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I am confident of victory in North Tongu – Okudjeto

Incumbent Member of Parliament for the North Tongu Constituency in the Volt Region, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, has told Citi News he is extremely confident of victory in the upcoming parliamentary primaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Speaking on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News on Citi FM, the Deputy Education Minister in charge of Tertiary Education said the development projects he has spearheaded for the constituency in the last three years, are enough to win the trust of his constituents.

Notwithstanding the challenging task of combining his ministerial and parliamentary duties, the young MP said he is ready to serve for many more years in parliament.

“I want to go again because my people want me to continue to represent them. The great people of North Tongu have seen what we have done over the last three years; and they are very impressed and they believe that there is more to be done, and so why change somebody who fulfills his promises. In addition, you know the chiefs have honored me and so I do not want to disappoint my people by saying that I want to pull out. Every job is demanding but once you are in it; and that is the calling you have, you should be up for it. Moreover, I am always excited about the opportunity to serve and that is something I have done since my student days”.

Mr. Okudjeto says regardless of the achievements achieved in the last three years, a lot more needs to be done.

“I see North Tongu as a constituency that for a long time has been neglected. My predecessors have done their best and I have a lot of respect for them. However, the constituents believe that they are now seeing the dividends of voting for the NDC. For the first time, 180 communities have been connected to electricity; we have distributed 10,500 meters for free; in education, we are benefitting from some community day schools. Two major roads have been completed with two others under construction. Other roads need attention, which is why I am contesting to lobby for them to be constructed. Therefore, we have done a lot but much more needs to be done” he emphasized.

Mr. Okudjeto, who will be facing competition from two other contenders in the impending primaries, maintains he is the favorite for the slot.
“I am very confident of victory. In my electoral life, I have never been a walkover in any election whether in student or national politics. I seem to have overwhelming endorsement from the youth, the queen mothers, the women, the youth and even my colleague ministers and deputies. Therefore, I am motivated to do more so that we can continue to improve the living conditions of the people”.

He added, “I believe that it is for the people to decide and so I do not want to make a call because I do not know the future. If the people want me to go on and even serve for five or six terms, it depends on them. Power belongs to the people; but today I am very grateful to the almighty God for what he has helped me achieve as Member of Parliament in North Tongu”.


Public is bashing us too much – Speaker tells MPs

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho has expressed worry about the public’s continuous uncomplimentary remarks about Members of Parliament (MP) and the legislature.

He has therefore urged the law makers to critically assess themselves and turn a new leaf, especially, with regards to how they interact with their constituents and other people in the society.

He made this observation when he welcomed Members to the House this afternoon after almost three months break from in-house work.

The legislature has in recent times come under scrutiny with a cross-section of the public making allegations of misconduct against its Members.

Some have even gone beyond to level allegations of corruption against the legislature.

A fortnight ago, former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof. Stephen Adai made a startling revelation alleging that MPs take bribes and solicit same for their girlfriends.

“Now if you want Parliament to pass anything else, not only do you go to the committee and bribe them …but after they have gotten their share, they ask you where is our laptops in other words you have not made provision for their girlfriends,” he was quoted as saying by myjoyonline.com.

But the Speaker commenting further urged the members to be circumspect about the way the conduct themselves in public since anything contrary to a good behavior affects the dignity of the House.

“Hon members are aware that in recent times the House has been at the receiving end of uncomplimentary remarks which has the potential to impair the image of Parliament. It is rather unfortunate that these comments are coming in at a time when this House has opened its doors so to respond more to the needs of the citizenry.”

“Although members may be disappointed with the current state of affairs, I would appeal to you to consider this development to undertake an introspection regarding the effectiveness of your engagement with the public and other stakeholders to prevent such attacks on the House in the future.”

Mr. Adjaho announced to Members that the House’s Code of Conduct and Standing Orders have undergone review and would soon be laid on the floor for consideration and adoption.

“I strongly believe these two documents – the Code of Conduct and the operational manual will go a long way to guide the conduct of our members and the entire House in the performance of their duties.”

He also announced the establishment of a Scrutiny Office, an independent body that will assist the House in the performance of its functions.

That aside, he said the Parliamentary Service Board has also approved the establishment of a Parliamentary Training Institute that will help upgrade the knowledge levels of members of the legislature as far as parliamentary democracy is concerned.

NDC primaries slows Parliamentary work

The upcoming presidential and parliamentary primaries of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Wednesday had a telling effect on Parliament when the legislature was forced to adjourn its sitting to Thursday because of the absence of some key members.

The members, some of who are Ministers of State and chairmen of various committees and representing the NDC on the Majority side of the House were scheduled to move various motions on the floor for the advancement of the government business but were absent.

For instance, Chairman of the Finance Committee, James Klutse Avedzi who was expected to move the motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the 2013 Reconciliation Report on the Petroleum Holding Fund was absent.

Mr. Avedzi is seeking for re-election on the ticket of the NDC for Ketu South Constituency.

Dr. Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State In-Charge of Public Sector Reform who was also scheduled to present a paper on the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Adminsitration was also not present.

Dr. Pelpuo is seeking for re-election as the NDC parliamentary candidate for Wa Central Constituency.

Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu acted in his absence.

Mahama Ayariga, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who is seeking for re-election as NDC parliamentary candidate for Bawku Central was also expected to present a Paper on the Host Country Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Gfhana and the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) Regarding the Establishment of a sub-Regional Office of CAB International in Ghana but was absent.

Minister of Defence, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor acted on his behalf.

That aside, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who was scheduled to move the motion for adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on the Regulation of Residential Homes for Children (Orphanages) by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) was also absent.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu, MP for Dormaa West is a member of the Minority side of the House.

Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho who was not enthused about the turn of events feared the situation if allowed to continue would impact negatively on the performance of the House.

He has therefore urged the leaders (both Majority and Minority) to institute measures to curtail the challenge they are being confronted with.

“I called the House so that we can come and transact business so that in the face of the challenges because of the primaries of the majority, how that will not affect the business of the House. We should not deceive ourselves. We are confronted with serious challenges during this meeting. So, I want us to find ways and means of trying to put things together,” he said.

He also proposed bringing inviting some former leaders of the House to bring their expertise to onboard to help address the challenge.

REVEALED: NPP MPs kicked against Afoko suspension decision

It has now emerged that the New Patriotic Party’s (NEC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that slapped an indefinite suspension on the party’s National Chairman, Paul Afoko last Friday on grounds of misconduct was without their Parliamentary Caucus.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Denkyira West, Benjamin Ayeh, who confirmed this to Yaa Serwaa Akoto on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.3 FM Monday, said the decision was very strategic because the Caucus wanted to stay neutral in the feud that rocked the party.

“Prior to the meeting, the Parliamentary Caucus met at our leader’s office and we all agreed not to be part of the said meeting. We came to that conclusion after a thorough deliberation over the subject matter. Key amongst them is the legalities surrounding the First National Vice-Chairman who chaired the meeting.We also agreed that we should stay in the middle so that when the need arises for us to settle the matter amicably, we can be in pole position to talk to the feuding factions for peace to prevail,” he said.

Mr. Ayeh further told Serwaa Akoto that if the Parliamentary Caucus does not conduct themselves well, they may be accused of taking sides in the matter, a situation he said will make it very difficult for them to find a common ground to the impasse that has rocked the party.

Inside sources said the meeting was also without the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the party, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, former President Kufuor among others.

To Mr. Ayeh, the indefinite suspension of Mr. Afoko was unfortunate, preferring instead an amicable solution to the dispute that has divided the rank and file of the party.

Parliament reconvenes Tuesday; 2016 Budget top on agenda

Members of Parliament are expected to return to the legislature on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, to begin the Third Meeting of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic after a long break.

The Meeting which will last for about nine weeks will see the legislators’ debate, consider and approve various policy documents, some of which are currently before them.

Key among the government’s business to be considered and approved is the 2016 Financial Policy Statement which will be presented on the floor by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper.

Twenty five Bills which are currently at table would also be presented. They are the Ghana School of Law Bill, Legal Service Bill, Road Safety Bill, Tax Administration Bill and the Electronic Communication Bill among others.

A statement from the Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo said thirteen Bills that are currently at the Committee level would still be worked on.

They include; Companies Bill, 2013; Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill; Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill, 2015; Ghana Aids Commission Bill; and Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill among others.

Ten Bills including Conduct of Public Offers Bill, 2013, Intestate Succession Bill, 2013 and Right to Information Bill, 2013 that are at Consideration state would also receive much attention by the legislature.

During the Meeting, twenty five (25) other instruments will be presented aside the five that are already at the Committee Level.

Forty (40) Papers would also be presented to the House for consideration in addition to nine Motions that have been tabled for debate.

Eighty eight (88) other referrals of Bills that are the Committee would also receive attention.

According to the Public Affairs of Parliament, the Meeting would also see the MPs move into the newly refurbished Job 600 offices.

During the period, Ghana would host the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference which is expected to take off from November 2-6, 2015.

The conference would bring various Speakers, Presiding Officers among many others from eighteen (18) African countries together in Accra. The Gambia would also be participating in the Conference.

The Nine Lessons and a Carol would also be held on December 16, 2015.

NPP lacks cohesion, direction to lead Ghana – Haruna Iddrisu

Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu says the New Patriotic Party lacks national cohesion and direction and therefore has no intention to better the lives of Ghanaians.

He said Ghanaians are not ready to experiment with a political party and its leaders who cannot put their house in order.

“It is self evident today and broadly accepted that the NPP is unelectable party for a very long time. It is a party that lacks national unity, cohesion and direction and therefore has no national purpose; we are not looking for experimentation.

“As for President Mahama and Nana Addo there is a gap of difference in their personality, their judgment and compassion, Nana Addo is just the opposite of president Mahama in all those styles”, he said.

Mr. Iddrisu was addressing the tertiary and educational institutional, network of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Nyakpala campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) during a swearing in ceremony.

The Tamale South legislator who is also the Employment and Labor Relations minister also said the NDC is the only political party in the 4th Republic with unparalleled record of access to higher education in the history of the country.

This he says has been made evident through with the establishment of the UDS for the people of the Northern, Upper East, and West Regions of the country, the University for Allied Health in the Volta Region, among others.

The NDC according to him, is the political party with the most open, viable and democratic credentials to uphold the tenets of equality of the law and equality of opportunities for all its members.

Although the Employment and Labor Relations Minister admitted to challenges in the management of the national economy, he said that has not discouraged President Mahama and the NDC government from embarking on developmental projects that will change the lives of Ghanaians.

He added that critics who think the current economic challenges have come to stay will soon be disappointed.

He made references to some projects that government has borrowed monies from the international market to initiate for infrastructure transformation, the $100 million works on upgrade of the Tamale airport to an international airport; $38 million Tamale teaching hospital phase one; $172 million Kejetia Market; $1billion Atuabu gas project, roads infrastructure among other tall lists of projects in the country that he said are visible for Ghanaian to see.

The newly elected members of TEIN were later sworn in by the Tamale south MP with the challenge to recover the Tolon seat back to the NDC from the NPP.

Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP launches campaign

Mr Frank Annoh Dompreh, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would surely win the 2016 elections.

He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had failed Ghanaians in all aspects of their lives, especially the erratic electricity power supply, “Dumsor”, which had destroyed many properties running into billions of Ghana Cedis.

He said there were no job opportunities for the youth, and this had led to the rise in crime in society.

Mr Annoh Dompreh made the assertion in an interview with newsmen after he had launched his campaign on the theme: “Agenda 80/20,” at Nsawam.

He said during President Agyekum Kufuor’s regime, there were no power outages, and expressed the belief that the administration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NPP flagbearer, would make power supply stable when he won the 2016 elections.

The MP said they had already started house-to-house campaign to woo the electorate to vote for Nana Akufo-Addo, to enable him to save the national economy.

“Don’t listen to the NDC’s sugar-coated promises, vote buying and their propaganda,” he said.

Mr Samuel Ayeh Paye, the MP for Ayensuano in the Coaltar District, who who was among the dignitaries at the function, said Nana Akufo-Addo was the saviour of the nation, and therefore Ghanaians should vote for him.

The over 5,000 supporters and executives of the NPP from Koforidua, Nsawam and Adoagyiri went on a peaceful walk through the principal streets of Nsawam and Adoagyiri.

They sang a song, saying, “Domsor would stop in 2017 when Nana Addo wins the 2016 elections to save Ghanaians from hardships.”

Parliament to approve November 7 voting da

Parliament has given the strongest indication of aiding in the processes required to change the voting date for general elections.

The Electoral Commission has moved the Election Day, a month earlier to allow smooth transition.
That means voting will take place on November 7 instead of December 7.

Parliament will play a crucial role in finally changing the date when the House resumes sitting.

The chairman for parliamentary select committee on subsidiary legislation O.B Amoah told Starr News the move is a step in the right direction.

“It will take us about five months to amend the constitution to accommodate the change but thankfully, that provision of the constitution is not entrenched.

“So the executive, specifically the Attorney General will have to bring the amendment to parliament. We all seem to agree that it’s time to change the date to allow for run-offs, especially for the presidential elections and handovers. You wouldn’t want the entire process to be conscripted,” he said.

REJOINDER: Hannah Tetteh, Humado among top five absentees in Parliament

My attention has been drawn to a feature story captioned as above and carried by the graphic.com.gh website and a host of other news portals on 18 September, 2015.

I hereby wish to correct the wrong impression the story has created.

The report wrongly cited me as part of the parliamentarians who during the 1st meeting of 2014, were absent without permission from 15 sittings. Mrs Della Sowah MP for Kpandoh and myself (Sulemana Alijata Gbentie) were captured in that assessment.

It is regrettable that the said Researcher, allegedly a University student outside the bounds of this country, could unfortunately use few periods to discredit my punctuality in the chamber.

The wrong data collated and analysed by a certain Sagoe-Moses known to be the researcher of this findings with further publications on another online website odekro.org has furnished my constituents and Ghanaians at large with a report that is not only inaccurate but malicious.

The facts

It may be of interest to note that during the period under review, I was on a parliament sponsored trip to Israel to represent the state in the Political Empowerment of Women Programme.

The programme organized by the State of Israel was in collaboration with the UN Women Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO).

It was scheduled between 3-27 February, 2014.

I wish to state that nothing justifies my absence from parliament at each sitting, except in instances where I am on official assignment or indisposed which I always notify the Speaker, as and when it’s necessary.

I am fully aware of the serious implication of continuous absenteeism from parliament without the written permission of the Rt Hon Speaker. I therefore seek to establish that I wouldn’t dare act in such an irresponsible manner as an Honourable member of Ghana’s legislature, as highlighted in Article 97 clause 1 ( c ) which states that, any MP who is absent, without the written permission of the Speaker from 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament and is unable to offer a reasonable explanation for his absence to Parliament’s privileges committee must vacate his or her seat.

Sulemana Alijata Gbentie

Sissala East Constituncy (MP)

Nobody can force me to retire from politics – E.T Mensah

Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo/Prampram has said he would not retire from politics despite his number of years as a parliamentarian.

He said; “the calling for my departure by my opponent, Mr Samuel George Nartey in the constituency primary election for being an MP for years is nothing to write home about because I am going to win hands down.”

Mr Mensah, who made the remarks at the launch of his campaign, said; “I have been a father to the people for the past years. Am a caring person who does not look down upon people.”

He told the citizens to vote for him for more development projects in the communities, adding that, he would lobby investors to the area to create job opportunities for them.

He said his contestant has nothing to offer the people when given the chance.

The MP said after winning the primary he would continue to defeat the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Mr Sylvester Mathew Tetteh in the 2016 parliamentary election.