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Minority boycott SONA debate

The Minority Chief Whip Mohamed Muntaka Mubarak has indicated to the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Micheal Oquaye that the Minority would not participate in the debate of the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to Muntaka, it is a decision the Minority has taken not to participate in the 2020 SONA debate that was delivered by President Akufo-Addo on Thursday.

This was as a result of the Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah moving the motion for the debate to start on the floor and it was time for it to be seconded.

Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee was on this feet to second the motion, and the Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on his part noted that there was nothing wrong if the Minority has decided not to participate in the debate of SONA.

The Majority Leader noted that the right of the Minority not to participate should be respected since they cannot be forced to participate, as the Minority were in their chair looking on whiles the debate went on and on.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority to decide on SONA debate — Haruna

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has said the Minority caucus would take a decision to either participate or not in today’s debate of the State of the Nation Address, delivered by President Nana Akufo-Addo last Thursday.

According to Mr. Iddrisu, the Minority would take a decision that would be in the interest of the nation and appropriate, adding that the Minority would not be wrong to contact their constituents on the matter. “Since the President has chosen to ignore us we want to tell him that he too can be ignored by the Ghanaian people”.

Responding to questions at the press conference, he stated that they listened to some parts of the SONA delivered by the president, and he, the president is not ashamed that excavators are missing in Ghana.

As to whether they are united as a party, when at the time they staged the walkout, their founder was still in the chamber with other former first ladies and second lady.

This, he responded that the media is seeking to divide the Minority and pointed out that as a Minority caucus they are united as an organ of their party.

Again, the former President Rawlings and former first ladies were invited by Speaker Professor Aaron Oquaye as visitors.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Suhuyini calls for parliament’s interest in funds approved for Galamsey fight

Member of Parliament for the Tamale North Constituency, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini has called on parliament to demonstrate interest in funds approved for the fight against illegal mining (Galamsey) in the face of what seems less than successful camping.

According to Suhuyini, there is the need for parliament to have oversight over the various institutions given fund to fight galamsey to check the results attained as they are funds of Ghanaian citizens.

“In whose interest we all represent and we should ensure that those funds did not go to waste”.

Again, it frightens me greatly that the Ghana Water Company (GWCL) has repeatedly shut down some of their treatment plants and have served notice that it is as a result of increase in the cost of chemicals and equipment repairs in order to continue to be in position to supply treated water, to homes and work places.

He also lamented over the destruction of farmlands, especially cash crops owing to illegal mining which remains a constant feature in print and audio visual news stories and in the country side.

“Mr. Speaker, law abiding entrepreneurs in small scale mining are estimated to have lost more than half a million dollars of their genuine investments in the course of over two years ban of their activities. This was done by government to streamline the sector and ensure sustainable development.

Mr. Speaker, aside recently reported missing seized excavators, there was an undercover expose conducted by Anas Armiyawu   Anas and Joynews,  many of which stories have raised questions about the direction of the campaign and the commitment of officials especially politicians to the success of the campaign”.

“The President boldly put his presidency on the line to demonstrate how much this cause meant to him, if for nothing at all, has his presidency to save and it will be important that he starts by accounting for and to the people of Ghana, all equipments, vehicles weapons, ammunitions and gold which were seized and kept by the officers he commissioned to help end illegal mining”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com


“Basis for Minority walkout is untenable”—Majority Leader

Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said the basis for the Minority walkout last week Thursday when the President Nana Akufo-Addo was about delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) was untenable.

According him, any group is entitled to a walkout or a boycott of Parliament provided it is grounded on facts, he would not question that walkout.

“It remains untenable, when I submitted the business statement last two week Friday, they raised issues with non-payment of MPs common fund that is their project money,  unknowing to me as I was standing and delivering the statement the funds was being transmitted”.

He further pointed out that at their joint caucus meeting, the issue was interrogated and MPs noted that the MPs common fund had been paid.

Also what happened on Thursday was expo facto justification they were just shifting the goal poles, and added that the issue of MPs Common fund was dropped when they had a joint caucus meeting and the matter was addressed.

The Minority again raised issue with the President engaging in castigating people when he comes to deliver SONA, and called for the issue to be addressed. This, he responded by telling them that last year such thing did not happen. He however reminded them to be factual when talking about the economy since current indicators are better than the previous years, and nobody of cause can dispute it, he added.

“You can disagree with the President but that would be a matter of fact”, and further revealed in an interview with journalists on Friday that he does not endorse violence in election and bye-elections.

And added that, whoever fired the gun that wounded a Ghanaians in the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election cannot be condoned, but was quick to point out that there has been worse incidents in Ghana’s bye-election than was witnessed at Ayawaso.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority insists Ayawaso West Wuogon violence was state sponsored

Minority in Parliament have said violence in the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election was state sponsored hence part of their reasons for walking out during last Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu that should not be related to individual violence that occurred in places like Talensi and chereponi bye-elections that the Majority has been pointing out, adding that those are individual in nature.

He further lamented over the decision by President Nana Akufo-Addo over the Emile Short report not to disband the illegal SWAT group and is one of “our fundamental reason for the walk out”.

“We trust the Ghana Police Service as an institution but a police service heavily loaded by a SWAT team their loyalty would be to a political party not the state of Ghana. What would happen in a major elections?”.

More especially when the current government sees signs that they are losing elections, as they were blood testy at Ayawaso bye-elections. The “Majority Leader also said if NPP gets a new voters register the opposition NDC would never come back to power, he has to come back and explain himself”, the Minority Leader added.

Mr. Iddrisu noted that the current government has turned deaf ears to their complaint of a compilation of a new voters’ register, which gave birth to him. “In what capacity does he want us to recognise him when they are refusing to recognise a register that was used for the creation of six regions?”

In addition, under President Akufo-Addo, the media has come under attack and freedom of expression is under attack. “More so, media houses that are critical of the current government are being closed down”.

He further revealed that businesses that were sympathetic to the opposition NDC are suffering, and added that if this is allowed to go on he does not think there is future for the countries democracy.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Debate on SONA 2020 to start next week Tuesday

Debate on the 2020 State of the Nation Address would start next week Tuesday 25 February 2020.

The mover of motion would be allotted thirty minutes, whiles the seconder allotted the same amount of time, with leadership and Ministers allotted fifteen minutes.

This was disclosed on the floor of the House on Friday 21st February 2020 by Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu when he presented the Business statement on the floor of the House for the ensuing week.

He further pointed out that chairpersons, ranking persons and Deputy Ministers would be allotted fifteen minutes each, whiles members would have ten minutes with the Majority and Minority leaders winding up the debate on March 3, 2020, and allotted fifty minutes each.

MPs were urged to avoid repetition of points, and in view of this, the House was told it would have extended sittings beyond the stipulated 2:00 pm time in the Standing Orders, depending on the business of each other.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

4th March 2020 set for the inauguration of the fifth ECOWAS Legislature —SG

The required quorum to swear in lawmakers in the fifth legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been met as Nigeria with the largest number of representation provided its list of thirty-five (35) members.

This, according to the Secretary General of the Community Parliament, Mr. John Azumah  4th March 2020 has been fixed by the chairman of Authority for the inauguration of the fifth legislature.

And per the provision of the Supplementary Act,  chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government, H. E. Mahamadou Issoufou  would  swear in  the new members.

In an early interview this week with the administrative head of the Community Parliament, Mr. John Azumah noted that fourteen countries had presented their reconstituted list with the exception of Nigeria.

As a quorum to initiate the inauguration of the fifth legislature was eighty-six (86) members out of the one hundred and fifteen (115), Nigeria’s list of thirty-five (35) members, representing thirty-one (31) percent of the entire membership was crucial to commence activities of the 5th parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Akufo-Addo is a threat to our democratic journey —Haruna

The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament on Thursday walked out just as the President Nana Akufo-Addo was about given his State of the Nation Address as part of Article 67 which mandates the President to deliver SONA to the House.

According to the Minority, they walked out because President Nana Akufo-Addo is a threat to Ghana’s democratic journey and they were mourning the threat to the death of Ghana’s democratic values.

“No one should attempt to give any other reasons for our walk out”, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said on Thursday when he addressed the media just after the President concluded his address to give reason for their walk out.

The Minority leader pointed out that the President is an “eminent threat to our democracy” in some of his actions since becoming President. In conducting affairs of the state, he has acted in “authoritarian and tyranny style”, he indicated.

Mr. Iddrisu told the press the Minority would not be the kind of citizens who would show apathy because of his threat. They have restrained themselves in the face of provocation as well as its members across the country.

“We remain one of the largest opposition political parties in Ghana and I would like to remind the Speaker and the President that Article 2 of the 1992 constitution enjoys us to defend the constitution, and parliament shall have no power to make Ghana one party state”.

He also served notice that, those thinking of dominating the Republic only confirm their fears that indeed there is intention by the current government to weaken the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghana playing leading role in AU and ECOWAS—Presiden

President Nana Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday emphasised that Ghana continues to play a lead role in making the AU and ECOWAS relevant and active to the changing needs of the region and continent.

The President who was in Parliament to fulfill Article 67 of the 1992 constitution which requires that the president gives State of the Nation Address at the beginning of every year, also touched on the difficulties that exist in ECOWAS especially with the five month boarder closure with its age-old friend Nigeria and the instability and terrorist activity that is sadly blighting the lives of thousands in some part of Nigeria.

“Shedding of innocent blood in the Sahel and neighbors to the North of Ghana, we are playing positive roles in the efforts being made within ECOWAS to bring this boundary impasses to an end”.

There is a consistent cooperation of security and intelligence between Ghana and her neighboring countries like Cote d’lvoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Mali and Niger which continues to be Ghana’s concrete contribution to the fight against terrorism in the region.

“All of us have a vested interest in helping to maintain the peace, stability and security of Ghana in current troubling circumstances of our Region”.

“Mr. Speaker, we never lose sight of the fact that there are many Ghanaian communities in all parts of the world, and our missions abroad have been charged anew to be alive to their needs. I am happy to report that Ghanaians in the diaspora are very much involved in whatever happens in their home country”.

He added that wherever he goes, he meet with Ghanaians and they are often very well informed and insistent on accountability from government officials.

Remittances from Ghanaians abroad constitute a healthy part of the Ghanaian economy and I always encourage them to bring their acquired skills to invigorate the political and economic landscape.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Inauguration of fifth ECOWAS legislature hinges on Nigeria’s list

Checks and interviews conducted by Ghanamps.com have revealed that the inauguration of the fifth legislature of the West African sub-region hinges on the Nigerian Senate which is yet to present its list of reconstituted members.

According to the administrative head of the Community Parliament, Mr. John Azumah, out of the fifteen member states, fourteen have presented their reconstituted list with the exception of Nigeria that holds thirty-five (35) seats in the one hundred and fifteen (115) members.

Mr. Azumah further revealed in an interview that currently he has received the list of eighty (80) reconstitute members but the Supplementary Act requires three-quarters of the membership to form a quorum which is eighty-six (86).

“Nigerian’s membership of thirty-five (35) seats constitutes thirty-one (31) percent of the entire one hundred and fifteen (115) membership so you see where the difficulty is”.

As to whether the inauguration of the fifth legislature would be possible this month, the Secretary-General pointed out that, it is not possible due to the earlier reason for a quorum.

“Secondly, as required in the Supplementary Act, we have to inform the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States before whom the members are going to swear their oath within a month of obtaining the three quarters”.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Mr. John Azumah failed to specify what role the ceremonial Speaker, H. E Mustapha Cisse Lo would be playing in the new parliament as he earlier expressed before the lifespan of the fourth legislature ended in Abuja where he announced is available to assist.

Mr. Azumah however, pointed out that it is within the domain of the next Speaker to decide whether he would require his support, “I would not be able to respond to that”.

He noted that this has never happened before in the last four legislatures where an outgone Speaker has been involved in a new legislature, “but it could happen depending on the disposition of the new Speaker”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com.