Near fisticuffs at Ketu South registration review committee sitting

A swift intervention from the Ketu Divisional Police Command has prevented any physical altercations from occurring at the Ketu South District Registration Review Committee (DRRC) sitting. Wednesday's sitting, the 14th by the Committee to review challenged cases in the just-ended limited voter registration exercise was interrupted for hours due to disagreement between agents of the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) requiring heavy Police presence to maintain order. This followed one Mr Deku, a challenged applicant, who was cleared by the Committee and had his card released to him, much to the dissatisfaction of his challenger and NPP agent, Mr Dennis Gator, and his colleagues, and which infuriated their counterpart NDC agents, resulting in the commotion. The NPP agents told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that District Electoral Commission (EC) Officer and the Ketu South DRRC failed in doing due diligence before clearing the said challenged pe rson saying, theirs was to ensure a clean voter register for Ketu South to bar ineligible persons especially non-Ghanaian nationals from participating in the December polls. 'We realised an inconsistency in what the challenged applicant said regarding the house he claims to live in at Aveyiborme. Instead of the EC officer and the Committee doing further investigations, they voted among themselves and gave the card to him. Is one's nationality determined through votes?' The NDC agents on the other hand said the NPP agents during the limited voter registration process were on a 'challenge spree' looking for the least opportunity to challenge any eligible applicant and that they were on a similar mission to disrupt the Committee's sittings to disenfranchise people and that, they would not allow that to happen. Mr Kofi Sakyi Boampong, the District EC Officer explained to the GNA that the Committee after reviewing the case against the said challenged applicant, its Chairman (now in the person of Mr Joseph Etse) said he should be cleared so, the card was released to him. He denied any wrongdoing by the Committee in the case saying, where the challenger could not provide any evidence to prove the ineligibility of an applicant, the Committee had always taken a unanimous decision and in the absence of that, it resorted to voting. Mr Boampong also bemoaned the 'back and forth' which was hindering the Committee's work saying, there were a total of 1,602 challenged applicants in the just-ended registration and after 13 sittings, only about 416 cases were dealt with, resulting in the release of 387 cards and retention of 29 with about 1,186 cases still pending. He feared should the back and forth continue, some challenged applicants might not be given a fair chance at hearing as already, 'the stipulated time for review of challenged applications was 4th June and we had to make a case for the extension of time for Ketu South because of the huge numbers involved.' The Committee Wednesday began sitting at 0900hours but as at 1240hours, only four of the challenged cases were dealt with. Mr Etse, the one replacing Torgbui Anubo IV, believed to be heeding medical advice to stay away from the Committee due to the stress involved, as the Chairman refuted allegations that he had proven to be a member of the NDC saying, 'I don't belong to any political party and I'm on this Committee only as a representative of Ghana Education Service.' Source: Ghana News Agency

Asantehene urges Dr Bawumia to review the chieftaincy Act if elected President

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President and Presidential aspirant of the NPP in the December elections, to take bold steps to review the chieftaincy Act, if elected as president. The review of the Act, according to the Asantehene, would enable chiefs to collaborate well with government and actively participate in the development process of the country. It would also empower chiefs who were the custodians of the land, to partner well with the government in the fight against illegal mining, which was destroying the country's river bodies, forests, land and other natural resources. Otumfuo Osei Tutu made the call, when the Vice President called on him at the Manhyia palace in Kumasi, as part of his three-day campaign tour of the Ashanti region. Otumfuo Osei Tutu, also asked the Flag-bearer to work to ensure improvement in the allowances provided to the various traditional councils as he had already promised to do. He said if given the mandate, Dr Bawumia shoul d strive to continue all ongoing infrastructural developments projects across the country, while undertaking major ones that could help position the country well on the path of growth and sustainable development. Otumfuo Osei Tutu asked the Vice President to explain his laudable vision to enable the people appreciate and understand him well and vote for him in the December elections. The Vice President had earlier on, called on the Chief of Kenyase in the Kwabre East Municipality and pledged his commitment to ensure the completion of the ongoing road projects in the area. He also inspected the agenda 111 Project, currently going on in the Municipality and inspected the Mampongteng town roads and promised to put them in good condition. Dr Bawumia again, visited the Opoku Ware Senior High School and presented over 4000 tablets to the students. This is part of the smart school initiative being implemented by the government to ensure quality educational delivery in the technological age. Source: Ghana News Agency

NDC MPs are not against proposed Free SHS Bill- Forson

The claim that National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) are against a proposed Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill is totally false, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, NDC Parliamentary Minority Leader, has stated. 'There is currently no such bill before Parliament. We cannot oppose a bill that we have not seen,' Dr Forson stated in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency. 'For the records, it was the NDC that birthed the 1992 Constitution which provided the legal framework for the introduction of Free Secondary Education in Ghana.' He explained it was the NDC that commenced the implementation of the Free SHS program in the year 2015 for all day students in public senior high schools, totaling over 320,000, with a clear plan to expand coverage to include 120,000 boarding students by 2017. Dr Forson said the position of the NDC on the Free SHS programme was publicly communicated by Mr John Dramani Mahama, the NDC's Flagbearer and Leader, was to improve the implementation of the programme and address the challenges bedeviling it through a consultative approach. 'Thus, the NDC will support any legislation or effort aimed at making the Free SHS programme better and sustainable,' Dr Forson said. Source: Ghana News Agency

NPP has a proven track record of development in Ashanti region – Isaac Osei

Mr Isaac Osei, Board Chairman of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority, says the NPP has a proven track record of infrastructural development in the Ashanti region. He said the Ashanti region, considered as the stronghold of the NPP, had never been neglected in terms of development projects, as was being falsely propagated by the opponents of the party. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi, Mr Osei, who is also a former Member of Parliament for Subin, pointed out that, the NPP had made significant strides in providing infrastructural development, which was helping to improve the living conditions of the people in the region. He highlighted the extensive projects and policy interventions which had been implemented by the NPP government and said the NPP had contributed immensely to the development of Ashanti region than any other political party. 'The government of President Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia has done a lot in the Ashanti region and all over the place. Whether you are talking about infrastructure or the number of people who have passed through school as a result of the new policy on education by the government, it is obvious that this government has done great things here, he said. Mr Osei, who was also a former Ghana's High Commission to the United Kingdom, cited the recent opening of the Kumasi International Airport and ongoing works at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, as prime examples of the government's commitment to the region. 'This government, I think has been fantastic for the people of Ashanti. We know that it is not just Ashanti. All over the country, the NPP government is going to work and work very hard to ensure that we deliver a victory for the NPP and that we have Dr Bawumia as our next President,' he stated. Source: Ghana News Agency

Stakeholders call for review of appointment of MMDCEs, Assembly members

Stakeholders at a training workshop on National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) held in Ho have reiterated the need to review the selection of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and Assembly members into local governance structure. They debated on whether MMDCEs and Assembly members should be elected on partisan basis, with some participants arguing that election of MMDCEs would end their perennial rejection by Assembly members and do away with the system where nominees give huge 'envelopes' before approval. Some of the participants said the current situation placed a lot of financial burden on the nominee MMDCEs, who 'would do everything possible to recoup his or her money spent during the process.' Others argued that once the candidate had been elected by the electorate, the canker would cease. However, other participants disagreed with the suggestion of electing the MMDCEs, arguing that the status quo had to remain. Arguing in favour of election of Assembly members, Mr. Cletus Chevure, Kadjebi District Coordinating Director, said 'we cannot continue pretending that assembly members don't campaign on partisan basis' although Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution bars them from doing so. He said even during District Assembly Sittings, debates were at times held on partisan line, which was not supposed to be and that electing them on partisan basis would end all the pretenses. Madam Victoria Dzeklo, the Presiding Member (PM), South Tongu District Assembly, contributing, said 'it is time we elected MMDCEs'. 'This will prevent the President's nominee from paying heavy amount to assembly members for his confirmation', she said. Madam Dzeklo, however, disagreed with the idea of electing assembly members on partisan line because 'it is the only opportunity for Ghanaians who do not belong to any political party to also join or participate freely or openly in choosing their community leaders.'. Mr. Derek Adzoe, the Presiding Member of Hohoe Municipal Assembly, contributing, dis agreed on the election of MMDCEs as 'there will be sabotage of government policies and programmes at the local levels, especially if the Chief Executive elected is not a member of the ruling government'. On Assembly members election, he said 'assembly members are the agents of development in their electoral areas. They are to unite their electorates for development projects when they are elected on partisan grounds, they can't lobby if their government is not in power.' Meanwhile, a Centre for Democratic Development survey in 2021 shows that 76 per cent of Ghanaians favour the election of MMDCEs with only 20 per cent wanting them to be appointed by the President. It noted that while two-thirds of respondents (71 per cent) say they prefer MMDCEs elected on non-partisan election format like that used in local government councilor's election, only 20 per cent opted for a partisan election format. The reasons for the preference for non-partisan election format for MMDCEs included ensuring competent persons ge t elected (29%), promotion of inclusivity/forestalling winner takes all challenges (22%), prevention of partisan influences/conflicts (21%) and promotion of transparency and accountability (1.9%). Among those calling for partisan election of MMDCEs, the majority believe the current format for local government election had been tainted by partisan influences and must be opted up to promote public interest in local elections. Others (1.9 %) think it would promote responsiveness and development, ensure that competent persons get elected, promote transparency, and enable citizens to exact accountability from political parties. President, Akufo-Addo in 2019 initiated two bills, seeking to achieve two major local gove President authority to appoint MMDCEs to make these position electives and to hold a referendum to seek citizens support to amend the Article 55(3) of the Constitution. However, in December 2019, the referendum was suspended for lack of broad national consensus, forcing the Attorney-General to wi thdraw the bill. Source: Ghana News Agency

Baffour Awuah urges Governments to advance social justice towards renewed social contract

Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, has urged Governments across the globe to advance social justice towards a renewed social contract in order to ensure social development that leaves no one behind. Social contract is where people live together in society inaccordance with an agreement that establishes moral and political rules of behavior. 'Our renew social contracts must embrace diversity, ensure inclusivity and promote social cohesion,' Mr Baffour Awuah made the appeal in his address at the 112th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The Ministry of Employment, labour Relations and Pensions, made a copy of the video recording of the Minister's speech available to the Ghana News Agency. The Conference, which officially commenced from Monday, 3rd June, to Friday, 14th June, is being held on two premises: the Palais de Nation and the ILO Headquarters. The ILC is the highest decision-making body of the International Labo ur Organisation (ILO) and is held annually in June to advance the core mandate of the ILO. The Conference brings together all tripartite delegations from the ILO's 187 Member States and observers from other international actors to discuss topics related to the world of work. Mr Baffour Awuah said social contracts between governments, workers and employers had always been an anchor of sustainable development, however, the unprecedented challenges caused by technological advancement, demographic shift, climate change and geopolitical tension had put in jeopardy the benefits governments derive from social contracts with their people. He urged governments all over the world to create avenues that promote access to fair employment opportunities and adequate social protection systems. He noted that Ghana had taken substantial stripes in promoting inclusion employment opportunities for all its citizens through interventions such as the National Employment Policy, Social Protection Policy, and the National Youth Policy. The Minister said the Government of Ghana was transforming the lives of its people with focus on the youth, who were the future. He reiterated that the Ghana's Labour Act, which was being reviewed, would also provide additional protection for all actors in the world of work. He said the ILO had been instrumental in the review of Ghana's Labour Act by offering both technical and financial support throughout the process. 'On this august occasion, the Government of Ghana reiterates its profound gratitude to the ILO as this gesture reinforces our commitment to the promotion of tripartism, and social dialogue,' Mr Baffour Awuah stated. 'We are confident that the Bill, when passed into law, will deal comprehensively with the varying decent work deficits that characterise the employment sector. 'While issues of child labour, force labour, irregular labour migration and unfair labour practices will be address more comprehensively.' Mr Baffour Awuah said provisions would also be introduced to cater for the digital economy. This, he said was necessary considering that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was causing a shift in how they work, and the types of jobs organisations were engaging in; saying 'we must recognize that AI will not dismiss labour but complement it to enhance productivity in a competitive ecosystem'. He said the government of Ghana would leverage AI and institute appropriate regulatory framework to maximize its benefits and to improve decent work in the world of work. Mr Baffour Awuah reaffirmed Ghana's commitment towards a renewed social contract where effective partnerships and cooperations would be central. 'Collectively, we will overcome the challenges facing the labour market, promote inclusive growth and create a better future for all,' he added. Source: Ghana News Agency

Don’t meddle in Ghana’s electoral process, Burkinabe community told

Madam Justina Owusu-Banhene, the Bono Regional Minister has advised the Burkina Faso Community in the country not to meddle in the nation's politics as Election 2024 gather momentum. Nationals from Burkina Faso must not interfere in Ghana's electoral processes ahead of the December 7, Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, the Regional Minister stated when Mr David Kabre, the Burkina Faso Ambassador to Ghana paid a courtesy call on her in Sunyani. Madam Owusu-Banahene said although some Burkina Faso nationals had stayed in Ghana for years, their years of stay did not permit them to involve themselves in Ghana's electoral processes. She said the Election 2024 remained crucial and that the government and election stakeholders were doing everything possible to conduct a peaceful election and consolidate the gains of the country's democracy. Madam Owusu-Banahene said a violent free election would further pave the way for the Burkina Faso national to carry on and continue with their stay and economic activi ties in the country, hence the need for them to support to sustain and strengthen the prevailing peace of the nation. 'The country requires absolute peace and social cohesion for economic activities to progress and we need your support in that regard,' she told the Ambassador. Mr Kabre emphasised the embassy's commitment to strengthening the bilateral relations between Burkina Faso and Ghana for mutual benefit. He added his visit was to enable him to acquaint himself and explore the economic potential of the Bono Region. Source: Ghana News Agency

Minority request urgent Committee of the Whole Meeting with EC

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has requested an urgent Committee of the Whole Meeting with the Electoral Commission (EC). The Committee of the Whole is a meeting where both caucuses converge to discuss issues of national interest, usually behind closed doors without the media. 'Mr Speaker, the NDC Minority Caucus want to use this forum to demand an urgent committee of the whole to iron out grave concerns with the Electoral Commission before it is too late. 'It is therefore imperative that Parliament calls the Electoral Commission to order to save democracy and protect the peace and stability of our dear country,' the Minority Leader said. Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader made the request when he delivered his welcome address to the House on Tuesday. Parliament reconvened on Tuesday for the Third Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament. Dr Forson explained that the Caucus's request would serve as a Parliamentary oversight on the EC to prevent actions that would undermine any d emocratic process, to ensure peace and stability in the country. The Minority Leader's request was a result of him criticising the EC for its recent decisions, including the alleged barring and subsequent reversal of political party agents from the ongoing voter transfer process. According to Dr Forson, the EC lacked the independence to make such 'dangerous and outrageous' decisions adding that 'the Minority will not permit the EC to make decisions that could jeopardize the country's democracy.' He called for immediate actions to resolve the cited issues and safeguard the integrity of the electoral process. 'Mr Speaker, while we acknowledge that the Electoral Commission is an independent body, it must be pointed out in no uncertain terms to the Electoral Commission that it does not have the independence to make dangerous, ridiculous and outrageous decisions that can affect the peace and stability of our country and this democracy,' Dr Forson said on the Floor of the House. Source: Ghana News Agency

Speaker Bagbin tasks Committee to table report on Affirmative Action Bill before plenary

Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has tasked the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present and lay its report on the Affirmative Action and Gender Equality Bill, 2023, before plenary. 'This meeting is thus tight and challenging. That notwithstanding, Parliament is called upon to consider some critical legislation, motions, agreements and oversight responsibilities to deepen the democratic culture and to ensure a smooth transition to the Ninth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.' Speaker Bagbin tasked the committee on the resumption of the House from the Easter Recess; for the Third Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. 'The agenda for this meeting, therefore, includes urgent legislations for consideration. These are, and I will just mention a few - the Affirmative Action (and Gender Equality) Bill, 2023. Committee, this week, we want the report to be presented and laid, you have no excuse. This time around, you have no excuse.' The Speaker also cited the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the International Business or Economic Transactions, Bill, 2024; the Parliamentary Transition Bill, and the Budget Bill, as part of the 19 Bills at various Committee stages. Touching on the Parliamentary Transition Bill, Speaker Bagbin said the Bill was a very critical Bill for the august House to consider; saying 'and we need to get it through, so that we can have a better transitional arrangement put in place for the Ninth Parliament of the Fourth Republic'. Speaker Bagbin said the over 80 Bills yet to be presented to the House might have to be considered in due course. He said five instruments were before Committees, 72 more to be presented, 149 papers before various Committees, 59 more to be presented and some agreements, lined up to be passed or approved. He noted that copies of the agenda of the meeting would be given to every member of the House. 'This meeting is however proposed to end with the m onth of July, unless otherwise decided by the House. The weight of business to be considered by the House at this meeting is clearly immeasurable,' he stated. Source: Ghana News Agency

Ken Agyapong joins Bawumia’s campaign tour to electrify atmosphere at Suame

Mr Kennedy Agyapong, the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Tuesday joined Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party's Flagbearer, on his campaign tour of Suame - reinvigorating the political mood in the Ashanti Region According to an official press release issued to the Ghana News Agency, the 'charismatic MP made a grand entrance in Suame, a key industrial and commercial hub in Kumasi, thus, significantly boosting the morale of the Party's supporters.' 'The electrifying presence of Mr Agyapong is positive for the Party's quest to win the December 7 polls, as he addressed the enthusiastic crowd gathered in Suame,' it said. With his usual his fiery oratory style and vitality, Mr Agyapong is said to have set the stage for Dr. Bawumia to address the audience with his message of optimism. The NPP Flagbearer warmly welcomed Mr Agyapong to the campaign tour, emphasising the importance of unity within the Party to achieve the common goal of winning the 2024 Election. Vice President Bawumia h ighlighted his plans to continue driving economic growth, enhance technological infrastructure, and create job opportunities in the Ashanti Region and across the country. 'As a testament to their camaraderie and shared vision, Dr.Bawumia extended an invitation to Mr Agyapong to visit Suame Magazine, the largest industrial area in Kumasi, known for its vibrant auto repairs and engineering businesses,' the release said. The Suame Magazine symbolises the industrious spirit of the Ashanti people. The visit aimed to underscore the commitment of the party to support local industries and small businesses, the release said. 'The appearance of both Dr. Bawumia and Mr Agyapong in Suame has undoubtedly galvanised support among the Party's supporters and sympathisers, setting a positive tone for the ongoing campaign,' it said. 'The duo coming together to campaign after they competed for the Party's flagbearership slot has exemplified the collaborative spirit within the Elephant family and their collective ambition t o drive Ghana towards a brighter future.' Source: Ghana News Agency