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2020 Election: Atiwa East NPP inaugurates campaign team

Ahead of the December 7, 2020 parliamentary elections, the Atiwa East Constituency of the ruling party has inaugurated its campaign team to push both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Member of Parliament for the constituency, Abena Osei Asare would chair the team that was inaugurated at Anyinam in the Eastern Region.

According to her, the campaign is all about developmental records betweens the four years of the ruling government and the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) eight years.

She recounted the number of employment the youth from the constituency have benefited from, including 71 persons into the Police Service, 51 into the Immigration, Fire Services, 93, 6 into ADB and 14 into the Local Government Service.

And urged the youth to lead the campaign judging from the facts of jobs secured for them as mentioned with just four years in office, adding they can imagine the opportunities if the party wins for another four years.

She also disclosed that another big project they are bringing to this constituency is the hundred bed district hospital which they would have President Akufo-Addo himself coming to cut sod soon for. And touted the Free Senior High School (SHS) as one of the great achievements of the current government.

“No house hold can tell me they have not benefited from free SHS and if we change the current government there is no guarantee that it would be continued, hence the need to vote for the current government to continue and strengthen the policy. One point two million pupils have benefited we need to build the human capital of this nation to compete with the rest of the world”.

And urged that they should be decorum in their dealings, and further called on Ghanaians to give the President and his lawmakers four more year mandate and added that journalists not to inflame passion.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Atiwa East: NPP to move from 76 to 85 percent—Chairman

The co-chair of the campaign team of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Atiwa East Constituency Albert Antwi has urged members of the campaign team to discharge their mandate diligently for victory.

According to him they should ensure the ruling party maintains the seat, increase the votes of the NPP from 76 to 85 percent in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

So of the groups set up are the mobilization, election and research, legal and royal ladies committees, and the District Chief Executive in charge of the conflict resolution committee and added that he has localized the campaign team already and started working.

He further added that whatever government want the constituency to have through the Member of Parliament they have seen a lot of projects from clinic, to roads and school buildings.

And took a swipe at the Presidential candidate of the opposition NDC John Dramani Mahama for proposing to legalize “okada”.

Mr. Twum Barima Koranteng, second vice chairman of the Eastern Region applauded Atiwa East over their achievement in the recent registration exercise among the COVID-19 pandemic and urged all who did not have the opportunity to be selected in the campaign to get involve.

He further revealed that the data received by the party shows that the ruling government would clearly win the upcoming presidential election, “NDC cannot win the 2020 but all depend on the appointees of the current administration”.

“If appointees do not treat Ghanaians well that would not make a case for us to win the 2020 December 7 elections and you need to join the wining team that is the team the Lord has made, we should be glad”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ Ghanamps.com

Let us not politicize Nigerian retail brouhaha, rather work to enforce law —Yusif

Deputy Ranking Member of Ghana’s Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry  and Tourism,  Sulemana Yusif is calling for depoliticizing of the brouhaha that has occurred with Nigerians indulging in retail business in Ghana and their shops being locked up.

According to him the brouhaha has persisted for quite a long time and the time has come to depoliticize the issue to ensure that Ghana’s diplomatic relation with its West African countries is not jeopardized.

“The Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act is clear on who is eligible to do retail trade in Ghana, if you look at the clauses it is clear what a foreigner would need to do retail business.  And the challenge has been we have not been able to implement this law to the latter that is why we have these challenges”.

He further pointed out in an interview that the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration set up a taskforce which included relevant stakeholders including members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association.

And what they did was to approach the Nigerians and other foreigners who are allegedly doing retain business and to get in touch with the Nigerian Traders Association so that they would be able to identify those who are breaking the Ghanaian law.

“Unfortunately, currently the taskforce has gone to bed, so when that happened GUTA members had to take the law into their hands that is why we saw the closure of some Nigerian shops. If the task force was indeed working we would not have seen things in this manner. For me, I think the time has come to look at things in the perspective of the law”.

And if the law contradicts with ECOWA treaty or protocols, the time has come for us to look at it very critically, if not I would not blame GUTA at all. What they are asking is for the government to ensure that the laws put in place works.

Again, to what extent would GUTA take the law into their hands since we are in a global world where one does not necessary need to travel to do business? There should be a way of working out if it is a new law that has to come into force, “for us to trade with our neighbors and they are able to come here to do business without any problem”.

In addition, every election year this issue pups up all because authorities who are supposed to ensure that Ghanaian laws work go to sleep and you have GUTA coming up strongly during this time.

He further pointed out that GUTA has approached their Committee hence the need to take away politics from the issues because whatever is said today after the elections will come to hunt any party that wins the December 7, 2020 election.

And as opposition MP, they could be in government and for him GUTA should be supported to ensure that laws are put in place that works and the current government should rise to the occasion, so that GUTA would not feel the laws on retail in Ghana is being broken and nothing is being done. And again, anyone who wants to do retail business should go through the process “if you are a foreigner”.

In addition, once you are qualified to do retail business you can go ahead and government would have to ensure that these laws are respected if not there would be chaos.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Status of Mali ECOWAS MPs: “It’s more complex and not straight forward”—Mahama

In the wake of the Malian coup d’état and the dissolution of their National Assembly by the military junta, the status of their lawmakers in the Community Parliament has come into sharp focus.

A member of Ghana’s delegation to the fifth Community Parliament, Mahama Ayariga has said it is more a complex situation and no straight forward answer can be given, but added the issue can be looked at along several scenarios.

In a telephone interview, he explained that under a constitutional rule, there were circumstances which the Malian President could have dissolved the National Assembly but did not act in that constitutional provisional capacity.

As at the time the military took over, the National Assembly was still in existence. They were the ones who dissolved it and that dissolution may not be reocognised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he said.

Mr. Ayariga further pointed out that ECOWAS is supposed to act on the assumption that there is a National Assembly in Mali and it then means the sworn in delegation of Mali at the last virtual Extra Ordinary Session would remain as MPs and be able to attend Sessions of the Community Parliament.

He was however quick to point out that, among the Malian MPs in the Community Parliament, there is an issue in the sense that, “I do not have all the facts”, one or two of them were asked to resign from their National Assembly because the problem in Mali was triggered by a flaw parliamentary election; where, thirty-one (31) lawmakers were declared not to have rightly won their elections and should resign for the conduct of a re-run of election.

He said his thinking was that if any of the ECOWAS MPs is among the thirty-one (31), their status in the parliament can be questioned by virtue of an ECOWAS decision, adding that those MPs should resign.

This has not come up because nobody has questioned the membership of the names given to the ECOWAS parliament that has been sworn in.

“My position on the matter is that to the extent that ECOWAS does not recognize the military coup and their decision, we as a parliament would act on the assumption that there is a national assembly and the members of the delegate remain members of the Parliament”.

And further added that, if ECOWAS recognize the new military regime, the Parliament would be forced to conduct itself like the assembly has be dissolved.

As to whether direct election to the Community Parliament would help address the issue of coup d’état that is refusing to disappear from the West African sub-region, he responded in the affirmative .

“If we take a position that MPs from Mali are not members of the Community Parliament, then it means we recognize the coup d’état and the position of the military dissolving the Mali National Assembly”.  

Mr. Ayariga said, but members of the Malian delegation are in a difficult situation because if they hold themselves up as members of the Community Parliament, it then means as individuals they are not recognized by the military junta.

Again, they would be subjected to whatever measures the military would take against them individually, “do you get the complexity”.

Meanwhile in the same breath, if you hold yourself as a member of the Community Parliament from Mali you should be willing to fight the military junta. “I do not know if you are going to leave Mali which is a clear defiance of the military hence the more complexity”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Sub-regional envoys meet Mali’s military Junta after coup d’état

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday held talks for half an hour with soldiers who through a coup d’état took over power in Mali last week Tuesday trying to push for a speedy return to civilian rule.

According to an AFP news source, ECOWAS is working to meet ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who is being detained outside Bamako by the military junta.

Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

“ECOWAS appreciates what is happening in Mali and ECOWAS wants the best for the country,” Jonathan said after his arrival.

“We’re going to discuss with all stakeholders and I think at the end of the day we’ll come out with something that is good for the country, good for ECOWAS and good for the international community.”

An official of the delegation said they would meet Keita, who is being held with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in Kati, a military base northwest of Bamako where the coup was unleashed.

Adding to the international pressure, the United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali, with no further training or support of the Mali armed forces.

Speaking at the rally, Ismael Wague spokesman for the junta which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, paid tribute to the public.”We merely completed the work that you began and we recognize ourselves in your fight,” he said.

The junta has said it welcomes the ECOWAS visit but has not talked of restoring Keita to power.
“A transitional council, with a transitional president who is going to be either military or civilian” would be appointed; Wague told France 24 television Thursday.

Keita won election in a landslide in 2013, presenting himself as a unifying figure in a fractured country, and was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.

But he failed to make headway against the extremist revolt that has left swathes of the country in the hands of armed radicals and ignited ethnic violence in the country’s volatile center. Thousands of UN and French troops, along with soldiers from five Sahel countries, have been deployed to try to stem the bloodshed.

In a sign of the continuing challenge facing the country, four soldiers were killed Saturday by an explosive device in the center of the country.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Mali Coup: Heads of states demand immediate restoration of constitutional order

Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have condemned the military takeover in Mali that brought pressure on President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to announce his resignation.

According to a statement signed by the chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government H. E. Mahamadou Issoufou on Thursday, August 20, 2020 after an Extra Ordinary virtual meeting noted that any form of legitimacy for military takeover is unacceptable and demand immediate restoration to constitutional order, and unconditional release of the Malian President together with all arrested government officials and immediate reinstatement of the president of the Republic in accordance with the constitutional provision of the country.

The Authority of Heads of State and Government has suspended Mali from all Community decision making bodies with immediate effect, in accordance with the Supplementary protocols on democracy and good governance until effective restoration of constitutional order.

Again the Heads of States and Government had decided to close all land and air borders as well as stop all financial, economic and trade flow transactions between member states in the case of Mali; “except for basic essentials drugs and other supplies and equipment for the fight against COVID-19, petroleum products and electricity.

It also encouraged all partners and collaborators to ensure that a delegation led by the mediator comprising chair of the Council of Ministers and the president of the Commission task to ensure a speedy return to constitutional order gets to work for positive result.

There has been a call for immediate activation of ECOWAS standby force as there is another expected virtual meeting in a week’s time to assess the situation in the light with the mission report to be submitted by the mediator-led delegation.

ECOWAS Heads of States and Government welcomed the support expressed by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council on August 19, 2020 through a firm condemnation of the action by the military.

“Heads of States and Government express their solidarity with the people of Mali and reaffirm their commitment to continue to work towards a quick resolution of the crisis”.

The video conference of August 20, 2020 before moving into their main agenda expressed condolences and solidarity with President of Burkina Faso H. E. Roch Christian Kabore and H. E. Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and citizens over the terrorist attack of August 7 and 9 this year which left many dead and wounded.

The Heads of States and Government further noted that the coup d’état comes in the contest of a socio-political crisis triggered by the parliamentary election of March-April 2020, and took the form of protests, sometimes violent held by some political stakeholders, civil society organizations and members of religious associations.

They also approve government programme by the National Assembly in the Guinea Bissau and welcome progress made in that development.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Let us draw lessons from disinformation eroding democratic gains—Ablakwa

As the world celebrates World Press Freedom day, Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is calling on the nation to draw lessons from how disinformation is eroding democratic gains in other jurisdictions.

According to the Ranking member on Foreign Affairs Ghana should get ahead of the curve to formulate policy and legislative reforms that will seek to protect our relative nascent democracy.

“Mr. Speaker as we mark this day, we must take judicial notice of our decline in the 2019 world press freedom index where we dropped from the rank of 23 to 27 sadly and lost our status as African’s best ranked country”.

He added that Ghana has come too far as a country to have any threshold of tolerance whatsoever for reports such as the police brutalities meted out to the three Ghanaian Times Journalist, Raissa Sambou, Malik Sulleman and Abdul Salifu Rahman.

That of Latif Iddrisu of Joy news, Victor Kawukume and Timothy Gobah of Daily Guide, we must send a clear message to all that this nation will not countenance any abuse or attack whatsoever on journalists carrying out their legitimate duties.

Also there is a positive trend where journalist do not only tell the story and move on but take up the story as a cause and pursue it until there are clear tangible results, “I congratulate the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, the spirited effort to find the kidnapped girls from Tarkoradi, the camping to disband political vigilantism and the resilience of the Right to Information Coalition”.

This is a most refreshing and inspiring development that we must all encourage and indeed provide the necessary support as a legislative arm seeing that we are natural allies in our oversight mandate.

He further took the opportunity to celebrate Ghanaian Journalists who had made the country proud by winning awards like, Anas Aremeyaw Anas in January at Lausanne, Switzerland, Manasseh Azure Awuni winning journalist of the year 2018 of West Africa and Parliamentary correspondent of multimedia Joseph Opoku Gakpo, best video journalist, International Federation of Agriculture Journalists (IFAJ).

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

1D1F is a success, we need to strengthen it going forward — Konadu

The National Coordinator of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme, Gifty Ohene Konadu has said the policy initiative has been successful, and that going forward the President Nana Akufo-Addo led administration would strengthen it.

According to her, there are factories in all the districts since the business ideas are coming from the districts including the new districts, and it is a promise fulfilled.

“When the Trade and Industry Minister says it’s at various levels of either completion that is what it is. Some of the factories came in immediately the policy was announced when we came into power while others came in later. They are all at different stages and every district has a project”, she said in an interview.

Mrs. Konadu further explained that all private entrepreneurs moving the 1d1f have been provided with utility incentives and government is not looking at profit from the factories rather it is for the future of the nation for people to get jobs.

And as they earn incomes when they are employed, “you are happy because they need good lives”. And this would address the issue of Ghanaian youth not just roaming about and engaging in all kinds of social vices that would not benefit the nation at the long round.

She expressed delight that the 1d1f has materialized because people are employed and with the coming in of the Free SHS with a lot of people going to school, when they come out, they would definitely be employed in the factories.

“The SHS graduates are better equipped to handle issues after their secondary education as they have a bit of broader outlook; it is a promise fulfilled”.

The National Coordinator of the programme also emphasized that the whole concept is not for people within the ruling government, rather it is for the whole nation and about building the nation for everyone to benefit.

Again, personnel within the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) had been moved into the 1D1F and added that the fact that people are employed and working “gives us the needed joy as a government”.

In addition, government has given tax wavers to those who come under 1D1F as they import machines into the country. “It is clear that it is a private sector led initiative and they are connected to the national grade in terms of electricity for free”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Commissioning of Ekumfi Pineapple Factory comes as a joy”—1D1F Coordinator

As President Nana Akufo-Addo commissions the Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory on Friday, August 21, 2020, the National Coordinator of the One District, One Factor (1D1F) programme says actualization of the factory comes as a joy to Ghanaians.

According to her, the whole country is looking forward to this because there has been a lot of stories and misconception about the Ekumfi pineapple factory spear headed by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party that it is an “existing factory”.

Again, people said after cutting of the sod for the factory that the place had been left bear and was a playing grounds for grass cutters and all kinds of talk about this project.

“We knew what we were doing; building of a factory is not just a simple thing, it is difficult than building a house, anybody who is into construction knows putting up a platform alone can take not less than six months, it is a gradual process. And at each stage there is something to show”.

She further emphasized in an interview that the commissioning of Ekumfi factory would come as a joy to the people of Ekumfi in the Central Region and to “us as NPP that the President has been vindicated”, that he stood by what he promised.

Mrs. Konadu recounted that President Akufo-Addo made a promise to the chiefs and elders of Ekumfi during a tour of the 2016 presidential election as they supported the idea of 1d1f and pleaded with then candidate Akufo-Addo when he wins to establish the first factory in Ekumfi.

And added that it is not only at Ekumfi where a factory has been establish but it is in other districts in the Central Region, but Ekumfi is the first and the major focus.

When questioned as to why education has not gone down well on 1d1f that it is a private initiative driven, she responded that the opposition NDC is harming on that as those who had been to her outfit has been clear to them that it is a private sector led initiative.

“Those working on the initiative are happy that we are recommending them for the banks to give them loans and those who are really entrepreneurs are excited about it. We are not looking at blue or green, anyone who is serious and has a viable business plan we would help the person to put up a factory in the right location”.

And further explained that the real promoters do understand that this is a private led sector initiative and expressed frustration in explaining this issues over and over as the opposition have made it a point to do propaganda with it.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com