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Speaker recalls MPs for urgent sitting

Members of Parliament have been recalled by the Speaker of Parliament for an urgent sitting in the New Year.

The recall is based on Clause 3 of Article112 of the Constitution and Order 38 of the Standing Order of Parliament.

Director of Public Affairs, Jones Kugblenu told Joy News the Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho has summoned Parliament to sit on 6th January 2014.

He also explained that the recall is not out of place because the last sitting was adjourned sine die: without fixing a date.

Though he said the legislators are expected to “consider some matters that have come before [Parliament]”, he would not disclose what would be deliberated on.

When members of the house reconvened, the Speaker of Parliament would make it known why he has recalled them, he said.

It is likely the MPs may sit for more than a day, but Mr Kugblenu said that would depend on “how business goes” on the 6th of January.

Let’s encourage initiation of Private Member’s Bill

Ghana’s Fourth Republican Parliament is now 21 years old and it has become a toast of Africa and the rest of the world. The country has now earned an accolade as the bastion of democracy in Africa.

There cannot be any meaningful democracy without Parliament. That is why during the era of military dictatorship in Africa, both the executive and the judiciary were always in place to perform their executive and judicial functions.

Even though Parliament has different functions such as oversight responsibility, investigative function, it is known worldwide that the main function of every Parliament is to make laws.

For the past 21 years, various laws have been enacted to ensure the development of the country. But all those laws have emanated from the Executive.

Ghanaians are watching keenly to see when one of our country’s lawmakers will be bold to present a bill to Parliament to be passed into a law.

That will be a boost to Ghana’s democratic credentials.

That is why I had mixed feelings, as someone who have been following events in the legislature for some years now, when the Ugandan Parliament passed two bills last week to regulate the conduct of the Ugandan society.

On December 20, 2014, the Ugandan Parliament passed a bill to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment in some cases.

The anti-homosexuality bill also makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment not to report anybody engaged in gay activities.

Even though the prime minister opposed the vote to pass the bill with an explanation that not enough (Members of Parliament) MPs were present, that could not deter the House from passing the bill.

The international community is, however, waiting to see whether President Yoweri Museveni will accent to the bill and pass it into law.

According to the BBC report, the Private Member\’s Bill originally proposed the death penalty for some offences such as, if a minor was involved or the perpetrator was HIV-positive, but this has been replaced with life imprisonment.

Another bill, the Anti-Pornography Bill, passed in Uganda about a week ago, bans the wearing of mini skirts and the use of sexually suggestive materials such as some music videos.

During the Second Meeting of Ghana’s Parliament, security officials at the MP’s entrance of the Chamber Block of Parliament prevented a daughter of one of the MPs from entering the House because of the provocative mini skirt that the teenager was wearing.

That is not all. It has become common for females, particulary those with light skin, to troop into the House with their mini skirts.

During the Fifth Parliament, the Member of Parliament for Kintampo North, Mr Stephen Kunsu, made a profound statement on the floor of the House to express concern about the wearing of mini skirts that had become so common in the Ghanaian society.

Well, it is important to note that the bill on the ban of mini skirts in Uganda was not initiated by the government. It was presented to the House by a Member of Parliament.

The MP behind the bill, David Bahati, told the AFP News Agency: “This is victory for Uganda. I am glad that Parliament has voted against evil.”

A bill initiated by a Member of Parliament is known as the Private Member’s Bill and we are yet to see one in our Parliament since i the past 21 years that Ghana returned to constitutional rule.

I am told that the former President John Agyekum Kufuor initiated a bill during the Second Republic but that did not see the light of the day while the Domestic Violence Bill, even though started as a Private Member’s Bill, was adopted by the government.

I do not know the constitutional provision of Uganda that had emboldened MPs to present bills to Parliament. What I am, however, certain is the fact that constitutional provisions make it extremely difficult for MPs to present Private Member’s Bill in Parliament.

Article 108 has been crafted to tie the hands of MPs and until it is amended, it will be extremely difficult for any MP to attempt to introduce a bill to the House.

The article read thus: Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or a motion is introduced by, or on behalf of the President
(a) proceed upon a bill including an amendment to a bill, that, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following-

• the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation or otherwise than by reduction;

• the imposition of a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana or the alteration of any such charge otherwise that reduction; or

• the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or public funds of Ghana of any moneys not charged on the Consolidated Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal or

(b) proceed upon a motion, including an amendment to a motion, the effect of which in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of the purposes specifically specified in paragraph (a) of this article.

It is my conviction that when the impending amendment of some sections and article of the Constitution will cater for this provision to make our MPs versatile in the conduct of their duties so that they can learn from the example of the counterpart in Uganda.

Ghana’s democracy has come of Ghana and there is need for us to inject dynamism into the work of out honourable men by amending laws that will make them talkers and hinder them from going the next step to come out with their own laws to seek solutions for what they discuss in the House.

In many cases, MPs discuss statements made on the floor of the House but the only action they are able to take is to refer the matter to the sector minister concerned, but I am of the opinion that the House should by itself make some laws to compel the Executive to act in some situations.

Our Parliament must be empowered by the Constitution to become the bastion of democracy in Africa and beyond.


Widows must re-marry – Hon. Akandoh

Giving presents at Christmas goes back to the gift giving days of the Magi, the wise men who presented gifts to Jesus when he was born. They were led by the Holy Spirit to follow the eastern star to Bethlehem…

It is in the same spirit that Golden Pod Radio, MTN and Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Juabeso Constituency in the Western Region have donated gift items and cash to some widows in and around the District.

In an interview with PEACEFMONLINE.COM after the presentation, Hon. Mintah Akandoh disclosed that he noticed that no widower came to the occasion despite the fact that invitations were extended to them.

He revealed that upon interaction with some of the widows, “it came to light that the widowers are able to remarry after the death of their wives, whereas most widows slip into misery and depression which they find difficult to get out of”.

“…based on this, I advised them to marry again if they can because companionship could make them live long,” he said.

According to the NDC MP, the widows were also counseled to take keen interest in the education of their wards to ensure they grow up to be responsible Ghanaian citizens.

Hon. Kwabena Mintah Akandoh also hinted of similar gesture towards the physically challenged in the District, come early next year.


Explore self-employment as an option – Ablakwa

The Deputy Minister of Education, in charge of Tertiary, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has advised graduates from tertiary institutions to explore various avenues to create employment for themselves.

Mr Ablakwa said self-employment should be the option for the unemployed, especially graduates, to contribute to national development since the formal, public and private sectors were unable to absorb the high number of graduates every year.

He gave the advice at the Ninth Congregation of the Kumasi Polytechnic (K-Poly).

2,255 students graduated with Bachelor and Diploma degrees in Civil Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Business Management, Applied Science, Computer Science, Built and Natural Environment among others.

Two of the grandaunts, Mustapha Murphy Mubarak and Abdul Rasheed, have set up a joint venture christened “Positive Carry Breakfast,” to provide breakfast for workers in the Kumasi Metropolis who often skipped their breakfast in the house.

Mr Ablakwa lauded K-Poly for setting up the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development and the Business Incubation Unit to impact critical skills of entrepreneurship in students.

He urged them to also identify and solve problems to add up to the socio-economic development of Ghana, saying; “every obstacle is an opportunity for an entrepreneurship, thus, by so doing, you would not only meet your needs but those of others”.

Professor Nicholas Nicodamus Nana Nsowah-Nuamah, Rector of the Polytechnic, said a 300-acre land has been acquired at Kuntenase, through Government’s public-private partnership, for the development of the main campus to contain the growing population.

Among dignitaries at the function were the Akyempimhene of Kumasi, Oheneba Adusei Poku, and Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister.


CJ should speak to her Judges – Titus Glover

Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, Tema East Member of Parliament of the opposition New Patriotic Party has thrown his weight behind the Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Mr. Andrew Awuni, the initiator of a law-suit against the sale of SSNIT\’s 90% stake in Merchant Bank to Fortiz Private Equity Fund Limited.

Mr. Awuni, last week, initiated legal action against the Bank of Ghana (BOG) over the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Private Equity Fund Limited. He described the sale agreement as shrouded in secrecy and therefore sought for an injunction to prevent the parties from taking further action to complete the sale from the court of law.

But the Commercial Division of the High court, presided by Mrs. Justice Sophia Rosetta Benasko Essah, dismissed the law suit on Wednesday and ruled that he lacked the capacity to challenge the deal.

However, Hon. Titus-Glover has hinted that he will confer with his lawyers and ensure that the sale of SSNIT\’s 90% stake is averted.

According to him, it is not in the interest of SSNIT’s clients to dispose of its stake in the deal. He therefore called on the nation to lead a crusade against the sale of the Bank to Fortiz since, to him, the deal smacks of illegal practices.

He further implored Chief Justice, Theodora Georgina Wood to “find a way to speak to her Judges because they are not helping the cause of the ordinary Ghanaian.”


Let NPP elders dare….I’ll reclaim all my monies – Ken Agyapong

The Council of Elders of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have come under a deluge of criticism for displaying, what many deem as bias in dealing with members who have allegedly brought the party into disrepute.

This assertion stems from the fact that Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku has been summoned before the highest advisory body in the party for questioning, following his call for a change in the party leadership, whereas, Hon. Ken Agyapong, the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, who is also one of the major financiers of the party, is ‘walking free’ after describing the entire hierarchy of the party as “thieves and corrupt”.

Dr. Apraku appeared before the Council of Elders on Tuesday, and that led to the clarion call for Hon. Agyapong to also be subpoenaed reaching a crescendo, but the Assin Central MP has stated that anybody who dares call him should be ready to cough up $1.5million.

According to him, the party would be “sorry” to invite him for questioning since he is currently being pressured by his Chinese partners to pay up the balance of $2.5million worth of party paraphernalia he credited in the run-up to the 2012 general elections.

“I have not had any invitation but if they start with that, they (the party Elders) would be sorry because I just spoke to my partner in China….who are those calling me? I will not honour the call of any of the National Executive. I want neutral people….What would happen if I leave the party?…I will ensure I recover my monies before I leave”.

“…tell them, if they are listening. They should make $1 million ready before they call me or else, I will not mind them…if they joke with me they will see what I’ll do to them. I am ready to leave the party. I don’t care but I’ll reclaim my money before I leave because it is destroying my business,” the out-spoken NPP stalwart fumed on NEAT FM.

He made these comments in response to a message posted on the FACEBOOK WALL of a popular member of the party, Iddrisu Musah Superior. The activist and patriot of the NPP based in the United Kingdom also called for the sanctioning of the Assin Central MP for his attack on the party leadership in the absence of which the Council of Elders will come across as unfair.

But Hon. Agyapong pointed out that such comments are what would bring the party down to its knees.

“…just look at what they are pontificating about?….They will collapse the party. Hypocrites…they are the ones who will bring down the NPP,” he opined.


Parliament passes 2014 Appropriation Act

Parliament on Wednesday, prior to going on recess, passed the Appropriation Act for the 2014 financial year, committing a sum of GH¢36,170,983,663.00 from the Consolidated Fund for government to meet its financial obligations for the year.

This allocation is almost twice of the 2013 allocation of GH¢3,344,571,086.00.

The Appropriation Act also makes provision for the sum of GH¢6, 498,022,790.00 to be allocated to the District Assemblies Common Fund, Ghana Education Trust Fund, National Health Insurance Fund, Road Fund Petroleum related Fund and Transfers to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation from the oil revenue in the 2014 financial year.

Earlier before the passage of the Act, the Finance Committee of Parliament urged the Finance Minister to ensure timely releases of these allocations since the Funds are committed to various projects and programmes, delays of which would have adverse effect on their smooth implementation and completion

The House is expected to reconvene on 28th January 2014 for the Fourth meeting of the Sixth Parliament.


Tano North MP urges men to assist their wives to examine their breast

Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Member of Parliament for Tano North, has appealed to men to assist their wives to undertake self-breast examination for cancer detection.

“Men should not use the breast for pleasures alone, but also help their wives to undertake periodic self-breast examination,” she said,

Mrs Prempeh said this at a breast screening exercise on some women at Bomaa in the Tano North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The exercise, organised by the Breast Care International, a non-governmental organization, was initiated by the MP. More than 700 women and girls were screened.

Mrs Prempeh said the rare at which breast and cervical cancers were spreading and killing women in the country was very sad and needed a radical approach in tackling.

She said since men were the head and had authoritative powers in the nuclear family line, they ought not to only provide the materials needs but also spiritual and the health needs of the family members.

Mrs Prempeh said when women got infected with chronic illness, it affected the entire family and that necessitated the importance for men to be concerned about the well-being of their wives.

She said early detection was a major headway in controlling the breast and other related cancers.

Mrs Adwoa Afriyie Beniako, Public Relation Officer of Breast Care International, said the exercise was aimed at empowering women and girls to examine their own breasts.

She said it was recommended that aside breast cancer detection, it was appropriate women and girls undertook regular breast examination at least once a year.

This, Mrs Afriyie said, would also help them to discover abnormality in the breast and go for prompt medical examination.

She mentioned sharp pains and regular itching of the breast as well as discharge of blood from the nipples as some of the signs of breast cancer adding that if not detected earlier, the cancer spread faster to the lungs, heart, bone and the brain resulting in death.

Mrs Afriyie said breast cancer could affect any person at the age of 16 and above including men, adding that two percent of the disease was among men.


Parliament goes on recess

Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho has charged Members of Parliament as part of their New Year resolution to ensure they put out a good conduct in the House during the next session of Parliament on January 2014.

He said the MPs must resolve to assist the Chair run business in Parliament devoid of unruly acts that affect smooth proceedings in the House.

The Speaker gave the admonition on Thursday, at the end of the Third Meeting of the Sixth Parliament. The House rose on recess for the Christmas break and is expected to reconvene on the 28th January 2014.

He commended the Legislators for the commitment and cooperation especially when the House had to extend sittings to enable certain pressing issues to be dealt with. He also thanked the Clerks and the Parliamentary Service Staff for their efficient work that has made the just ended session a success.

Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho further expressed gratitude to the Parliamentary Press Corp for the comprehensive coverage of proceedings in the House which brought Parliament to the door steps of the citizenry.


NPP will remain united to win 2016 elections – Dan Botwe

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Okere, Dan Botwe is confident the party will come out stronger and united after its national delegates congress in March 2014.

According to him, skeptics praying for a divided NPP ahead of the 2016 general elections would be proven wrong after their congress.

Dan Botwe was reacting to the seeming confusion that has rocked the ongoing polling station and constituency elections in the party.

Though some constituencies in the Ashanti, Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Greater Accra regions have been successful in electing their new leaders, some aggrieved contestants and their loyalists are in court challenging the process.

Political pundits have warned the NPP risk losing the 2016 elections if the infighting is not nipped in the bud.

Pollster, Ben Ephson maintains that “the NPP is sowing a seed of disunity which they will harvest in 2016”.

But on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Monday, Dan Botwe said detractors are deliberately blowing the seeming disunity in the party out of proportion.

He intimated that the noise about a supposed division in the party is a well orchestrated agenda by some political opponents to rundown the NPP.

Dan Botwe who is a former General Secretary of the NPP observed the bickering in the party is nothing new because it is part of the democratic process.

“Even during church elections there are problems so there is nothing wrong with NPP expereincing some squabbles. Orgainzing elections in 26 thousand polling stations is a herculean task” he added.

This notwithstanding, the Okere MP said as pacesetters of democracy, the NPP has the ability to manage internal wrangling to ensure all hands come on deck for victory 2016.

Dan Botwe urged members of the NPP not be perturbed but work assiduously for a landslide victory in 2016.

Source: Myjoyonline.com