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Flooding in Accra: “Blame MMCEs and politicians”—Nii Lante

Former Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye has said Metropolitan and Municipal Chief Executives should be blamed for flooding being experienced in Ghana’s capital city. According to him the local authorities have reneged on their responsibilities and forgotten that they are the ones mandated to ensure every development in the towns and capitals conform to the special planning of a particular area.

“The law says before anyone put a structure the person must seek development and building permit because the Assemblies would have to ensure that what one is going to do conforms to the overall planning of the area and they have the appropriate building materials”. And what one is going to do would not cause any further harm to any other person or affect the total development of the area. “Again, if people are building in areas they are not supposed to build, in water ways and roads and causing flood in the city, I would solely blame the MMAs”, he said in an interview.

Flooding in Accra

He emphasised that Chief Executives are being paid to make sure laws are enforced and people comply with the laws; and if people who are mandated by law to ensure effective implementation do not do their work and allow these things to happen they are liable, he stated. Mr. Edwin Vanderpuye was again quick to add that politicians are also part of the problem because they do not allow the local authorities to carry out their work the way they want to as they want to influence the work of the Assemblies.

“The Politician would first call the DCE, MCE and the physical planner to direct a particular project which is ether theirs or related to them to be allowed to continue. This, he noted leaves such officers to renege on their responsibilities. “People who are in responsible position who are supposed to know what is right and wrong are those facilitating these things”, he lamented.

Again, there are issues of people throwing rubbish into the gutters and dumping anywhere, and despite that still the responsibility of the Assemblies. “If the Assemblies were doing their monitoring work well, those who throw rubbish into the gutters would be arrested and prosecuted, and seriously speaking I blame ineffective local governance system in the country for our owes”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Enough is enough – Speaker tells Majority Leader

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has served notice to the Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu to stop going on air to counter everything he says on the chair. Mr. Bagbin on Friday May 27, 2022 while presiding responded to some comments made by the Majority Leader on air when he sought to downplay the Speaker’s earlier assertion that parliament is ‘broke’.

“I will not take the majority Leader always going on air to counter what I say particularly when I say it on the chair, I will not take that; I am in control here, and I will continue to be in control until my tern of office ends or you decide otherwise as members to remove me as the Speaker of the House by the votes of three-quarters of members of the House. Please this is the last time I would refer to it, and this is enough notice to whoever thinks that he has the same authority as the Speaker”.

According to the Speaker, in response to what he said yesterday, the government proceeded to release money quickly to the House to enable the house function. “There is evidence to that, and that is on record”. Explaining the composition on the leadership of parliament he said leaders of the House support the Speaker who is the leader of parliament not just of the House. “And parliament goes beyond the House, it is an institution and an arm of government; and the spokesperson of parliament is the Speaker.

The Majority leader speaks for the House which is made up of the members of parliament. Parliament includes the parliamentary service and the supporting institutions like health, police serve, fire service national security and all other state institutions that render services to parliament”. He said in the UK, parliament is made up of the Queen, the House of Lords, House of Commons, that is the institution of parliament, and that is why it is sovereign. “The Prime Minister is part of House of Commons and so is part of parliament that is why it is supreme.

In Ghana, Parliament is not supreme, it is subject to the constitution and so it is important that when the Speaker speaks from the chair, the leader of the House; that is the leader of members of parliament is not seen to be the one countering what the spokesperson of the arm of government says.” And if they want us to give documentary evidence about the non-funding of the House for this year, we would provide them. “So when I heard that the Leader of the House has gone on air to say that what I said is not true, it saddens me”, he stated.


Finance Ministry not running away from accountability – Annoh Dompreh

Mr. Frank Annoh Dompreh, Majority Chief Whip has described as unfortunate the Speaker’s directive to the House that unless the finance Minister comes to the House to render account in relations to earlier releases to the COVID-19 fight, he (Speaker) would not allow for the motion to be taken in respect of the 75 million Euro being sought for towards COVID-19”.

He said the Speaker has no persona on his own; such decisions have to be the sense of the House for him to communicate the sense of the House, “he cannot communicate his own decision”, he stated.

“Remember the Speaker is not a member of parliament, we are members; he is presiding and is expected to convene the sense of the House. The sense of the House at that time was that the question should not be put; it was not that unless the Finance Minister comes to the House to render account”.

He explained that “I have moved a motion for the question not to be put; there had been debate and the Speaker was at the verge of putting the question, I move that he should not put the question because there was the need for some consultations.

He disclosed that the Finance Minister is not running away from accountability; and the impression should be corrected, adding that when the Majority Leader returns they were going to engage the Speaker.

“We do not want to have a banter with the Speaker where we find that things need to be straighten we would find a diplomatic way of doing that, reaching out so that we have peace for the progress and execution of work of the House”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Dominic/Ghanamps.com

Ghs25 million hits parliament’s account

The majority chief whip, Frank Annoh- Dompreh has corrected the impression created by the Speaker of Parliament; Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin that parliament is broke

 According to him, if only the Speaker had exercised a little bit of patience, that communication would not have come out.

He indicated that at the time the Speaker was making the comment, GHC25 million had been released and was going through the process to hit the account of parliament around 3:00pm on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

And it was not long after the Speaker’s comments that the money hit the account.

He was of the view that there was no way the finance ministry could have released money to hit the account of Parliament after the Speaker’s comments, adding that perhaps the Speaker was not properly briefed before he made his comment.

He also asserts that not only had parliament received its money but the National Health Insurance Authority also received GHC50 million from the finance Ministry.

Mr Dompreh added that the comment of the Speaker creates a certain image of the country which is not too good in the face of the fact that releases have been done.


Parliament would pass Affirmative Action Bill if Executive dilly-dally — Speaker

 Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has given indication that Parliament would pass the Affirmative Action Bill despite the fact that the Executive arm of government has a look warm attitude bringing the draft Bill to the House.

According to him the House would go ahead and to take the draft Bill, refine it, and pass since it has been in the pipeline for the past ten years and has not shown up on the floor of the House.

He said the situation is not good enough, adding that we have fallen far behind compared to how some of the neighbouring African countries respond to issue of gender empowerment and equality.

He made these remarks on Thursday, May 26, 2022 when a delegation from the Canadian Senate led by the Senator and Co- Chair of Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, Hon. Amina Gerba,  paid a courtesy call to Parliament to understand the delicate situation in which Ghana’s Parliament finds itself.

Other members of the delegation were Hon. René Cormier, Senator Yves Perron, M.P. Doug Shipley, M.P. Rémi Bourgault, Association Secretary and were accompanied by the High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana, H. E. Kati Csaba,

He pointed out that on Tuesday, the Speaker of Zambia called on him and it came out that they have forty-eight (48)  percent women representation in Parliament with their Speaker being a female, whiles Ghana has fourteen point five (14.5) percent women representation in parliament.

Again, Ghana cannot follow the US and the UK, their records are also not good as Rwanda is the highest now with female representation at fifty (50) something percent and about fifteen African countries have gone beyond the thirty (30) percent mark according to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) statistics.

Mr Bagbin also indicated that he understands that there are proposals for the reconstitution of Ghana’s Parliament Committees and despite the female numbers are not encouraging, they want to bring in a number of things and some key positions of leadership would go to the women.

Interestingly in the current 8th Parliament there are twenty (20) females from each side of the House and five of them should come up to Leadership positions of the various Committees.

“They say, if you want to know the level of development of any country look at the state of the women that is a strong indicator as to whether the country is developed developing or under develop. Ghana has been one of the countries that have been taunted with very high democratic credentials, in spite of that i think on affirmative action is down side with our democracy”.

The former Majority Leader told his visitors that in Ghana it is not easy to contest and win; one need a lot of support, and political discussions are not decent and civil words are not used, stating that more women would want to contest to serve their people but for the above mentioned challenges..

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Privileges Committee might have to ask for extension of time from Speaker—Ranking

The Ranking member of the Privileges Committee George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan said due to some development within the workings of the Committee, they might have to ask the Rt. Hon Speaker for extension of time as they have been given two weeks to work on three absentee Members of Parliament referred to them.

According to him they are hoping that when they give good reasons to the Speaker he would be able to grant their wish.

In an interview on Thursday, 26 May 2022 the Raking member of the Committee pointed out that they were able to meet Hon Henry Quartey but it was for a brief period. The initial meeting which was supposed to start around 11:00am had to be pushed to midday.

But had to again be moved again to 2:00pm but the Greater Accra Regional Minister informed the Committee he had an appointment around 2:00pm for which reason they could not conclude on their brief meeting.

Mr. Henry Quartey indicated to the Committee that he had to travel for a week and in that case a new date had to be given to him.

Reason being the Second Deputy Speaker was not available in the House, and the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin who was chairing proceedings in the House had to leave and attend to a delegation visiting the House from Canada.

And the chairman of the Privileges Committee, the first Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu had to move to the chamber to chair proceedings.

Mr. Hagan further noted there has been some development; his colleagues from the Majority side are having their internal regional elections and the first Deputy Speaker would not be around on Friday, May 27, 2022 so there would be no meeting.

“We were actually supposed to meet Sarah Adowa Safo and because of the sensitive nature of those who are supposed to appear before the Committee has to do with medical records, we did not want to start and along the line we say hold on this issue is sensitive let us not allow the cameras; it is a private issue and there was consensus on it so not even a vote was taken”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Parliament is broke no money to function well—Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, is unhappy at the delay in releasing funds to the legislature to enable it to function properly.

According to him, the delay has led to the House being broke and in need of adequate funds to run its operations.

Staring affairs over proceedings in the chair on Thursday, May 26, 2022, the Speaker lamented the dire financial constraints Parliament has been plunged into and cautioned the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta against treating Parliament like a Ministry or a District Assembly.

“It’s not easy. So, sometimes we see your requests for me to approve for you to do some things, I had declined. It’s not because I love declining your requests; it’s because we don’t have the wherewithal to fund those operations. I think the Minister of Finance should not treat Parliament like a Ministry or MMDA – I will emphasise this again,” he said.

The Speaker also added that the situation if not checked and addressed immediately will halt activities of the House.

“This is an arm of government; we are not part of the MMDAs. We have even been written to, to reduce our budget in some areas, by 50% and so if they want Parliament to run aground, they should let us know. The Speaker is not ready and prepared to be blamed for the inability to get Parliament work going on just because we are not getting the necessary funds. Others will have some hesitation saying this; I don’t have,” he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Privileges Committee holds first meeting to set modalities

The Privileges Committee of Parliament held its first meeting on Wednesday, May, 25, 2022 to set modalities on referrals made to the Committee on the three absentee lawmakers. In an interview with the Raking member of the member of the Committee George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan he noted that the first meeting was to plan how they were going to conduct the hearing of the MPs to appear before them.

And added that it is the duty of the clerk of the committee to communicate to them and that has been done and he is aware they have gotten a response from the Assin Central lawmaker Kennedy Agyapong. He would be available on May 31, 2022 because he is in the US on medical grounds and would be the last to be heard.

As to whether they have heard from the Dome/Kwabenya Member of Parliament Sarah Adwoa Safo, he said; “I do not know anything, I am now going to the meeting, this is the first meeting for the referral made by the Speaker and we would know at the meeting”.

Mr. Ricketts-Hagan further pointed out that he has been in touch with the chairman of the Committee and they have been talking and planning: and it’s time to meet the extended group. As to whether they would allow the media to have public hearing he noted that it would be determined at their first meeting.

On Mr. Henry Quartey of Ayawaso Central who was passing whiles he was granting the interview, he noted that he has seen him in the chamber and can be seen passing means he is available.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Regional integration of Africa and its economic liberation remains high on the agenda”—Mozambican president

Mozambican President H.E.  Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, has revealed that the regional integration of Africa and its economic liberation remain high on the agenda of leaders at various fora.

Addressing Ghana’s Parliament, Mr Nyusi who is on a four-day official visit to Ghana said the political liberation of the continent would mean nothing if it continue to tie it’s development apron to external aid.

“The struggle for the liberation of Africa of which Ghana was one of its leaders was not only for political liberation, the call  by Kwame Nkrumah that African must unite in his book ‘Africa Unite’ were based on the wisdom and vision that our political independence will be nothing if we remain independent under external aid”

The   economic liberation, the regional integration of Africa remains a central topic and is a topic of priorities of our cooperation at bilateral and regional levels such as South African Development Community, Economic Community of West African States, the East Africa Community, and at the continental level at the African Union (AU), he stated.

Mr Nyusi’s assurances come on the day the continent was observing the AU Day; a day set aside by the Union to commemorate the formation of the foundation of the  Organisation of Africa Unity, now AU.

The organisation was intended to champion the liberation of Africa which was largely under colonial rule and to ultimately unite the continent.

It was in the context of this commitment that President Nyusi said he signed various cooperation agreements with Ghana on the first day of his visit.

The agreements, President Nyusi said, have strong component of cooperation in different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry, trade, tourism, mineral resources, and science and technology.

Ghana, he said, has valuable experience in putting appropriate legal frameworks to regulate its extractive industry, an experience he said the South African country would want to tap into.

“We will like to benefit from the good experience of Ghana in establishing favorable legal framework that will allow us a sustainable management of resources like gold, oil and gas, and how to maximize the local content to empower our private sector,” he said.

Commending President Nyusi, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin said unity of purpose among African countries holds the key to propelling the continent to a greater height.

 “For Africa to develop, this is the way to go. We need to look within ourselves, acknowledge and appreciate our values, work together and market those values to the good people of the world”, Mr Bagbin entreated.

Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, on behalf of the Minority said the visit should rekindle the need for African countries to begin to put in place mechanisms to trade more within themselves.

“We as African people must learn to trade more within because it is the only way our independence will be meaningful. So long as we continue to rely on only political independence and not being able to liberate ourselves economically, the challenges that confront us today will continue to face us,” Alhaji Muntaka, MP, Asawase said.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on his part said there would be the need for exchange of valuable lessons between the two countries in the areas of cotton production, poultry farming, cashew nut and sugarcane farming; areas Mozambique is doing well.

“In industry Mozambique produces food beverages, fertilizers, soap, textiles, cement, glass, and tobacco. Our textile industry today is gone. Mozambique is closer to China and in terms of dumping industrial products, their domestic production could be more at risk than Ghana, yet they have developed internal mechanisms to forestall it. How have they done that? How have they managed to protect their local industries? There are useful lesson there to be learnt,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu observed.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker of Zambia National Assembly leads delegation to Ghana for benchmarking

The Speaker of Zambian Parliament Rt. Hon Ms Nelly Mutti is leading n 8-member delegation to Ghana on a benchmarking tour. As the chair of the Committee she is Ghana with seven other Committee members and a member of Parliament herself.

The delegation is made up of Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane MP, Finance Minister, Mr. Stafford Mulusa MP, Majority chief whip, Mr. Brian Mundubile MP Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Stephen Kampyongo MP, Mr. Nickson Chilangwa MP, Mrs Jacqueline Sabao MP and five other Parliamentary staffs.

Rt. Hon Nelly in her remarks recounted that Ghana and Zambia have a very good relations that is mutual which benefits both countries and are in Ghana so that both parliaments can learn from each other.

She further pointed out that their constitution takes issue of gender very serious in that when you have a male Speaker, the first Deputy Speaker should be a female and vice versa. Lawmakers, she indicated have the opportunity to be in the media to have discussions on what parliament is doing to bring the House closer to the door steps of the people.

The delegation which called on the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 is in for eight (8) working days.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com