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Nov 12, 2018
The Media Coalition on Right to Information (RTI) and the RTI Coalition have through a joint statement slammed parliament for it's lackadaisical approach towards the passage of the RTI bill. The statement which was issued today decried the deliberate attempt by the House to prevent the bill from being passed. The statement also mentioned Mr KT hammond, the MP for Adansi Asokwa and Ningo Prampram MP, Samuel Nartey George, and their deliberate attempts to frustrate the RTI bill. "Ever since parliament returned from recess, over 200 Members of Parliament are consistently absent from the Chamber anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration. It is on record that only between 30 and 50 MPs are in the chamber anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration in the past two weeks. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahiru Hammond, who has openly said that he is against the law has taken advantage of the situation to stop the House from considering the Bill by raising the issue of quorum. He has found a strong ally in Samuel Nartey George, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ningo-Prampram, who has also resorted to the quorum call to frustrate the consideration of the Bill," the statement read. Read below the full statement 12th November, 2018. Press statement for immediate release Over 200 MPs abandon RTI Bill. The Media Coalition on Right to Information (RTI) and the RTI Coalition have noticed the lackadaisical attitude of Members of Parliament (MPs) towards the RTI Bill. In our view, this constitutes a deliberate strategy to once again frustrate the passage of the Bill into law. Ever since parliament returned from recess, over 200 Members of Parliament are consistently absent from the Chamber anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration. It is on record that only between 30 and 50 MPs are in the chamber anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration in the past two weeks. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahiru Hammond, who has openly said that he is against the law has taken advantage of the situation to stop the House from considering the Bill by raising the issue of quorum. He has found a strong ally in Samuel Nartey George, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ningo-Prampram, who has also resorted to the quorum call to frustrate the consideration of the Bill. A third of the 275 legislators, which stands at 92 are needed to form a quorum in the House. In view of these negative developments, the Media Coalition on RTI petitioned the leadership of Parliament to adopt extended sittings to ensure that the Bill is passed before Parliament rises for the Christmas break. To our surprise, the leadership of parliament has not considered our request necessary and therefore did not show any seriousness as usual. There were only 2 days of extended sittings and both ended before 4PM. We are minded by the fact that Parliament has sat on Monday’s, weekends and sometimes late into the night just to pass some laws in this country and to approve of loan agreements. Therefore, the ongoing absenteeism anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration is unacceptable. This bad practice is giving credence to public suspicions that a high number of MPs are against the passage of the RTI Bill but do not want to openly say so. At the beginning of the current meeting on October 30, 2018, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah￾Bonsu, gave the assurance that the House would pass the RTI Bill into law before it rises in December, 2018. He actually said the leadership was committed to finishing work on the bill before November 15th, 2018 when the budget will be presented to the house. It is sad that parliament is not worried that its Leader of Government Business has made promises to the people of Ghana but the actions of the House suggests that our MPs see themselves as lords over those who elected them and therefore can renege on their promises at will. The RTI Bill has passed through the first and second readings and is at the consideration stage, with 138 amendments mostly substitution or deletion of words proposed to be considered by the House. Background The object of the RTI Bill is to provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society. It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters. The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999, reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was only presented to Parliament in 2010. It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but could not be passed till the expiration of that Parliament on January 6, 2016. After months of waiting, the Bill was laid in Parliament early this year (2018) by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka. *****#PassItNow*****
Nov 12, 2018
Ghanaian highlife musician, Dada KD, has called on the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) over how the GHc2 million given the union was used. Although the President of MUSIGA, Brice Osei Kuffour, has on countless occasions explained that he used the money for research work, Dada KD says he feels the money was not properly utilised. He alleged that MUSIGA’s president saw the money as his personal property and an amount given to appreciate his allegiance to the previous late Mills administration. He was speaking on the first edition of the ‘Togo Borga Show’ on Great One TV. A former Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor in his presentation of the 2012 budget on November 16, 2011 announced that government had set aside GH¢ 2 million to MUSIGA for the development of the creative arts industry. Since the amount was allocated, the MUSIGA president was hit with series of allegations of misappropriation. In his explanation, Obour indicated that MUSIGA commenced the research to access the contribution of music to Ghana’s GDP in November 2012. Obour, said his major legacy will be the comprehensive study of the Ghana music industry: "We lobbied, we were able to get the funding of two million Ghana cedis from the government of Ghana." "We invested this funding into the research that government wanted us to do. As we sit now, KPMG has completed a comprehensive research on the entire music industry," he added. But Dada KD who has resurrected the debate over the matter says EOCO must investigate Obour before his tenure ends as MUSIGA president ends in July. ‘’Obour’s stomach has grown so big and I believe the money made his stomach grow big. He claims he invested the money into a research work but I am not convinced as a musician and I know some other musicians were not also happy at the way the money was used. I want to appeal to EOCO to investigate Obour so we will have the full disclosure on how the GHc2 million was used,’’ he added. When asked to rate the performance of Obour, he said, ‘’I will mark Obour 3.5 over 10. He has performed so poorly. His administration has been bad despite the support he was given before he assumed office. Some of us campaigned for him but he has disappointed us.’’
Nov 12, 2018
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been petitioned by a Ghanaian citizen, Mensah Thompson to remove the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo. The petitioner says his petition is premised on “stated incompetence” as the grounds to have the head of the judicial arm of government removed from office. Mr Thompson stated in his petition, “the conduct of the sitting Chief Justice…clearly shows her incompetence in managing the highest office of the judiciary which has a constitutional mandate to be fair, just and equitable in the application of the laws of Ghana”. He further stated that the African Court for Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) last year issued a provisional measure to have all proceedings halted on the Woyome V Republic of Ghana case. “Mr. President, last year when the interim measure was issued on the state, there were several pronouncements by the deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame indicating that Ghana was not bound by the measure,” he stated in his petition to President Akufo-Addo on Monday. “It was a bit worrying to see the deputy attorney general espouse a position that was clearly in contravention with Article 40 under which the treaty derives its powers locally. “More worrying was the Supreme Court also came out with a position that it does not share it’s powers with any other body.” Article 146 (6) of the 1992 Constitution states that if the president is petitioned for the removal of the Chief Justice, he shall in consultation with the Council of State appoint a committee consisting of two justices of the Supreme Court. “The committee appointed under clause (6) of this article shall inquire into the petition and recommend to the President whether the Chief Justice ought to be removed from office.” The petitioner is the Executive Director of the Alliance For Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA). He said he had initially written to the Chief Justice over the issue, even reminding her of her role while Vice President and later President of AfCHPR. The petition also demands the removal of the Attorney General, Gloria Afua Akufo, and a Deputy, Godfred Dame.
Nov 12, 2018
A former Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa has berated President Akufo-Addo for announcing over the weekend that the University of Development Studies (UDS) Wa and Navrongo campuses would be made an autonomous university. He also slammed him for failing to credit former President John Dramani Mahama for initiating the processes to make the university campuses autonomous ones. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has revealed that Cabinet has given its approval for the Wa and Navrongo campuses of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, to become autonomous universities. Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration of UDS, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that cabinet has given its approval for the Wa Campus of UDS to become an autonomous University. “The Bill for Gazetting is currently with the Attorney General, and, once gazetted, it will be sent to Parliament for ratification as the University of Business Integrated Development Studies,” he said. But Mr Ablakwa in his statement wondered why the NPP administration is failing to give credit where credit is due. ‘’The incontrovertible fact is that the UDS Conversion Policy was championed by former President John Mahama. He gave us very clear marching orders at the Ministry of Education to ensure that this policy which was also contained in the NDC 2012 Manifesto was pursued,’’ he said in a statement. The claim by the president to have given a cabinet approval he noted was needless and admonished him to bring the Draft Bills and UDS Amendment he inherited to Parliament. ‘’I call on the Akufo-Addo Administration to expedite action on the conversion by simply bringing the Draft Bills and UDS Amendment inherited to Parliament. There’s no need convening Cabinet Meetings on reports that have already been approved by Cabinet. Cabinet time must remain precious and be utilized efficiently.’’ Read Below the full statement UDS CONVERSION INTO AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITIES - THE FACTS I have read news reports quoting President Akufo-Addo on the conversion of the University of Development Studies (UDS) into autonomous universities and same being presented as his initiative. Before proceeding further to lay bare the facts, may I congratulate UDS for attaining what is indisputably a significant milestone. 25 years of enriching our higher education landscape with her exceptional contribution is truly worth celebrating. I wish UDS a happy and memorable silver jubilee. In honouring UDS, we must not forget to hail the visionary role of President Jerry John Rawlings, whose selfless gesture birthed the UDS in 1993 when he donated his hunger prize of $50,000 as seed investment towards the establishment of that noble institution. Anecdotally, it is rather unfortunate though when I recall how some elements in the current Government fought and violently torpedoed a UDS University Council decision to rename the university after President Rawlings during the President Kufuor era. May I resist the temptation and reserve the details of this particularly inglorious episode for another day. As is the focus of this op-ed, I shall now elucidate on the facts of the UDS Conversion with the view to setting the records straight. Reading President Akufo-Addo’s address, I noticed in very clear and unambiguous terms the attempt to take credit for the conversion policy despite the fact that his predecessor, President John Mahama is the one who deserves the credit for pioneering and rolling out the conversion. It is very worrying that President Akufo-Addo refuses to give credit to his predecessors as we saw recently in the embarrassing last-minute indefinite postponement of the commissioning of Terminal 3, and yet, the irony is, President Akufo-Addo is always in a hurry and does not spare the opportunity no matter how inappropriate and inaccurate in blaming his predecessors for any liability as we saw him do only a few days ago in the aftermath of the Adentan Uprising when he failed to take responsibility and blamed the needless deaths on what he called “ legacies of a past decade of neglect.” It is basic knowledge that governance is a continuum and therefore it takes good leaders to acknowledge the positive contributions of their predecessors. At least, on three occasions when the NDC was in power, due to his role; President Kufuor was specially invited to the commissioning of first oil, the opening of the Bui Dam and the commissioning of the N1 Highway. This beautiful tone the NDC set was jettisoned by President Akufo-Addo as far back as 6th July 2017 when he went to commission the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Integrated Oil and Gas Project initiated by President Mahama without inviting the latter. President Akufo-Addo should learn to rise above partisanship when it is required - that is the hallmark of fine democrats. The incontrovertible fact is that the UDS Conversion Policy was championed by former President John Mahama. He gave us very clear marching orders at the Ministry of Education to ensure that this policy which was also contained in the NDC 2012 Manifesto was pursued. We appointed a Team of Experts in 2014 to look into the policy proposal and make appropriate recommendations. The Team of Experts were: Dr. Christina Amoako-Nuama (Convener) Prof. Mahama Duwiejua Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah Prof. Thomas Akabzaa Dr. Kofi Osei Darkwa Dr. Callistus Mahama Mr. Solomon Asoalla Mr. Louis Atongo Ms. Nadeene Anti The Team of Experts and the Ministry of Education presented the UDS Conversion Report to President Mahama in June, 2016. An unedited extract of the Executive Summary of the report reads as follows: “EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution enjoins the Government to promote policies and programmes that provide reasonable access to social, economic and educational facilities for its citizens. In addressing the imbalance in access to tertiary education, the Government seeks to establish a public university in each region of the country. This proposal for the conversion of the existing campuses of the University of Development Studies (UDS) into autonomous Universities is, therefore, in line with this objective. In this Preliminary Report, we present our findings and make recommendations for the way forward. The three campuses (Tamale/Nyankpala, Navrongo and Wa) of the University of Development Studies have well established programmes. The Tamale/Nyankpala campus is made up of the following units: School of Medicine and Health Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Agribusiness and Communication Sciences, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, and School of Engineering. The Navrongo campus consists of two Faculties: namely the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Mathematics while the Wa campus has the Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, School of Business and Faculty of Education as its constituent units. The Committee recommends that each campus be converted into an autonomous University, with its current programmes as the nucleus of each new university. It is further recommended that the autonomous Universities concentrate on the programmes for which they have comparative advantage in the short term (i.e during the first three years of operation). In the medium term (four to six years), the Universities may seek approval from the National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Accreditation Board to introduce programmes, that are within the mandates and capacities of the Universities, to lead to the transformation of the country and in particular the Regions in which they are located. The Committee recommends that the conversion of the campuses into autonomous Universities should take effect from August 2017. There will be cohorts of students enrolled in the University of Development Studies (UDS) when the conversion takes effect. It is expected that these students will remain students of the UDS until their graduation. Transitional arrangements should be made to accommodate this and other related matters. The need for the transitional provisions during this period cannot be overemphasized. There is the need for urgent broad consultations with all local stakeholders in the three Regions to ensure that there is understanding of the issues at stake to facilitate a smooth transition from a single multi-campus University to three autonomous Universities. The proposed names for the autonomous universities are: University for Development Studies (Tamale), University of Technology and Applied Sciences (Navrongo), University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (Wa). These names are tentative.” It is conspicuously obvious from the new names to be given to the autonomous universities as announced by President Akufo-Addo over the weekend that they are EXACTLY what is contained in the Dr. Christina Amoako-Nuamah report. Suffice it to say that the comprehensive report which included a detailed assessment of Infrastructure, Faculty, Programmes and a Roadmap for implementation was approved by Cabinet on January 3rd, 2017. The Mahama Administration additionally prepared and left behind Draft Proposed Bills for the two new Universities and a Schedule to amend the UDS Law, 1992 (P.N.D.C.L 279). Per the Roadmap; which is also confirmed by the Executive Summary above, and as was announced by President Mahama in Wa on July 8, 2016; had the NDC been re-elected, the autonomous campuses in Wa and Navrongo would have taken effect in August 2017. (See: https://www.google.com/…/uds-campuses-to-become-autonomous-…) President Akufo-Addo must be explaining to Ghanaians why the conversion has suffered such a terrible delay especially when all the heavy lifting was long completed by the NDC. This is not the kind of superior competence we were promised. I call on the Akufo-Addo Administration to expedite action on the conversion by simply bringing the Draft Bills and UDS Amendment inherited to Parliament. There’s no need convening Cabinet Meetings on reports that have already been approved by Cabinet. Cabinet time must remain precious and be utilized efficiently. That said, may I depart from the Akufo-Addo example and commend him and his Government for continuing with President Mahama's UDS Conversion Policy, regardless, of the delays and his refusal to give him credit. I conclude by saluting Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, my inspirational boss and my beloved godmother; Dr. Christine Amoako-Nuama for their exemplary leadership and infectious dedication to duty - without them, this progress would not have been achieved. And how beautiful it would have been for President Akufo-Addo to acknowledge their sacrifice and patriotism. Hmmmm. Nevertheless, God bless them and all those who assisted in bringing us this far. Long live UDS! Long live the Republic of Ghana!! Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa MP, North Tongu Former Deputy Minister for Education
Nov 12, 2018
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of King Solomon, Alhaji Nasiru Mohammed aka Alhaji Nash has rubbished report of Samudeen Ibrahim, a player with Hearts of Oak moving to Petro Athletico and Rja Cassablanca. Speaking in an interview with Rainbow Sports, he said, Samudeen is still in Ghana and has not gone to Morocco as reported. The midfielder was reported to be closing in on a move to the Casablanca-based giants after pictures of him standing with a handy bag at the Kotoko International Airport emerged in the media earlier this week. However, the midfielder's manager Alhaji Nasiru Mohammed has clarified the situation by claiming that his was then travelling to his hometown, Zabzugu, in the northern part of the country. He disclosed that an interview his player had with Graphic Sports was misreported. "It is never true Samudeen has left the country, Samudeen is in Ghana currently as I speak, he is in Ghana. There are some individuals behind this negative story to court negative reactions from Hearts of Oak. They want Hearst of Oak to react in a bad manner.’’ Accra Hearts of Oak suspended Samudeen indefinitely for what the club described as “multiple violations of player contract". Asked what the picture of Samudeen at the airport meant, Alhaji Nasiru Mohammed, denied it and explained that: "The picture is of Samudeen when we went to see off his friend at the airport", Nasiru claimed." He (Samudeen) even cautioned his friend not to release the picture on social media, but he jokingly did and that is what has caused the problem", he explained. He cautioned individuals spreading the rumours to desist from doing so in order to prevent his player from being given a bad name.
Nov 12, 2018
The Member of Parliament for Ayensuano constituency in the Eastern region, Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye, has disclosed on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has not received the allocated GHc6.5 million which was supposed to be used for public education due to the spate of road accidents in the country. Government in February this year allocated an amount of GHc335 million for Education, Engineering and Enforcement. Out of the amount, the Roads Safety Commission was to receive GHc6.5 million. The Information Ministry communicating the directive from the president said: “Education: resource the National Road Safety Commission to scale up public education and sensitization on road safety with an additional GHC 6.5 million from the Road Fund”. Enforcement: a. Enforcement of Road Traffic Laws by the Police through spot fines by automations of MTTD operations. b. Partner with private towing companies and Nationwide Traffic Management and Enforcement Limited (NTMEL) to vigorously enforce regulations. Engineering: Resource the Ghana Highway Authority, Department of Urban Roads and Department of Feeder Roads with at least GHC 335 million a year to provide signage and road markings for roads over a three (3) year period, it read.” But the Roads and Transport Committee Chairman disclosed on the show that the Commission has not been given the money. He indicated that there are some activities the Commission would have to do before the money would be allocated. The new financial policy being used he noted allows institutions to work and provide the needed documentations before payments are made. In February this year, the president expressed worry over the spate of road accidents in Ghana. In a release issued by the Information Ministry, the action plan put together by ministers of Interior, Transport and Roads is expected to aid massively in dealing with the upsurge of road accidents in the country. The tripartite approach covers areas in Education, Enforcement and Engineering and gives briefs of how each section is intended to contribute to the cause. In the release, the Education approach focused on public education and awareness creation on road safety rules, while the Enforcement touches on strict administration of road traffic laws supervised by the Ghana Police Service as well as Engineering which envelopes road maintenance.
Nov 12, 2018
Former President John Dramani Mahama is set to hit the Ashanti Region with his campaign in the bid to convince delegates of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to vote for him as the presidential candidate on December 7, 2018. In the Ashanti Region, Mr. Mahama is expected to discuss the state of the economy and the high cost of living with delegates. Job creation and the structure of the NDC will also be on the agenda. The former president has already taken his campaign to the Central, Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions. He has been calling for unity in the NDC, promising to strengthen the structures of the party as well as modernise its programmes and activities to address the needs of its members. Reducing the high cost of living in the country as well as working hard to provide jobs for Ghanaians has also been major talking points for Mr. Mahama during his meetings with delegates.
Nov 12, 2018
Mortuary workers in the country have threatened to declare a strike action over poor working conditions. This was contained in a statement issued by the Association of Mortuary Workers. According to them, they are overworked and not paid for their overtime services. Among their complaints, the association said most of the workers were employed as casual workers, and their jobs are not guaranteed. MORTUARY WORKERS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA TO EMBARK ON STRIKE It is regrettable that our concerns should have reached this apex such that we have no alternative than to resort to a nationwide industrial action that is envisaged will bring a profound result. You may wish to note that the following series of complaints per the proposals submitted upon the request of the Ministry of Health, no fruitful responses and outcomes were received. Some of the issues of concern which borders on illegalities are enumerated as follows 1. Many of the Mortuary Workers are denied perpetual their annual leave in violation of section 20 of Act 651. 2. Most Mortuary Workers work more than the required 8 hours including Saturdays and Sundays in violation of section 33 of Act 651. 3. Most have been employed as casual and temporary workers in violation of section 74 and 75 of Act 651, which does not guarantee job security especially in the environment in which they work. 4. In terms of remuneration, it is unfortunate to state that Mortuary workers are treated as most unrecognized in the sector and for that matter, least paid on the salary structure of Ministry of Health with no single allowance. 5. Many of the Mortuary facilities are understaffed, no maintenance which compromises on health and safety rules of the sector making the workers unnecessary to suffer in silence. 6. In terms of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), some have to struggle to get them to use making the working conditions at some facilities undesirable. 7. There is no provision for universal medical checkups plan in violation of sections 118 of Act 651. 8. No overtime is paid which is in violation of section 35. 9. They are not paid for public holidays in violation of section 72 of Act 651. 10. They work on weekends on which are resting days by law which will amount to overtime but are not paid. In summary, these are some irregularities or illegalities being perpetrated against this class of workers by the Ministry of Health and its agencies with impunity. It is therefore surprising that the Ministry of Health does not see these infringements on the rights of the Ghanaian Mortuary worker and is reluctant to resolving them. Hence our resort to an industrial action (STRIKE) starting from Tuesday, 20th November 2018. Total withdrawal of all services until we are convinced that our concerns presented to the Ministry of Health are fully addressed. Meanwhile, we wish to take this opportunity to sympathize with the public who will be inconvenient in this trying times. We also wish to state clearly that any intimidation or attempt from any agency, department or institution under Ministry of Health to any Mortuary Worker in the country will be met with equal force during the period of our strike. Thanks you. For: Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) RICHARD KOFI JORDAN (GENERAL SECRETARY)
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