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Ketu South MP launches skills development project with over 2000 applicants

The Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Abla Dzifa Gomashie in a short ceremony held on Saturday, 25th September 2021 at Avoeme launched her Skills Development Project, and revealed that over 2000 people have so far applied or registered to learn various skills under the Project.

She indicated that the success of the project she believes will make participants self-employed, earn a living through decent work, become self-reliant, help reduce poverty, hunger, and promote good health and general well-being.

Additionally, the skills training would help boost economic growth, reduce gender disparity in making a living, promote education and above all lead to the growth of the Municipality.

The reality, she recounted was that a lot of youth with great talents, potentials, and qualifications are searching and are interested in getting themselves employed, but the job market is so chocked and limited, hence making it practically impossible for them to make headway in the job market.

Citing the growth of the nation in terms of population, but with limited resources, the many copies of recruitment forms she received from the recently held recruitment exercises held by the security services of the country as examples, she admonished that; acquisition of skills should become a priority in the life of all individuals.

Constituents who registered to learn various skills

The scope of training and skills to acquire under this project are sewing/fashion designing, hairdressing/beautician, shoemaking, phone repairing, plumbing, ICT, photography, decoration, bead making, baking, and soap making.

She however, made a passionate appeal to all well-meaning Ghanaians in and outside of her constituency, home, and abroad to support her to successfully roll out this project and make it sustainable.

She announced that she already procured 500 sewing machines, 300 handheld hair dryers, some computers, a leather shoemaking machine, and other important equipment to start the project with but a lot more is needed to look at the number of people who applied to be part of the project.

Dr. Cogan Senanu Agumenu, a special guest at the function from the Akatsi North Constituency gifted five sewing machines to support the project.

She indicated that whiles waiting and hoping for some social intervention from the state to alleviate the sufferings of her constituents because of the closure of the border due to the political decision of the NPP government on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, she will be doing her best to help her constituents in her small way and promised to add more fields/domain of skills training to the project in the years to come such as upholstery, electricals, carpentry, driving, welding, vulcanizing, painting, spraying, among others.

She then used the opportunity to advise applicants to stay away from pride, arrogance and be disciplined and urged the trainers to treat applicants with love and mutual respect.

Francis Vorsah/Ghanamps.com

“Fact-finding mission resolutions of ECOWAS Parliament can be summited for action” —chairman Snowe Jr.

Chairman of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer-Review Mechanism (APRM) of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., said fact-finding missions of the parliament can be debated on at plenary and a resolution taken, then sent to the Commission for onwards submission to Authority of Heads of States.

According to him, an understanding of the relevant provisions of the Supplementary Act is therefore supported both by practice (regular consideration of the regional political and security situation, fact-finding mission, conflict mediation, among others) and by the provision of Article 41 Paragraph (2) of the Supplementary Act which states that.

Chapter V special provisions, “in exceptional circumstances and in conformity with Community objectives, the Parliament may by Resolution request the President to activate the mechanism for conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security”.

In a statement, he noted that, having read a news article published by the online news outlet, Ghanamp.com, under the caption, “Peace and Security not included in ECOWAS Parliament’s enhanced powers”, I feel obliged to issue this rebuttal as Chair of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer- Review Mechanism of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Rt. Hon Speaker Tunis left and chairman of Political Affairs right

The ECOWAS Parliament was established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on 6 August 1994 and entered into force on 14 March 2002. It provides for the structure, composition, competences, and other matters relating to the Parliament. In December 2016, the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament was adopted. This further strengthens the operations of the Parliament, including its objectives and competences.

Article 4 of the Supplementary Act spells out the objectives for which the Parliament was established. Article 4 Paragraph (a) charges the Parliament to contribute to the efficient and effective implementation of the objectives and policies of the Community. That confers upon the Parliament the moral obligation to contribute to and support the Community Strategic Framework and the ECOWAS Vision, of which peace and security is a key component.

Specifically, Article 4 Paragraph (d) states that the Parliament was established to contribute to the promotion of peace, security, and stability in the West African region. It states further, in Article 4 Paragraph (e), that the Parliament would promote and defend the principles of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, transparency, accountability and good governance. With these clearly laid out objectives, one cannot divorce regional peace and security from the powers of the Parliament.

Furthermore, Article 7(d) states that “Parliament may consider any matter concerning the Community, in particular issues relating to Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms and make recommendations to the institutions and organs of the Community. In this regard, it may constitute committees of enquiry and may mediate on the matter. In this case, peace and security are fundamental human rights to which all citizens of the Community are entitled. As such, the Parliament reserves the right, by virtue of this Act, to conduct enquires, fact-finding, and mediation missions when required.

Fact-finding team in Cape Verde

Relating to referrals to the Parliament, there are mandatory and non-mandatory referrals. Peace and Security matters are not among the areas for mandatory referrals as cited in Article 9 of the Supplementary Act. However, Community defense, peace, and security policies are expressly cited as non-mandatory referrals in Article 10 Paragraph (d), which means the option of referring such matters to Parliament or Parliament being involved is still opened.

Moreover, Article 25 Paragraph (D) provides that the Parliament, in order to facilitate its work, may establish Standing Committees. The modalities of the organization and mandate of the Standing Committees shall be provided in the rules of procedures of Parliament. The Parliament, in its Rules of Procedures, established the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and African Peer Review Mechanism. It provides that this Committee shall be responsible for matters relating to:

  1. Regional peace, stability and security by seeking to promote and strengthen good neighborliness;
  2. Follow up on the status of implementation of Community Texts on peace, security, democracy, and good governance.
  3. Promotion and consolidation of a democratic system of governance in each Member State as envisaged by ECOWAS declaration of Political Principles adopted in Abuja on 6 July 1991;
  4. Assisting in parliamentary mediation missions aimed at achieving peaceful resolution of disputes among Member States, cooperation between neighboring States and promotion of peace, a catalyst of economic development.
  5. Strengthening cooperation in the area of conflict prevention, early warning, peacekeeping operations, control of cross-border crime; international terrorism, proliferation of small arms and anti-personnel mines.

Contextualizing the above, it’s no gainsaying that the Parliament, through this Committee, must, as a matter of fundamental responsibility, work to ensure that the Community is peaceful and secure.

Evidently, the ECOWAS Parliament, based upon these legal provisions, has established for itself an enviable record of peace keeping and mediation. Parliament, as a matter of parliamentary diplomacy, was involved in the search for peace in the Mano River Union (MRU), where Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had fragile peace. Parliament also initiated peace talks between the Liberians United Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels and the Liberian Government, mediated the 2018 conflict in the Sierra Leonean Parliament, and many others. Parliament also regularly conducts Fact- Finding Missions prior to elections and ensure its observers are on ground to observe elections across the region.

Notwithstanding these achievements, we are fully aware and agree that the direct elections of members into the Parliament will confer new competences on the Parliament and would transform the Parliament into a truly independent and democratic body, and all efforts are being directed towards achieving that. While we work towards the realization of this democratic legacy, we take pride in the work we do to, as a Parliament, to keep our region peaceful and secure.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS member states can’t deal with extremism and piracy unilaterally—Dr. Zanetor Rawlings

The Deputy Ranking on the Committee of Defense and Interior of Ghana’s Parliament, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings said ECOWAS member states can’t deal with extremism and piracy unilaterally in the West African sub-region.

According to her the issues are huge and hence there is the need for collaboration with the various member states, and that is why there are a lot of movement going on in this regard with the Commission and Authority of Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS.

“It requires international collaboration; cooperation and it means member states should be able to draw one another’s attention to things happening within their territories that may be creating vulnerability for the sub-region”.

She was however, quick to point out that, it is also not the issue of meeting and having conferences, but also being able to tell fellow leaders the situation happening in one’s part of the country where the arm forces are not having presence in a particular area.

Dr.  Zanetor speaking with Ghanamps.com in an interview recounted that few years back when one hears of piracy, it was mainly at the horn of Africa and seems far away, but statistics on maritime crime last year indicates that ninety percent of the crime was in the Gulf of Guinea.

Piracy in West Africa waters

And attributed the whole state of insecurity and piracy to the scramble of resources, adding; “the huge oil reserves in the West Africa sub-region are seeing movement of commercial ships which make it an important region, and the landlock areas rely on access to the sea the reason why we are seeing this”.

And added that in the wake of the spread of violence and extremism, a lot of the terrorist attacks is becoming obvious that they are drifting southwards wanting to have access to the sea, and obviously they would want to target Cote d’lvoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria who have access to the sea.

Similarly, Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings expressed worry over the penchant for constitutional leaders to extend their tenure by changing their constitution which causes an uprising resulting in instabilities, but was emphatic that these are some of the things that most people would not want to talk about.

She said developments such as this leads to gaps within our sub-region that has to be addressed and taken on board seriously. “It defeats the purpose of having ECOWAS and AU, member states are to adhere to the various agreements for the betterment of the citizens”, she emphasized.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament: Fact-finding team moves to the Gambia

Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament and Gambian Parliament

After successfully ending their fact-finding mission in Cape Verde, Speaker of the Community Parliament, Rt. Hon Sidie Mohammed Tunis and his team have landed in the Gambia ahead of their Presidential elections in December, 2021.

A member of the team from the Gambia, Fatoumatta Njai, in a phone interview with Ghanamps.com noted that she hopes the delegation proceeding to the Gambia would look at the signals and compare notes on the two countries, Cape Verde and the Gambia.

“My believe, coming from the Gambia, I think this is a completely different scenarios from the Gambia, what I have seen and from what I have experienced in the Gambia, I think Cape Verde is exemplary”.

Hon Mahama Ayariga

She further pointed out that the mission was an eye opener, the people of Cape Verde are calm, assertive, and they respect democracy and the rule of law as “we met with different stakeholders the presidential candidate’s, government, opposition and independent candidates, they have all said the same thing and express same concerns and satisfactions”.

And added that it is a good sign for democracy for the opposition and the ruling party to agree in their differences and shows that the upcoming elections would be fair and transparent; “they have all given us their assurance, their decisions would be mutually acceptable”.

But indicated that, should they have any query, they would take it to the right place which is the constitutional court.  And noted that it is well established and they visited the constitutional court and they also gave them assurance that things would move in a fair, transparent and justly manner.

“It has been a good mission and this is what ECOWAS Parliament should keep doing; it is better to be proactive than to be reactive, the elections mission would serve as early warning and would prevent any chaotic situation from happening”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Guinea’s military takeover has sent useful signals to democratically elected leaders in West Africa —Mahama

The Rapporteur of ECOWAS Parliament’s Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanisms (APRM), Mahama Ayariga has opined that the military takeover in Guinea Conakry, has been useful to send signals that democratically elected leaders in West Africa should not seek to manipulate their constitution to give themselves third term and perpetuate their stay in office against the will of the people.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga is part of the Speaker’s fact-finding team that is proactively engaging member states in the sub-region to pick up early warning signals to help avert a repeat of Mali and currently Guinea Conakry.

The team has visited Cape Verde and is currently in the Gambia, that goes to the polls for its presidential election in December 2021.

Commenting on the happenings in Guinea Conakry in an interview, he said “I am not surprised that the military junta in Guinea Conakry is widely popular in the whole of West Africa and has the sympathy of the general population of Guinea Conakry and beyond.”  Hon Mahama Ayariga opined that the absence of military interventions to restore proper constitutional order was beginning to generate a tendency for West African leaders to develop an appetite to hang on to power by hook or crook.

 And further noted that, “their peers look at the other side as they manipulate their national constitutions and so the Authority of Heads of States has lost the moral authority to dictate to the people of Guinea Conakry.”

The Authority of Heads of States of ECOWAS can only restore that moral authority, if they stand firm at all times against tendencies to perpetuate stay in power by their peers.

“It is sad that, the greatest threat to democracy now is democratically elected leaders seeking to hang on to power. The international community left the people of Guinea Conakry at the mercy of Prof.  Alpha Conde as he bullied them and manipulated his national constitution with a view to perpetuating his stay in power.”

Mr. Ayariga also pointed out that, what the international community can do now is to, “respect the military junta and guide them towards restoring an enduring constitutional order based on term limits and respect for the international protocols on democracy and human rights.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Peace and Security not included in ECOWAS Parliament’s enhanced powers” — Humado

Despite the enhanced powers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, there are still some areas that needs to be taken care of to ensure it plays its role effectively.

A former member of Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Clement Kofi Humado said an area like Peace and Security was not included in the enhanced powers and is still in the domain of the Authority of Heads and Council of Ministers.

Speakers fact-finding team at Cape Verde

His remarks come in the wake of Ghanamps.com wanting to know, why resolutions and recommendations at the plenary, and fact finding missions cannot be forwarded to Authority of Heads of States and Government to be acted upon.

But the he said, “this is a limitation for ECOWAS Parliament, and therefore if we have to surmount that hurdle, then the parliament has to write a special letter to the Authority of Heads of States through the Commission requesting that the dynamics on the ground have changed, the population of West Africa want their representatives to have a say in the governance of their member states in view of the recent situations in Mali, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Togo and Cote d’lvoire”.

In an interview, he pointed out that he does not know if the Authority of Heads of States would approve the request, but was quick to add that pressure must be brought to bear whiles they approve it, it would become law or protocol like an addendum or amendment to the enhanced protocols.

And with that the Community Parliament can send copies of its reports and recommendations straight to the Authority of Heads of States.

As to whether this feat can be achieved by the current fifth Community Parliament, the former Anlo lawmaker pointed out that during the tenure of the immediate past Speaker Moustapha Cisse Lo, the issues came up when there was a debate on the country report of Togo.

“It was at this stage that the Secretary General and the Bureau conferred and realized unless they had an amendment to the enhanced powers, they did not see their way clear in sending their recommendations to the Authority of Heads of States through the Commission, but the tenure of the former speaker was up and left the stage”.

Mr. Humado further noted that now the Rt. Hon Sidie Mohammed Tunis is the speaker, with ECOWAS citizens feeling discontented, as the dynamics on the ground are changing, over the governance style, “if he did not plan it, I think it is something that has emerged and he has to take it on board, work it out with the SG, Bureau as well as with the support of the Parliament”.

In addition, he noted that the current Speaker has taken on board the direct election of ECOWAS MPs with that being his focus, but, “I guess he has to add this one to it if he wants to make a very good impact by the end of his term”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Presidential Election in Cape Verde: “We are satisfied with preparations, but…” – Speaker Tunis

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Rt. Hon Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis said his fact-finding team that visited Cape Verde in view of their upcoming October 17, 2021 presidential election is satisfied with preparations so far, having met with most of the major stakeholders.

According to him, the team observed some challenges, but which he described as normal and expressed hope that with the support of election observers in the sub-region, “we would have a free and fair election”.

At a press conference on Friday, September 24, 2021 as part of concluding their mission, the speaker indicated that the team learnt that but for challenges in their registration process, more citizens in the diaspora would have been registered, “what one of the presidential candidates was saying was that they had challenges in their registration process, we as ECOWAS would now take that on board because we did not know about it”.

Dr. Tunis gave assurance that, in future elections, whatever support is need by Cape Verde, ECOWAS would assist them to ensure that there is a thorough registration process of its citizens, especially those in the diaspora, since elections are also held for those in the diaspora.

He further explained that the team was able to interact with three of the presidential candidates who gave assurance of supporting the democratic process lose or win to ensure peaceful transfer of power, stating that they are “ready to accept the will of the people of Cape Verde as they very much believe in peace and security of the country”.

He noted that it was on the basis of these that the team is confident and concluded that there would be free, fair and transparent elections that would be followed by a smooth democratic transition.

The fact-finding team also visited the Speaker who is currently the acting president, the electoral commission, and the constitutional court.

Rt. Hon Speaker Tunis noted further that since Cape Verde is part of ECOWAS, there would be observers from the institution to observe the election thoroughly through the Island. “We had a lengthy discussion, we met with the justice of the constitutional court and we are encouraged by what we heard from them at the institution, they are much on alert and very ready for the election”, he said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Nomadic herdsmen should be treated as international travelers to forestall instabilities” —Dr. Zanetor Rawlings

Ghana’s Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings is calling for a paradigm shift in addressing security challenges posed by nomadic herdsmen in the West African sub-region.

According to her, the practice of old, where these herdsmen move with their animals across various boundaries in member states still persist, and it would be very difficult to eliminate, especially as the sub-region is zoned into countries.

However, she believes the solution would be to treat these herdsmen as international travelers that require some form of documentation that covers both the humans and animals before being allowed into new territories, where they would be bound by the laws of that country.

In an interview with Ghanamps.com, she said, there must be strict identification process, and specific areas allocated for them to move in and out. This, she indicated would bring checks and balance in the activities of these nomadic herdsmen.

The practice, she said is driven by climate and season changes, forcing the herdsmen to move around to ensure they have access to water and grass for their cattle.

“We can address this not only on just Ghana but within the sub-region. This is a problem that has become almost endemic within the sub-region, and so is it a case of tagging the cattle to ensure that their movement can be monitored?” When you travel within international borders with a dog, you need a passport, so should we be looking at a situation where if you have your cattle it has to be tagged entering another country, and how many are coming in?”

And further added that with that approach, there is the need to involve veterinary services, who should be part of the border control in addressing this issue, “because it is not going away, and it is getting worse, and the crime statistics from this year are so disturbing, we need to address this before it gets out of hand”, she emphasized.

Dr. Zanetor Rawlings again noted that there is scramble for resources, water is a resource, access to feeding for your animals and then this result in that clash, but “we should not forget there are people within the country who owns some of these animals that the herdsmen are attending to, we should have the honest conversation where we all contribute towards these and have a stakeholder’s engagement on how to address it”.

If you have paid attention to some of the statistics, there has been a rise in kidnapping in Ghana, and a lot of the kidnapping are happening within the Fulani communities and a lot of huge ransom has been paid out there, a lot of violence between the herdsmen and the indigenes where they find themselves; the issue of nomadic people is nothing new”.

The deputy ranking on Defense and Interior Committee of Ghana’s Parliament again stated that as states become more established, and people become more territorial, the movement of such persons in and out of such territories, would have to be treated the same way we treat international travels.

 “We cannot go on pretending as if it is not creating some friction within our various countries, because that is what is resulting in a lot of instability, conflict and loss of lives; and we must not have a situation where a particular life-style that has existed for centuries to become a threat to themselves and the peoples whose country they find themselves”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Former Hohoe MP Picks 2021 Humanitarian Award

Immediate past Member of Parliament for Hohoe, Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo has been awarded a humanitarian award for her valuable contribution and support to human development at the 2021 Humanitarian Awards Global ceremony in Accra.

The former Legislator won the best Humanitarian award in HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases support category through her Non – Governmental Organisation (NGO), Pro-Link Organisation.

 Pro-Link Organisation has for the past twenty (20) years provided places of abode and support to persons living with HIV/ AIDS in nine support groups and other communicable diseases across the country.

The NGO which also aims at preventing gender-based violence and the promotion of education in deprived communities has offices in all the former ten regions of Ghana.

The 2021 Humanitarian Awards Global, held under theme: ‘Celebrating change makers’ is held annually to recognise, honour and celebrate volunteer leaders, NGOs, philanthropists, corporations and professionals with the aim of rewarding their valuable contributions to society.

 Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo who is also a former deputy minister for the ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation expressed gratitude to the organisers for the recognition and stated the award will inspire her to do more now that she is out of Parliament for benefit of the nation.

She challenged young people to brighten the little corners in which they live through what she described as ‘little little service’ to humanity to make the world a better place for all.

The former MP encouraged lawmakers who she noted are already engaged in humanitarian work on daily basis through their numerous developmental initiatives to do more in service to humanity.

The event attracted a large number of humanitarians, stakeholders and change-maker in various fields across the globe.

International Evangelist, Founder and President of Worldwide Miracle Outreach, Rev Dr Lawrence Tetteh in a keynote address abhorred character assassination of the hard-won reputation of people and said it is important for a nation to honour people who distinguish themselves.

He advocates an all-hands-on deck approach and the encouragement of one another since life is a transient.

 “Let us use our position to win friends, encourage people because whatever we have today is transient, we all have a responsibility to let all hands be on deck to make Ghana a better place” he said.

Other award categories includes best Humanitarian Civil Servant of the year, best Humanitarian Health Worker of the year, best Humanitarian Prison Support NGO of the year, best Child Education humanitarian of the year and best Community Child Protection of the year, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and many others.

Organisers of the event say over 500 entries were received for the various categories.

 Guests who graced the event includes the Hungarian Ambassador to Ghana, Tamas Feher, Deputy Director, Embassy of Hungary, David Bekesi, Managing Director Euracare, Mari Ellis among others.


“Our visit to Cape Verde has been very productive so far” — Fatoumatta Njai

A member of ECOWAS speaker’s delegation to Cape Verde Fatoumatta Njai  said  their fact-finding mission and meetings have  been very productive, as the team has  visited  the constitutional court and the electoral commission today, Thursday, September 23, 2021.

According to her their visit has showed that Cape Verde is ready for their upcoming elections and has demonstrated political maturity from what they have observed so far.

In an interview via mobile phone, she noted that their Wednesday, September 22, 2021 visits took them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the office in charge of election materials as things were transparently   structed and organised.

“We were impressed and confident, Cape Verde should be a bench mark for all ECOWAS Countries to follow. The type of system I am not too sure if it’s the Portuguese style or whether it has to do with the size of the country”.

She further stated that the team also visited a third intuition, ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).

Rt. Hon. Tunis paid a courtesy call on the Speaker, Dr. Austelino Correia who is the acting President where their discussion focused on the upcoming general elections, with emphasis on sustaining the regional peace and democracy, as well as cementing the cordial relationship that exist between the ECOWAS Parliament and the National Assembly of Cape Verde.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com