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NPP will not condemn Ken Agyapong for attacking EC Boss

Deputy Communications Director of the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Anthony Abayifa Karbo has said the party will not condemn its eccentric Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Ken Agyepong for insisting that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei was appointed in exchange for sex.

According to him, Ken Agyepong does not speak for the NPP and as such his comments does not represent the party’s position.

The foul-mouthed Legislator during the campaign launch of the Asokwa MP, Patricia Apeagyei on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the EC Boss alleging that she did not secure her position based on competence and merit.

Agyapong said some highly placed officials in government told Osei to “bring your buttocks in exchange of EC Chair position.”

He also said; ‘if indeed Nana Addo (the party’s running mate) wins according to the pink sheets and Charlotte Osei dares to rig the elections by twisting our arms in favour of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), we will not allow it to happen in Ghana.”

The maverick’s politician’s comment has been greeted with huge flak by a section of the public who believe the MP has debased womanhood with his unfortunate utterances and must be roundly condemned.

There have been calls on the NPP to public condemn the party financier but the “Elephant family” is yet to comment on the issue.

However speaking to Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM Tuesday, Anthony Karbo who’s also the Parliamentary Candidate for Lawra insisted that in as much as he opposes such attacks on women, he disagrees with such calls for the NPP to speak on the matter.

“I don’t think the party needs to come into this matter and I don’t think the party will go into this matter…the party shouldn’t. I don’t have evidence to what Ken is alleging, maybe he has. The media must call him and demand of him the evidence he has to his allegation. He may well be able to produce it.”

Karbo, noted that the ruling NDC must not be hypocritical on this matter as absolutely nothing was heard from the party when non NDC women supporters were attacked in such manner.

“When the NDC’s Halidu Haruna said unmarried women above 30 years are prostitutes the party was out there supporting him. When Ursula Owusu suffered verbal attacks no highly placed woman in government such as Gender Minister, Nana Oye Lithur said a word about that.”

Ghanamps.com/Kwadwo Anim

Parliament begins process to change voting day

Parliament on Tuesday started the process to amend the date set out in the 1992 Constitution for the conduct of Ghana’s general elections.

This follows the laying of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on the floor of the House by the Deputy Attorney-General.

The Bill seeks to amend Article 112(4) of the Constitution to make provision for Parliamentary elections to be held well ahead of the expiration of the tenure of Parliament to ensure an effective and smooth transition.

It is also seeking to change the date for the conduct of Ghana’s general elections from December 7 to the first Monday of November in an election year.

The proposed new date fits into the Electoral Commission’s schedule for this year’s elections.

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, presiding over the sitting of the House referred the document to the Council of State for advice.

The Council of State has within 30 days upon receipt of the document to make their input and refer it back to Parliament for consideration and adoption.

Currently, the date set aside in respect of the conduct of both Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country is December 7 while swearing-in of the President takes place on January 7 in the ensuing year.

However, the one month period for the transition of one government to the other, has over the years proved insufficient for a smooth transition particularly, in instances where there is a run-off election as was the case in 2000 and 2008.

It is believed that the new proposed date will address challenges associated with the conduct of the country’s general elections.

The deputy A-G is convinced that holding the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in November would allow for sufficient time between elections and the handing over of power to an incoming government.

He is also convinced that the proposed new date would ensure smooth transition of power and reduce acrimony as well as prevent the chaotic situation whereby former Ministers of State are recalled to provide information to the in-coming Government on matters of the State.

Ghana will plunge into anarchy if Mahama wins election – Agyapong

Eccentric Legislator Kennedy Agyapong has warned that Ghana will be plunged into anarchy if the Electoral Commission tries to cheat the NPP Presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.

He has vowed that the largest opposition party will not allow the EC to declare President John Mahama winner of the election, if there is sufficient proof that Nana Akufo-Addo is the right of the November election.

Addressing a crowd of NPP supporters in Kumasi, the Assin North MP also accused the Chairperson of Electoral Commission of exchanging her womanhood for the position.

“If Charlotte declares Mahama winner, that day; make nobody make a mistake, Liberians were peaceful, Sierra Leoneans were peaceful but when they got to that point….all die be die,” he charged .

He continued: “If she attempts to steal the vote, if they haven’t thought of it, they should. If the pink sheet suggests that Nana Addo has won and they try to declare Mahama winner; it will never happen. That day, if you are pastor stay home, if you are not a man, stay home, we will fight to defend this country. I am confident Ghanaians will vote for the NPP but the electoral commission has decided to cheat us. As the judges said, we will not allow them to plunge this country into chaos”.

Ghana goes to the polls in November to elect a president and parliamentarians in an election which promises to be keenly contested between the largest opposition NPP and ruling NDC.

NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo who has lost in two consecutive elections is poised this time around to unseat President John Mamaha who beat him 2012. He had earlier been beaten by the late John Atta Mills in 2008.

Ghanamps.com/Kwadwo Anim

Asking ‘expired’ UEW council to stay on illegal – Afenyo Markin

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu Constituency says the central government’s directive asking the Council of the University of Education, Winneba to stay on despite its expired term of office is illegal.

Afenyo Markins says the University of Education, Winneba Act 672 clearly stipulates the tenure of office of the Council and this cannot be subjected to the whims of any sitting government.

“A central government directive or presidential directive cannot take precedence over express provisions of the law,” he said.

In her response to questions on the floor of Parliament on June 23, the Education Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang disclosed the Council, whose term of office expired in November 2013, will act till a substantive one is sworn-in.

She explained challenges facing the education sector coupled with the election petition in 2013 resulted in the decision by the central government to have the Council act till a new one is established.

“We were all aware of a number of challenges that were going on legally regarding the elections and so on. So the directive came from the central government that all councils whose terms were going to expire should hold on,” she told the House.

“There were not extensions but they were mandated to carry on with their responsibilities until new councils were established,” she added.

But the outspoken NPP legislator said there is no way the government can justify its directive giving backing to an illegality.

“You cannot by any means find a way of getting somebody whose tenure has expired to stay on,” he said.
He ridiculed the sector minister’s claim that the 2013 election petition contributed to the directive of the government.

“The election petition was determined way back in August 2013 and the tenure of the Council expired in November 2013 so it cannot be it,” he said.

Institute job quotas for PWDs in public sector – Ursula to govt.

Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has urged the government to institute a quota system for employing People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the public sector.

She also wants the government to provide tax and some other incentives for the private sector to employ more qualified PWDs.

“They beg for a living not because they want to but because they have no other means for sustenance. They deserve the right to live and work in dignity and we can do more improve the living conditions of our brethren who live with disability”, she noted.

In her view, despite the appointment of Mr. Henry Seidu Daana as Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, the proportion of persons with disability in key public offices remains low.

The Ablekuma West legislator made this observation on the floor of Parliament on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).

June 23 is celebrated annually to assess the status of implementation of the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), promote the rights of persons with disability, create awareness about their peculiar needs, and discourage the discrimination and social stigmatization that they suffer daily.

The Day also serves as a platform to assess the impact of the Disability law in the lives of persons with disability (PWD) and also draw the attention of government and the people of Ghana to the gaps and lapses in the implementation of provisions therein.

Commenting further, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful also expressed worry about the non complaint of Act 715 which has resulted in several buildings, roads and recreational facilities not been accessible to persons with disability.

“Several buildings, roads and recreational facilities have been made complaint with these provisions; however, the vast majority is not accessible to persons with disability and do not have ramps or lift access. Unfortunately, all the new community day schools being constructed are not complaint with the accessibility provisions of Act 715 despite being multistory buildings. Action must be taken immediately to ensure that children with disability can safely access their classrooms and other facilities just like their abled counterparts”.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful is convinced that the situation could be minimized if government ratifies the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

She also believes that a little effort by Ghanaians to empower PWDs with the needed skills, training and opportunities would also help address the issue.

Minister for Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman who was present during the presentation debunked the claims made the Ablekuma West legislator about the Community Day School.

She told the House that all the facilities nationwide are friendly to PWDs.

500 buses: Akropong School for the Blind exclusion an oversight – Ablakwa

The deputy Minister of Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has clarified that the Akropong School for the Blind was not left out of the 500 buses distributed recently to schools and educational institutions by President John Mahama.

The headmistress of the school Mahela Narh said she was disappointed following government’s inability to allot them one of the 500 vehicles.

According to her, the development was regrettable since the school has been in dire need of vehicles to facilitate students’ movement among others.

“In 2007 they shared vehicles and the school for the blind was left out, the first special school in the country which has the greater number was left out, just last year they gave Yutong buses, we were hoping and appealing.”

“Just this last week too, honestly I was down spirited. WA school for the blind hasn’t got a bus at all and they were left out. Sometimes we are invited for national programmes, just this last week they were to start their BECE, our exam center is Okuapiman, we had to convey the students so it was some people who supported us with their car. So it’s a big challenge, we need a bus seriously,” she lamented.

But speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Cape Coast, Central region, on the Schools that benefited from the new buses, Ablakwa stated that a bus was allotted to the Akropong School for the Blind but an oversight led to the headmistress of that school not being invited for the distribution at the Independence Square in Accra.

“It was an oversight…we checked on our list and we noticed that though their school was on the list the headmistress was not invited to the independence square. So their bus is available for them and would be given to them.”

He said the bus will be handed over to the school Monday and the headmistress has been duly informed.

Ford gift to Mahama not bribe – Woyome’s Brother

National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the South Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region, Kobla Mensah Woyome, has refuted claims by some opposition parties and pressure groups, that a Ford vehicle gift said to be worth about $100,000 from a Burkinabe contractor to President John Mahama, was an inducement for contracts.

A 2010 Ford Expedition offered the President in 2012 by Djibril Kanazoe, according to reports, was prior to an attempt by the contractor, to win a bid to execute the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road construction project.

But addressing students of Akatsi College of Education in the Volta Region during the inauguration of TEIN executives, the MP said the gift cannot constitute bribery.

In his view, the accusations by the opposition were only aimed at injuring the reputation of the President. “Don’t be surprised tomorrow you will hear all kinds of things been thrown out at our president just like what they started by saying a gift has turned into a bribe.

You can only talk about bribe when the person who is giving out the thing knows that that thing is going to influence the person’s decision in getting something in return. The President was not in any position to give out anything,” Hon. Woyome stated.

Mr. Kobla Mensah Woyome, junior brother to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, wondered why some opposition parties would be peddling falsehood about the government, when in fact, Ghanaians are already enjoying from the good works of the NDC. His argument supports government’s official statement by the Communication Ministry, disputing the bribery allegations against the President.

Government in its statement confirmed receipt of the gift by the President, but said it was added to the government’s pool of state vehicles, and that the gift has no links to the contracts award Mr. Dzibril Kanazoe, and therefore does not amount to corruption or conflict of interest.

The TEIN event brought together all executives from the Akatsi South constituency of the party including the MP for the area, Hon. Bernard Ahiafor, some regional executives of the NDC and Actor John Dumelo.

Nana Addo wants cheap votes – Okudzeto Ablakwa

A deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has told the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) not to be blindfolded by the desire for quick votes to downplay efforts by the government to convert all polytechnics into technical universities.

According to him, comments by the opposition leader, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo that the approach to the conversion exercise was wrong was farfetched.

In his view, the criticism of the exercise by former Attorney-General clearly demonstrates that he was not properly advised on the subject matter.

He told Accra-based Okay FM in interview on Monday that he is convinced the pronouncement by the leader of the elephant family was born out of his desire for quick votes.

Akufo-Addo last Saturday slammed President Mahama for adopting a piecemeal approach in the conversion of country’s polytechnics into technical universities when he stormed the campus of the Cape Coast Polytechnic during his five-day tour to the Central Region.

According to him, the decision by the government to convert some polytechnics while neglecting others have created some challenges, a situation he noted, could have been prevented if the State had exercise some restraint in the implementation of the initiative.

“We cannot do this policy piecemeal. Either you are doing it for everybody, or you are not doing it at all. We can’t have a situation where some are picked and some are left out of the process. It is not a good idea. Let us make sure that all the polytechnics in our country, in each of the regions, have the same infrastructure and the same level of development. Then we can make the transition for all of them. But pick some and leave some out, then you are disadvantaging and destabilizing the ones that you have left out,” he said.

He added “Everything that John Mahama does, there is no proper preparation and there is no proper follow through of the idea”.

Six polytechnics including Accra Polytechnic, Kumasi Polytechnic, Sunyani Polytechnic, Takoradi Polytechnic, Koforidua Polytechnic and Ho Polytechnic have been converted into technical universities after meeting all the sixteen-point criteria set out by the Ministry of Education.

The remaining four; Cape Coast Polytechnic, Wa Polytechnic, Bolgatanga Polytechnic and Tamale Polytechnic have been left out for not meeting the criteria.

The situation has irked a cross section of the public including politicians and some senior members in academia.

Earlier this year, students of the Cape Coast Polytechnic expressed concerns over their exclusion from the list of six polytechnics that were transformed into technical universities. This resulted in the disruption of some academic activities on campus.

Akufo-Addo in his encounter with the students assured them that when given the opportunity to govern the country, he would make sure that infrastructure at the polytechnics are fully developed and that the collaboration between the institutions and industry is strong.

But Ablakwa speaking further on the issues said the challenge with Cape Coast Polytechnic is not about infrastructure, believing that Akufo-Addo was not properly advised before going public on the issue.

“If you look at Cape Coast, their challenge was not about infrastructure. So there again either Nana Akufo-Addo was not properly advised or because he wants quick votes that is why he made those public pronouncement and got away. It is important for all of us to submit ourselves to a good work – a technical objective exercise. Because if we don’t do it well, the degrees that will be issued out will lack credibility and will not be respected by the international community. That is why we have hastened slowly in the implementation of this exercise”, he noted.

He added “It took the government almost four years to roll the conversion of these polytechnics into technical universities out. The thorough work that the Dr. Afeti Committee did is linked with international benchmarks. This exercise is not just about quick votes; it is a serious issue because the international community is watching”.

PAC gives Venture Capital given one week ultimatum

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has issued a one week ultimatum to management of Venture Capital Ghana to furnish it with a detailed report of a US$3million landed property they have acquired at North Ridge.

The landed property is to be developed into an office complex for the State equity financing firm.

The firm was also tasked to submit a good report on the status of loan defaulters which has been verified by the Auditor-General.

The directive was given when officials of Venture Capital Ghana appeared before the PAC, Thursday, to respond to queries raised by the Auditor-General in his 2014 audited report of the State firm.

The auditors had raised issues ranging from; unaccounted imprest; default payment totaling GH₵333,344.36; and failure to acquire a land title certificate over a 2.05 acre landed property the company has acquired for its office complex.

Officials of the company led by their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ousman Sulemana, responding to the landed property query told the panel that his outfit was in the process of acquiring the Land Title Certificate from the Land Title Registry.

However, he said the company, was in possession of the deed of assignment after completing the US$3million lease payment in 2012.

The landed property was acquired from another State firm, SICFSL in 2011.

When asked about the number of years the property was leased to the firm, Mr. Sulemana who appeared not sure about the details of the said land told the PAC that his outfit leased it for about 50 years.

With regards to the defaulters, the officials were also not forthcoming with detailed accounts, provoking the PAC to reschedule the encounter to next week to enable the firm prepare a good report.

“We want you to get a good report on the status of the defaulters. We want you to prepare the report alongside the auditors so that they can verify before you come back”, Chairman of the PAC, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu directed.

Abetifi by-election slated for July 19

The Electoral Commission(EC) has set July 19 for the Abetifi by-election.

The by-election follows the death of late MP for Abetifi Constituency, Peter Wiafe Pepera who died on Saturday [Saturday], May 21 at the 37 Military Hospital after battling with an ailment.

A statement signed and released by the Deputy Chair in charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley said the impending by-election is in accordance with Article 112(5) of the Constitution.

“Nominations for the election will be taken on Tuesday the 21st day of June and Wednesday the 22nd day of June, 2O16 at the District Office of the Commission at Abetifi in the Eastern Region, from 9:00am to 12:00noon and 2:00pm to 5:00pm both days, the EC said in a statement .

It further said: “Nomination forms may be obtained from the District Office or the Regional Office of the Commission at Koforidua.

The filing fee for the election is One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH01,000.00), the statement added.