with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he created a website to track all federal spending. Obama also spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans' benefits.
His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006. The work discussed Obama's visions for the future of America, many of which became talking points for his eventual presidential campaign. Shortly after its release, the book hit No. 1 on both the New York Times and Amazon.com best-seller lists.
2008 Presidential Election
In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and then-U.S. senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton. On June 3, 2008, Obama became the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee after winning a sufficient number of pledged delegates during the primaries, and Clinton delivered her full support to Obama for the duration of his campaign. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain, 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent, to win election as the 44th president of the United States—and the first African-American to hold this office. His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, became vice president. Obama's inauguration took place on January 20, 2009.
When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest-ever international favorability rating for the United States. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt. Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
First 100 Days
Between Inauguration Day and April 29, 2009, the Obama administration took action on many fronts. Obama coaxed Congress to expand health care insurance for children and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. A $787 billion stimulus bill was passed to promote short-term economic growth. Housing and credit markets were put on life support, with a market-based plan to buy U.S. banks' toxic assets. Loans were made to the auto industry, and new regulations were proposed for Wall Street. Obama also cut taxes for working families, small businesses and first-time home buyers. The president also loosened the ban on embryonic stem cell research and moved ahead with a $3.5 trillion budget plan.
Over his first 100 days in office, President Obama also undertook a complete overhaul of America's foreign policy. He reached out to improve relations with Europe, China and Russia and to open dialogue with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. He lobbied allies to support a global economic stimulus package. He committed an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan and set an August 2010 date for withdrawal of nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq. In more dramatic incidents, he ordered an attack on pirates off the coast of Somalia and prepared the nation for a swine flu outbreak. He signed an executive order banning excessive interrogation techniques and ordered the closing of the military detention facility at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay within a year (a deadline that ultimately would not be met). For his efforts, the Nobel Committee in Norway awarded Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
On January 27, 2010, President Obama delivered his first State of the Union speech. During his oration, Obama addressed the challenges of the economy, proposed a fee for larger banks, announced a possible freeze on government spending in the following fiscal year and spoke against the Supreme Court's reversal of a law capping campaign finance spending. He also challenged politicians to stop thinking of re-election and start making positive changes. He criticized Republicans for their refusal to support any legislation and chastised Democrats for not pushing hard enough to get legislation passed. He also insisted that, despite obstacles, he was determined to help American citizens through the nation's current domestic difficulties. "We don't quit. I don't quit," he said. "Let's seize this moment to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."
Challenges and Successes
In the second part of his first term as president, Obama faced a number of obstacles and scored some victories as well. In spite of opposition from Congressional Republicans and the populist Tea Party movement, Obama signed his health care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in March 2010. The new law prohibited the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, allowed citizens under 26 years old to be insured under parental plans, provided for free health screenings for certain citizens and expanded insurance coverage and access to medical care to millions of Americans. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, which foes dubbed "Obamacare," asserted that it added new costs to the country's overblown budget, violated the Constitution with its requirement for individuals to obtain insurance and amounted to a “government takeover” of health care
On the economic front, Obama worked to steer the country through difficult financial times. After drawn-out negotiations with Republicans who gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections, he signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 in an effort to rein in government spending and prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations. The act also called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to seek solutions to the country's fiscal issues, but the group failed to reach any agreement on how to solve these problems.
Also in 2011, Obama signed a repeal of the military policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevented openly gay troops from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. In March 2011, he approved U.S. participation in NATO airstrikes to support rebels fighting against the forces of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, and in May he also gave the green light to a covert operation in Pakistan that led to the killing of infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs.
Obama gained a legal victory in June 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which required citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a tax. In a 5-4 decision, the court decided the health care law’s signature provision fell within the taxation power granted to Congress under the Constitution. Voting with the majority were two associate justices appointed by Obama—Sonia Sotomayor (confirmed in 2009) and Elena Kagan (confirmed in 2010).
As he did in 2008, during his campaign for a second presidential term, Obama focused on grassroots initiatives. Celebrities such as Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker aided the president's campaign by hosting fund-raising events.
"I guarantee you, we will move this country forward," Obama stated in June 2012, at a campaign event in Maryland. "We will finish what we started. And we'll remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth."
In the 2012 election, Obama faced Republican opponent Mitt Romney and Romney's vice-presidential running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan. On November 6, 2012, Obama won a second four-year term as president by receiving nearly five million more votes than Romney and capturing more than 60 percent of the Electoral College.
Nearly one month after President Obama's re-election, the nation endured one of its most tragic school shootings to date when 20 children and six adults were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Two days after the attack, Obama delivered a speech at an interfaith vigil for the victims in Newtown and discussed a need for change in order to make schools safer while alluding to implementing stricter gun-control measures. "These tragedies must end," Obama stated. "In the coming weeks, I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement, to mental-health professionals, to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like these as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
Obama achieved a major legislative victory on January 1, 2013, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a bipartisan agreement on tax increases and spending cuts, in an effort to avoid the looming fiscal cliff crisis (the Senate voted in favor of the bill earlier that day). The agreement marked a productive first step toward the president's re-election promise of reducing the federal deficit by raising taxes on the extremely wealthy—individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and couples earning more than $450,000, according to the bill. Prior to the bill's passage, in late 2012, tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over spending cuts and tax increases became a bitter political battle until Vice President Joe Biden managed to hammer out a deal with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Obama pledged to sign the bill into law.
Barack Obama officially began his second term on January 21, 2013, when U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office. The inauguration was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, gave the invocation. James Taylor, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Clarkson sang at the ceremony, and poet Richard Blanco read his poem "One Today."
In his inaugural address, Obama called the nation to action on such issues as climate change, health care and marriage equality. "We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall," Obama told the crowd gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol building.
The Obamas attended two official inauguration balls, including one held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There the first couple danced to the Al Green classic "Let's Stay Together," sung by Jennifer Hudson. Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx also performed.
After the inauguration, Obama led the nation through many challenges—none more difficult, perhaps, than the terrorist bombings of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, which killed three people and left more than 200 injured. At a memorial service in Boston three days after the bombings, he told the wounded, "Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again." And he applauded the city’s response to the tragedy. "You’ve shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion."
In the same month, Obama also found his efforts for gun-control measures thwarted in Congress. He had supported legislation calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases and a ban on sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. When the bill was blocked and withdrawn, Obama called it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
By June, Obama had suffered a significant drop in his approval ratings in a CNN/ORC International poll. In the wake of allegations of the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative political organizations seeking tax-exempt status and accusations of a cover-up in the terrorist killings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three others at a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Obama’s approval rating declined to only 45 percent—his lowest rating in more than 18 months.
Experts also attributed the ratings slide to new revelations about the extent of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance program. Obama defended the NSA's email monitoring and telephone wiretapping during a visit to Germany that June. "We are not rifling through the emails of German citizens or American citizens or French citizens or anyone else,” he said. "The encroachment on privacy has been strictly limited." Obama stated that the program had helped stop roughly 50 threats.
In early July 2013, President Obama made history when he joined former President George W. Bush in Africa to commemorate the 15th anniversary of al-Qaeda’s first attack on American targets, the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The event marked the first meeting between two U.S. presidents on foreign soil in commemoration of an act of terrorism.
Later that month, Obama spoke out about the outrage that followed a Florida jury’s decision to acquit George Zimmerman in the murder of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. "When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” the president remarked at a White House press conference. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." Obama explained that this particular case was a state matter, but he discussed how the federal government could address some of the legislative and racial issues highlighted by the incident.
Obama found himself grappling with an international crisis in late August and September 2013 when it was discovered that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians. While saying that thousands of people, including over 400 children, had been killed in the chemical attacks, Obama called Syria's actions "a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable."
The president worked to persuade Congress and the international community at large to take action against Syria, but found a majority on Capitol Hill opposed to military involvement. Obama then announced an alternative solution on September 10, 2013, by stating that if al-Assad agreed with the stipulations outlined in a proposal made by Russia to give up its chemical weapons, then a direct strike against the nation could be avoided. Al-Assad acknowledged the possession of chemical weapons and ultimately accepted the Russian proposal.
Later that month, Obama made diplomatic strides with Iran. He spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone, which marked the first direct contact between the leaders of the two countries in more than 30 years. This groundbreaking move by Obama was seen by many as a sign of thawing in the relationship between the United States and Iran. "The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program," reported Obama at a press conference in which he expressed optimism that a deal could be reached to lift sanctions on Iran in return for that country’s willingness to halt its nuclear development program.
Domestic Policies and Problems
Obama found himself struggling on the domestic front in October 2013. A dispute over the federal budget and Republican desires to defund or derail the Affordable Care Act caused a 16-day shutdown of the federal government. After a deal had been reached to end the shutdown, Obama used his weekly address to express his frustration over the situation and his desire for political reform: "The way business is done in Washington has to change. Now that these clouds of crisis and uncertainty have lifted, we need to focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do—grow the economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity, and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul."
The Affordable Care Act continued to come under fire in October after the failed launch of HealthCare.gov, the website meant to allow people to find and purchase health insurance. Extra technical support was brought in to work on the troubled website, which was plagued with glitches for weeks. The health care law was also blamed for some Americans losing their existing insurance policies, despite repeated assurances from Obama that such cancellations would not occur. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama insisted that the insurance companies—and not his legislation—caused the coverage change. "Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums, or bill you into bankruptcy,” he said.
Under mounting pressure, Obama found himself apologizing regarding some health care changes. In an interview with NBC News, he said of those who lost their insurance plans, "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me." Obama pledged to find a remedy to this problem, saying, "We are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."
Managing Foreign Crises
The fall of 2013 brought Obama additional challenges in the area of foreign relations. In October 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that the NSA had been listening in to her cell phone calls. "Spying among friends is never acceptable," Merkel told a summit of European leaders. In the wake of these controversies, Obama saw his approval rating drop to a new low in November 2013. Only 37 percent of Americans polled by CBS News approved of the job he was doing as president, while 57 percent disapproved of his handling of the job.
Echoes of the Cold War also returned after civil unrest and protests in the capital city of Kiev led to the downfall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's administration in February 2014. Russian troops crossed into Ukraine to support pro-Russian forces and the annexation of the province of Crimea. In response, Obama ordered sanctions targeting individuals and businesses considered by the U.S. government to be Ukraine agitators or involved in the Crimean crisis. "In 2014 we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders," Obama stated. The president said the sanctions were taken in close coordination with European allies and gave the U.S. "the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia's actions.”
In addition to the ongoing troubles in Ukraine, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians erupted into violence in Gaza during the summer of 2014. At the same time, tens of thousands of Central American children were being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border after making the perilous crossing alone. Many Republicans called for the rapid deportation of these illegal immigrants, while others considered the situation a humanitarian crisis. Another of the president's woes came from the legislative branch. Speaker of the House John Boehner launched an effort to sue Obama for overstepping his executive powers with some of his actions regarding the Affordable Care Act.
In August 2014, Obama ordered the first airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which had seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria and conducted high-profile beheadings of foreign hostages. The following month, the U.S. launched its first attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, although the president pledged to keep combat troops out of the conflict. Several Arab countries joined in the airstrikes against the extremist Islamic militant group. "The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force,” Obama said in a speech to the United Nations. “So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death."
Presidency After 2014 Elections
That November, Obama had to cope with new challenges on the home front. Republicans made an impressive showing on Election Day and gained a majority in the Senate, meaning that Obama would have to contend with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress for the final two years of his term.
Obama flexed his presidential power in December by moving to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The policy change came after the exchange of American citizen Alan Gross and another unnamed American intelligence agent for three Cuban spies. In a speech at the White House, Obama explained that the dramatic shift in Cuban policy would "create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas."
In renewing diplomatic ties with Cuba, Obama announced plans "to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba." The long-standing U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, however, remained in effect and could only be removed with the approval of Congress. Obama may not be able to sway Congress to agree on this policy shift as leading Republicans—including Boehner, McConnell and Florida Senator Marco Rubio—all spoke out against Obama's new Cuba policies.
In his 2015 State of the Union address, Obama declared that the nation was out of recession. "America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back . . . know this: The shadow of crisis has passed," he said. He went on to share his vision for ways to improve the nation through free community college programs and middle-class tax breaks.
With Democrats outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, Obama threatened to use his executive power to prevent any tinkering by the opposition on his existing policies. "We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system," he said. "And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it."
Not long after his State of the Union address, Obama traveled to India to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to several news reports, Obama and Modi had reached a "breakthrough understanding" regarding India's nuclear power efforts. Obama told the Indian people in a speech given in New Delhi that "we can finally move toward fully implementing our civil nuclear agreement, which will mean more reliable electricity for Indians and cleaner, non-carbon energy that helps fight climate change." This agreement would also open the door to U.S. investment in India's energy industry.
The flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as part of his European tour raised concerns over the continuous debt in Ghana.
Addressing party supporters, at the Ghana Cultural Centre in Alexandria, he admonished party members to be hopeful of a victory 2016 for the NPP to take Ghana out of the continuous hardship and suffering.
Nana Addo said, ‘’our country is being driven into the ground by the present management.’’
He lambasted the Mahama led administration for ballooning the countries debt from 9.5 billion to 94 billion after Kufuor left office.
In his view if Ghanaians fail to vote the Mahama government out of office, the country will hit a snag and untold hardship.
He also took the opportunity to outline the vision for Ghanaians when the NPP wins power, aside that he made reference to the suspended national chairman Paul Afoko.
Leader and founder of Power Christ Ministry Church in Adiepena, a suburb in the Bia-District of the Western region has been threatened by some gang of wee smokers, who was once a member to desist from insulting and calling on them to stop smoking.
Pastor Emmanuel Osae according to reports is always chastising and allegedly cursing the wee smokers to desist from their waywardness so they do not incur the wrath of God.
Our regional correspondent, Christopher Anto said the gang of smokers have vowed to teach the pastor a lesson for his behaviour towards them.
He was our former member, and he has allegedly turn into a pastor disturbing us with his preaching, we will show him where power lies if he do not stop attacking us, one of the gang member is reported to have said.
The group has also planned to frustrate Pastor Osae till he re-locates to another community and to confirm how serious they were, the gang now smokes within the premises of the church.
Narrating the incident to Nyankonton Mu Nsem, Christopher Anto said the pastor is not worried about the ongoing incident rather he remains firm in his faith and will continue to serve his maker and discharge his duty as directed by the Almighty God.
A teacher Collins Asante has stabbed a colleague teacher after the two engaged in a heated argument.
The incident occurred in the Bia West District of the Western Region during a sporting activity for some selected basic schools in the region.
Collins Asante according to our regional correspondent, Christopher Anto became furious after he alleged that his school were been cheated in the games and because of that he raised concerns over the matter.
He subsequently picked an argument with the victim and stabbed him with a knife.
The victim is currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
The police in the area have apprehended the teacher conducting further investigation into the matter.
A National Executive meeting by the opposition New Patriotic Party has supported the suspension of the National Chairman Mr. Paul Afoko.
The decision was taken at a meeting today at the party headquarters here in Accra.
The embattled chairman, Mr. Paul Afoko was suspended a few weeks ago after the National Executive Committee met. His suspension according to NEC was borne out of a number of petitions received by the party in relations to what was described as gross misconduct on the part of Paul Afoko.
Paul Afoko is however battling his suspension in court since he described it as illegal and breach of the party’s constitution.
Paul Afoko earlier today released a statement to bar the leadership of the party from holding the meeting but that could not hold since the leadership of the party met and supported NEC over the suspension of Paul Afoko.
A former national chair of the elephant party, Mr. Mac Manu speaking with the media after the meeting said, until he [Paul Afoko] appeals his suspension, the entire leadership of the party will back the decision.
“The decision to suspend Afoko was taken through constitutional structures of the party and members are supposed to abide by it and publicly support it. He has some days to go for an appeal then the national council will swing into action but until then, the entire executive body is bound by the constitution to support the decision of NEC. Every executive member of the NPP supports the ban. It doesn’t matter that the general secretary was not there,” he said.
The ‘’illegal meeting as described by Paul Afoko, was attended by the flagbearer of the party, Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr. Bawumia and some key members of the party.
The general secretary, Kwabena Agyapong was however not present at the meeting.