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Community Court President laments over not receiving referrals

President of the Community Court of Justice, Justice Edward Amoako Asante has lamented over a practice where the court has never in its history received referrals from any member state unlike their counterpart, the Community parliament currently working on referrals from the Commission.

According to him, the development is worrisome and has implications for the development of the Community law and its integration into the member states.

He further pointed out that the court is encouraged by the exercise of referral power given the Community Parliament albeit by the ECOWAS Commission. “We look forward to working with the Parliament towards ensuring that we receive referrals from the national courts”.

Adding, this would benefit and impact on the integration project and strengthen the collaboration between both institutions in the service of the Community and furthering the delivery of Justice.

Just like the Parliament, the Court also has the power to entertain referrals under its original mandate as the principal legal organ of the Community. In this role, the Court is required to ensure the observance of law and the principles of equity in the interpretation and application of the provisions of the 1993 Revised Treaty and all other subsidiary legal instruments of the Community.

Again, under Article 10 of the Protocol on the Court, it is vested with the power to issue in advisory capacity, a legal opinion on matters that require the interpretation of the provisions of the Treaty, it contributes to the prevention of conflicts or disputes as to the interpretation of the provisions of the treaty, he stated.

In his goodwill message at the Second Extra Ordinary meeting being held virtually, he noted that the pandemic has forced the adjournment of seventy one (71) cases including the twenty-seven (27) judgments and twelve applications for accelerated hearing.

“We are compelled to update the court’s practice direction and develop infrastructure for the electronic filing of cases while building the capacity of staff and other stake holders for the effective application of the technology”.

He further added that it is increasingly becoming obvious that virtual session would be the order of the day for the foreseeable future beyond the pandemic for the court and the technology has benefited on improving citizens access to the court and saving transport and associated cost of traveling to Abuja, “not to talk about saving hotel expenses for both parties and the lawyers”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament debuts virtual session to consider referrals

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament would on Tuesday join the league of Community institutions with the use of technology in conducting its Second Extraordinary session using Zoom virtual platform.

This follows guidelines on Covid-19 protocols for Community institutions, issued by President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.

The Bureau of Parliament is set to hold a five –day meeting virtually to consider some referrals from the Community issues which borders on the wellbeing of the people of the sub-region in line with the provisions of the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of the powers of the Parliament.

In a press release, it was pointed out that the ECOWAS Commission was seeking assistance from the Parliament in implementing the Community protocols on the levy.

That the Community Parliament takes a decision relating to the contribution of member states to the Africa Union solidarity fund in the fight against COVID-19, and referral from the Commission on the fight against the coronavirus, the stabilization and recovery of the economies of the ECOWAS member states.

And as a result of this development, the Community Parliament has concluded all technical and manpower arrangements to ensure a seamless session, an innovation which shows the importance the ECOWAS Parliament arrogates to its duties and responsibilities towards the Community citizens, ensuring that its work is not stalled regardless of the ravaging pandemic.

Ahead of the opening of the Extra-Ordinary Session would be the Conference of Committees Bureau, a statutory composed of the Bureau chairman and first Rapporteurs of the   fourteen Standing Committees as well as chairmen of the Parliamentary groups, with the mandate of considering and adopting the Draft Agenda and Working programme of the session.

And legitimizing documents to be considered and adopted by the plenary as the meeting is usually convened and chaired by the Speaker of the Community Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Gov’t wastes our time and put us at risk in Parliament”—Agbodza

Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Governs Kwame Agbodza has said the Executive arm of government is wasting the time of lawmakers and putting them at risk when there is not much work to be done on the floor of the House.

According to him cabinet had to meet virtually, same with the Supreme Court because of the fear that the Chief Justice might have come into contact with some person feared to have tested positive.

Mr. Agbodza lamented and said despite the fact that some persons in Parliament had tested positive to the coronavirus, the House is still sitting, government is not showing leadership by  bring business to the floor of the House.

He cited the example of meetings of the House starting late, two hours behind the normal time and further lamented that the House is sitting simply for the Constitutional Instrument to mature to regulate the conduct of the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

“We are passing a lot of tax exemptions for government  chronic  companies, it is not fair to Ghanaians, we are unable to start at 10:00am and close at 2:00pm, we sit beyond that and most of the things we do is the land bill”.

As to what the Minority side can do in the light of this development, he responded by saying that they can refuse to come to the House because of the registration process going on, more so when government is not serious.

In additionally, when the Minority does not come to the House the current administration would go shouting on the roof top and tell Ghanaians, the Minority are running away from their responsibilities, he lamented.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“It is not COVID-19 making ECOWAS Parliament think outside the box”—Ayariga

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament starts its second extraordinary session today via video conferencing with the Bureau meeting, which would be followed by the conference of Committee Bureau.

And the first rapporteur on the Committee of Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Mahama Ayariga has debunked the accession that but for COVID-19, the Community Parliament would not have been thinking outside the box.

According to him, globally, everybody is resorting to virtual meetings, “we are just doing what everybody is doing”, and said it is a cheaper way for the organisation as it would not have to pay for transport and also the inconveniences of traveling.

Mr. Ayariga further noted that the human interaction may no longer be there and added that at the end of the meeting there would be an assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology.

“There are three official languages English, French and Portuguese let us wait and see how effective it would be and how many people would be able to participate, it is a good experiment and good trying to do something whiles we wait for the borders to be reopen”, he said ahead of today’s  meeting.

He further revealed that the main agenda of the extraordinary meeting is to look at compliance of countries within the sub-region with the payment of the levies in the COVID-19 environment and how it has affected trade and import volumes, as countries are implementing all kind of stimulus measures with COVID draining their finances and collapsing their economy especially the tourism and other sectors.

Again, he noted that there had been earlier  meetings held with the zoom technology and waiting to see how the session would take place, and gave assurance that preparations have been put in place to ensure that technologically the meeting becomes successful.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga further revealed that trade has not been affected as goods can actually move around the sub-region with trucks carrying them across the borders as those involve in the haulage of goods can move freely.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Turn my nomination enthusiasm into reality” – NDC running mate

Vice presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman has urged women to turn the enthusiasm that greeted her nomination by the flagbearer John Dramani Mahama into reality by voting massively for the party.

On Thursday, July 16, 2020 the Minority women caucus together with leadership of women organizers of the party paid a courtesy call on her to congratulate her for her nomination at her resident in Cantonment in Accra.

Professor Opoku Agyeman in her welcome remarks noted that the time would come for her to make her maiden statement then everyone would know the direction she want to move to as she would not want to go ahead of herself.

And thanked the women groups for their solidarity and love shown to her and encouraged women in the Minority women caucus in Parliament and the party at all levels to work harder for the party.

The vice presidential candidate of the opposition NDC gave assurance to the women groupings that visited her that there would be more time for them to talk the more about so many things.

In acknowledging head porters (kayayie) who came to her resident and pointed out  not that she does not like the other women, “you have proper names you deserve the respect like any other  person, do not allow anybody to disrespect you, without you our society would not be at where it is”.

She further pointed out to the kayayie to be confident in themselves and if they have not attained the level they wanted to in life they should ensure their children would climb high.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“We would continue to call on Nigeria to open its borders”—Ayariga

Ahead of the Second Extraordinary Session of the Community Parliament via zoom from July 20 to 25, 2020, Bawku Central lawmaker and a representative of Ghana has said this issue of Nigeria closing its borders would be raised.

According to him lawmakers in the Community Parliament would continue to call on Nigeria to open its borders.

Before the official closure of borders within the sub-region because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria took a decision to close its border because of smuggling of rice into their country and the issue came up strongly in the fourth Parliament.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga in an interview noted that the border closure by Nigeria is bad. It has been spoken about severally and Nigeria has defended its stand of smuggling activities hurting its economy.

He further noted that countries within the sub-region have same problem like Nigeria but have not resorted to closure of their borders and pointed out that Nigeria should respect the protocols, since there are other ways of dealing with smuggling of products across the borders.

“I do not think border closure is the best way in solving this problem, given the leadership of Nigeria the precedent is not helpful Nigeria should open its borders to allow movement of goods, for now all countries have closed their borders and restricted the movement of persons because of the pandemic”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Attack on Auditor-General is an attack on Parliament — Ahmed Ibrahim

The Deputy Minority Chief Whip Ahmed Ibrahim has taken a swipe at President Nana Akufo-Addo on his decision asking the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo to take his accumulated leave.

According to him the Auditor-General is part of Parliament and not the Executive Arm of government when it comes to the discharge of his duties.

“Parliament has acted in bad faith for doing nothing about the directives given by the President and the action of the President is an attack on the Legislative arm of government”.

In interview, he noted further that the action has been taken against Domelevo because of his findings and exposure against the Senior Minister on issue of corruption and his further action of going to the court for an interpretation of his findings at the same office.

He added that without the function of the Auditor-General the work of Parliament would not be perfectly executed.

The one hundred and forty two days leave according to the ranking member of finance, has to do with the Auditor General sending signal that his outfit would conduct an audit into the COVID-19 fund; and this, has not gone down well with the President”.

The Banda MP revealed that over two thousand civil society organisations have spoken against the action of the President, and that was what he was drawing the speaker’s attention to, that there is something going on in the country, “as an institution how do they deal with it”.

He noted that the Speaker would not allow him speak on the matter, rather what he said was he should use the appropriate channel. “Tomorrow the President can ask the Speaker to proceed on leave, all I wanted from the Speaker to give direction on the matter”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS should have common dates of opening airports and borders—Mahama Ayariga

A representative of Ghana, in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mahama Ayariga is advocating for common dates, for the re-opening of airports and borders in the sub-region in this COVID-19 period.

According to him working in the sub-region independently without reference to one another is not good as he hears Ivory Coast and some others are planning to open their airports.

Again, other countries have not given indications of when they would open their airports and borders, that is very unfortunate, he said.

In an interview he pointed out that there should be a common measure at the various entering points, “I should not be subjected to a different regime when I enter Liberia and Niger when I enter Lagos, I should have same regime”.

He further pointed out that it should not be the case that when he enters Ghana he has to observe fourteen days quarantine and added that it becomes meaningless when countries within the sub-region do not have the same set of standards.

Ahead of the ECOWAS Parliament’s  Second Extraordinary Session via virtual zoom,  starting from July 20 to 25, 2020 Mahama Ayariga noted that the issue would come up for debate and hope imputes  would be made for the consideration to the Council of Ministers despite being too late in the day.

This is an issue that should have been on the table of the Authority of Heads of States long ago and working together on and added that he has the feeling that they are not working together but rather working separately as individual countries.

Mr. Ayariga revealed that the sub-region should realize that the various borders are porous and no country can effectively police its borders, and explained there are some border towns in the West African sub-region that only a water body separates the two countries.

“There are people who live in country A but attend market in country B, there are no walls separating them they have same culture, speak same language so the boundaries are artificial, we should work together and stop pretending that we are separate entities if we want a common solution to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

GAMA collaborates with others to reduce surge in COVID-19 cases

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project with funding from the World Bank and support from the Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry,  is collaborating with InGenius Africa and Graphic Communications Group to sensitize Ghanaians on behavior change through corona life series to reduce the surge in COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, July 14 2020, GAMA launched an educational series designed to attract the needed attention of the Ghanaian masses purposely in the local Ghanaian languages with known actors and actress Micky Osei Berko and Gloria Sarfo.

The series would be in television, radio and social media on corona life to sensitize the Ghanaian public on improved sanitation, good hygiene and observing the recommended protocols on COVID-19 to effect willful behavior and attitudinal change.

Coordinator of GAMA Ing.  George Asiedu in his address applauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s government and the front-line health Ghanaian workers towards the fight against the spread of covid-19.

These efforts include the closure of our borders, partial lockdown, supply of PPEs, enhanced contact tracing, mass testing, setting up of isolation centers, supply of essential recommended drugs/medication for management of infected persons, implementation of social intervention and support services; including support to the vulnerable, provision of free electricity and water supply, as well as other relevant positive actions by government to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic on the individual and businesses
He, however, noted that the nation continues to record increasing number of positive case standing at twenty-four thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight (24,988) with one hundred thirty-nine deaths (139) and twenty-one thousand sixty-seven recovery and discharge.

In as much as Ghana’s situation appeared much better compared to the global spread of covid-19, Ghana’s infection rate is (0.8) percent compared to (0.16) percent across the world, recovery rate of 84 percent compare to 55.2 percent worldwide and death rate of 0.6 percent compared to 3.9 percent.

Ing. Aseidu noted that since 2014 GAMA has been pursuing the objective of increasing access to improved sanitation and water supply targeting mainly the vulnerable and the low-income people in Greater Accra.

As the project has also facilitated behavior change campaigns on good hygiene improved sanitation safe water to over four hundred thousand people (400,00) in GAMA and supported two hundred and twenty-five thousand (225,000) low income beneficiaries with access to over thirty thousand (30,000) improved household toilets facilities.

Through Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) three hundred and sixty-eight thousand (368,000) low income beneficiaries access water supply through ten thousand and forty (10,040) new household water connections.

And also improve the educational lives of some two hundred and thirty-two thousand (232,000) school people in two hundred and forty-three (243) schools in GAMA through the provision of fit for purpose, disability friendly and gender sensitive school sanitation facilities with adequate water supply and hand washing facilities.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Wa West MP urges women to ensure Ghana has a female vice president

Member of Parliament for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh is advocating for women in Ghana to vote for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to ensure that its running mate Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman becomes the vice president of the country.

According to him the time is ripe for a female to be Vice President and move on to become President of the nation and some NPP female Ministers were happy for her nomination but because of the party they belong to would not vote for her.

He further supports his point by saying looking at the contribution of women since the days of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah it is more appropriate to have a woman vice president of the land.

“Professor Jean Naana Opoku Agyeman in an intellectual and in the days of former President Kufuor and Mills they had a committee made u of foreigners who gave advice in the areas of law and economics”.

Mr. Yieleh Chireh further pointed out that as a president and a vice president ruling the country does not necessary mean everything should come from one individual rather it is a collective responsibility and those who hold political power are to reflect the views of the people.

“She is a humble person that is why I admire her choice to our flag bearer John Dramani Mahama as his running mate, with people attacking her have you heard her replying them no she is focus and working”.

Again, since her nomination international organisations have congratulated her and a lady who has been a vice chancellor of a university and manage masses, she is capable of becoming a vice president of the land, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com