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Ghana receives commendation on report at ECOWAS Parliament

The Republic of Ghana, received a rousing commendation when the nation presented its country report at the ongoing First Ordinary session of the fourth legislature this year, at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja Nigeria.

Lawmakers at the Community Parliament when it got to question time, praise Ghana for going according to the format laid down for presenting country report, and further commended Ghana for giving current information.

The only female representative of Ghana to the West African sub-regional Parliament, Ama Pomaa Boateng, received praise from his colleagues for her clarity in presentation.

Ghanaian delegation is made up of Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh leader of delegation, Frederick Opare-Ansah, Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah, Sampson Ahi, Mahama Ayariga, Ama Pomaa Boateng and Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin.

On the political situation in Ghana, Ama Pomaa Boateng told the House, Ghana continues to enjoy twenty-six years of uninterrupted constitutional democracy, with the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) electing its flagbearer in February this year. She said the party elected the former President John Dramani Mahama as its candidate for the 2020 Presidential elections, out of six other aspirants.

The report also stated that the Electoral Commission has signaled its intention to implement the “Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPA) passed twelve years ago by Parliament, for Ghanaians abroad to vote in upcoming 2020 elections.

Again, the President Nana Akufo-Addo per Article 5 of the 1992 constitution caused to be created six additional regions, in addition to the ten existing regions.

On security situation of the nation, it was pointed out in the country report that, there is peace and stability. As such government has focused its attention on political vigilantism and monitoring of terrorism activities along national borders as well as cybercrime.

Government continues to wage a relentless war against illegal mining which has resulted in the degradation of large tracts of forest and the savanna belt.

Illegal mining goes on in eight out of the ten regions, the capital Greater Accra and Volta regions are the only regions spared of this menace.

Rights of women are championed by a number of feminist advocacy groups, whiles laws of the country do not discriminate against women, and disparities exist in the numbers when it comes to parallels in power politics, job placement and influence.

On persons with disability, Ghana’s country report revealed that Government has increased the share of the District Assembly Common Fund to persons with disabilities (PWDs), from two percent to three percent.

Another area the report touched on was, ECOWAS community levy. Ghana as at April 2019 has discharged it payment obligation to the ECOWAS Commission; all mount due to the period have been duly paid.

In the month of January this year payment units of account (12.040,542.75), in February 2019 (17,316,302.33), March was (13,583, 797, 87) and April (15,226, 879.22).

Thus the total levy paid by the first quarter of 2019 to the ECOWAS Commission is 58, 167, 522.17 units of account.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Single EC for ECOWAS would save us billions—Mahama Ayariga

A member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament representing Ghana, Mahama Ayariga is calling for establishment of a single Electoral Commission (EC) for the West African sub-region to save it billions of funds.

“If we have a common EC for ECOWAS, with uniform codes that govern every election the standard will be the same, it will cost us less because for every country its own independent electoral system buy materials for election is costly”

Mr. Mahama Ayariga made this remarks at the ongoing First Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament for this year in Abuja Nigeria.

He noted that when we have a common system run by ECOWAS, one set of material could move from country to country, and this could save countries so much money.

According to Mahama Ayariga countries in the community states would save billions they give out to Western countries in importing electoral materials; and called for a motion to debate the issue adopted and forwarded to the Authority of Heads of States, for consideration and implementation.

He further pointed out that he knows the idea would take a long time because the Heads of States are worried about their individual “sovereignties and authorities”.

“As we seek to establish democracy, if we do not establish a common democratic institutions that all of us can identify with, each country would do what it wants and forever and ever we would meet here every year consider these reports, lament over the various problems in various countries over elections”.

In addition,  when a President says he would hand over we are so quick to be excited and we congratulate him for deciding that he would hand over, “there should not be a question of whether the President would  handover or not”.

He made this remarks in the wake of extension of Parliamentarians terms in office by a Presidential Decree in Guinea as they presented their country report.

As with the Mali report it was revealed that, it was going through political difficulties as there are post-electoral political crisis hence there is extension of the mandate of legislators by six months.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

NCA shutdown: “Akufo-Addo taking us back to dark ages”—Ahi

In the wake of the National Communication Authority (NCA) shutting down private radio stations, Radio Gold and XYZ as unauthorized radio stations in compliance with ruling of Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT), Member of Parliament for Bodi Samson Ahi has taken a swipe at President Nana Akufo-Addo for taking Ghana back to the “dark ages”.

According the Bodi lawmaker Ghanaians see the President as an apostle of democracy, rule of law, human right advocate and believer of freedom of speech.

“They should start revising their notes by now, because clearly Nana Akufo-Addo is exhibiting intolerance, he is not accommodative and does not respect fundamental human right all that is happening under him shows is true character to Ghanaians”, he lamented in an interview”.

As to whether the few incidents can dent his record, he responded by saying, “look at what happen at Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, nobody has been arrested”.

“The President should have acted swiftly, if he want to ensure the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians, I am not surprised Nana Addo thinks he is above the laws of Ghana and nobody can do anything to him and to some extent he is right”

Especially, when chiefs and our religious authorities are not talking and are allowing only few people in academia to do the talking.

All those who were talking during former President Mahama’s time are now quiet, “they should not forget that if Ghana is burning today all of us will fall victims”.

As to whether the President directed the action of NCA, “but who do we blame, he is the appointing authority, he appointed the Chief Executive of NCA and appointed the Minister for Communication”

Also, Radio Gold and XYZ are saying they had written and submitted their documents requesting for renewal from NCA, unless NCA comes out to refute what the two radio stations are saying.

Mr. Samson Ahi lamented that the whole exercise was carried out just to ensure the press conference by the elders of the opposition party do not express their views.

“Nana Addo ordered them to go and close the stations down to show them that, we are in power, they should not forget that his Presidency is transient one”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Mahama Ayariga advocates for ECOWAS defense force

In the midst of insecurity within the West African sub-region, Mahama Ayariga, a lawmaker in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament is advocating for a defense force for the sub-region.

According to the Bawku Central lawmaker, the community Parliament should consider debating a motion and make radical proposals to the Authority of Heads of States in addressing the issue of insecurity.

He further backed his point by arguing that, “if communities within the sub-regions seek to establish a common market, where insecurity makes it impossible for our citizens to access our various markets, there the very objectives of ECOWAS will be defeated”.

“We need defense force, which would go beyond national sovereignty and assist in enforcing basic security of our various countries, some countries are far advanced in their security capabilities and the experience would be shared with other countries”

He further added that, there must be security for “our citizens” to move and walk around boarders in each other’s market.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga made this remarks on the floor of ECOWAS Parliament, when country report of Guinea, Niger and Mali were presented and noted; “the picture painted looks very gloomy especially when we look at the security situation of the countries who had presented”, he lamented.

Guinea in its country report identified youth unemployment, socio-political crises, terrorism in the Sahel, proliferation and circulation of small arms as well as recurrent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in rural areas as being some of the issues posing insecurity in the country.

Niger country report revealed that despite efforts made by government in areas of security, “our country continues to suffer terrorist attacks”.

The report further stated that in the face of insecurity, and in its effort of stability, it is only the restoration of the Libyan State in all its diversity will improve security in the entire Niger and Sahelo-Saharan country and the region.

In Mali, Northern Central and Southern parts, with forces present on the ground the civilian population are increasingly suffering attacks and harassments. “However Malian army is the main target of these violent deadly actions”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

ECOWAS boycott IPU activities after humiliation of its Speaker

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has decided to boycott activities of the Inter-Parliamentary-Union (IPU), after it humiliated Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo at its 140 meet at Qatar Doha last month.

ECOWAS Parliament reached this decision on Wednesday May 8, 2019 as it started its First Ordinary session for the year.

The issue was raise on the floor of the House in Abuja Nigeria when the House was going through adoption of draft programme of activities for the community Parliament for the second semesters of the year.

ECOWAS Parliament which has observer status with the world legislative body, IPU was to adopt the decision to either attend the upcoming IPU 141st meeting in Belgrade Serbia slated for October 13 to 17, 2019 or not.

After Secretary General of the Community Parliament, John Azumah announced the coming event, Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo noted that he would want to consult the plenary on the matter.

“I do not see the point of sending a delegation to the IPU, because the IPU does not appreciate the leadership of the sub-regional community Parliament, if you go to the IPU just as a tourist I do not think it is right. I am expressing my disagreement for the third time as Speaker”.

According to the Speaker, he went to Doha but came back disappointed and suggested that IPU activities be put on hold for this year.

He further pointed out that when he lives office then maybe the people from the secretariat might want to take it up. He then put the question: “Do you agree?” and added that it was for open debate.

The Speaker recounted that he led a delegation to Geneva for  same IPU meeting and the delegation did not have a place in the hall; I came back and reported to you in “my first year, I do want to go there any longer”.

“I have a duty to tell you we are wasting money for nothing, that money for ticket to Doha could have been used on other activities where the voice of the Parliament would be heard, the cost of the ticket let us think about it. Doha ticket is three million CAF and you go there to fold your arms as an observer”.

The Speaker further noted that the decision is his as to who to send, but when the time comes he would fold his arms, and added when he leaves as Speaker Sierra Leone will take over, and they should decide otherwise.

“I am a trader, I cannot put my money into something that I would not get profit, when I put my money into something I should profit from it so I want to ask that this activity be dropped for this year”.

Mr. Edwin M. Snowe Junior disagreed with the Speaker, pointing out that individual countries have representation at IPU, so the community parliament can only have an observer status.

He further urged the Speaker to engage the IPU by letting the Secretary General John Azumah write to IPU and “respectfully Mr. Speaker let us maintain our relations with the IPU”.

Other contributors agreed with the position of the Speaker and pointed out that “you cannot be invited, we should be given that respect, otherwise we should put our resources into other activities like Parliamentary visit”.

At the end of the back and forth debate on the issue, two MPs argued for further engagement with the world parliamentary body while two other MPs supported the boycott of activities of the IPU.

Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo said, “I refuse yesterday and today and I say no to IPU. When I am leaving I will recommend it to my successor not to go to IPU meetings because you will be humiliated there”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ayawaso West Wuogon MP donates lights, bikes and vehicle to UG

Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Alhassan has donated a vehicle and two motorbikes to the University of Ghana.

The lawmaker extended this gesture as part of measures to help the University of Ghana authorities and the police to beef up security to deal with security challenges on the university campus.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana together with some members of the university authority were present to receive the donation on behalf of the community.

According to the lawmaker her donation is to aid increase visibility and enhance security. She further indicated that she is committed and willing to do everything in her power to augment the effort of dealing with security challenges on campus.

National Youth Organizer of the ruling government, Henry Nana Boakye who accompanied the lawmaker assured the leadership of the University of the support and dedication of the NPP government led by Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Henry Nana Boakye added that security concern should be the utmost priority of the country and commended the University for its contribution towards the production of quality human capital as well as good leaders for the country.

Vice chancellor of the University, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu thanked the MP for her timely intervention and contributions to the efforts of the University, and acknowledged that of government towards the university and call for more of such interventions.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

We need to consolidate sub-regional democracy — Commission President

President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has underscored the need to consolidation sub-regional democracy, at the opening of the First Ordinary session for 2019.

According to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the sub-region is beset by several challenges in areas of conducting peaceful elections.

He further congratulated Nigeria and the Republic of Senegal for conducting successful Presidential and Parliamentary elections, as well as in Guinea Bissau in accordance with the July 2019 roadmap adopted at the ECOWAS Summit in Lome.

“Recent Parliamentary elections in Benin took place amidst tension, ECOWAS will continue to strengthen its intervention mechanisms in order to support the organization of peaceful elections in all Member States”.

In the wake of mounting threats President of the ECOWAS Commission noted that it remain concerned about security issues,  as the community would continue working with its partners to stabilize and protect the region from, “terrorism, piracy, cross-border crimes and inter-ethnic clashes”.

Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou noted that in terms of economy, the region’s prospects are promising given the good performance of major macroeconomic indicators.

And this effort will be continued to consolidate the regional economy with several achievements which will be presented during the session.

“We will continue to address the challenges of youth unemployment, migration, epidemiologic diseases, as effort will not be relent in addressing these issues and many more”.

He welcome the impetus given to the implementation of Supplementary Act A/SA. 1/12/16 relating to the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament promises enhanced security in the sub-region

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African State Parliament (ECOWAS), Moustapha Cisse Lo has said the community Parliament will work towards enhancing security in the sub-region.

According to the Speaker, as an institution they had made giant strides in curtailing insecurity and strengthening political stability in the ECOWAS region.

In his welcome address to open the First Ordinary Session of Community Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria he congratulated President Muhammad Buhari on his support and selfless commitment towards the progress of the ECOWAS community.

“ECOWAS is improving free movement of goods in the region for the benefit of its economy and member states”.

Mr. Mustapha Cisse Lo applauded the synergy between the Parliament and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) towards the fight against impediments that could threaten progress in the region.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Senator Foster Ogola, a representative of Nigeria in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has said it is not quite healthy for the community Parliament to decide to boycott participation in Inter-Parliamentary Union meetings.

According to Senator Foster Ogola, for the Speaker of the Community Parliament, Mustapha Cisse Lo to say he will recommend to whoever will take over from him to boycott IPU meeting was unfortunate.

“As a leader you take a decision at a point base on your understanding of a situation at a moment, but that decision would not be binding on the new Speaker of the fifty legislature, he or she has the liberty to accept the decision”.

In an interview he noted that his advice is for ECOWAS Parliament to increase its presence on the international stage as a sub-regional legislature.

He further added that Speaker of the community legislative body has the right to rule the way he understands how ECOWAS Parliament was treated when it attended the IPU meeting at Doha Qatar.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mustapha Cisse Lo expressed reservation about the way and manner IPU did not extend courtesy to the delegation that went to Doha.

The next meeting of IPU would be in Belgrade in October this year and the issue came up for discussion on Wednesday at the opening of the first Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria.

Senator Ogola again noted that, with the observer status of the sub-region community Parliament to the World Parliamentary Association (IPU), there is the need to participate and get to the level of being part of crafting the agenda of IPU.

“We need to have a voice, in that conference that is the way to establish our presence in that Parliament, not just to participate as observers, is just like ECOWAS Parliament we invite people to attend opening ceremony and they may not speak, because we have drawn up our programme already”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Guinea, Niger and Mali present country report

Three countries, Guinea, Niger and Mali on Thursday May 9, 2019 presented their country reports at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament at the ongoing First Ordinary Session for 2019 of the fourth legislature.

The First Ordinary session opened on Wednesday May 8, 2019 and countries are presenting reports that touched on political situation, security, human rights, promotion of women rights, children and that of refugees.

Guinea was the first country to present its report, by leader of the delegation Hadja Nantenin Konate followed by Niger presented by leader of the delegation Boukari Sani Malam Chaibou.

The English version of the Malian report was not read for presentation as at the time the leader of the delegation, Moussa Badiaga wanted to present the country report so the first Deputy Speaker had to hold on for five minutes after which the presentation resumed.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com