Retired Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atuguba, has said, Ghana will develop better we are today if citizens fear God and eschew evil.
He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Ahamadiyya Muslim Mission’s peace conference at Kemspiski Hotel in Accra yesterday [Sunday].
According to the retired judge, the personality of the Amir exudes peace and fear of the Lord Most High and these are the only important things that propel any human community forward.’’
He commended leaders for organizing the conference in Ghana and further congratulated the Islamic community for always being at peace with all other religious faiths.’’
‘’I am most grateful to the Muslim leaders of this country who have helped to sustain the peace of this country at all times. I am very proud of them and I hope others will emulate their example, their cohesion, their adherence to the supremacy of Allah above all other considerations.''
He believes if Ghanaians are able to adhere to the divine supremacy of Allah, fear him, in all our undertakings- including politics, business, including social activities, this country could reach the heights for which Allah purposed it.’’
On his part, the keynote speaker, His Excellency Sir Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Ayaz Obe, called for justice to accompany peace.
According to him, the concept of justice in Islam is to give more than you get, adding, ‘’and not only that but is to also give even if don’t get justice back.’’
He made reference to the Quran and emphasized that, Islam teaches Muslims to give justice to even their enemies.
He commended the organizers for the peace conference and maintained the conference will help promote peace not only in Ghana but the entire African continent.
The Islamic leader said, citizens are looking forward to a point where they could have access to social justice, a corruption free society, and unity.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), has disagreed with President Akufo-Addo’s claim that, the national cathedral is a top priority among priorities of government.
The TUC in a statement indicated that, while Christians may be in the majority in Ghana, Christianity is not the national religion and cannot be placed above the rest of religions in the country.
TUC is therefore appealing to the president to shelve the idea.
“We would like to appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to shelve this plan otherwise we will invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse.
“Our workplaces, our schools, colleges and universities, and all places of worship across the country would be more effective rallying points for strengthening unity among Ghanaians than a national cathedral located in Accra which can be accessed only by the privileged class in society. Moreover, we should encourage more inter-marriages among ethnic groups in the country and facilitate the learning of multiple languages as a means of strengthening unity among all the ethnic groups in Ghana.”
The TUC’s statement is coming after the president justified decision to build the cathedral.
The statement which was signed by TUC’s Secretary General, Dr. Yaa Baah, lamented the lack of clean water for some Ghanaians, chronic malnutrition affecting some citizens among other challenges that need immediate attention.
‘’Currently, over six million Ghanaians do not have access to clean water; one out of every four Ghanaian children is affected by chronic malnutrition; anemia affects 66 percent of young children and 42 percent of women of childbearing age; only 15 percent of urban residents and 6 percent of rural residents have access to sanitation facilities; a very significant number of households lacks access to toilet facilities and so open defecation is quite common; there is only one doctor for 8000 Ghanaians compared to World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one doctor for 5000 people (in some regions, there is only one doctor for over 50,000 residents); many children are dying needlessly from malaria and other preventable diseases; the amount of money available for healthcare for Ghanaians under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is just about GH
The UK can still make progress in Brexit talks despite serious unresolved issues, Downing Street has said.
Talks between Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU negotiator Michel Barnier faltered on Sunday over the so-called Irish "backstop", which could see the UK remaining in the customs union.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said no further talks were planned before Wednesday's EU leaders summit.
But Number 10 said the government was still "committed to making progress".
BBC Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming said Wednesday's meeting would be dominated by the unresolved issues in the divorce process, rather than focusing on the future relationship.
He added that meant Brexit talks "might not be wrapped up in November, as the UK would like".
This week's summit comes as domestic political pressure on Mrs May increases amid threats of potential cabinet resignations.
And Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has heaped further pressure on Mrs May, calling for her government to publish its plan for the backstop.
Mr Starmer said any proposal needed full scrutiny from MPs before an agreement could be struck with the rest of the EU at the Brussels summit.
A Number 10 source said the prime minister had made sure Parliament was regularly updated on the talks.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the backstop idea should be jettisoned altogether.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson said that "in presuming to change the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom, the EU is treating us with naked contempt".
Meanwhile, Ireland's ambassador to the UK, Adrian O'Neill, said Sunday's events in Brussels were a "setback" and could increase the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
He told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour that time was "running out", adding: "Preparations for all eventualities are ramping up quite significantly."
The issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will become the UK's border with the EU, is one of the last remaining obstacles to achieving a divorce deal with Brussels.
Wrangling is continuing over the nature of a "backstop" to keep the border open if a wider UK-EU trade arrangement cannot resolve it.
The EU's version, which would see just Northern Ireland remain aligned with Brussels' rules, has been called unacceptable by Mrs May and her Democratic Unionist allies.
The prime minister's counter-proposal is for a temporary customs arrangement for the whole UK, but Tory Brexiteers fear this becoming an open-ended position that would prevent free trade deals with countries around the world.
In a letter to Mrs May, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson said they would not accept Northern Ireland being treated differently than the rest of the UK in any Brexit deal.
It follows reports that other top ministers have been considering their positions over the weekend ahead of a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday at which ministers could be asked to give their consent to any agreement.
Writing in the Sunday Times, former Brexit secretary David Davis urged ministers to "exert their collective authority" and reject the plans at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The febrile atmosphere in the Tory ranks has seen Mr Davis emerge as a potential successor to Mrs May.
Tory MP Nadine Dorries publicly suggested he could be the leader to deliver the kind of Brexit sought by Eurosceptics.
Ms Dorries said installing Mr Davis as interim leader "may be the only way to deliver Brexit and FTA [free trade agreement]".
The first vice chairman for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Bortianor Nglehshie Amanfrom, Mr Nene Tetteh Agbo Shaibu, has disclosed to Rainbow Radio’s Nana Yaw Asare that, they lost the parliamentary seat to NPP in 2016 due to disunity among the old party executives.
According to the first vice chairman, the new executives elected for NDC in Bortianor Ngleshie Amanfrom constituency, will unite the grass root and resource them so they work hard for NDC’s victory in 2020.
He emphatically stated that, NPP government has totally disappointed the people of Bortianor Ngleshie Amanfrom constituency and Ghana as well.
He said, ‘’we are aware our defeat was as a result of disunity and some unacceptable behaviours on the part of the old executives and some party members. This caused the party to lose the seat to Habib Saad. We want to snatch the seat back form the NPP and so the new executive will unite the party and grass root so we win the 2020 polls. We will resource them and give them hope in order for them to help us win the polls in 2020.’’
The NPP lied to Ghanaians in order for them to win power. T5hey have disappointed us. They have not done anything significant in the constituency. Any edifice you will see in the constituency was done by former President John Dramani Mahama,’’ he added.
The United Press for Development Network (UPDN) will in the coming days stage what they have termed as ‘Kum Yen Preko’ demonstration in what they have described as increased attacks on journalists.
According to UPDN, these attacks have not been dealt with hence the need for them to stage the demonstration in order to call on authorities to deal with the matter.
In a statement issued by UPDN, it said, the group is ‘’…incensed with the series and epidemic rate of Press brutality in Reporters Without Borders current best African country in Press Freedom, Ghana.
Media persons for the past ten months have encountered countless beatings, assaults and intimidations by Politicians, Police and Military Officers (Security officials) among others on delivering their legitimate duty.’’
Press Freedom and Freedom of Speech and Expression granted in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana are under severe threat and attack.
We have written petitions to several government agencies including the office of the President, Chief of Staff, Speaker of Parliament, Inspector General of Police, Minister for Information, Minister for Interior. Even though some have responded to the petition, we are yet to identify commitment in finding lasting solutions to this disgraceful menace.
Measuring the level of anger and discomfort among media persons and overly silence of the government of the day to address the situation, UPDN is convinced to fore mostly partner other media and civil organizations to organize the biggest media protest march against the heightening of unprovoked, unending and lawless attacks of members of the forth realm of the estate.
We are by this statement assuring Ghanaian media practitioners to stay
The statement further slammed the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) for failing to deal with the increasing attacks on journalists in the country.
‘’We are however taken aback at how the Dr. Affail Monney led Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has unfortunately found luxury in this rather uncomfortable state of affairs.
We hereby call on the GJA to wake up to its core mandate of protecting Journalists either than enormous concentration on organizing of awards and making mere statements.’’
The statement signed by the Principal servant, Kofi Asante Mensah said, ‘’Finally, nothing will stop us from demanding for the end of this heinous, barbaric and senseless show of bravado with gross disrespect to human rights and rule of law under a constitutional led government.
Kindly note that, details of the demonstration dubbed “Kum Y3n Preko” meaning “kill us now” will be made available before the end of the week.’’
First vice chairman for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the Ngleshie Amanfrom constituency, Nene Tetteh, has revealed he is unable to buy fuel due to the supper hardship being experienced under the ruling New Patriotic Party.
The performance of the Nana Addo led administration he posited is fraught with lack of direction, vision and accountability.
He said, the NPP lied their way to power and Ghanaians are gradually witnessing an unprecedented incompetence, mismanagement and extreme corruption.
He has also promised to work with his other executives to wrestle power from the NPP.
He attributed the party's defeat to disunity, internal wrangling and lack of respect for party structures.
The previous leadership in the constituency he lamented failed to work together and ensure victory for the party due to their indifferences.
He has therefore pledged to snatch the seat from the current MP, Habib Saad and give it back to the NDC.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has stated that the recent catalogue of allegations against him that have resurfaced in the media are a calculated effort by certain vested interests who feel intimidated and threatened by his level of integrity.
He said at 71 he has held onto his integrity for so long, is proud of it, and it is too late for him to compromise on what has brought him this far. It’s not for sale, he stated.
Flt Lt Rawlings expressed concern, however, that the attacks on him are rather an attack on the sense of purpose of the youth.
“I am not the one they are really after. You are the ones they are after. To break that tenacity, that belief in you,” he told a charged atmosphere at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi on Saturday.
Delivering the keynote address at the 2018 KNUST SRC organized TEKTALK event, the former President said:
“When you maintain the solidity of your position and refuse to compromise, they naturally have a problem because you may have become so influential.
“The power of the influence that you wield I think threatens some people so that if they cannot buy you, if they cannot get you to compromise your position, you need to be destroyed, otherwise your word tomorrow could do damage to them, and move them out of office,” he said.
The former President responded to allegations by a so-called former bodyguard of his, stating that he was not his bodyguard but the driver of one of the armoured tanks captured during the 31st December 1981 uprising.
“We won that battle that day, but he became overexcited, took a tank and drove into some people, so I distanced myself from him. After that he became prey to some of the dissident elements.”
He said it was unfortunate that he is brought onto television to spew so much untruth and dared people of his ilk to do a polygraph test, enforcing the charge of how far vested interests would go to protect an agenda.
Former President Rawlings also referred to another who hid in his girlfriend’s room on June 4 1979 but has subsequently been put out as a hero of the uprising for 37 years. He said our children are reading about some of these falsehoods in history books and the time had come for some of these people to be exposed through the lie-dictator test.
The leader of the June 4 uprising and the 31st December Revolution, said during the 3rd Republic he was caricatured as a weed smoking young man to the extent that by 31st December 1981 many young people had taken up weed smoking because their hero purportedly smoked weed.
“I had to move from school to school to explain it was negative propaganda. That is the extent to which some people in their quest to consolidate their power will go. They did not care that they were destroying the kids in their quest to destroy Rawlings.”
The former President urged students to be politically potent and ask serious questions of national political leaders and query them when they fail to make their voices heard on issues of global inequality and abuse of the vulnerable as is happening in Palestine and Yemen.
The Founder of the National Democratic Congress also spoke about the damage of global warming and the need for young people to educate themselves adequately on its effects, stating it was necessary to re-cultivate the habit of tree planting to help ease the scourge of global warming.
Other speakers at the event where former Minister and Member of Parliament, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and popular newscaster and television presenter, Nana Aba Anamoah.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is advocating for alternative sentencing for persons who commit minor or petty offenses.
Mr. Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, said the two main causes of overcrowding in the nation’s prisons were the excessive use of pre-trial detention and the incarceration of offenders for minor, non-violent offenses.
“More and more offenses are being criminalized, and prison sentences are increasing on account of ‘tough on crime’ approaches,” Mr. Quayson said at a Multi-Stakeholder Conference on the Non-Custodial Sentencing Policy Zero Draft Bill, in Accra.
The workshop, on the theme: “Consolidating Efforts to Enrich the Zero Draft Non-Custodial Sentencing,” was organized by the POS Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and the Judicial Service of Ghana.
Non-Custodial Sentence or Alternative Sentence refers to a punishment given by a court of law that does not involve a prison term.
Non-Custodial Sentence has various forms such as community service order, probation order, supervision order (parole), drug testing and treatment order.
Mr. Quayson said available statistics show that prison populations were growing globally; stating that between 2008 and 2011, prison populations increased by 78 percent.
He said out of the 203 jurisdictions data collected by Penal Reform International collected in January 2015, 112 had a rate of prison occupancy above 100 percent.
“Yet, countries with high rates of imprisonment do not necessarily also have high crime rates,” he added.
“Rather, experience has shown that a fall in crime can be achieved at the same time as a reduction in the prison population,” he added.
He said the discourse on non-custodial sanctions–such as community service, restorative justice, warnings, fines, compensation orders or house arrest in Ghana, takes its inspiration from the findings of CHRAJ on its monitoring of prisons and prison cells, which commenced in 1995.
He said the Commission by these findings, had consistently advocated alternative sentencing for persons who commit minor or petty offenses.
“The Commission’s reports have over the years buttressed the need for a non-custodial sentencing regime, particularly for detainees in vulnerable situations such as young persons, the elderly, chronically ill, pregnant and nursing mothers and persons living with a severe disability,” he said.
Mr. Quayson maintained that while it was the case today that the situation had marginally improved in the nation’s prisons because of other interventions including the Justice for All programme, it was also true that substantively, the situation had not changed much.
He said the subject of non-custodial sentencing was, therefore, one of the continuing interest to the Commission and the nation.
Mr. Quayson said two decades of discussions and consultations on non-custodial sentencing should culminate in some concrete actions or steps, and this might be the best time to take those steps.
The Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo lauded the POS Foundation for picking up the daunting challenge of producing a Non-Custodial Sentencing Draft Bill.
She said the Foundation came out with the Draft Bill after she had tasked them to do their advocacy on the issue of prison decongestion from the convict and legislative point of view.
“I believe this was a necessary next-step, advancing on the existing ‘Justice for All Programme,’ which has helped to reduce the remand population from 33 percent in 2007 to 12 percent by 2017.”
Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior, in a speech read on his behalf said, as at October 10, there were a total of 15,094 prisoners held in custody against a total capacity of 9,875, with a corresponding general overcrowding rate of 52.9 percent.
He said the passage of the Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill into law, would help decongest the nation’s prisons; and also help reduce the high cost of feeding inmates.
Madam Tove Degnbol, the Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, said the Zero Draft Bill represented a milestone for Ghana’s commitment to promoting access to justice for all, including vulnerable populations.
“The non-custodial sentencing bill, when passed into law, will affirm Ghana’s quest for the protection of citizen’s rights in accordance with international norms and standards,” she said.
Mr. Jonathan Osei-Owusu, Founding Executive Director, POS Foundation, said the Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill, 2018, deals with the other sentencing powers to provide for the rehabilitation of offenders as we as related matters.
He said the Bill, which had been submitted to the Chief Justice for review, had subsequently be forwarded to the Attorney-General/Ministry of Justice and finally to the Ministry of the Interior.